Friday, 20 December 2013

Photo Friday - Fushimi Inari Dragon

Because I'm a few days late for a Wordless Wednesday... A dragon waterspout from Fushimi Inari.

Thursday, 19 December 2013


I spoke at an event on Sunday and because of the post-event drinking party they put me up for the night. On Monday I was to transfer at Kyoto to the shinkansen and head home, except I couldn't. Despite the mile long to-do list waiting for me at home, I couldn't just head straight home on Monday morning, it would have been such a waste! So I stashed my bag in a locker and hopped on the JR Nara line.

A few minutes later I was standing beneath the first of many bright orange torii shrine gates.

Thankfully the crowds thinned out the further I got up the mountain and, although the weather was grey and overcast with a bite to the wind, there were only a few intermittent rain drops and my climb kept me warm.

Even without my good camera Fushimi Inari is incredibly photogenic. Much of the route up the mountain is lined with bright orange gates, winding through the forest where a few stubborn maples still held on to their autumnal glory.

There was an older man repainting one of the torii and there were others festooned with wet paint signs and in various degrees of newly painted-ness.

Then there were others that were obviously rotting from within and others that had rotted away leaving empty cement post holes filled with fallen leaves.

The calm and quiet of the surroundings and the walk did me the world of good after days of bonding with my computer in frenzied prep for my talk.

But all too soon it was time for me to head back to Kyoto and, as the rain began to fall, I bought omiyage in one of the station's stores and snagged the last empty seat on my shinkansen back home.

Monday, 2 December 2013


After work one day last week I braved the chilly Tokyo evening, hordes of old men with big cameras and tripods, and young couples with women tripping along in completely useless high-heeled "booties." A pretty little Japanese garden by day, Rikugien does a evening light-up during fall foliage season (and sells yummy grilled rice cake dango with sweet miso or soy sauce... mmmmmm!)

Without a tripod, and not wanting to stop traffic by setting up such equipment even if I had it, most of my pictures turned into fuzzy blobs of bright colour, but the light up is beautiful and the garden well worth a visit at night, or during the day.

You start with a view of the lake with buildings and trees lit up on the opposite side

Then walk along lit and semi-lit paths through the forest

Some trees were lit up from below. 

And the stream that used to flow through the garden was brought back through undulating blue lights.

But the best view was one ignored by most visitors - a Japanese maple at the height of its fall glory was a blaze of red and orange, tucked into a corner beside the outhouses by the entrance. Not a single extra-large lens and tripod toting ojisan in sight!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Hard Corners

In the shower the other day I noticed an angry looking bruise on my left thigh. I'm a klutz and I bruise quite impressively, but this one was even more colourful than usual.

"No wonder I squeaked at U when he cuddled up to me last night!" I thought to myself.

After my shower I walked into the kitchen to get myself a glass of water. Intent on my drink I wasn't watching where I was going and bashed into the dining table.

"Ouch!" I said to myself and rubbed my thigh, "I'm going to have a brui- ahhH!" Cartoon style, a light bulb had gone off over my head. It sure has taken me long enough to finally realize where the nearly constant bruises on the exact same spot on each thigh have come from. 

Maybe it is about time I invested in rubber corners or some sort of padding for the edges of the dining table?