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Archive for the 'Japan' Category

Posts relating to Japan and things Japanese

Exploring The Mountains of Northern Kyoto by Bicycle

Today I made my first "real" bicycling ride. Normally the bicycle is just for transportation from one place to the other, and not my first choice for either exercise nor pleasure, but I recently replaced my 10-year-old mamachari ("Mama Chariot", heavy, built like a tank, and can carry oodles of kids and stuff) with a lighter cross bike.

今日は初めての本物の自転車でツアーイング。新しい友達と一緒に55キロの山巡り。大原と貴船を見に行きました。

Through the Cycling Kyoto Facebook group I learned that some folks would have a "slow easy" ride today, so I thought it was a good opportunity to give it a try.

We ended up going 55km (34 miles) up into the [...]


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The 2015 Young-Adult Archery Event at the Sanjusangendo Temple

Today was the annual toshiya archery event for new adults at the Sanjusangendo Temple (三十三間堂) here in Kyoto. I blogged about it extensively three years ago starting with "Traditional Archery Like a Boss".

I then followed up with what turned into one of my most popular series of posts, starting with "Total Discipline: Anatomy of a Japanese Archer’s Shot", followed by a note about the crowds and the hubub outside and the instructors taking their turn ("More Badass Japanese Archery") and then a look at the colorful wardrobes of the ladies and then perhaps my favorite post on the subject: [...]


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Inside the “New” Temple Building at Shogunzuka Overlooking Kyoto

This post continues from "New Views of Kyoto from Shogunzuka’s New Observation Deck", about some big construction at Shougunzuka (将軍家) on a mountain overlooking eastern Kyoto that finally completed last fall. This post looks at the "new" temple building.

In that previous post I showed this photo of the new temple building from the outside:

This looks a bit odd for a temple building, and from the back you can see that it has what appears to be distinctly-new and distinctly-old sections:

Above the entrance is a richly engraved/painted sign showing the name of the place. It's rare for me [...]


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Kyoto At Night During a Heavy Snow, Part 3

A continuation from part one and part two of my nighttime stroll during a rare snowstorom in Kyoto on the early morning of January 3rd.

The photo above is much less impressive than the actual view was, with the trees receding at various stages up the mountain in the background in crisp relief to the temporarily-clear sky, it had a particularly three-dimensional feel, with added weight and depth due to the heavily-laden trees.

I wish I would have made it a Wigglegram. When this thought first popped in my mind as I wrote the caption above, it was as a [...]


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Kyoto At Night During a Heavy Snow, Part 2

She could have been commenting on my inability to set up the tripod, aim the camera, and actually focus the shot properly in time, but I think she was talking about the weather.

これは真夜中の大雪中の撮影散歩の続きの記事です。 今朝の零時から5時間の散歩をしました、平安神宮と南禅寺の周辺で。 京都新聞により, 61年ぶりに20センチを超えました。

At 7am this morning I posted "Kyoto At Night During a Heavy Snow" after having spent the night wandering around my area of Kyoto with a camera and tripod. I suspected that the evening's snowfall had beat the record-breaking snow of the previous day, and indeed now after four hours of sleep I see in the paper that it was the 4th most [...]


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Kyoto At Night During a Heavy Snow

三日の零時から5時間、大雪のなかで京都市東山周辺でカメラと三脚と一緒に散歩しました。

At 100,000,000 US dollars for the single-family residence, I suppose it's not a Motel 6, but apparently he'll leave the light on for you nevertheless.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is reported to have bought this villa near my house several years ago, for a reported 100 million US dollars, though it's not known whether he's ever actually visited it in person. It's been reported, though, that he's pouring an additional 100 million dollars into renovations.

(Larry's house has appeared on my blog once before, here.)

Anyway, I wasn't outside his front door at 3:40 am just to loiter. [...]


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More From That Big New-Year’s-Day Snow in Kyoto

As I mentioned Yesterday, New Year's Day brought Kyoto's biggest snow in 60ish years. I went out for a bit in the evening to snap some pics and play with Anthony.

It was really coming down...

Compare that shot to the lead shot on this post.

The snow just stuck to whatever it first touched, and accumulated in improbable amounts on the most insubstantial of surfaces....

The moment I walked outside I knew that the expressway (whose nearest entrance is more than 6km away) was closed, because when it closes, traffic ends up bogged down on my street...

Earlier in [...]


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Kyoto’s Biggest Snow in 58 Years

While setting up in my living room for the silly photoshoot today, I noticed a few flakes of snow starting to fall a bit after 1pm. According to the news later in the evening, by 6pm it was already the biggest snowfall in Kyoto City in the last 58 years.

By 6pm the accumulation was only 16cm (6¼ inches), which is nothing for Ohio where I grew up, or New Hampshire where I went to grad school, but for Kyoto City it's a big deal.

Just to show how quickly it came down, here are two photos taken at the [...]


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Andrei Zmievski Wigglegrams Kyoto

An old friend from my days at Yahoo! swung by Kyoto the other day, and we made a quick walking tour of a few sightseeing spots.

I first met Andrei Zmievski at an Open Source Conference circa 2002, and we worked together a bit on things related to PHP's regular-expression support (of which a chapter of my book on regular expressions is dedicated). As an expert in PHP, he later joined Yahoo! a couple of years later when Yahoo! made heavier use of PHP.

These "selfie stick" (my word) things seem to have suddenly exploded in popularity. I've seen them [...]


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New Views of Kyoto from Shogunzuka’s New Observation Deck

When I mention "Shogunzuka", it can refer to an overlook with nice views of Kyoto that I often visit for sunsets, or its nearby temple. The latter has long had a dilapidated observation deck, but for the last year they were working on a remodel, and this past October they finally unveiled a new temple building and spiffy observation deck.

This past October 8th they finally had the grand opening, so I popped up for a visit.

The new building is actually an old building moved here and repurposed for use as a temple, but that'll be the subject of [...]


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Quality Time Among the Fall Colors

Almost identical to the lead photo of the previous post ("The Building at the Main Garden of the Kongorinji Temple"), but with a human touch.


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The Building at the Main Garden of the Kongorinji Temple

Last week's "Slightly Queasy Wigglegram" showed a small corner of a building at the Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺) in Shiga Japan, from a visit last month toward the start of this year's fall-foliage season.

This post looks a bit more at the building, which is not the temple's main building, but does front the main garden. (The main garden was seen four years ago in "The Kongourinji Temple: Main Garden, and Beyond".)

It can be partitioned into various rooms, but many of the partitions were slid away revealing an open view all the way through to the garden on the [...]


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The Art and Science (and Complex Frustrations) of Creating my Wigglegrams

This post is about the art and technology of my 3D wigglegrams, but first a bit of context about the location seen above.

This wigglegram was taken during my first visit to Kyoto's Shugakuin Imperial Villa (修学院離宮) two years ago, a photographically-fruitful outing first posted about here, and most recently revisited a month ago here.

During the tour of the grounds, at one point you descend stone steps set in the side of a mountain....

There's a waterfall and a small stream... it's all quite picturesque.

As I described on that first post about the outing, the tour moves along [...]


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Slightly Queasy Wigglegram

This wigglegram, of this temple building at the Kongorinji Temple in Shiga Japan just doesn't feel quite right.

このウイッグルグラッム(滋賀県の金剛輪寺)はなかなか変な感じですね。

Each of the 15 photos seems perfectly fine, but the movement among them is really funky.... might make some people nauseous.

Not every wigglegram deserves to see the light of day, I guess.


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Inside The Shodensanso Villa, Part 1

In "Approaching the Shodensanso Villa" last week, we ended looking at the main entrance to the 86-year-old grand villa just outside of Kyoto. Here's a view from the entrance looking out.

We received a half-hour talk in this room about the history of the place and the guy who built it (Tsunetaro Takaya). The whole time I just couldn't stop marveling at the ceiling, whose 4-foot-by-4-foot panels were each a solid board...

After the lecture we were ushered to another room for, what turned out to be Tea Ceremony. For a bit I had the room mostly to myself...

At [...]


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A Quick Peek at Kyoto’s Hanadera Temple

Two weeks ago toward the end of a full day of fall-foliage photography that I scratched the surface of in "The Whole Gamut of My Blog In One Spectacular Visit to the Yoshiminedera Temple", after a great lunch we made a short visit to Hanadera ("The Flower Temple", officially called the Shojiji Temple).

Didn't see too many flowers, being the middle of November and all, but the fall colors were starting to get going.

Here's a wigglegram to give a better sense of the area in front of the main building....

On the veranda of the main building is the [...]


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Photographer Introspection Amidst the Serenity at Kyoto’s Rurikoin Temple

Some friends and I paid a morning visit to the Rurikoin Temple (瑠璃光院) in north-east Kyoto on Thursday. It was my second visit, after the first two years ago when Damien introduced me to the place.

Two years ago it was probably about 500 yen (US $5) to get in, but I heard that they stopped being open to the public for a while. This year they're back, but it's 2,000 yen (US $20) to get in. It's a Buddhist Temple and so ostensibly a religious place (whose income is tax free), but during the fall-foliage season their business is [...]


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Catching a Selfie Among the Fall Colors

I just happened to get lucky to catch these three Kyoto University students taking a selfie... it shows the fun of enjoying the season with friends (as I was doing at the time, temple hopping, camera in hand, with four friends).


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Approaching the Shodensanso Villa

As I mentioned in "Oppressive Crowds at the Shodensanso Villa" the other day, I paid my first visit to the "mountain cottage" Shodensanso (松殿山荘) this weekend. It's a half-hour drive south-east from my place in Kyoto, just over the border into Uji City.

From the makeshift parking area created for the special event, the path up to the villa looked like an empty river bed or canal.

Anyway, after coming up through the gate, one can approach the main house...

I didn't notice it at the time, but the lowermost tiles along the edge of the roof have the name [...]


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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 [...]


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