Photo Essay: Why I Hate Living in Kyoto

I really hate where I live. Not only Kyoto in general, but in particular, the specific area of Kyoto where I live.

This morning I walked to the nearby convenience store for some bread, and I was assaulted by beautiful scenes of inner-city fall foliage. Not only did they positively scream at me, they punched me in the face, demanding that I photograph them. Geez, all I wanted was some bread, and I get this!? I don't have time for this. What a crappy place to live.

desktop background image of a traditional Japanese -- Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1 / 350 sec, f/9, ISO 500 — map & image data — nearby photos Machiya on Jingu-Michi, Kyoto Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/350 sec, f/9, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Machiya on Jingu-Michi, Kyoto Japan
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Jingu-Michi (“Shrine Street”, which dead-ends at the front entrance to the Heian Shrine) is lined with the trees seen in the photo above. The trees are various shades of orange and yellow, with a good hint of green still remaining. When I came around the corner to the convenience store and saw them, they took my breath away. I bought my bread, returned home to get my camera, and came back to find them not as interesting as I first thought, but still worthy to be captured.

The trees lined the whole street, but the machiya-style house above – next to the cafe that's next to the convenience store – made the nicest backdrop for photos. The weather was mostly cloudy, but I managed to snap the picture above during a brief moment of sunshine.

desktop background image of some colorful yellow fall foliage -- Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1 / 160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos Mostly Yellow -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Mostly Yellow
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desktop background image of some colorful yellow fall foliage with a bamboo security fence of a traditional Japanese house in the background -- Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1 / 250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos Still a Touch of Green -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Still a Touch of Green
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In the background of the picture above, and in the upper-right of the first picture, are bamboo stalks that line the top of the wall, cut to a sharp point, fulfilling in a visually attractive way the function of modern, ugly barbed wire.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1 / 125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos Old-Fashioned Security -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Old-Fashioned Security

The picture above shows the bamboo lining the top of the wall, but otherwise is a fairly boring picture. I happened to have taken another shot from the same position but with the focus on the foreground leaves, and when I combine the two with my Photoshop “Darken” blend-mode technique, the result is a bit more interesting (especially when you click through to the larger version)...

desktop background image of a traditional Japanese -- Old Fashioned Security, Blended -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Old Fashioned Security, Blended
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I'd purposefully gone out with only a prime (non-zoom) lens – a Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 prime – so that the lack of zoom would force me to be more creative in composing my shots. In this case, I should have stepped back further to fill the top more with the foreground leaves, but my desire not to be hit by a bus kept me on the sidewalk.

Taking care not to walk in front of a bus, I crossed the street and looked north...

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1 / 640 sec, f/4, ISO 160 — map & image data — nearby photos Leaves, Gate, Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/640 sec, f/4, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Leaves, Gate, Shrine

The camera position here was not too far from the one in the Kyoto City Half Marathon post except that I was at the edge of the street, and a bit further back.

Besides the obvious main gate of the shrine, you can see the Shrine's entrance building just below center (with the green roof) that serves as the backdrop of the photo in this Photoshop / nengajou post.

Finally, I'll end with a shallow depth-of-field shot that shows only a deliciously smooth background, with no funky bokeh.

desktop background image of an isolated yellow leaf amid creamy out-of-focus leaves -- Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1 / 1600 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos Creamy -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/1600 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Creamy
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I hope this post helps you feel my pain. What started out as a 5-minute round-trip to the store to get bread turns into my being assaulted by photogenic scenes and then becoming indentured to my camera for 15 minutes, which then leads to being made slave to my keyboard for a few hours to prepare this post. How can a guy get any work done living in a place like this?

Oh, and if that weren't enough, later on the sun returned, allowing me to re-shoot the neighbor's tree that I posted about yesterday. And on top of that, I had occasion to visit Kyoto Station, which is one of the most beautifully enjoyable places to visit and spend a lazy afternoon with the family, and ended up with another batch of pictures I want to share.

This is ridiculous, and I still have a ton of pictures from the Shinto-shrine closing, Nijo Castle, Osaka Castle Park, last week's outing at dusk, not to mention that there are still plenty of pictures from Miyajima yet to post. Ugh.

I hate living here.

🙂


All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

They’re Liriodendron tulipifera trees, YURINOKI.

— comment by jake on November 14th, 2007 at 5:41pm JST (10 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

I wish I had your problem 😉

— comment by ksv on November 16th, 2007 at 6:41pm JST (10 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Beautiful page you have here. My son’s and I want to move to Kyoto. Would you mind if I asked you sone questions? If not, please respond to my email as above. If you do, thank you for the photos anyway.

— comment by Mariam Shami on October 4th, 2008 at 10:40am JST (9 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

i love your eyes… i have just started taking pictures in my place… wow! u sure captured the richness of colors… wish i had your eyes… @.@

— comment by megumi on January 25th, 2010 at 2:05am JST (7 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink
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