.

Archive for the 'General' Category

General posts

Oppressive Crowds at the Shodensanso Villa in South-Eastern Kyoto

(You can't tell in the wigglegram, but she was looking at a wonderful garden out in the bright sunlight.)

The peak of Kyoto's fall-foliage season is upon us, and today was likely the most crowded day the city has seen all year, if not all decade. It's the middle of a three-day weekend, and every hotel room is taken. (I know two people who wanted to visit Kyoto but couldn't get a hotel; one stayed 30km away in Osaka, and the other at our house.) The streets across the city were parking lots and the crowds were oppressive.

But not [...]


View full post »
Autumn 2014 Trip to Kyoto’s Yoshiminedera Shrine, Part 2

A few more from yesterday's visit to the Yoshiminedera Temple, about which I posted last night in "The Whole Gamut of My Blog In One Spectacular Visit to the Yoshiminedera Temple".

The photo above is similar to one seen yesterday, but with a different, exaggerated presentation.

The parking lot was surprisingly unfilled, so we made a bee-line to the photogenic path seen in yesterday's lead photo...

Heading up that way, you get a nice view of the main temple building that we'd zipped on past, and the trees on the face of the opposing mountain in the background....

Sometimes the [...]


View full post »
Learning Japanese Slang For Ridiculously Large Portions, at Restaurant Kasuga in South-Western Kyoto

After yesterday's visit to the spectacular Yoshiminedera Temple in south-western Kyoto, we stopped for lunch at a restaurant we happened across on the way to the next temple. It seemed like an average lunch cafe, but it had a shocking surprise in store for us.

昨日の昼ご飯は京都市西京区の「茶房か寿が」で食べました。 ポールさんの注文は「マグロとアボカド丼定食」を大盛りにしましたが、びっくりほど大きいマンガ盛りマグロが多かった。本当に8〜10倍位見込みより多かった。1200円だけでめっちゃメッチャ良かったです。マグロはハイークオリティーでした。

Paul ordered the "tuna sashimi (raw tuna slices) and avocado over rice" lunch. At just 1,200 yen (about US$10.50) one doesn't expect much fish, so he ordered the large. What he got was a shockingly large amount of fish... 8 to 10 times the amount expected.

At first this brought to mind the [...]


View full post »
The Whole Gamut of My Blog In One Spectacular Visit to the Yoshiminedera Temple

I paid a visit to the Yoshiminedera Temple in the mountains of south-west Kyoto today, and the resulting photos pretty much covered all the main things I normally have on my blog. Let's run through some of them....

Above we have a vertical desktop background, which I started doing four years ago. I've now posted 385 of them.

And here's a wigglegram featuring Ai (who appeared with her husband in this photoshoot a year and a half ago)...

I first started making these things that I call "wigglegrams" two years ago, and I still have a lot of work yet [...]


View full post »
Boat at Kyoto’s Shugakuin Imperial Palace

The fall-foliage season is in full swing in Kyoto, and with the number of photos I take in an outing I'm quickly filling up my laptop's disk. So before I can even look at this year's photos, I need to make room for them by cleaning up prior years' stuff. I've spent the last couple of months going through my photos from 2012, and have worked my way through to late November 2012, and my first visit to Kyoto’s Shugakuin Imperial Villa, and realize that I hadn't even looked at all those photos yet.

So, here are two more from [...]


View full post »
My First Fall-Foliage Outing for 2014: Temples in the Takao Area of Kyoto

Almost-microscopic mushrooms growing in a bed of moss is hard to resist when you have a nice macro lens, as seen in prior posts here and here.

Paul Barr is back in Kyoto for the first time in a year, as is the fall-foliage season. Paul, Damien Douxchamps, and I made our way out to the Takao (高雄) area in the mountains of north-western Kyoto to see the fall colors. It was my first outing for fall colors this year (though in the past month or so I've posted a lot of fall-foliage shots from prior years, including here, here, [...]


View full post »
A Few Photos From The Start of a Visit to the Kyoto Imperial Palace

The grounds of the Kyoto Imperial Palace are open for tours most days, and like other imperial palaces in the area (Shugakuin, Sento, and, Katsura), holders of a foreign passport can visit pretty easily. It's much more difficult for a Japanese citizen to visit, except during a special open house for a few days each year.

During the open house, huge throngs of tourists (Japanese and foreign alike) visit, which makes it unappealing to someone who can visit on a less-crowded regular-tour day, but after finally making my first visit to the palace last week, I realized a great benefit [...]


View full post »
How To Keep a Japanese Washing Machine Clean

For some reason, Japanese washing machines build up a sludge of some kind, out of sight, on the underside of the drum, and at some point it builds up enough that it starts randomly leaving small deposits on your clothes like speckles of mud. This sort of defeats the purpose of washing them.

洗濯機の汚れはなかなか掃除やりにくいですが、この商品で簡単にピカピカになりました。400円だけで、かなり良いバリューです。

It's particularly maddening because the washer we have has special cleaning features meant to avoid this, but they apparently do not work.

I thought that I could take the thing apart myself to clean it, but it turns out that to get the drum out you [...]


View full post »
Rediscovering the Chion’in Temple, Part 2

Picking up from yesterday's "Rediscovering Kyoto’s Chion’in Temple via a Short Mountain Hike", where I had descended on a mountain trail into a back area of the Chion'in Temple that I hadn't known existed. Yesterday's post ended with me getting to the main area I'd always known about...

I'd seen this area briefly last year, at the end of the roof-repair visit, when it was lit up for an evening lightup event. Here's a photo from Nov 2, 2013:

(A similar shot appeared late last year as decoration on a post about Garmin's horrible products.)

At that time the area [...]


View full post »
Rediscovering Kyoto’s Chion’in Temple via a Short Mountain Hike

It's been a month since I sprained my ankle while on a mountain hike. It's been feeling mostly better for a while, so I finally decided to do a short hike up to the Shogunzuka overlook just to test things out.

The hike is very simple (I've done it with a five-year-old in tow), and from home it took only 10 minutes to the trailhead, and from there 20 minutes up.

It was a splendid day, but the view from the top was hazy and dull...

The plane in the distance is Jetstar 615, half way on its run from [...]


View full post »
Entrance to Kyoto’s Jojuji Temple at its Fall Best

A couple of weeks ago during a scooter ride around western Kyoto, I came across a temple that I recalled having visited a couple of years ago. Its entrance path is quite nice.

Here's how it looked two weeks ago:

I'll have to visit again in a month when the colors are hitting their peak, but until then, here are some more views from Dec 1, 2012:

The smudge of red reveals who joined me on that visit. It was the same trip two years ago with the intense rainbow over Arashiyama a pretty path, a bunch of whimsical carvings, [...]


View full post »
Teppanyaki Lunch at The Garden Okazaki in Eastern Kyoto

Fumie's folks took us out for lunch the other day, after a morning event to mark the 100th day of Fumie's dad's mom passing during the summer (she was 99½). The meal was teppanyaki at The Garden Okazaki, similar to the exquisite meal at another local hotel that I wrote about in the spring.

So, the big question is whether this one was better than the one before, and we were split, so it's probably that they're quite comparable.


View full post »
Odd Things in Western Kyoto

The other day while scootering around western Kyoto, I paid a visit to something that looked odd in Google Maps, to see what it actually was.

It seemed to be a building of cube rooms...

It turns out to be an assisted-living nursing home named "Life in Kyoto" (ライフ・イン京都) with 226 units ranging from 350 ft² to 920 ft². It seems a bit pricey to move in... of the four units currently available, the largest is a scant 445 ft², but costs $350,000 for a single person to move in, or $470,000 for a couple. As far as I can [...]


View full post »
Colorful Precipitation Radar Five Hours Before the Typhoon

I've never seen the precipitation radar look quite this colorful. This is from a few minutes ago. I live at the black dot to the lower-right of center. Typhoon #19 ("Vongfong", though these kind of names are never used in Japan) is forecast to pass through Kyoto in five or six hours. A bit exciting.

Update: 70 minutes later, it's all the more impressive:

Now at 7:25 it's a field of red, and it's raining here, but it really doesn't seem that bad. Also, the wind, which was quite strong a few hours ago, seems to have died down considerably.

[...]
View full post »
Bland Pre-Typhoon Views of the Sky from Kyoto to Hiroshima, at 300kph

As I mentioned yesterday, with a typhoon expected to reach the main island of Japan on Monday, we make a quick Saturday/Sunday trip south to Hiroshima and Miyajima. The approaching typhoon made for an interesting sky, with a very high cloud ceiling, in different patterns.

Photos of the sky from the train window are pretty bland, but perhaps of interest to someone who has never been to Japan.

この間の土曜日、京都から宮島までの空景色。写真はつまらないですが、日本に来られてない方には面白いかも。

In the split second after we came out of a tunnel, the GPS unit was confused about the speed. It quickly returned to 300kph.

After a lunch (that will eventually be [...]


View full post »
Pre-Typhoon Low-Tide View of the Itsukushima Shrine Gate at Sunset

We popped down to Hiroshima this weekend, and spent the night in Miyajima, near the Itsukushima Shrine. A typhoon is coming, so last night's sunset was not too shabby.

厳島神社の鳥居、昨日の夕方。台風19号の影響で奇麗な夕焼けでした。今日、雨が始まる前に京都に戻りました。

The shrine is notable for being in a tidal plane with a huge difference between high and low tides (the difference yesterday morning was 3.41m -- more than 11 feet), so the look and feel of the area changes dramatically throughout the day. It's prettier when the water is up, but it's more interesting when the tide is out because you can walk around out past the gate.

Posts from [...]


View full post »
A Really Gross Discovery On The Way Into an Otherwise Beautiful Temple

More from the archives as I wade through my photo library, this time a gross discovery in November 2012. On our way into the Rurikou-in Temple (瑠璃光院) in Kyoto, Damien and I discovered a weird wire-like "thing" twisting and withering energetically on the steps.

I had never seen anything like it. My first thought was that it was a piece of wire that was caught by the wind or something, but it quickly became apparent that it was alive. It was too thin and hard to be any kind of worm I'd ever heard of, so I was dumbfounded.

It [...]


View full post »
What I Learned on My Personal-Best Mt. Hiei Climb #6 (just how stupid I am)

I made my sixth hike to the top of Kyoto's Mt. Hiei yesterday, with the goal being simply: fast I could get to the top? I really enjoyed last week's hike with Damien, because he's fun to chat with and it's enjoyable to hike with friends, but it left me wondering how fast I could do on my own, if I concentrated only on getting to the top quickly. No stopping for photography, no stopping for rests, no stopping for energy snacks, no stopping to chat with other hikers. No stopping to enjoy nature. Just go. Fast.

To recap my [...]


View full post »
That Imperial Bridge, Funkified in Lightroom

When I visited my photo library to continue where I left off in last week's "An Autumn Visit to the Sento Imperial Palace in Kyoto", I came across a highly-overexposed bridge shot similar to the one that I did post.

Though shooting raw affords me generous latitude to recover from exposure mistakes, overexposure at some point washes out color to pure white, from which there is no recovery. It was severely overexposed (not by mistake, actually, but as part of a bracketed-exposure sequence) so I was about to delete it from my photo archive, but first thought to give it [...]


View full post »
Back in the Saddle With Another Mt. Hiei Climb (and Thoughts on Under Armour Clothes and Stock)

昨日、友達と一緒に比叡山を登った。小さいゴミのカメラしか無かったので、今回の写真はかなり質が悪いです。ごめん。

The past few months have conspired to keep me mostly inactive, with travel, injuries, and colds weighing me down for most of the summer, but I'm finally feeling pretty good, so when I came across some photos of a previous hike up Kyoto's Mt. Hiei while tidying up my photo archive, I thought it was about time to try it again, so the next morning I did it.

Luck would have it that Damien was available to give it a try, so we met at the trailhead yesterday morning at 8:00.

This was my fifth hike of the mountain. [...]


View full post »