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London3 June 2010
Japan May 2010
London2 February 2010
London September 2009
SE Asia December 2005

Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Page 3

Day 7 - Friday, 27 October 2017

Train to mountain stroll ropeway beach bus

Today I took a train, walked through the city then strolled up a small mountain, took in the view of Fuji, hopped on a short ropeway ride across an inaccessible ravine, marvelled at a temple, walked down a thousand stairs, went to the beach and caught 2 buses.
I was back in my hotel by 1pm.

According to every website, the main tourist thing to do in Shizuoka is to catch a tour bus to the top of Nihondaira and look at the view, then catch the ropeway and look at the temple and descend the steps you are supposed to walk up not down.
The top of this small mountain is very developed there is an absolutely enormous hotel on the edge of a cliff facing right at Mount Fuji.

I was determined to walk the whole way from the nearest train station, but you cannot! The ropeway company has made damn sure you cannot get from the top of the peak with the view to the temple without taking their ropeway. There are giant barbed wire fences and guards.
The top also has a lot more construction going on, more view hotels are needed, because you see, this is one of the 'Three new views of Japan'. Really, thats a thing, with its own big wikipedia article and everything.

So I had to take a ropeway rather than climb across a ravine between peaks, but the walk up to the main peak from the city was great. Hardly any people despite being pretty easy, only about 90 minutes from the station to the top at an easy pace, and amazing scenery in the forest.
I had a high confidence there would be no bears.

The ropeway station and construction mean its actually really hard to look back at Shizuoka from the top, which seems idiotic, I could glimpse the view occasionally, but it seems like they have tried to not let you see that?
As for the ropeway experience, it was cheap, and a very short ride, but despite the wait of no more than 10 minutes, a number of elderly Japanese people cut in front of me, generally they would ask to go past to go to the bathroom, then rejoin the line in front of me.
Once a couple of people did this, and others noticed, they also developed a sudden need to go go the bathroom, and perform the 'piss n cut' manoeuvre. I see you, you know what you did, now lose sleep and feel shame.

The temple here is called Kunozantoshogu, it has a small entry fee, I paid. It is a real temple, still in original condition apart from the barriers erected to stop people plummeting down the steep steps, according to wikipedia it contains - 'the deified spirit of Tokugawa Ieyasu'
The so called 1000 steps from the beach up to the temple which I walked down not up are more of a ramp than steps. And I saw no one at all walking up them, then once at the bottom, I had to find a bus, and the real adventure began.

Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Another beautiful day in Shizuoka. Since I am now old I find myself talking about the weather a lot. Before you know it I will start calling all young

Another beautiful day in Shizuoka. Since I am now old I find myself talking about the weather a lot. Before you know it I will start calling all young people lazy and talking about how music is just noise (pick your cliche of choice to insert here).


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - On my journey to the start of the hiking trail from Kusanagi station I came across the neighbourhood recycling centre. I studied their multi compartme

On my journey to the start of the hiking trail from Kusanagi station I came across the neighbourhood recycling centre. I studied their multi compartment bin and shipping container setup wiith roller doors. No really I did, and took photos, and emailed them to people with recommendations. Thats how I holiday.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - At first I thought this was the start of the trail, it sure looks like it. But its not, its just basic sort of a temple, and the path behind it just l

At first I thought this was the start of the trail, it sure looks like it. But its not, its just basic sort of a temple, and the path behind it just leads to old people playing grass golf, or grolf as I have decided to call it.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The start of the trail is once again in tea fields, complete with Fuji view, perhaps number 4 famous Shin-View?

The start of the trail is once again in tea fields, complete with Fuji view, perhaps number 4 famous Shin-View?


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The light in the forest during the walk up to the peak was amazing, again. I stopped a number of times to appreciate the surroundings without worrying

The light in the forest during the walk up to the peak was amazing, again. I stopped a number of times to appreciate the surroundings without worrying about sneak bear attack.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Once I got to the summit area hotel zone, there were many cats. This one was my favourite, he looks as angry as I always do.

Once I got to the summit area hotel zone, there were many cats. This one was my favourite, he looks as angry as I always do.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Appreciating the famous view of Fuji. Theres less and less snow, during the typhoon or maybe the day I travelled to Shizuoka when it rained, there mus

Appreciating the famous view of Fuji. Theres less and less snow, during the typhoon or maybe the day I travelled to Shizuoka when it rained, there must have been a lot of snow on Fuji, but it seems to have mostly melted.
I remember at the same time last year, there was none, and I thought it was stupid that you are not allowed to climb it apart from in July and August.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The summit marker, lined up with Fuji. The missing tile really bothers me more than it should. I suspect this is where everyone takes a photo, and eve

The summit marker, lined up with Fuji. The missing tile really bothers me more than it should. I suspect this is where everyone takes a photo, and every single one has that missing tile, beautiful Shizuoka, slightly busted.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Like I said in my convoluted description above, they seem to have gone to great lengths to prevent photos of the Shizuoka city, no idea why. This is t

Like I said in my convoluted description above, they seem to have gone to great lengths to prevent photos of the Shizuoka city, no idea why. This is the best I could do, standing on something I shouldnt be standing on. A small man with a light up baton approached. I tooke 3 big steps and out ran him.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - After trying repeatedly to find a service road, path, hole in the fence, I finally gave up and decided theres no way but the ropeway. They took five o

After trying repeatedly to find a service road, path, hole in the fence, I finally gave up and decided theres no way but the ropeway. They took five of my hard earned dollars to fine me for wanting to walk.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The view out of the ropeway car was ok, but it was the same view only better once I got off of it.

The view out of the ropeway car was ok, but it was the same view only better once I got off of it.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Here are some school kids coming back from visiting the temple. Theres thousands of them with color coded hats. They know to remove their hats and bow

Here are some school kids coming back from visiting the temple. Theres thousands of them with color coded hats. They know to remove their hats and bow at the enshrined deified spirit monster that lives within.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - A bit more temple / shrine. The grounds were ok, nothing spectacular.

A bit more temple / shrine. The grounds were ok, nothing spectacular.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I suspect the children were very excited to see this. For whatever reason this temple has a heap of model toys on display, receiving a blessing from t

I suspect the children were very excited to see this. For whatever reason this temple has a heap of model toys on display, receiving a blessing from the high priest for their glue and paint work.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This is one of your red colorful temples. Theres a few varieties of Japanese temples. Wooden ones are worth more, check for concrete and steel with wo

This is one of your red colorful temples. Theres a few varieties of Japanese temples. Wooden ones are worth more, check for concrete and steel with wood cladding though, thats your equivalent of veneer in what appears to be solid hard wood furniture.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Here, have some view. I am shooting directly into the heart of the sun here.

Here, have some view. I am shooting directly into the heart of the sun here.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The view down the coast was ok, theres a lot of greenhouses right alongside the beach. I wonder if theres seaweed drying inside? Not sure why else you

The view down the coast was ok, theres a lot of greenhouses right alongside the beach. I wonder if theres seaweed drying inside? Not sure why else you would want greenhouses so close to the sea.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Here is the bottom of the path that leads down the hill from the temple. People write about the thousand step journey as the greatest achievement of t

Here is the bottom of the path that leads down the hill from the temple. People write about the thousand step journey as the greatest achievement of their lives. It should take no more than 10 minutes and is more like a wheelchair ramp.
Just another way the human race has descended to the point of imminent failure.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The stunning beauty of Japanese beaches. Obviously preparing for a North Korean invasion with so many concrete fortifications. I didnt step out onto t

The stunning beauty of Japanese beaches. Obviously preparing for a North Korean invasion with so many concrete fortifications. I didnt step out onto the 'sand' in case they have also added landmines.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Actual proof miracles do happen, the bus arrived at the advertised time. I was GOBSMACKED....

Actual proof miracles do happen, the bus arrived at the advertised time. I was GOBSMACKED....


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - But then after a short ride, as the only passenger, I got thrown off at a random point in the middle of nowhere! Fortunately some other people turned

But then after a short ride, as the only passenger, I got thrown off at a random point in the middle of nowhere!
Fortunately some other people turned up here soon after and my confidence grew that another bus to take me a bit further would come, and sure enough it did.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - So happy was I with the bus situation, I rewarded myself with a cake lunch. But thats not the exciting bit, the matcha latte was superb. If you really

So happy was I with the bus situation, I rewarded myself with a cake lunch. But thats not the exciting bit, the matcha latte was superb.
If you really believe the tea used in it was from the local tea fields you have been hiking around the last couple of days, then it must be true.


Second opinion

My first night in Shizuoka, I thought it was all a bit quiet and boring. Then last night I went to a new level of quiet and boring at the other end of the train line at Shimizu.
Tonight I went for a longer lap around Shizuoka, and at first it was still quiet and boring, but then I found the busy bits, including streets shut off from traffic for pedestrians, the so called red light district, and lots of places to eat.
Actually I think the other night I was one or two streets either side of the busy parts, and missed them entirely before heading back to the station for dinner.

So there you go, on a scale of Shimizu to Tokyo, Shizuoka ranks above Shimonoseki, Toyama and Nagano, probably at about the level of Kanazawa, but defintely below Sendai, Sapporo and the other big cities.
I have slept in lots of cities in Japan, and still have 3 new ones to go on this trip - Kobe, Gifu and Yokohama. Although I have visited Kobe and Yokohama on day trips.
I will of also be staying in places I have stayed before - Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo again as my last stop. So there you go a huge list of cities.

Tomorrow I am going to Kyoto, but I couldnt get a cheap train ticket until later in the afternoon, I usually like to time my train journeys for a 2pm arrival so I can get to my hotel to check in at the earliest time of 3pm.

So far this has all been a very procedural update, so let me tell you the story of 3 school girls trying to ride one bike. It did not go well.
The girl in control could basically not see where she was going at all, as she rode the wrong way up a one way street in traffic, and it all ended badly with a hilarious collision with a post box.
How do you celebrate such an event? Selfies of course, after arranging yourselves and the bike with the post box in shot.

And on a related note, its big news that school children in Japan who naturally have hair any other color except pure black are not being allowed into the school until they dye their hair 'Japanese black'.
Perhaps this wouldnt be big news, but one girl has decided to sue the government over it, you can google this yourself if you want, just include the words Japan girl hair black government.

Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Another look at what is the main street, still very quiet. I moved on, starting my big loop around the city.

Another look at what is the main street, still very quiet. I moved on, starting my big loop around the city.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - My journey took in many interesting sites, such as a shop that sells only umbrellas. Its forecast to rain tomorrow so marked this shop on my map just

My journey took in many interesting sites, such as a shop that sells only umbrellas. Its forecast to rain tomorrow so marked this shop on my map just in case.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Then, near the castle, I found another shopping street, even more deserted, but so very neat and tidy. No restaurants along here at all, quite weird.

Then, near the castle, I found another shopping street, even more deserted, but so very neat and tidy. No restaurants along here at all, quite weird.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - One of the few stores that was open is bowl world. They have lots of bowls because theres no stores nearby serving food that need bowls. They do not h

One of the few stores that was open is bowl world. They have lots of bowls because theres no stores nearby serving food that need bowls.
They do not have anyone here to sell bowls though, maybe it works on the honor system, or its the local trade-a-bowl.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Not actually on the deserted shopping street but nearby I found this awesome model car shop. Its huge and so neat and organised. Every model car in th

Not actually on the deserted shopping street but nearby I found this awesome model car shop. Its huge and so neat and organised. Every model car in the place is from one specific brand, Ebbro. I just researched it, its a new Japanese brand fast building a global reputation for excellence in model cars!
There was a husband and wife sitting at the counter inside reading their phones, I came in and they spoke to each other, I know exactly what they said, 'look at this round eye who has no intention of buying anything trying to take a photo'.
The best photo was this one taken from the outside.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - At the end of quiet shopping street is this shrine, which is at the base of the castle (I think). I decided to mess about with my camera for a while.

At the end of quiet shopping street is this shrine, which is at the base of the castle (I think). I decided to mess about with my camera for a while.
This one is handheld, 1/20. My camera has no optical image stabilisation.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This one is a long exposure, not handheld. Another good feature of my camera is the screen pulls out of the back and can flip up, out, down etc. so yo

This one is a long exposure, not handheld. Another good feature of my camera is the screen pulls out of the back and can flip up, out, down etc. so you can use it as kind of a mini tripod to take shots like this.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - One of the busiest parts of town is Tsutaya, an amazing book shop, open to midnight, starbucks inside the store. People just hang out in here not inte

One of the busiest parts of town is Tsutaya, an amazing book shop, open to midnight, starbucks inside the store. People just hang out in here not intending to buy things, me included. Plus they have bathrooms.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Here is one half of the busy night life street. Its Friday night so its closed off. There are a few signs up saying its the official Halloween street

Here is one half of the busy night life street. Its Friday night so its closed off. There are a few signs up saying its the official Halloween street of Shizuoka, whatever that means.
In Japan Halloween is orange and purple. Everything has to be orange and purple themed.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - There were lots of places to eat around here, but I ended up having ramen, again, how predictable. It was really cheap and quite nice, especially when

There were lots of places to eat around here, but I ended up having ramen, again, how predictable. It was really cheap and quite nice, especially when you add the various pickled vegetables.
I ordered from the ticket machine, thus ensuring I dont have to utter a single word all day, however I somehow ordered an option with no meat in it.
I only noticed as I was finished that there was no meat, perhaps there was supposed to be meat but the guy forgot, oh well, it was about $7 so I wont complain.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Heres a gyoza shop, with many lanterns. Their sign took my eye, 'The woman dumplings, The meat dumplings, The man dumplings'. I will get 1/2 a dozen w

Heres a gyoza shop, with many lanterns. Their sign took my eye, 'The woman dumplings, The meat dumplings, The man dumplings'. I will get 1/2 a dozen woman dumplings please..... 'breast or leg?'.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The local book off has the super mario odyssey bundle that was released today.

The local book off has the super mario odyssey bundle that was released today.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - They also have a huge selection of second cartridges and old game systems. Some of the carts are $2 each, I thought these things were all collectors i

They also have a huge selection of second cartridges and old game systems. Some of the carts are $2 each, I thought these things were all collectors items now?
Should I buy up big and re sell on Australian ebay? Somehow I dont think its that easy.


There are currently 4 comments - click to add

David on 2017-10-27 said:

You somehow manage to read it before I have read it myself.
I found a few mistakes, fixed a few descriptions to be more interesting etc.


Jenny on 2017-10-27 said:

Sounds like a fun camera with those features. Does it also do beauty face like my mobile phone? You have two mistakes in your blurb tonight, but the colours are still all very bright and extra clear/sharp shots.


David on 2017-10-27 said:

Not really, I try not to boost saturation, luminance, clarity, dehaze.
What you see today is a lot of the time the sun was really bright, lots of reflective things around, so I cut highlights and boost shadows.
All cameras have variation in how much color they have by default, I shoot in raw and then apply a film simulation.
Fuji has lots in camera, that are then replicated in lightoom.
Provia is the closest to standard as the human eye would see the world, but theres also Velvia, Classic Chrome, Astia.
These are all raw to jpg conversions designed to simulate actual film.
Most of my photos so far have been provia, some are velvia which is popular for landscapes but I go negative on luminance on that.
I use classic chrome for moody shots, the train platform you liked is classic chrome, it has a higher contrast level.

That was a more detailed answer than you expected, just understand that every photo has had the color messed with in some way, often just by the camera software, the 'raw' data is not an actual picture you can see. You cant NOT select a film simulation, its just a matter of which one you select.
I could select from about 20 kinds of black and white film if I wanted too, but that would be boring.


adriana on 2017-10-27 said:

Yes the cat has copied your usual expression perfectly. Are you cranking up the colours on your photos?



Day 8 - Saturday, 28 October 2017

Drowning in a sea of tissues

Right now I am on the train to Kyoto, a roughly 2 hour trip from Shizuoka on the slow train, and I wished I was on the fast train or walking.
You see, its been a couple of days since I was last coated in mucus, and despite the lack of a paitent travelling with a snot pump today, I am quite litreally surrounded by piles of tissues.
First of all when I boarded, the guy next to me had piled up all his used tissues on my seat. There is no other seat, I have to sit here, and even the parts between the carriages where you can stand ar full.
This guy looks like a zombie, a ghostly white Japanese person, quite fitting for upcoming Halloween which has been running here for days already.

Then I noticed everyone else around me has their big packs of tissues and face maskes, and little plastic bags full of used tissues they are proudly collecting. Some people are coughing up all kinds of lung treats in cacophonous harmony.

My horror train is later than normal today, its Saturday and most seats to Kyoto were sold out, so I am lucky I bought this ticket the day I arrived in Tokyo.
My later train meant I had plenty of time to do a bonus activity in Shizuoka which was well worth it, I got to go to the old soon to be new castle grounds, called Sunpu, pay $2 to see the garden, then go up the road to the big shrine and hike up the hill and enjoy the view. Bonus hike, what could be better?

Working backwards from sitting on the train to waking up, before going to the castle grounds, I checked out of my hotel and left my bags there, remember this is the place that was worried I would host an elaborate party in my room for one person.
The woman asked when I would collect my bags, and I told her one thirty at the latest. She told me after midnight I would have to ring the bell. Again they assumed 1:30am even though it was currently 7:30am.

Then I went to the local Tullys cafe, same place I went yesterday for breakfast, and was confronted by an aggressive coffee making servant boy, very strange -
You came here yesterday also!
me: yes
How come you come here twice? You like it or something?
me: because you are near my hotel and are open
Oh, you are american tourist, how come you come to Japan? Trump sends you?
me: I am Australian
American tourist not welcome!
me: I am not american, can I get a coffee please?

Then someone else helped me.

And now, right on cue, as I type this on the train, the guy in front of me turned 180 degrees in his seat, looked right back at me through the gap between his seat and his window, lifted his surgical snot mask and simultaneously sneeze/coughed right at me.
This is a set up, I am sure of it.

Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Sunpu castle is destroyed, for now (see below) but an original guard house with entry fee remains.

Sunpu castle is destroyed, for now (see below) but an original guard house with entry fee remains.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I paid $2 to go into this garden, they had giant fish in the pond. It was ok, not sure why it has an entry fee.

I paid $2 to go into this garden, they had giant fish in the pond. It was ok, not sure why it has an entry fee.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The modern buildings in the background make this shot all the better.

The modern buildings in the background make this shot all the better.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Slow shutter hand held for waterfall effect. It was really dark in this corner of the garden.

Slow shutter hand held for waterfall effect. It was really dark in this corner of the garden.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Some of the trees were nice, but its a very grey day, light rain at times, would have looked much nicer in the sun.

Some of the trees were nice, but its a very grey day, light rain at times, would have looked much nicer in the sun.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I waded up this stream trying to catch fish with my hands.

I waded up this stream trying to catch fish with my hands.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - It looks to me as though they are about to construct a new version of the Sunpu castle, out of steel and concrete, with built in wifi.

It looks to me as though they are about to construct a new version of the Sunpu castle, out of steel and concrete, with built in wifi.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - At first I thought this was going to be the main shrine, signalling the start of the old route to the top of Fuji. I was wrong, this is just an outhou

At first I thought this was going to be the main shrine, signalling the start of the old route to the top of Fuji. I was wrong, this is just an outhouse.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Here we have the actual shrine, Sengen shrine, site of many simultaneous weddings today I think. I tried to make it look mysterious with classic chrom

Here we have the actual shrine, Sengen shrine, site of many simultaneous weddings today I think. I tried to make it look mysterious with classic chrome.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - A bit more shrine.

A bit more shrine.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - And one more for good measure, there was a very steep staircase leading up the hill to the left, THIS is the start of the path all the way to Fuji. I

And one more for good measure, there was a very steep staircase leading up the hill to the left, THIS is the start of the path all the way to Fuji.
I hiked along some of it the other day when I went over Ryuso.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - There are some good views to be had of Shizuoka along this ridge that has city on both sides, but the main part of the city remains illusive, I could

There are some good views to be had of Shizuoka along this ridge that has city on both sides, but the main part of the city remains illusive, I could never get a good photo of the buildings at the centre of town, trees were always in the way today, construction was always in the way yesterday.
The downtown area of Shizuoka is a closely guarded secret.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This one is the outskirts of Shizuoka, looking towards Shimizu where I went the other night. Its much bigger than I originally realised. The hills at

This one is the outskirts of Shizuoka, looking towards Shimizu where I went the other night. Its much bigger than I originally realised.
The hills at the back on the right, not the smaller one in the foreground, is where I was yesterday.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - And this is the shrine at the end of the quiet shopping street I took shots of last night, now you get to see it in the day time also! And actually, t

And this is the shrine at the end of the quiet shopping street I took shots of last night, now you get to see it in the day time also!
And actually, that street had a lot more open today on my journey back to town, lots of fruit shops, bakeries etc. All things that close at 5pm.
Thats all from Shizuoka, it started off slow but got better as time went on, maybe one day I will return to yell at the bus company some more.


Artful rain dodger

Now I am in Kyoto and its time for more weather talk dribble.

It rained most of the day but somehow I never got wet.
I got back to my Shizuoka hotel this morning just as it started raining, I then went underground to the station.
On the bullet train it was raining the whole way, but luckily they put a roof on the train so I didnt get wet.
To get to my hotel from Kyoto station was underground in a shopping mall, so I didnt get wet.
When I left to go to walk for an hour to find dinner, it didnt rain until I got to the main Shijo dori street that has the overhead canopies, and as soon as I stepped under, it poured with rain.
I walked around under cover and found dinner, when I came out, it had stopped raining so I went to places without cover.
When it was time to go back to the hotel it started raining so I went under the road in the very long pedestrian tunnel.
When I came up it stopped raining until I once again made it to my hotel, it started raining whilst I was in the convenience store next door buying hot chocolate in a can.

Unfortunately its forecast to raiin tomorrow, until 4pm, and so far hour by hour forecasts have been spot on. So most likely I will get wet, and I will have to alter my plans.

Now for my tax rant. In Australia we have GST, a form of consumption tax, its currently 10%, but it doesnt matter what it is set to, stores must show the price including GST, for everything. Not the case in Japan.
Some stores show you the price excluding, and a tiny price including tax, but many places dont show it to you at all! Its very frustrating. I had no idea until just now that Japan is currently 10% also, however it used to be 8%.
So now that I am armed with the knowledge that its 10% when I buy something for 172 yen I will know to find change to really pay 189.2 yen, I assume they would round that down, but who knows! Alternatively they could just tell me the damn price on the price tag so I can find the right change.

Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This is the second tiniest hotel room I have ever been in. The tiniest was actually in Austria. This one is much, MUCH nicer than the Austrian one tho

This is the second tiniest hotel room I have ever been in. The tiniest was actually in Austria. This one is much, MUCH nicer than the Austrian one though.
It has everything I need, blazing fast internet, an 80 inch tv in an 85 inch room, and a large bathroom complete with a small bath, which is weird given how small the room is.
Its also in a great location, in Kyoto, on a weekend, for under $100 a night on average over the 4 nights I am here. So I wont be complaining.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Here we have a long exposure of the temple on the main road between the station and the shopping area. You can take the subway 2 stops if you are lazy

Here we have a long exposure of the temple on the main road between the station and the shopping area. You can take the subway 2 stops if you are lazy.
I should also mention that when I arrived at Kyoto station earlier, a Saturday afternoon, it was ridiculously busy, hard to move, I am amazed I got a hotel room at all.
I dont think I have ever stayed in Kyoto on a weekend before, its normally far too expensive.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I wanted curry, so I found curry, in an alleyway. It was good, the store was run by one guy, and he was doing an amazing job of greeting, cooking, ser

I wanted curry, so I found curry, in an alleyway.
It was good, the store was run by one guy, and he was doing an amazing job of greeting, cooking, serving, cleaning, taking payment, yelling various things, engaging in banter and occasionally dropping things.
The meat on top is slices of aged rare beef, very delicious.
Curry is the hardest thing to photograph in an appealing way.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Mario is peaking right now. Here he is playing a guitar. I may have photographed this before! But was he playing a guitar before? Who knows.

Mario is peaking right now. Here he is playing a guitar. I may have photographed this before! But was he playing a guitar before? Who knows.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I have definitely taken this photo before. I was in here whilst it was raining.

I have definitely taken this photo before. I was in here whilst it was raining.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Now its time for west streets, hand held night shots. I like to stand in traffic and get in everyones way.

Now its time for west streets, hand held night shots. I like to stand in traffic and get in everyones way.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Its Johnny Depp, with a wolf. I once rode on a train with him from London to Paris. He smelt bad.

Its Johnny Depp, with a wolf. I once rode on a train with him from London to Paris. He smelt bad.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Redundant photo of well lit corner. I have been to Kyoto 4 times now but never been in there, the top floor looks like a food court. Tomorrow night pe

Redundant photo of well lit corner. I have been to Kyoto 4 times now but never been in there, the top floor looks like a food court. Tomorrow night perhaps.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - A bit more damp night photography.

A bit more damp night photography.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Another long exposure. I was enjoying the warm but wet night.

Another long exposure. I was enjoying the warm but wet night.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - One of the famous alleyways full of restaurants. I have been noticing lots of westerners with guides, in Tokyo and here. Groups of 2 people who have a

One of the famous alleyways full of restaurants. I have been noticing lots of westerners with guides, in Tokyo and here. Groups of 2 people who have a young Japanese girl to show them around. Why?
I am going to get one and have her take me on a 30km hike up a mountain path that disappears so I can ask her the way down.
Also, I can use her as bear bait.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I think this is the spot I photographed before that is currently the wallpaper on my phone, only they have ruined it. It used to have nice slate tiles

I think this is the spot I photographed before that is currently the wallpaper on my phone, only they have ruined it.
It used to have nice slate tiles, but it appears to have been dug up and replaced with quick set bitumen.
Actually I am comparing again now, it might not be the same place, more investigation required!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This display was just hanging off a random wall for no particular reason. It really is very tiny.

This display was just hanging off a random wall for no particular reason. It really is very tiny.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - OK, one more of these. Who knows it may be dry the remaining nights, not as good for light reflections.

OK, one more of these. Who knows it may be dry the remaining nights, not as good for light reflections.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - And the quick way back to bypass the throngs of slow moving pedestrians with their umbrellas open under the rain canopy is to descend into this old tu

And the quick way back to bypass the throngs of slow moving pedestrians with their umbrellas open under the rain canopy is to descend into this old tunnel. The map confirms its over a mile long.


There are currently 9 comments - click to add

drude on 2017-10-29 said:

On reflection I think it is spelt Qoo. Could even be Coo but my vote is for Q. A choice for people who want to buy a drink without pis in the name.

VR seems an excellent idea. That might even max out the Japanese hotel internet


David on 2017-10-28 said:

The hotel is APA Horikawa-dori
Its old, the hallways look like a mental hospital, however the rooms look newer but as I detailed, they are very tiny


David on 2017-10-28 said:

Hi Drude, glad you are back again to comment on my trips.
Not sure what Koo drink is, they have calpis of course, I will look out for koo.
My next trip will need to cater for VR devices.


jenny on 2017-10-28 said:

consumption tax was supposed to go up higher than 10 percent, but I agree that it's a nuisance that they don't always have it already added on to the price of things. could you be more precise about where your hotel is and what the name of it is please?


drude on 2017-10-28 said:

Also, I have walked down that very tunnel in the last shot to avoid rain. Do they still sell Koo drink in the vending machines?


drude on 2017-10-28 said:

Your new camera is excellent - stunning photos this time. I appreciate that you adjusted your site last time for my retina MacBook Pro. Now I also have a 5k iMac. Perhaps you could change it again so that I can make better use of my available screen size when clicking on the (supposedly) full sized pics?

I'm not sure what I will buy to render your site obsolete for your next trip.


David on 2017-10-28 said:

Not sure if you are expecting a serious answer, I dont go looking for fabric and pottery.
Both Shrines are worth visiting, and my general answer to every question about worth visiting is yes, its always good to go somewhere you havent been before, its good for your brain.


adriana on 2017-10-28 said:

So should we go there or not? What is there in the way of fabrics, pottery etc?


David on 2017-10-28 said:

oops, forgot to add the comments link, its here now



Day 9 - Sunday, 29 October 2017

Rain concentrator

My rain dodging days have come to an end, today I was the single focal point of all the rain in the world.
I knew there would be a lot of rain, I knew I would get wet, I knew I would have to battle the terrible umbrella apocalypse, I knew I was going to the place with more tourists than any other place in the world, even on a rainy day - the infamous Fushimi-Inari shrine.

This is my 4th visit to Kyoto, and I have never been, generally because its not a very long walk, even if you go to the top and do the full summit circle walk, which I did, in the pouring rain.
I selected it as my destination today because I wanted a shorter walk, a walk that would be concrete paths, I also had some sort of a silly idea that the red Torii gates would shelter me from the rain, instead they concentrated the raindrops into huge drops, which all fell on me.
Whilst I dont mind getting wet, my camera probably does not like it at all, neither does my pocket wifi thing, and I am still not sure what the real status of my stolen Korean phone rebirthed in the UAE before being sold to me by a Chinese woman in Melbourne is, chances are its been opened and repaired and is not at all waterproof, so I best be careful!
This meant taking photos was a quick whip it out take a snap, stick it back in the case, as fast as possible affair, without getting rain on the lense, and I think some of my photos suffered as a result, towards the end the lense just fogged over and I gave up.

I had grand intentions to locate a path down the other side of Mount Inari, those plans went out the window, there were rivers of water running down the concrete steps, so I wouldnt have been able to navigate the muddy path down the other side.
My very wet appearance was a real shock to some locals, who gasped as they saw me, and would speak to each other in hushed tones covering their faces with their hands. I presume they were saying that a homeless foreigner is living on the mountain, hold onto your purse/wallet.
Also, this being a very touristy spot, perhaps the most touristy spot in ALL OF JAPAN, I got to see every kind of tourist, and most of them having a tantrum, women especially.
The best one was actually an Australian couple, the woman was really behaving like a small child yelling at her husband in front of everyone that he had ruined their stupid holiday by taking them up a stupid mountain HIGHER THAN EVEREST in a blizzard. She was actually sobbing whilst yelling, despite being about 40 years old.
The reality of the situation was, it was light steady rain, up a 'mountain' a couple of hundred metres high - and they had full body raincoats and umbrellas.

Once I got back to my hotel room, I soaked in the tiny bath, and have cranked the heating whilst carefully placed my damp everything in front of it. This means I am sitting here naked and sweating, good times.
Tomorrow is supposed to be sun again, I have plans! So far the weather forecast has been 100% correct, lets hope that continues.

Anyway, if you like photos of red gates, you will like todays photos.

Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - A very damp and grey Kyoto station. Still when I was here, it was not actually raining, and I had delusions that it would not rain where I was going,

A very damp and grey Kyoto station. Still when I was here, it was not actually raining, and I had delusions that it would not rain where I was going, I was very wrong.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Let the umbrella apocalypse commence!

Let the umbrella apocalypse commence!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This is the main shrine, its somewhat amusing that no one really comes to look at the shrine, just the gates behind it.

This is the main shrine, its somewhat amusing that no one really comes to look at the shrine, just the gates behind it.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - A sea of umbrellas.

A sea of umbrellas.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - OK, some people were just going into this bit, and thats all, about one hundred metres from the station. This meant they were standing in there with u

OK, some people were just going into this bit, and thats all, about one hundred metres from the station.
This meant they were standing in there with umbrellas up, making noises of amazement. I was trapped in here for ten minutes without moving at all, so I backtracked and walked around it.
I honestly think some people were prepared to stand there for hours to get a photo without people in it, but I dont know how that could be possible.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Theres actually a going up and a going down path, so if you run to the top around the paths you can get a decent shot of the going down path. That sou

Theres actually a going up and a going down path, so if you run to the top around the paths you can get a decent shot of the going down path. That sounds more confusing than it should.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - After that point, the crowds really thin out, and so do the gates.

After that point, the crowds really thin out, and so do the gates.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Theres about 9000 shrines along this path, for all different things, including horses, rabbits and dogs. I dont know that theres a cat shrine, which s

Theres about 9000 shrines along this path, for all different things, including horses, rabbits and dogs. I dont know that theres a cat shrine, which seems a bit of a failure.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I did a detailed analysis of the gates, they are not all the same, I think some are wooden, normally the ones at the front of any section, some are pl

I did a detailed analysis of the gates, they are not all the same, I think some are wooden, normally the ones at the front of any section, some are plastic with a foam core, and some are metal reenforced concrete.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Fog! I was hoping for fog, I wanted really dense fog, I dont think I will get it. However I also noted that the whole path is lit, you can go up here

Fog! I was hoping for fog, I wanted really dense fog, I dont think I will get it. However I also noted that the whole path is lit, you can go up here at night, hmm....


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Enjoy the wonderful view of Kyoto.

Enjoy the wonderful view of Kyoto.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Dog shrine, I think. the photos were suffering by this point! It became difficult to operate the camera controls with my wet hands.

Dog shrine, I think. the photos were suffering by this point! It became difficult to operate the camera controls with my wet hands.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - More fog. Might be PICTURE OF THE DAY! The lighting is good, makes the fog look better, but the wires are really annoying, I started to notice them mo

More fog. Might be PICTURE OF THE DAY!
The lighting is good, makes the fog look better, but the wires are really annoying, I started to notice them more and more.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Ascend through the fog.

Ascend through the fog.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Once on the summit loop its quite flat, with a few downhill sections. It really is not a strenuous 'hike' at all. Overweight tourists disagree with me

Once on the summit loop its quite flat, with a few downhill sections. It really is not a strenuous 'hike' at all.
Overweight tourists disagree with me, I am ashamed of you.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - OK last one, very redundant, but its here.

OK last one, very redundant, but its here.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - There are lots of little areas like this, with tea shops and vending machines, and lots of wires! However there are no toilets, there are signs explai

There are lots of little areas like this, with tea shops and vending machines, and lots of wires! However there are no toilets, there are signs explaining there are no toilets on the mountain because it is considered sacred.
I had drunk a lot expecting to hike further over the top, so I twice urinated on the sacred mountain.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Donkey shrine, more wires.

Donkey shrine, more wires.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Seriously, how annoying is that wire? Seriously.

Seriously, how annoying is that wire?
Seriously.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - A very wet me, not looking too wet in the photo, although there appears to be leaf or a leech on my cheek, or maybe its on the camera lense. Why do I

A very wet me, not looking too wet in the photo, although there appears to be leaf or a leech on my cheek, or maybe its on the camera lense.
Why do I still have 2 chins?
Why am I a middle aged man with a grey beard who worries about his jawline?


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - THE STANCE. I still dont look as wet as I was. Although the weight of water on my long sleeve t-shirt (appropriate rain attire?) really shows off my m

THE STANCE.
I still dont look as wet as I was. Although the weight of water on my long sleeve t-shirt (appropriate rain attire?) really shows off my man boobs.


Better than forecast

The rain vanished at about 5:30pm, thats a full 2.5 hours ahead of the forecast.
I was convinced I would be getting wet again when I looked out the window at 5pm and so I got re-dressed into my damp clothes which had been drying since I arrived home earlier. You see theres no point in making all your clothes damp, might as well accept defeat and further dampen the dampened.
So when I checked the weather radar and saw the rain was all but gone, I felt quite foolish, and then when I stepped outside, it was gone, I could even see the moon.
It gets dark here in Japan by 5pm each night, and properly dark suddenly. It must get dark at 4pm in the middle of winter. I like it.

Tonight I went on a long loop, over the river, along the river, all through Gion hunting zombie geishas, back along the main street, kept going past the station, looped back around another main road I had never been down before.
I was highly envious of the people out running, and there were lots of them, every day, I lose a bit more fitness, once I get back, in 3 weeks time, it will take me ages to get back to record fitness - assuming I dont succumb to Japanese respiratory acute failure first.

It was also surprisingly quiet in the busy areas tonight, maybe the rain scared people off, I could actually walk at a normal pace.
And now for my rant...

Make up your mind what side you want to walk on! Short rant tonight. Its not just me, I observed Japanese people walking head on into each other, reading their phones, cause one went right and one went left and they both went smash.
In Australia, we always keep left, walking and driving, in Europe they keep right when walking, even in England, in Japan we have this useless situation....(I am quoting random internet)
'The Japanese usually divide their escalators into two sides: the right and the left. In Tokyo, people keep left and leave the right side open for rushing people, especially passengers for trains. This is the reverse for Osaka wherein people usually keep right and leave the left side open instead.'

Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Well, its the Kyoto tower, you have seen it before, you will see it again, here you are seeing it with my new camera.

Well, its the Kyoto tower, you have seen it before, you will see it again, here you are seeing it with my new camera.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The quiet Gion area. I stood right in the middle of the road, not even at a crossing, no traffic was coming. A police officer stared at me as I walked

The quiet Gion area. I stood right in the middle of the road, not even at a crossing, no traffic was coming. A police officer stared at me as I walked back off the road after I had been standing there for 30 seconds fiddling with camera settings.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The back streets of Gion, where the internet will tell you geishas run about to tend to their masters bathing needs. Slavery is a thing in modern Japa

The back streets of Gion, where the internet will tell you geishas run about to tend to their masters bathing needs. Slavery is a thing in modern Japan still. I never saw a real one, just girls pretending to be one, or perhaps heading to a different kind of work.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I really like the red/green/blue in this photo, they are even in the correct order!

I really like the red/green/blue in this photo, they are even in the correct order!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Now I am ascending the steps to the shrines / temples at the end of the street. I went here years ago, its nicely lit up at night as you will see. Obv

Now I am ascending the steps to the shrines / temples at the end of the street. I went here years ago, its nicely lit up at night as you will see.
Obviously a long exposure, note the 13 point starbursts coming from the lights.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Shrine 1 of 3.

Shrine 1 of 3.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Shrine 2 of 3 - blinded by the lantern things.

Shrine 2 of 3 - blinded by the lantern things.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Shrine 3 of 3, guy with umbrella thinks hes special.

Shrine 3 of 3, guy with umbrella thinks hes special.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Bonus exiting shrine photo, looking back down the street. This one came out really well for 1/20 handheld. Managed to keep the ISO to 1250 and theres

Bonus exiting shrine photo, looking back down the street.
This one came out really well for 1/20 handheld. Managed to keep the ISO to 1250 and theres almost no noise. Thats enough nerdy photography info.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - My dinner. I did not get what I ordered. I think they served me up the tourist trap set menu item as it was more expensive than the single bowl meal t

My dinner. I did not get what I ordered. I think they served me up the tourist trap set menu item as it was more expensive than the single bowl meal that I did order.
It was also deep fried. I originally intended to catch the train back, now I had to devise a longer walk, and even now I still feel fat and lazy from eating all that deep fried mystery food.
Whilst it was nice enough at the time, I have regrets, definitely need to extend my mountain hike tomorrow somehow.
I should go back there and exercise my right to bulimia due to tourist food substitution - a new by-law I just made up.


There are currently 4 comments - click to add

David on 2017-10-29 said:

Some of these are a bit noisy.
I try and go down as slow as 1/20, to assist in getting a sharper image I use a 2 second shutter delay, so I can release the button, then hold myself still.
Generally ISO over 2000 is too noisy, a few of these are too noisy in my opinion.
The first 4 are all too noisy, the last few are better, last one is the best for noise.
However one of the noisiest, with the red green blue lights is still my favourite despite the noise.
I might mess with some software noise reduction at some point.


adriana on 2017-10-29 said:

really like all the interesting night skies in these images and the street light effects. Your camera or you are very clever.


adriana on 2017-10-29 said:


mother on 2017-10-29 said:

We went there last time, but didn't make it to the top because someone forgot to take his pills as was feeling dizzy. most annoying. I think the photos look even better in the rain than the ones we took. Love the foggy ones too.



Now there is a page 4, click next and head on over for more half truths.

Contents

Day 1 - Saturday, 21 October 2017
  26 hours door to door then more
  I want to murder your children
Day 2 - Sunday, 22 October 2017
  The journey is still not quite over
  Typhoon Lan
  Saturation point
Day 3 - Monday, 23 October 2017
  Fortunate train cancellation
  Wasted ramen opportunity
Day 4 - Tuesday, 24 October 2017
  Lost on twin peaks
  The new shiny Tokyo
Day 5 - Wednesday, 25 October 2017
  Snot pump
  Bus confusion
Day 6 - Thursday, 26 October 2017
  Mountain goat
  Shimizu ghost town
Day 7 - Friday, 27 October 2017
  Train to mountain stroll ropeway beach bus
  Second opinion
Day 8 - Saturday, 28 October 2017
  Drowning in a sea of tissues
  Artful rain dodger
Day 9 - Sunday, 29 October 2017
  Rain concentrator
  Better than forecast
Day 10 - Monday, 30 October 2017
  Equal best ever scenery
  Its not Halloween
Day 11 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017
  Thwarted
  Halloween was Saturday
Day 12 - Wednesday, 1 November 2017
  The temple run
  Lost in expansion
Day 13 - Thursday, 2 November 2017
  My trusty old friend is a shining light
  Umeda me a hamburg steak
Day 14 - Friday, 3 November 2017
  Primordial typhoon deer attack
  Resurrection
Day 15 - Saturday, 4 November 2017
  The wind arrived
  Surprisingly great
Day 16 - Sunday, 5 November 2017
  First everybody then nobody
  Pyramids of Sannomiya
Day 17 - Monday, 6 November 2017
  The turn for home
  You would never ever get wet
Day 18 - Tuesday, 7 November 2017
  Exposed
  Short visit to big city
Day 19 - Wednesday, 8 November 2017
  Castle in the fog
  I have seen all of it
Day 20 - Thursday, 9 November 2017
  Decline
  Resurgence
Day 21 - Friday, 10 November 2017
  Clinically clean
  Ready for action
Day 22 - Saturday, 11 November 2017
  All the views
  Here are your shops
Day 23 - Sunday, 12 November 2017
  I have returned
  Ueno to Shinjuku is not far
Day 24 - Monday, 13 November 2017
  Central mountain route
  Surprise downpour whilst tired
Day 25 - Tuesday, 14 November 2017
  Value extraction
  Night of the long exposures
Day 26 - Wednesday, 15 November 2017
  Between the tracks
  The last supper
Day 27 - Thursday, 16 November 2017
  Narita procedural update
  The end