Pleasant Little Village in Uji
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Rush Hour in the rural mountains of Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/2000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Rush Hour
in the rural mountains of Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

As I mentioned in “What It Looks Like When Tiered Rice Paddies Go to Seed” the other day, I recently took another trip with Shimada-san and Paul Barr to the middle-of-nowhere mountains of Uji City (south-east of Kyoto).

On the way to the first spot we'd marked on the map, while winding through a thin mountain road, we came across an unmarked side road that Shimada-san knew lead to a dam (one dating to a power generator built almost 100 years ago). He knew that the road was closed off at some point along the way, but otherwise we didn't know what to expect, so checked it out.

Eventually the road did end just past a little village of perhaps half a dozen houses, so we did a U-turn and parked to soak up the quiet, peaceful vibe.

View From the End of the Road looking across a recently-abandoned rice paddy -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/1000 sec, f/4, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
View From the End of the Road
looking across a recently-abandoned rice paddy

The paddies in this area had been abandoned, but relatively recently, unlike the ones in my previous post.

We parked at a wide spot in the road past the final house of the village, next to a plot of land being gardened by a pleasant gentleman who happened to be there at the time (one of perhaps four people we saw the entire time in the tiny village).

It was eminently pleasant just to take in the scenes from the end of the road. The final house was fronted by a formidable wall common in country houses...

looking back to the Last House on the Right -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/1000 sec, f/8, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
looking back to the
Last House on the Right

The house itself was not actually visible, set back behind the fronting wall, but the wall and entrance itself was picturesque enough, including a floral-shaped window...

Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2000 sec, f/2, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Old-Time Workmanship -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/1000 sec, f/4, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Old-Time Workmanship
Entrance -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance

The entrance proper was quite high above the level of the road, with ramps leading up. Standing in front I held the camera above my head and blindly shot, hoping I'd get a nice layered look....

Entrance-Eye View -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/5000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance-Eye View

That photo didn't come out quite as I hoped, but this little are was rich with the kind of geometric patterns that I like for desktop background, so here are a few...

desktop background image of an old farmstead in Uji City, Japan -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/1000 sec, f/8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Vertical Desktop-Background Versions
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desktop background image of a rock wall -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Desktop-Background Versions
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desktop background image of an old farmstead in Uji City, Japan -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/4000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Desktop-Background Versions
Standard: 1024×768  ·  1440×1080  ·  1600×1200      Widescreen:  1280×800  ·  1680×1050  ·  1920×1200  ·  2560×1600
desktop background image of an old farmstead in Uji City, Japan -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1600 sec, f/4, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Vertical Desktop-Background Versions
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I had high hopes for that last one, along the lines of the “Fence and Vine” from five years ago that I still really like, but I think this one fell flat because I was too close. I should have tried the same shot with the 125mm Voigtländer.

Directly across the road were the unused rice paddies, now covered with grass and starting to sprout some weeds...

desktop background image of grass -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/6400 sec, f/2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Desktop-Background Versions
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... and beyond it was another farmstead...

Looking Across The Way -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/3200 sec, f/2.5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Across The Way
Roof In Need of Some TLC -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/3200 sec, f/2, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Roof In Need of Some TLC
Peak of the Pitch with a funky onion-motif end tile -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1600 sec, f/4, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Peak of the Pitch
with a funky onion-motif end tile
Tea Leaves on a “tea bush”, I guess -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Tea Leaves
on a “tea bush”, I guess

Looking further back toward the village...

Tending Her Plot -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/2500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Tending Her Plot
Farmers' Sheds -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/3200 sec, f/2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Farmers' Sheds

Back on the side we were parked, growing next to the old farmstead I noticed a big juicy berry that my Voigtländer couldn't stay away from...

Juicy -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/1000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Juicy

An attractive point to this berry was that it was at eye level, owing to the raised nature of the house relative to the road, but it turns out it's good for comparison to a less-accessible ground-level berry I photographed when I first stepped out of the car....

Odd “Orb of Puffy-Pillow Nodules” Berry -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/1000 sec, f/4, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Odd “Orb of Puffy-Pillow Nodules” Berry

I didn't notice at the time that they were different... this odd one is really odd... I've never seen anything like it. Perhaps I just don't inspect berries very closely....

100% crop -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
100% crop

Is this the same kind of berry at a different stage?

Looking across again at a building on the opposing farmstead, here's the same view with three different lenses...

desktop background image of an old farmstead in Uji City, Japan -- @ 50mm -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/8000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
@ 50mm
Desktop-Background Versions
Standard: 1024×768  ·  1440×1080  ·  1600×1200      Widescreen:  1280×800  ·  1680×1050  ·  1920×1200  ·  2560×1600
desktop background image of an old farmstead in Uji City, Japan -- @ 125mm -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/2000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
@ 125mm
Vertical Desktop-Background Versions
1050×1680  ·  1200×1920  ·  1600×2560
desktop background image of an old farmstead in Uji City, Japan -- @ 300mm -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
@ 300mm
Desktop-Background Versions
Standard: 1024×768  ·  1440×1080  ·  1600×1200      Widescreen:  1280×800  ·  1680×1050  ·  1920×1200  ·  2560×1600

Before moving back through the village, I took a shot of one of the many little hand-made pinwheels that dotted the small garden plots, ostensibly to scare away birds, I suppose....

Noisy Pinwheel -- Uji, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2000 sec, f/2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Noisy Pinwheel

They made quite a racket when the wind kicked up. All were made from beer cans or the like.

Continued here...


All 5 comments so far, oldest first...

M-m-m-m….lots of rocks! Love rocks. Also loved the fence and vine photo. But was curious to know if the “tea bushes” grow naturally like that, or are they all trimmed?

They’re trimmed… behind them, out of focus, is a tangled matted mess of the untrimmed variety. Normally tea bushes (or whatever they’re called) are in very neat rows, bu this isn’t a tea farm… just someone’s landscaping, so they’re more haphazard but trim. —Jeffy

— comment by Grandma Friedl in Ohio, USA on June 13th, 2011 at 11:04pm JST (6 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

‘Juicy’ looks to be a kind of bramble (Rubus species – there are lots in Japan). As far as I know, all are harmless, but I don’t remember trying any in Japan that tasted of much.

The ‘puffy pillow’ fruit has the same kind of structure as a strawberry, with the seeds attached to a swollen blob (the receptacle) but I suspect it may be Duchesnea chrysantha, a creeping plant that looks very like a wild strawberry except it has yellow, not white, flowers, and spongy, pithy, tasteless fruits. Duchesnea indica is very similar, also common in Japan, and is grown in gardens in the West, but has smooth seeds (to be even more tediously pedantic, they are not seeds, but tiny fruits called achenes, each of which encloses a seed). More interestingly, Ohwi’s Flora of Japan says that D. chysantha is “especially common around paddy fields”.

— comment by Peter in Wales on June 14th, 2011 at 1:55am JST (6 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Thank you for the wallpapers, I’ve been meaning to replace the one I was using before and these are very beautiful.

— comment by Daniel on June 14th, 2011 at 7:08am JST (6 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

SUPER PICTURES…This is not the same Japan I live in here in Itami!

Looking forward to heading out to Kyoto/Shiga more often!

warmest regards!

Jose M. Cruz, Itami just outside of Osaka

— comment by Jose Cruz on June 18th, 2011 at 11:49pm JST (6 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Too bad the pinwheel isn’t a “guess this picture” item. I recognize Kirin Grapefruit Strong chu hi!

— comment by Andrew Shieh, Sunnyvale on June 23rd, 2011 at 6:59pm JST (6 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink
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