Saturday, July 31, 2010

Since the diet includes anything that can be scraped from the seashore, innards (gizzards, faces, beaks, raw liver, guts...), hornets, barely cooked chicken, raw egg, whale and horse, I tend to laugh at the apparent distress caused by the suggestion of eating anything considered cute and cuddly. Monkeys are thus off the menu and so the troupe that lives near the busy Kamikochi nature trail coexist happily with humans in an way that it is hard to imagine in the UK. Since people do nothing to the monkeys apart from photograph them, they pass by, apparently unbothered, at close quarters. This teeny tiny baby was photographed with my 60mm macro, not a long telephoto!

[Kamikochi is where many walks in the North Japan Alps start and finish.]

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Let's mountain life

Japanese mountain culture may not be for everyone.

5am: raw egg and seaweed breakfast

raw egg breakfast

6:00am: high altitude toilet (3000m)

Minamidake hut

On the bright side, I wrecked my boots, so we had a good reason to attend the first day opening of the newly relocated mountain shop, Kamoshika, in Yokohama. Great shop. Lovely new blue nubuck boots!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

photo.jpg


photo.jpg, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Since summer arrived we have gone to the mountains. Same wifi hut as
last year - the only one we have found...fortunately. That's famous
Yarigatake in the distance.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Often, when I walk past this house on the way home from the station in Kamakura, I take its picture. This time James didn't recognise it, and when the actual dwelling was pointed out, complained that, "It looks nothing like that". What a great compliment to the picktur taker!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010


frog, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Since yesterday was Marine Day everyone obediently went to the beach, where (apparently) you couldn't see sand for the bodies. We visited the cool shady trees instead, where we met about as many frogs as people.

I wonder what make of frog this is. There is a frog on the internets that is handily called the Japanese Brown Frog which does looks similar...

I didn't crop the image since I like the leafy green border, so you might want to view bigger (click here to do that).

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Sunday, July 18, 2010


Beautiful Kamakura, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Summer has come, the sky is blue, and beauty is all around.

What slightly troubles me is that the Japan adapted me can happily walk round in temperatures that make the partly metal Nikon N80s hot to the touch. Well, the one caveat to my adaption is that I am not actually a camel, and so the happiness continues as long as I can drink about 500ml an hour.

Camera snobs poo poo lightweight plastic cameras - but they win in either hot or cold weather!

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Friday, July 16, 2010


caterpillar - kemushi, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

num num...

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Thursday, July 15, 2010


Shinjuku station, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Shinjuku station, considered the busiest in the world, is much much more exciting than Yokohama station. The most exciting thing about it is getting lost. Even if you think you know what you are doing, attempting to cross from one side to the other without going through a ticket barrier can be a disorientating and distressing experience, although the sense of achievement upon arrival at the intended destination before closing time makes it worth the agony. This photo was taken near the barriers to one of the private lines. People were walking unusually fast. Probably they were trying to look as if they knew where they were going.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010


NEX at Yokohama, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

The Narita Express, the airport train you use when you visit us, has new rolling stock which is extra super shiny. Combined with the recent doubling in width of the platform gives a new big city impression for those arriving in Yokohama for the first time.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dry Zen gardens are usually free of all litter, with gravel raked into straight lines over the expanse, Only at the edges and islands (rocks), do the raked lines follow the coastlines.

Naturally, I had assumed that the gardens were normally raked at dawn by levitating monks, with the task occasionally being set as one of those impossible assignment for student monks. After almost a decade here, we finally caught someone in the act. It looks like, when the monks are occupied elsewhere, it is out of work ballet dancers that act as substitute garden rakers.

Hmm...that is really an insult to the Japanese workmen, whose dexterity is extraordinary. I wonder what big clumsy people do for a living here.

The video only shows the final part of the raking. I was enjoying the gardening ballet so much that I forgot that my pink camera has a video mode until it was almost too late.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Not many bugs around this year - it has been so cold - barely reaching 30C during the daytime, but here is another example (see here for the first), of a butterfly sucking colour out of a flower. Taking this sort of photo is quite exciting. The result looks very stationary, but there was only an instant when it all came together.

[Jomyouji English garden - which has captured the English garden spirit of being in full bloom in June - but the flowers do look a bit exotic]

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The most disconcerting thing about the Japanese is their ability to sleep while standing up. It is also a bit odd the way that everybody regularly sleeps in meetings, and no one minds. One day I hope to be in a meeting where everybody falls asleep at the same time. I have my iphone Vuvuzela App primed to celebrate the event.

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Monday, July 5, 2010


At Yakuoji, Kamakura, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Since frontals are in vogue, here's Buddha, meditating so deeply, at the quite weird Yakuoji cemetery, that he didn't seem to notice me taking the photo, even though I was right in front of him*.

Yakuoji's main claim to fame is that Nichiren sits in the main building with his mouth open, telling the people of 13th century Kamakura what's what. He did quite a lot of that. I expect he'd have a big ranty blog if he were alive today.

[*with my very discreet Sony TX5]

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Saturday, July 3, 2010


James and a Thistle, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Just to prove that James is not one dimensional, by special request, frontal James with, as a bonus, his national flower.

[Jomyoji English garden - either James is 1 foot high, or that thistle's gone a bit mad in Japan...and yes, that T-shirt is nearly 20 years old]

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Pom Pom City

I will try to limit the damage of the Kamakura pom pom epidemic, by posting them all in one post. I know that already I am defeated, as some sneaked into the back of the last picture.

Starting with the many at Meigetsuin, and ending with just one.

Meigetsuin

hydrangea - ajisai, in Kamakura

Ajissaaaaai, are everywhere in Kamakura.

Being at something of a loss as to how to photograph horrible pom pom flowers, for this last photo I am grateful for the inspiration gained from "myu-myu" one of my contacts on flickr, who appears to be a little dog but, nevertheless, clearly knows what they are doing when it comes to taking pictures of flowers and stuff.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010


James at Meigetsuin, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Portrait of James' on his 14th Wedding Anniversary. You can easily see how the ravages of time (and not being believed about climate sensitivity) are taking their toll, even though he attempts to hide the decline with his hand. For easy comparison, here is last year's portrait.

[Photo take on 21 June 2010, at Meigetsuin, home of the infamous blue pompom bushes, which will probably soon demand to be blogged.]

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