“Culture in the sum of all the forms of art, of love, and of thought, which, in the course of centuries, have enabled man to be less enslaved”~Andre Malraux
My previous post highlighted my time in Shizuoka. This one has photos from my first 6 months in Japan. I landed in Osaka in 2001. Young, alone and ready for adventure. Ready to be immersed in modern Japanese culture.
It is a great place to first go to due to its proximity to some of the Japan you would be familiar with from movies etc.
When I was first in Osaka, I was a little overwhelmed by its vastness and ugliness. This was short-lived. I found lots of beauty in that concrete jungle: There was the roof-top Shinto shrine I spied out the window of the building I worked in. One day a work mate took me to some Botanical gardens. We just lay on a blanket and looked up at the trees, enjoyed the serenity and silence that was a huge contrast to, say, walking down Shinsaibashi with a million other people.
I found that the bottom of the OCAT building was a popular place for break-dancers to practice at night time. They did the most amazing synchronised dancing.
I travelled to Kobe at Christmas time and sipped a Gingerbread latte while looking at the Illuminarie, a beautiful light tribute to all that perished in The Great Hanshin Earthquake.
In Kyoto, a short train ride from Osaka, I saw some classic Japanese images: Maiko on the streets, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Gion, temple after temple after temple. I even took part in a traditional tea ceremony.
In the depths of winter I stayed in a Buddhist monastery at Mount Koya. It was 6 below INSIDE when the monks woke me for morning prayer at 5am. A new definition of cold was born for me in those mountains.
And in a strange juxtaposition to the horrors associated with the place, Hiroshima has the most beautiful and serene park I have ever visited in its memorial gardens.
Just before I moved to Shizuoka I was lucky enough to go to the Spring Sumo Tournament. WOW.
All of this captured on a point and shoot, non-zooming Pentax film camera. I can’t wait to go back there with my digital SLR. I can’t wait to take my children to see this amazing country.