Tokyo Old and New

I have posted view’s of the guard towers of the Imperial Palace before, but this one is a view that really melds the old and new Tokyo in a fun way. All around the city are evidence of ancient times integrated with some great modern designs.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 11 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 250
  • Shutter speed: 1/500s
  • Title: Tokyo Old and New

Entering the Gate at Meiji Jingū

Always a Stop

I have been to Meiji Jingū every time I have visited Tokyo. There is a peacefulness to the place that I love taking in, its also suffused with Japanese spiritual practice. Shinto is fascinating to me, and I love to watch all the comings and goings…especially the marriage ceremonies. This is one of the outer torii gates on the east side of the expansive park the Shrine is built on.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 11 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 18mm
  • ISO: 800
  • Shutter speed: 1/320s
  • Title: Entering the Gate at Meiji Jingū

The Ethereal Essence of Sakura

Magic in the Air

Magic is probably the wrong word to use. I feel like Sakura is must more of an Eastern philosophical festival than my Western mind completely grasps. There is so much beauty in the blossoms of the cherry trees. The burst forth to the enjoyment of all and fill the previously cold world wrapped in winter with color and life and the most glorious fragrance. Their time here is so short, only about 10 days, then the blossoms fall (die?). When this happens, a cool breeze come through and the petals of these one beautiful flowers rain down to the ground. I can most compare it to snow, but at the same time, nothing like snow. In that moment, for me at least, is perhaps their most beautiful expression. They leave the world in a gracefully chaotic fall that I can only call magical.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/320s
  • Title: The Ethereal Essence of Sakura

Zen Seclusion

Taking a Moment

Tokyo isn’t exactly a place for quiet. It’s hustle and bustle non-stop and packet to the gills with people. This is almost doubly so during Sakura! I have found though, even in the most densely populated places you can find moments of zen.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 17mm
  • ISO: 640
  • Shutter speed: 1/640s
  • Title: Zen Seclusion

Flowering Bush in Tokyo, Japan

Spring is Around the Corner

Believe it or not, Spring is not far around the corner! Personally I can’t wait for winter to be over, but this realization got me thinking about Sakura. I am not traveling quite as much as in years past. Part of me is really sad about this, but it also makes me thing about the Buddhist meaning of this time in Japan. The cherry blossoms live only for around 10 days and they are a reminder of impermanence. Nothing can last forever, but despite inevitable mortality, spring will come again.

I found this flowering bush (or maybe tree) while viewing Sakura. The closer brighter blossom was nearly perfect, it too made me thing while circumambulating the Shinobazu Pond that while the Sakura gets all the attention, there is beauty all around.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 640
  • Shutter speed: 1/160s
  • Title: Flowering Bush in Tokyo, Japan

Sakura Blossoms in Ueno Park

Sakura

I get why the Japanese have a word specifically for cherry blossoms and another for the viewing of these wonderful flowers. My visit to Japan this last April was toward the end of the blossoming season, just at the start of the fall. There is an otherworldly beauty, not unlike snow, but different all the same, as the still cool breeze blows and petals fall, gently invade all your senses. I think for me Hanami is a perfect explosion of color after the desolateness of Winter. Wrapped, surviving in the cold, then one day the beautiful promise of Spring.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4.5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 31mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s
  • Title: Sakura Blossoms in Ueno Park

Old Guard House of Japan’s Imperial Palace

A Preferred View

This is the view of this particular guard tower I prefer. It sits in stout defense of the unseen palace behinds its wall. It, guarded by a moat that would leave attackers undefended in crossing. The think is just outside the frame is a mass of new Japan. Big buildings and construction equipment abound. Behind is a massive parking lot. I don’t show you these. This photo looks old, but was taken in 2016. I guess in many ways our fortresses and our photographs aren’t unlike ourselves.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 11 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 30mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/50s
  • Title: Old Guard House of Japan's Imperial Palace

Lanterns on Display for Sakura

Cherry Trees!

I have wanted to visit Japan in late March or early April some time for the Sakura. There are numerous places in the world that have flowering trees. Our own state is gorgeous with dogwood, redbud and apricot trees, but getting to experience Hanami (flower viewing) in person is something a bit otherworldly. This location is in Ueno Park, a part of Tokyo I had not yet visited. Lanterns had been strung to keep the viewing going even after dark and there are hundreds of people and groups having a picnic under the falling petals.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 23mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/200s
  • Title: Lanterns on Display for Sakura

Kyoto Temple

Not All Who Wander are Lost

I went on a walk searching for a temple. I got lost and it started to rain…hard.

It often happens to me during my travels. I tend to get lost, I even TRY to get lost. Sure I have my phone, so I am never TRULY lost, but believe me…I get lost. I also like to walk places. I feel like I get to see more and see the color of places if I walk. Sometimes I am detrimentally stubborn about it, but the wander is hard to satisfy.

This day, my wandering soul found this beautiful place at the top of a small hill. I am not entirely sure where in Kyoto it is, but this entry was very beautiful and nestled quietly away allowing for reflection. I generally don’t care for people in my photos, but this couple seemed to fit.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 15 November, 2015
  • Focal length: 17mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s
  • Title: Kyoto Temple

Traditional and Modern Tools in Japan

Turning Japanese

If it seems like I have Japan on the brain lately it’s because I DO! I am headed to Japan in a few months for the Cherry Blossom season! I have wanted to be in Japan during this time for a long time and only missed it by a few weeks in 2015. Hopefully this year I will get lucky since the time from bloom to fall is VERY short!

This is a collection of tools used by the caretakers of Meiji Jingu. I love how there is a mix of traditional brooms and modern tools as well.

Photo Technical Info