Tag Archives: travel

Japan – before I knew I liked taking photos: Part II

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“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.

      

      

      

   

   

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Top 10 (part one)

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>Recapping a whole year of school oddities would take too long, so I am going to do part one of a top 10 of what’s been going on in 2005.

10. Easter weekend holiday on a farm near Moe (don’t drink the water).
Moe, original home of the Australian Bogan. We ventured off the farm one arvo to go get some supplies from town for painting a truck. In Kmart the spray cans were locked in a cage. The attendant eyed us suspiciously as we picked out colours. At the checkout we were refused a plastic bag……… do you see where I am going with this?
We wore our Uggies in a vain attempt to fit in. Nearly every person we passed on the street stared at us with one lazy eye and their mouth slightly open.

9. Road trip to another state (Crap roads, good drivers).
Colin and I decided to do the great Australian driving holiday. We bought ourselves a tent (now dubbed the Taj Mahal due to it’s size) and set off on the Hume. We stopped off in great Aussie places like Albury, Gundagai, The Ettamoga Pub and Canberra, eating at old school diners and loving a pub meal or two.
We stayed in caravan parks and wore thongs in the shower.
We walked around the Parliament house looking suspicious for 2 hours.
We drove through the Blue Mountains and right into the heart of Sydney. Where, to shake off all that completely Occa stuff, we stayed in a plush hotel in Darling Harbour, ate at snooty restaurants, got drunk on wine and generally minced about the place.
Found out that the E-tag we use on the Melbourne City Link also works for the Sydney electric tolls.

8. Spending loads of money on things that ARE NOT FUN
The 2nd week of my holiday was all about taking care of all those things I was supposed to do in the summer holidays, but put off for a few months (mostly because they involved lots of cash and zero fun).
Three visits to the dentist and $870 later, my teeth will do for the next year (but give it a few years and I will have to get a couple of those titanium implants to replace those pesky baby teeth).
My lovely Mitsubishi got new brakes…… doesn’t seem to drive any better though. Or stop quicker. It also still has that annoying high-pitched squeal when I use the breaks. Come to think of it, I reckon that guy may have charged me $200 just so he could keep my car for 2 days and inconvenience me while I am trying to be a lady of leisure.

Stay tuned for more of the count down of what’s been going on………