.
A “Flowers Among the Flowers” Wigglegram at Kyoto’s Haradanien Garden
Animatable — slowly sweep mouse from side to side to view effect
写真の上をマウスで左右にゆっくり動かすといろいろな撮影効果を楽しむことができます。
設置動畫 - 慢慢用滑鼠的游標從一邊滑到另一邊查看效果。

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 day after that, which lead to Photoshoot with Ting Ting at the Murin’an Gardens.

I've never done much to make my blog design more appealing for handheld devices like phones and tablets, but I'm taking a small step by trying out some new wigglegram code. On devices that support it, it should wiggle as you tip the device side to side. For reasons I haven't figured out, it's still much smoother to swipe from side to side with a finger on a touchscreen, but at lest it's a step.


Lunch in a Small Mountain Farming Hamlet in Japan
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 31mm — 1/500 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
The Lower Quarter
the lower ¼ of the hamlet of Hata (Takashima City, Shiga, Japan)
— scroll side-to-side — 水平にスクロールしてね —
or click through to a 7,900-pixel-wide version

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 perhaps their least photogenic.

Still, I was there, so I took some photos amidst a drizzle. The president of the tour company was my photography assistant. :-)

Taking the Panorama Above photo by Emi Yoshida -- Copyright 2015 Emi Yoshida
iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 at an effective 70mm — 1/240 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Taking the Panorama Above
photo by Emi Yoshida
Irregular Shape these terraces have not been modernized for heavy equipment -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/8000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Irregular Shape
these terraces have not been modernized for heavy equipment
Another of Me and My Assistant just because I can ;-) photo by Emi Yoshida -- Copyright 2015 Emi Yoshida
iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 at an effective 37mm — 1/120 sec, f/2.2, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Another of Me and My Assistant
just because I can 😉
photo by Emi Yoshida
Photo I Was Taking Above -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/8000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Photo I Was Taking Above
Robust Farm House -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Robust Farm House

At the end of the tofu story I mentioned that the left over soy pulp is normally discarded because it has such a short shelf life, but that we made a dessert with it. Doughnuts!

Adding a bit of Pancake Mix perhaps 1 part pancake mix to three parts soy pulp おから¾、ホットケーキミックス&frac14 ;、卵一個 -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 38mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Adding a bit of Pancake Mix
perhaps 1 part pancake mix to three parts soy pulp
おから¾、ホットケーキミックス¼;、卵一個
Mixing with Digital Technology after having added an egg -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Mixing with Digital Technology
after having added an egg
Raw Doughnut Holes ready for frying -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Raw Doughnut Holes
ready for frying

The main dish for lunch was going to be tenpura, an assortment of light batter-fried veggies. The tour-company staff asked whether such-and-such a vegetable would be included, and the answer was essentially "wasn't planning on it, but there's plenty growing outside anywhere you look... go grab some". So we did.

Foraging for Lunch -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 35mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
Foraging for Lunch
Found Some! tour-company executive getting her hands dirty (whatever it was looked like weeds to me, but it turned out quite tasty) -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 110 — map & image datanearby photos
Found Some!
tour-company executive getting her hands dirty
(whatever it was looked like weeds to me, but it turned out quite tasty)

Much farther up the hill than the outside shots I'd taken before, I took the opportunity for more pictures...

Flooding the Paddies -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62mm — 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Flooding the Paddies

In preparation for early-May planting, the paddies are slowly being flooded. It appears that water is diverted from mountain streams to fill the top paddy in any section; when it overflows, it starts to fill the one below, and so on.

Back of the House in a spot carved out of the hill -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 180 — map & image datanearby photos
Back of the House
in a spot carved out of the hill
in Front of the House small little garden area -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
in Front of the House
small little garden area

Back inside, the veggies we brought in were washed...

Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 58mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Pre-Prepared Veggies including eggplant, bamboo sprouts, mushrooms, some giant beans, etc. -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Pre-Prepared Veggies
including eggplant, bamboo sprouts, mushrooms, some giant beans, etc.
Batter Up! -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Batter Up!
Deep Fry in a shallow pan -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Deep Fry
in a shallow pan
Ingenious you learn some tricks over 60 years -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/50 sec, f/4, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Ingenious
you learn some tricks over 60 years

I loved how she made more space in her tiny kitchen. She put a glass pot lid upside down over a gas-stove burner... it fit perfectly. On top of that a metal rack, and on top of that whatever had just come out of the fryer to drip and cool.

Assembly Line -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 27mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Assembly Line
Beans and Shrimp glopped in all at once, the combo fused together in frying -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/160 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Beans and Shrimp
glopped in all at once, the combo fused together in frying
Bean and Shrimp Combo -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Bean and Shrimp Combo
Savory Garnish adding a savory miso-based garnish she made herself, to the tofu she made herself -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Savory Garnish
adding a savory miso-based garnish she made herself, to the tofu she made herself
Meal prior to rice and soup being added -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 38mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Meal
prior to rice and soup being added
Receiving Rice -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Receiving Rice
First Taste of Our Tofu it was delicious, and could stand on its own without garnish -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 31mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
First Taste of Our Tofu
it was delicious, and could stand on its own without garnish

As I mentioned before, I was asked to join on this adventure to take photos for the tour company, but in the past I'd been on a variety of other tours with the same company as a test customer, to provide feedback on how to make their tours a better experience for their target audience (English-speaking tourists looking for something more than the popular tourist spots). For example, as part of one tour I visited this gargoyle-tile workshop. I've had some amazing experiences with them.

Anyway, along the lines of offering feedback, I suggested that the foreign tourist might want the option to sample some saké with such a fine meal, and somehow this lead to the lady bringing out some of her home-made spirits for us to sample.

In High Spirits -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 36mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
In High Spirits
Very Home Made the “ label ” says that it dates from 2000, 15 years old -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 42mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Very Home Made
the label says that it dates from 2000, 15 years old

These kind of things are fairly simple to make... you fill a jar with something to provide flavor, say, plums, then top it off with some kind of spirit... perhaps vodka, shochu, or wine. Then wait enough years for the flavor to transfer, and voilà, you've got plum wine or the like.

Based on how one goes about doing it, the results can vary wildly. It's always fun to order plum wine at a restaurant without knowing the specific maker because the flavor can range from as sweet as Kool-Aid to as bitter as orange juice just after brushing your teeth, and the alcoholic strength can range from essentially water to this will not only grow hair on your chest, but will simultaneously burn it off.

Receiving a Glass -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Receiving a Glass
Bottom's Up -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
Bottom's Up

It turns out that this was at the extreme end of both, and it was too strong/bitter for me to enjoy. I have photos of the two tour-company ladies giving it a try, with their face scrunched up in an oh my gosh this is horrible anguished cringe. They looked like shar pei dogs. I will hold these photos for possible blackmail at a later date. :-)

As a side note, I've (finally) discovered a way to get better photos when asking random folks to take a photo of me with my camera. Most folks are intimidated by a big SLR, and are not used to a viewfinder (they're used to looking at the back of their phone). In the past I'd set everything up, pre-set the focus point to some easy-to-notice location in the scene such as my eye, then tell them to place the little red square on my eye and press the button. Results have been very mixed, with most photos completely out of focus.

This time I had the bright idea to put my camera in live-view mode (a mode that I personally don't care for... I can't see the screen that close without my glasses) and focus in face-recognition mode. Then all they have to do is point and press, and hopefully it works out. It seems to have in the photo above.

To say that lunch was filling would be quit the understatement, so it was with some dread that we realized we'd still not had the doughnuts.

At least in my case, hot coffee does wonders to settle a full tummy...

Always the Gracious Host -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 34mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Always the Gracious Host
Homemade Doughnuts -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Homemade Doughnuts

The doughnuts were slightly sweet, but not overly so, so Americans used to really sweet stuff would likely want to have these with honey, powered sugar, or perhaps marmalade. Personally, I liked them just as they were.

Warm Doughnuts, Warm Conversation -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 60mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
Warm Doughnuts, Warm Conversation

All in all it was a wonderful experience, just as all those I've had the pleasure to enjoy with Tour du Lac Biwa. On this photo-taking visit there was no one to translate (which is fine, since I can speak Japanese well enough), but on the full tour, English-speaking staff is there to explain and translate. Highly recommended.


Making Tofu in Japan with an 80-Year-Old Farmer’s Wife
Pre-Tofu soybeans, prior to becoming tofu -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Pre-Tofu
soybeans, prior to becoming tofu

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.

Kimiko Sawai -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Kimiko Sawai

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 gargoyle-tile workshop visit.

Friday's tofu-making experience is part of this tour about taking life at a slower, countryside pace. Some of my photos will likely find their way to that page.

I was well paid for my photography work, leaving her house with a belly beyond full with her simple, close-to-nature farmer's-wife cooking made with the skill honed during 58 years of marriage and back-breaking by-hand mountain farming. The ultra-fresh hand-made tofu discussed in this post ended up being just one little dish of the entire meal, but that's the subject of a later post.

Blending the Soy Beans -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/2.5, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos
Blending the Soy Beans

I had no idea how tofu was made, but now I'm quite the expert, so let me list the ingredients:

  • soy beans
  • water
  • small sprinkle of concentrated sea water (or other coagulant)
  • hard work

The beans were apparently soaked in water overnight. As I arrived, she was pouring off the water into a big pot, then blending the beans as seen above.

Almost As Ancient as the Cook her blender, a Panasonic MJ-140K, likely dates from the 70s. -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Almost As Ancient as the Cook
her blender, a Panasonic MJ-140K, likely dates from the 70s.

The pureed beans and the water they had been soaking in are then simmered for about half an hour while being constantly stirred.

Kitchen Helper Hiromi-san, the president of the tour company, helps stir -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 35mm — 1/40 sec, f/10, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Kitchen Helper
Hiromi-san, the president of the tour company, helps stir
My Turn to Stir photo by Hiromi-san -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
My Turn to Stir
photo by Hiromi-san

This is in the lady's private house that's been in her family for generations (though she married into it only 58 years ago). What you see is extremely typical of a modern old Japanese-farmhouse kitchen. Nothing's for show here.

Checking the Status with a well-practiced finger The lady in the foreground, Emi-san, is also an executive at the tour company -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/4.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Checking the Status
with a well-practiced finger
The lady in the foreground, Emi-san, is also an executive at the tour company
The Tide Can Not Be Held Back -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 44mm — 1/160 sec, f/4.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
The Tide Can Not Be Held Back

Despite that we were there to impose on her (she was doing us a favor by running through all this for the camera), her natural kindness as a host could not be curbed, so she insisted we stop helping and have tea. I just wish my photos would have captured the warmth of her presence... she looks a bit severe in the photo above, but was anything but.

Light Snack -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/2.5, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Light Snack
Temperature Adjustment slowly adding cool water to adjust the temperature slightly -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 29mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Temperature Adjustment
slowly adding cool water to adjust the temperature slightly
Filtering Out the Solids -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 26mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Filtering Out the Solids

After it had simmered for about 35 minutes, it was time to filter out the solids. The hot liquid at this point was now soy milk.

Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos

Did I mention that it was hot. Hiromi-san was trying to not get burnt, but Kimiko-san (the old lady) just commented yup, it's hot, isn't it. She's done this before. :-)

Usually she does it all by herself, but this time she had to accommodate helpers.

Every Bit Counts -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Every Bit Counts
Squeezing Out Remaining Soy Milk using the same spatula she's used for 58 years (she's using the spatula instead of her hands because the stuff is really hot ) -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Squeezing Out Remaining Soy Milk
using the same spatula she's used for 58 years
(she's using the spatula instead of her hands because the stuff is really hot)
Sip of Fresh Soy Milk -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/160 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Sip of Fresh Soy Milk

I tried soy milk before, from a California supermarket. It was horrible, tasting like what I imagine water wrung from a tree-hugger's old socks would taste like.

On the other hand, this warm, fresh soy milk was excellent. This was perhaps my biggest surprise of the day.

Of course it's not at all related to milk, but soy milk sounds better than simmered-bean juice.

Precision High-Tech Instrumentation 66°C (150°F) -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/2.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Precision High-Tech Instrumentation
66°C (150°F)

The only time she used anything other than her finger and experience to judge the status was when she measured the temperature of the soy milk prior to adding the coagulant. It had cooled a bit more than she wanted (too many cooks in the kitchen slows things down, I guess), but deemed it safe to proceed.

A Splash of Concentrated Sea Water -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 36mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos
A Splash of Concentrated Sea Water
“ Natural Bittern ” I had to look up “ bittern ” . My dictionary says: “ a concentrated solution of various salts remaining after the crystallization of salt from seawater ” -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 27mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Natural Bittern
I had to look up bittern. My dictionary says:
a concentrated solution of various salts remaining after the crystallization of salt from seawater

Adding this bit of salt causes the soy milk to coagulate, separating into tofu and water.

Coagulation Is Not Photogenic but it's part of the story -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Coagulation Is Not Photogenic
but it's part of the story

She then gently poured the tofu/water combo onto a filter cloth set in a colander...

Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 31mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Gently Wrapping Wet Tofu -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 40mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Gently Wrapping Wet Tofu
Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 38mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Slowly Draining -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 56mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Slowly Draining

The newborn tofu swaddled tenderly in filter cloth, she set a pan on top and filled it with water. This provides a gentle pressure to slowly, gently squeeze out more water. She let it sit like that for about 40 minutes while she worked on other parts of the meal.

Peeking at the Result -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Peeking at the Result
Fresh Tofu -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 50mm — 1/200 sec, f/5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Fresh Tofu
Ready to Eat just add garnish -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Ready to Eat
just add garnish

Unlike soy milk, which I'd tried the one time long ago then never again until today, I've had tofu many many times. Generally it has no taste, and is just a healthful delivery vehicle for garnishes or other tastes.

This fresh tofu was different... it had a sublime soft deliciousness that's hard to describe, but it definitely stood on its own as a tasty part of a meal. I didn't want to spoil it with a garnish, but then Kimiko-san pulled out some home-made miso garnish... but that's a story for another time.

By the way, after straining out the bits of bean pulp from the soy milk after simmering, those bits of bean become a sawdusty-looking substance called okara...

“ Soy Pulp ” おから -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/2.5, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Soy Pulp
おから

It has a very short shelf life so commercial producers of tofu usually throw it away, but it's highly nutritious, and not something a farmer is going to waste. (It's also the answer to my soft not-foam-filling “What am I?” quiz from the other day.)

We ended up making a dessert with it.

(Note: if you visit Japan and want to take this tour with the specific intention of making tofu, be sure to mention that because lacking a specific request, what the lady prepares on any given day depends on the season, what she has on hand, and perhaps her whim. So be sure to mention specific requests. Some people specifically avoid tofu, for example, due to allergy or simple dislike of the stuff.)

Continued here...


Photoshoot with Ting Ting at the Murin’an Gardens
desktop background image of a lady in kimono at the Murin -- Quiet Moment at the Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴), Kyoto Japan -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Quiet Moment
at the Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴), Kyoto Japan
Vertical Desktop-Background Versions
1050×1680  ·  1200×1920  ·  1600×2560

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...

Typical Scene -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Typical Scene
Easy Smile -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Easy Smile

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 while being directed by Gigi...

Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.8, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos

From time to time, Ting Ting would also be the photographer...

Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Enjoying the Garden -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Enjoying the Garden
Listening to one of the photographer's direction -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Listening
to one of the photographer's direction
Wrapper for the sweet that comes with the tea -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Wrapper
for the sweet that comes with the tea
Typical Scene -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/2.2, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Typical Scene
Gorgeous Light -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/2.2, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Gorgeous Light
Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/2.2, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Slight Rimlight using the iPhone flashlight to add a bit of hair highlight for Gigi's shot -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Slight Rimlight
using the iPhone flashlight to add a bit of hair highlight for Gigi's shot
Following Damien's direction on posing and movement -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/800 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Following
Damien's direction on posing and movement
Slight Correction -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/4, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Slight Correction
Not Quite the hands feel staged, but with a smile like that who cares? -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/800 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Quite
the hands feel staged, but with a smile like that who cares?
Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Rich Light -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 180 — map & image datanearby photos
Rich Light
Gigi After the Shoot doing an exaggerated pose -- Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/2.5, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Gigi After the Shoot
doing an exaggerated pose

Eric and Gigi return to America tomorrow. It was great fun with them while they were here.


A Soft Not-Foam-Filling “What am I?” Quiz
Not Foam Filling From a Cheap Pillow but then, what is it? -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Foam Filling From a Cheap Pillow
but then, what is it?

It's been a month and a half since my most recent attempt to confound with a What am I? Quiz, but I fear today's may confound but may not interest. There's not much to go by. We'll see.

As always, I'll hold replies from public view until I post the answer in a day or three...