Pictures (crossposted to rainbowk)
I know that all the cool kids are using flickr for this sort of thing now, but what can I say... I'm still on my hopelessly out-of-date version of the internet using one of those 56K modulation/demodulation devices, so uploading these images at their full size would only take several hours. Instead, you get the trimmed, cropped, resaved versions.
Also, these first pictures aren't necessarily chosen with an eye to giving anyone and idea of what Japan in general looks like, what the trip was like or anything useful like that. They're just pictures I enjoyed taking and which I like the look of for some reason. But hey, that's okay, right?
But of course, I'll put them behind the cut.
The monorail track coming south into the Asahibashi station in Naha, Okinawa.
This is one of a series of timed shots on a tripod that I took on my second to last night in Okinawa from the pedestrian overpass going up to the Asahibashi monorail station. You can see the monorail just rounding the corner towards the end of the canal.
This is the restored facade to Shurijo Castle in Shuri, Okinawa (karate note: where Matsumura, founder of our style, was a guard). The stone dragon in front is actually a sort of pillar and the tail wraps all the way down. Most of Shurijo Castle was destroyed in World War II (like so much in Japan), so the castle has been restored in concrete with wood facing to retain its original feel.
This is the stone wall around the wooden Shurijo Castle. Interestingly, much of the stone wall is original and not restored. I love the curves near the top and the corners.
This is a stone path near Shurijo Castle.
This is a long exposure picture from my last night in Okinawa and a long walk I took down to and along the beach. The shapes are some of the giant widgets that the U.S. army or navy seems to love to pile up to make whatever artificial breakwaters, harbours, etc., they need to make. They seem to just pour these enormous concrete widgets in willy nilly and they pile up like jacks in a stable yet porous new physical structure in the water.
Another long exposure picture from the same walk facing towards the street light and the bay. I'm not sure why this picture turned out so green, but I like it.
This is a picture from our glass-bottomed boat ride off the coast near Okinawa.
This and the following two pictures were taken in a temple to Kannon (the goddess of mercy) that we found in Tokyo on our first full day. We were looking for the shrine to the 47 Ronin, but found this first. Some people were disappointed, but somehow this was far more meaningful and special to me.
It was incredibly beautiful in the rain and the diffuse brightness of a cloudy day. There was an incredible silvery quality to the light, and I'm not sure the camera necessarily captures that the way I wanted it to, but hey, I tried.
A bunch of crazy Canadian tourists in the temple grounds.
This is a picture of a traditional terraced rice field alongside the old post road (really a footpath) between Magome and Tsumago at around 800m above sea level. Have I mentioned how beautiful it was up there?
A view of the mountains and the one-lane switchback road the bus drove up to get me to Magome, late afternoon.
Yours truly walking a more modern section of the old post road from Magome to Tsumago, as reflected in one of those mirrors put up so people can drive incredibly fast at blind corners on one-lane roads without fear (or at least, that's what the Japanese seem to use them for).
Somebody's feet in sandals walking across a man-made waterfall. All of the rice fields need water at various times, so all the little creeks have areas where water can be diverted into the fields when needed. As well, there are water wheels at various points as well, so these tiny little creeks, no more than a meter and a half wide, were all insanely well utilized.
Another section of the old post road between Magome and Tsumago, which meanders through some bamboo forest.
The big buddha at Kamakura near Chigasaki City. It's 14 meters high and made entirely out of large cast bronze plates. When it was originally built it was made of wood and inside a wooden building, but was then replaced with bronze. Several of its buildings were destroyed by storms and fire, and then finally the last one was washed away by a tidal wave in the 1600s and it's stood in the open air since then.
I'll post more soon.