Archive for the 'General' Category

General posts

A “Flowers Among the Flowers” Wigglegram at Kyoto’s Haradanien Garden

Here's a wigglegram from the same outing that produced "Photoshoot at the Peak of the Haradanien Garden’s Awesomeness".

I think it's nicer than my first Haradanien wigglegram, for a variety of reasons.

However, when I showed this to a friend, he said that he felt that the foliage in the foreground was a bit distracting. My reaction was "there's foliage?"

Joanne (at left) had to leave Kyoto that day, but Ting Ting (at right) joined my friends for a photoshoot the next day (which I couldn't participate in because I was making tofu). But I could join in the [...]

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Lunch in a Small Mountain Farming Hamlet in Japan

In my previous post, I wrote how I spent a wonderful afternoon making tofu in japan with an 80-year-old farmer's wife. This post is about the rest of the visit, the experience that would normally be part of a tour one can take on a day trip out of Kyoto.

The tofu/meal part of the tour takes place in the hamlet of Hata (畑, literally "field") tucked in the mountains of north-western Shiga prefecture. The terraced rice paddies, tended by hand for generations, can be quite photogenic, though my visit, two or three weeks before the planting, found them at [...]

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Making Tofu in Japan with an 80-Year-Old Farmer’s Wife

I had a fantastic experience on Friday, part of which included making tofu from scratch with an 80-year-old lady in her old farmhouse in northern Shiga prefecture, about an hour from Kyoto.

She's five-foot-nothing of pure grandmotherly warmth, but was a bit shy of the camera, so my photos of her don't really reflect her incessant beaming smile. I was there as a photographer on behalf of Tour du Lac Biwa, a tour company that arranges off-the-beaten-path "experience" tours in Shiga prefecture, for English-speaking visitors. It's the same tour company that I appeared on TV for, and that arranged this [...]

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Photoshoot with Ting Ting at the Murin’an Gardens

I spent a few hours today in the Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) in eastern Kyoto, doing a photoshoot with Ting Ting, which you might remember from "Photoshoot at the Peak of the Haradanien Garden’s Awesomeness" two days ago.

Like two days ago, I was with Eric, Gigi, and Damien, but this time Gigi was behind her own camera as well...

I really enjoyed the situation with three photographers and one subject. While someone else is directing Ting Ting to look this way or move that way, I can capture pseudo-candid shots that I'd probably not get otherwise.

For example, early on [...]

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Photoshoot at the Peak of the Haradanien Garden’s Awesomeness

I visited the super-duper unbelievably amazing Haradanien Garden (原谷苑) today, in the mountains above the Golden Pavilion temple in northwestern Kyoto. It was my first visit since the photoshoot with John and Ai two years ago.

This time I went with Eric, Gigi, and Damien just to practice portraiture. Gigi wore a kimono she bought yesterday.

I can not begin to tell you how wonderful Haradanien is. When the blossoms are at their peak, such as now, it's 100× better than any other garden I know of, anywhere.

金閣寺の近く、原谷苑、は今メチャメチャメチャ美しいです。 行きにくい所ですが、今週はおすすめです。今日は全然満開でした!

I wanted a different kind of shot of Gigi than [...]

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Anthony Starts Middle School


The new school year is getting going in Japan, and having graduated from elementary school last month, yesterday Anthony had the entrance ceremony for his new middle school, Doshisha International.

There are two kinds of "international" schools in Japan. The most common type that comes to mind when one hears the term is a school that has a non-Japanese curriculum with instruction in a non-Japanese language, e.g. an "American" school with a US curriculum taught in English. That's not what his school is.

Anthony's school is mostly a normal Japanese school (instruction in Japanese of the standard Japanese curriculum), [...]

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Soggy Blossoms in Kyoto

One day of rain changes everything with the cherry-blossom petals. It was lovely yesterday with trees full of blossoms, but today's rain knocked many of them off.

A few days ago, the area seen above looked like this:

Not all areas/trees are affected the same... I think it depends strongly on where each specific tree is in its blooming cycle. Another cherry tree not far away seems unaffected by the rain...

Some varieties of cherry haven't even started to bloom yet, so there's still much awaiting those arriving in Kyoto today (such as Gigi and Eric; Gigi arrived today to [...]

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Happy 10th Anniversary to My Blog

It's been 10 years since I started my blog with "Choosing a Car to Buy in Japan".

That was followed the same day by "Essentials for a First-Time Parent", and then another 10 years and 2,327 additional articles (not counting this one ) containing 18,133 photos, as well as other little additions such as the interactive map of blog photos and the sporadically-maintained prettiest-photos photostream.


I would have liked to post something spectacular for my tenth-anniversary post, but having just returned to Kyoto from a long trip to The States, I just don't have the energy.

I did, at [...]

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Back in Kyoto (Spring 2015 Edition)

After a day of uneventful flying, we've ended our month-long RV trip across the US and now we're back in Kyoto.


Now comes the daunting task of unpacking, processing my photos, checking a month's worth of email, dealing with a month's worth of blog comments about my plugins, and doing my US taxes. If I can complete all this, I'll need a vacation!

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Ohio Amish Farm

After crossing the Rockies and leaving Denver, we drove 1,500 miles to make our way to Ohio to visit my folks. It was chilly at 17°F. Today we took a leisurely drive around some Amish country in northeast Ohio, and even though the countryside is still stuck in the blah of winter, it's remarkably beautiful country.

Dinner at Der Dutchman was a fantastic followup.

Tomorrow we return the RV and head to the airport.

デンヴァー市から東へ、2,500kmの運転の後、僕が育った所(オハイオ州)に到着しました。 今日は実家から一時間位離れているアーミッシュの田舎を見に行きました。平穏な所です。


Continued here...

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Vacation Update: Crossing the Rockies

After arriving in Grand Junction Colorado and overnighting at the exceedingly clean and reasonable Junction West RV Park, we made our way farther east toward Denver...

Last night we overnighted at the overpriced and under-featured Dakota Ridge RV Park during a fierce windstorm that knocked the power out to the whole area. Very pleasant weather this morning to push farther east, though we haven't decided yet whether to go via I-80 or I-70...

Continued here...

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Vacation Update: Bryce Canyon Hike

After visiting Bryce Canyon National Park yesterday mostly by car, today we went back for a short hike.

Here's a bonus wigglegram:

This evening we're in Grand Junction, Colorado, four hours out from Denver. We'll probably stay in Denver tomorrow.

Continued here...

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Vacation Update: Bryce Canyon National Park

After arriving yesterday from Arizona, we spent the day at Bryce Canyon National Park. Not sure where we're heading tomorrow, but we've got to get moving east, so probably toward Denver...

Continued here...

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Vacation Update: Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

After yesterday's wonderful visit to the Grand Canyon, today outdid it.

This evening we're at Ruby's Inn near Bryce Canyon National Park. They have an RV campground that's not open yet, but they also have some RV spots with electrical hookup right behind the hotel, and that's where we're staying. This place is fantastic (best RV spot we've had so far), and we quickly decided to stay here tomorrow night as well so we can enjoy Bryce Canyon at leisure tomorrow.

Continued here...

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Vacation Update: Grand Canyon

After yesterday's drive from Las Vegas on our RV trip across America, we made it today to the Grand Canyon.

We're in Page Arizona tonight... tomorrow we visit Antelope Canyon.

Continued here...

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Vacation Update: Vegas to Williams

A quick update on today, of my vacation....

Tomorrow we see the Grand Canyon. I hope it doesn't make me woozie like it did when I first saw it at 10.

Continued here...

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Vacation Going Well… Just No Time to Write…

I've taken 1,000+ photos so far, but it turns out that I have absolutely zero free time to process them, or blog about the trip, at least so far. When I do get time (which may be after the trip is done), I'll start posting about it... hopefully making a diary for myself, and sharing a bit of Americana along the way.


Continued here...

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A Crazy Couple of Days in Silicon Valley

I've been in The States for two days now, getting read to start a drive across America in an RV. In the two days I've been here, I've gotten 5 days worth of stuff done, and had to let another week's worth fall by the side for lack of time.

Still, I've done plenty.... Highlights, lowlights, and notable experiences so far include:

Playing Ultimate Frisbee with old Yahoo friend Brian, and getting a tour of the WhatsApp offices and meeting some other old Yahoo friends there, including Jan (who used to play Ultimate with us back in the day, [...]

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Anthony Graduates from Elementary School

Anthony graduated from elementary school today, a big event in Japanese culture. I snapped the photo as we were heading to the school for the last time.

It reminds me of this photo of the two of them from the day he started elementary school half his life (six years) ago, and also the post about his going to school on his own for the first time. He's growing up all too quickly.

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Photo-Development Challenge Results #1: Hillside Temple Buildings

Today I'm sharing the first results from "Photo-Development Challenge: Inspire Me and Others With Your Artistic Interpretation". Today's photo is one of some minor outlying buildings at the Yoshiminedera Temple (善峯寺) in Kyoto, Japan.

First, let's look at the uninspiring original:

This was from a productive outing four years ago that produced "Temple Hopping in the Mountains of South-Western Kyoto", two examples for "Heading Out To Photograph The Fall Foliage? Don’t Forget The Polarizer Filter", and an item on "Visiting My Photo Archives: Random Pretty Shots #1".

For lack of a better idea, I'll present the various results in the [...]

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