Category Archives: Field Notes

dossiers of collections including: payphones, post boxes, museums and exhibits, signs in the wild, and maybe outings – sorta photo dossiers involving going to a place and documenting therein (but hopefully don’t overlap too much with other reports)

Nagasaki Ramble, Feb. 2020, part 1 (trains, trams, food & rumours of a…)

Unnecessary Preamble:

The trip was meant as a little adventure and to visit relatives and also get away from the house while a few construction tasks were happening (new bathtub! etc.) but…

roll on to Nagasaki

As it goes, this was the “last trip” – at the time the (now infamous) Diamond Princess cruise ship was quarantined – shrouded in mystery – in Yokohama, the city was a bit tense and confused, and indeed, a week later another cruise ship was quarantined in Nagasaki.

Since we were well along the pregnancy, we stayed safe and busy despite my – ugh –usual health challenges, and so very much enjoyed Nagasaki: riding trams, olden Dutch settlements, bomb memorials :(, friendly folks, quirky kissaten cafes unchanged for decades, plus hospital visits for a young relative, and an abacus tournament (really) – Some new friends, strange islands, impossible alleys, hills & plants.

Of course didn’t realize it would be years until our next time out of Okayama prefecture // 2 years feels like 2 weeks or 20 years depending on the day.

Contemporaneous notes follow (there is also a fantastic analog scrapbook somewhere):

Feb 13, 2020: Nagasaki ramble officially underway at Okayama station at best lil coffee stand called Life & Coffee / ordered up a Bizen special cup

#protip there is a piece of Bizen ceramic put in the coffee which infuses with magic powers &/or imbues with extra tastiness

Feb 14: Nagasaki miscellanea diary (not to be confused with the Ryoko’s botanical diary)

Post box (obviously) at station

With a combination of low pressure weather systems, overstimulation of fast trains, and a bit too much activity of late, had a real rough flareup with my mostly-beloved but somewhat-battered body. It’s hard to explain all the pain but when it suddenly comes on, it’s quite scary.

Anyway, sweet wife tracked down some help for me this morning with acupuncture needles connected to electricity and some ice got the immediate pain calmed down.

Then, immediately following whilst on a little walk, we happened across a mysterious tiny café, ate some local dishes & met a new friend, the proprietor – or son of the family or something something. Regardless, he loves fishing and was cheerful and affable. Koba-san!

the famous champon noodles of the area

He knocked off the job and loaded us up in his car for a coastal drive to gaze the remnants of a coal factory mining island (noted in various films).

Plus the related museum displaying the challenges of life on an industrial enclave which was for a while a “fully functioning” city and the most densely populated place on earth.

While every day is a romantic interlude with my Darling wife, appropriately today we viewed the battleship island from “wedding“ rocks complete with a Torii gate, and much fun conversation.

Now a rest, then perhaps a walk to explore the Dutch outposts from long-ago days before the “black ships “ obliged Japan to open up.

Overall everything going well except for my crushing head / end of dispatch #valentinesday

I offer a few photos as evidence. Really the usual: postbox, trains, street cars, telephone, plus a few of the aforementioned items.

Trams

Trains

Trams & Trains video

A montage of trams and trains featuring music by Dan Mangan and Ryoko Olson… It turns out there are literally hundreds of similar videos on YouTube but I’m pretty sure this one is the very best of all of them :-)

Pyjamas

Pajamas provided by the hotel, in this case, button-up long night shirt style. Really fantastic. I’m really trying not to steal these and further ruin my reputation in Japan (and for all other foreigners too). But if no one knows it was me…

Canals & Vibes

Canals, old customs houses, small alleys, mix of Western and Japanese style houses… All in the little area around our hotel. Dreamy // and keep in mind, none of this existed after August 1945

Food, for starters

Harbour Stroll

Due to the (at that time) recent announcement of a mysterious illness entering Japan aboard a cruise ship, the general populous immediately hunkered down – so, when we went on a harborfront stroll seeking splendid sashimi, we had the promenade and the restaurant basically to ourselves.

Ryoko’s Botanical Diary

Chinatown Stroll

While Nagasaki’s interest in history deserves several essays and a miniseries, in brief: as you likely know, for hundreds of years, Japan was basically closed off to international trade with a few exceptions, one being controlled trade with China (who often acted as a middle broker for Japanese wars with other countries) as well as first the Portuguese who were expelled by bringing their religion Against the wishes of the Daimyo (insert story about peasant quasi religious uprising here… Oh actually Melvyn Bragg on the intellectually stimulating “In Our Time” podcast covers The Shimabara Rebelion) so then the trading franchise was transferred to the Dutch who were sequestered on an island // which we will get to later…

So in the meantime, here are a few snapshots of Chinatown – which is Japan’s oldest Chinatown and somehow lent to the feeling of Nagasaki as a miniature San Francisco: a harbor, lots of hills, various cobbled, international vibe, great café culture, trams clattering along – but, as far as I could tell, a lack of Beat poetry and self-aggrandizing tech companies.

More to come

Considering this diary only catches the first barely 2 days of the trip and there’s so much more to share, I invite you back for:

  • Visit to Dejima
  • Abacus tournament
  • Grilled meats
  • Old public bath
  • Quirky coffee shops
  • Atomic bomb museum
  • Experiencing four seasons of weather in three days
  • Of course more trains, post boxes, payphones and so on, probably anyway

Way Home (more trains)

And just so I don’t forget: here are two snaps from the way home on the now decommissioned Kamome train – briefly addressed above at the time but now replaced with a super high speed “new trunk line” a.k.a. Shinkansen a.k.a. bullet train.

I love these “at – grade” class trains as they are wider, have beautiful touches like parquet floors, lounge cars and viewing areas // which you can see in the photo along with the usual photo of my boots, yes these cheap and cheerful chukkas which took me into the Himalayas, along with my stolen suitcase of treasures which earned its stickers.

So we go on.

Field Notes: overnight’r w/ sports, kids, bunks, baths, ports & burgers

Nov. 22 AM: Quite paralyzed by exhaustion and overwhelmedness – but things to do so I’m just saying this out loud so I get up and do one tiny thing at a time.

Kinda hectic 3 days ahead by my humble standards

  • Step one: switch from pajamas to something sort of like clothes
  • Step two: fresh air into bedroom
  • Step three: turn on Hey Rosetta “plan your escape”
  • Step four: meds, kanpo & supplements
  • Step five: food
  • Step six: grab some travel bags from kura
  • Step seven: prepare travel coffee kit

Then:

Continue reading Field Notes: overnight’r w/ sports, kids, bunks, baths, ports & burgers

BC Invasion: so lost, so far behind

Months, so many months since we returned from the #BCInvasion and still, stacks of ephemera, loads of records, so many books, treasures, gifts, treats, and then all of the snapshots in so many formats in so many places… unpatiently waiting for a time when my brain is working and the dishes are washed & the laundry folded to savor and contextualize experience with videos, posts, odes, and proper notes – and of course I want to send “custom thank you cards” to everyone we met along the way.

just feeling lost and behind on “all of it”

Realizing this isn’t going to happen and that’s all right but, things will start drifting out, I hope you find a bit of amusement.

The whole whirlwind was such an important trip for me and my darling duo so I want to make sure to express maximum gratitude to all the people who welcomed us, took the time to hang out with us, brought so many treats, hugs, kindness, welcomeness, and general awesomeness.

We arrived home to a bit of a chaos and honestly one conundrum and catastrophe after another but life is grand: the little guy is snoring beside me dreaming of shovel cars and strawberry cake, my incredible wife is more remarkable each day and me well… let’s not even talk about me.

{Well, in brief, I am so full of stories, songs, poems and projects yet I just can’t quite get the required blood and oxygen into my brain to do all the craftiness I’m dreaming of but, I’m living til at least 120 years old so will get there eventually. You’ll buy the book(s) right? Right?}

In the meanwhile, here is one snapshot.

We went to visit great grandma today and I printed her out an assortment of cute photos and kept thinking “oh my goodness, this is the best one ever” and then “no seriously, this one, or this one… I need them all” there’s not enough ink, paper, time to properly contextualize it all.

It was just so much more and yet nowhere near enough. Never will be the same.

So to you, gratefully from a man with an unruly beard, coif of curl, with a seaplane and beloved mysterious yellow pile of sulfur across the inlet I’ve crossed so many times by Seabus and right by Stanley Park which always felt like coming home.

Peace and gratitude to all of you. More to come (if you want it).

Japan Renegade Travel Musings (specifically *not* Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka)

Oh look, adventure Ted is having a beer, sashimi and plotting good times…

Adventure Tour Guide Ted Taylor and DaveO riff in a historic Kura barn in Tsuchida, Okayama, Japan talking about exploring… well off-the-beathen-ish-path Japan – specifically not Tokyo, Kyoto, & Osaka (sure those places are great or whatever but plenty of info) so let’s explore elsewhere with places, tactics, tips and musings. Alas, no “b-roll”, links, edits, but plenty of digressions and pretty great hats.

Despite what dashing Ted Taylor tells ya, you can/should hire him for adventure tours (seriously) plus dig his most excellent journals at: Notes from the Nog blog

Continue reading Japan Renegade Travel Musings (specifically *not* Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka)

Field notes: Kurashiki Jazz Street day-out snaps

Field Notes (brief) Kurashiki day-out during the “Jazz Street“ event (first in-person since 2019) with little pop-up concerts happening in all sorts of venues from tatami rooms to kissatens. Possibly more to follow.

Bikan Historical Quarter is just everything is so fcking cute with canals (complete with sort of gondola boats), rickshaws, coffee shops, cafés and restaurants of all kinds, craft shops, and some spectacular museums.

Ichiro was a great respectful supporter of the bands & especially like players rolling double basses down the lane

Everyone looking extra sharp with dapper hats, sometimes kimonos, musicians rolling double basses down the cobbly road.

Also tourists (mostly domestic but also some internationals… First time seen “in the wild“ for a very long time) heck we even chatted with a Belgian couple briefly. “Good Timing” i said.

Importantly, the tree with wooden supports was a spontaneous emergency repair by wife at a friend’s cafe (it was falling down and she went to work with saw – standing on a restaurant chair – and we pounded the support sticks in with a chunk of wood and tied up with rope. Not “perfect“ but a bit safer… The planter box is too small for the roots yet the tree was very healthy)
One thing about Japan, a lot of the attractions and “things to see and explore” require a lot of stairs which I have limited ability with. I can walk upstairs but just not a lot of them or else I use up all my batteries for the day. But anyway, you can see the branches cut down from the emergency tree surgery
peeked at an art installation, or is it a sculpture? no matter (same artist was the “space cat” from Osaka… the name slips me, hold on, i’ll figure it out)

Moving on… a few more (really didn’t capture any of the actual music or musicians we were there to see , but these just “field notes” after all, not a documentary.

this is me sitting in the breezeway, listing to tunes and goofing with the camera – just so lovely
another stack of stairs to gaze at, ramble to clamber up

{note: these photos come straight off this little ruggedized Olympus camera that I found in the wife’s office while tidying up and I really like it, lots of onboard effects / settings ++ and allows me not to be handling my phone as a camera – on which the cameras don’t work anymore so well, works out extra well}

and back towards our sweet ride, Agnes like we live in a Ghibli film

Postbox / 4 views: Yumeji Takehisa home & atelier (for #postboxsaturday)

For #postboxsaturday comes 4 views of Japan pillar style at (one of several) museums for famed artist (painter, print maker, poet, writer, bookbinder and illustrator) Yumeji Takehisa (1884-1934).

In the gift shop or a wide assortment of postcards and postal stamps design from the artists work. What kind of dream is this right?!

This dapper gent is noted for his modern approaches and expanding traditional techniques and representing – especially women & cats – through the “rather enlightened romantic“ Taisho era – which was sandwiched between the massive industrialization of Meiji era and the militarization build-up of early Showa era.

Continue reading Postbox / 4 views: Yumeji Takehisa home & atelier (for #postboxsaturday)

Field Notes: Auroville, observations feeling lost (at first)

Intro / Disclaimer (longer than actual notes): I hesitate to publish this flashback diary, not because I fear away from my notion of embracing translucency in personal archaeology, but rather because these are notes from the first couple of days and after sort of a disconnected start (keep in mind, I had just come out of several weeks of fairly solitary time at an Ayurveda hospital).

Anyhow my (I don’t know how to say it) my “community building instincts” kicked in and I made friends with some fun Italians who had a house and some herb, we did some slacker yoga, met a young Indian man studying sustainable architecture and connected him with the wider hemp as a building material community which has gone on to be fruitful relationships, met some wonderful wise elder ladies from Iceland and Switzerland, sort of fell into my rhythm.

Matrimandir thatta way

Plus, I learned logistics about “how to live there which basically is “if you can contribute something, you can make it happen”.

So this part of the story which sounds a little bit bleak and, in many ways is accurate though as in recent times (as a round this up in 2022,) there are emerging and ongoing controversies about how a place like this should be governed which brings in a lot of questions about privilege, colonialism, ecology, status of the land itself, the intentions of founders (and how much that matters and how is to be interpreted), which all brings tension between long timers, and newer inter-lopers, and the people around the international enclave who are just living and trying to make the best of their life in a larger country which still kind of figuring out who wants to be in the bigger world.

oh here is Matrimandir

So,… there’s this part of the story and then the part where I had to leave suddenly upon the passing of my mother and make a rapid trip to Utah, (talk about culture shock!), on the middle, there were some pleasantness which I’ll try to articulate along the way under separate cover.

In short, I found that there was a need for archivists, librarians, radio talkers, communications types and I suddenly saw how I might fit in and disappear there forever.

Of course I loaded up on artifacts, ephemera and items from the bookstore with the teachings of the founders and various dispatchers and missives about peace and community. (Some made it in to a scrapbook chronicling the heart-wrenching trip from India to Utah and beyond).

I’m saying this because there’s a lot more to say but in the meantime I was also dealing with the crisis of the withdrawal of Rs.1000 and Rs.5000 bank notes from circulation which resulted in empty bank machines, and no way to get cash (which was particularly amusing/ironic in this cashless society when one really needed cash to not use cash – but without a bank account well… folks were flying to Sri Lanka just to exchange money and come back which seems to defeat the whole point of an ecologically sustainable and equitable community!).

As fate (if that’s a thing) had it, things went differently, very differently, but this place remains in my head as I try to sort out the conundrum to address here on these first tentative days, but also in my heart simply for the fact that this kind of “unique/weirdness” exists.

I hope to return, or maybe not, I just hope something like this exists in some utopian form. Yep, one can dream right?

Added a few snapshots in here, others will go in a sort of “in between days” post” (pardon my notes to self).

Oh and more about this time appears in audio form as “Field Notes from Elsehwere, Choogle On #121” in which i tell *way too much* about the missing years.

Auroville Observations

So far, its much more intense than intentional. Can a community grow into a city without bureaucracy, boards, meetings, committees, resolutions, motions, applications, infighting, mandatory contributions and acronyms?

Seems perhaps not, or is it? It seems not. Or is it rule dependent? Or personality driven?

But strong leaders go rogue and sex and power corrode.

Frequent complaining, loud motorbikes, local workers and no hellos and/or Namastes.

I have tea in a stainless steel cup. Will food come to me as a notice my cane? I suspect not.

With respect to intention and effort, are you simply trading one framework for another with new names?

various shrines but not “religious”

The spirituality if any is in the background. “Love” is the word but not evident in action. No hugs, no warmth, not cold communication but hardly an emotional symbiotic place or perhaps not physically evident.

Now, one full day in… Awaiting dinner after fumbling through woods on a dark trail. Why am I so unsatisfied? All afternoon scrapbooking, letter/package making-is it that I don’t understand this place yet? The only people who come to talk are other new people or “tourists”.

restaurants are neither businesses nor not-businesses, cash is no cash but cash

I get that long timers make this community for themselves and not for passers-thru but, still… This is neither a spiritual holy land nor brilliantly efficient or revolutionary self-sufficient nor rock ‘n’ roll fun nor artsy-craftsy-though all those elements exist.

No “religion” per se but cult of work-that’s sort of OK-not warm but not clinical. No hugs still, no hellos or help all day long. So many complainers!

Even at the visitor center-everyone is on mobile’s-services spread out making wearing motorcycles and scooters necessary. Townhall was well, a Townhall. You change money for a card with Receipts and *sign here* for everything.

I buy and read all the books and I’m down with the charter and respect and work but somehow it feels oddly-indifferent to outsiders no doubt and unashamed to say-a shortage of houses but no quick prefab dwellings.

Old ideas are cool with local artisans but if a shortage is thwarting progress from only 2800-ish to a projected (and seemingly unreasonable 50,000) how well it scale?

I don’t care as I like small but masterplan seems dependent on a few “lions” and long timers. Sure it makes sense in a traditional conventional sense but it all seems so fragile and rather self-congratulatory while more or less like the old west of the myths of America – pioneer families incorporating a new town while carpet-baggers roll in often with new ideas and are branded “newcomers” even after a decade or so.

New arrivals who wish to settle are vetted after a year or longer. You have to contribute *something* of value (skills, building, biz…) which the community deems needed.

But the “community leadership” is nebulous and confused (from my vantage point). The newbs post bond in form of an air ticket home – your “home” isn’t here, it’s where you “come from” not like rainbow gatherings where the greeting is “welcome home” – maybe because of the outside political situation, hedging bets with a “punt play”.

The pain and guilt of socioeconomic class is palatable and unresolved.

Yet here I feel so alone despite surrounded by people for the first time in weeks. But no eye contact no warmth – to me at least.

Now I will eat and hope it’s just a bad day despite a walk to the visitor center, watching an introductory film, purchasing books with rupees for which change is difficult, chatting on blankets and towel, getting “non-cash” card, buying items to eat: pears and curd and cookies on bed while I listen to favorite music but all I think is “I am lost.”

mighty banyan tree
Continue reading Field Notes: Auroville, observations feeling lost (at first)

Japan “opens up”* / A few things about #Okayama

* to tourism (not everywhere, not everyone blah blah blah)

Not my photo, source unknown, but it’s so great isn’t it?

If you are curious, Japan is reopening to independent tourism starting October 11 with visa waivers for people from approximately 68 countries/jurisdictions (previously required sponsored business, tour group or onedegree relative visa with a daily limit on total arrivals) still some requirements for proof of 3x vax /negative tests etc. and yes you gotta wear a mask #Airborne but blah blah blah

The gates are creaking open

So here are a few videos (my others) bundled together to share the wonders of my home area of Okayama / Plus usual other ramblings, ergo:

Situation Basics:

Ref: Nikkei Asia “Starting on Oct. 11, short-term visitors will no longer be required to apply for tourist visas. Before the pandemic, Japan allowed visa-free short-term travel from people from 68 countries and regions, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and the U.S. And with no need to book tours through travel agencies, it will be easier to visit.”

Oh here’s a photo which looks very *Japan* doesn’t it?

Some requirements about proof of three times vaccination and negative test still required and yes to masks (no whining).

Briefly: its “Okayama” not…

I live in Okayama – sorta between Osaka and Hiroshima, close-ish to Kyoto (but you should go to Kanazawa instead) Not close to Tokyo and not to be confused with Okinawa.

We are famous for peaches and grapes, folktales about peaches, the best jeans in the entire world, my buddy’s goat farm, a lively jazz scene, and some great museums, including the incredible “European sampler pack“ at at Ohara museum in Kurashiki (yes, also lots of Japanese art obviously), also the most sunshine of any part of Japan. 

Importantly, the “jumping off point” to go to the inland sea filled with islands of interesting art exhibits and onwards to the fourth of the “main islands” Shikoku with hidden villages, surf beaches and pilgrimages.

Here’s a starting primer (written in 2019 so you know, could use a fresh up):

Here’s everything except the stuff I forgot in 2019

Let’s Go: “Not-To-Be-Missed Okayama Travel Gems You’ve Never Heard Of”

Oh it’s me, self-proclaimed “Okayama super fan“ talking with the effervescent JJ Walsh on her show Seek Sustainable Japan having a casual fun coffee talk about all my favorite things, a great place to start:

JJ makes really fun shows all around Japan talking to interesting people doing work around sustainable agriculture, architecture, tourism and lifestyle

Demin “Jeans Street” Kojima

Among the wonderful things about Okayama prefecture is the town of Kojima with “Jeans Street” featuring dozens of smallish factory/shops making and selling artisan and/or bespoke denim jeans.

sneakers on powerlines are boring, hang jeans instead

The area was originally known for making school uniforms which still happens but overshadowed by very enthusiastic international following for jeans.

Often hand indigo dyed, various weaves & cuts, endless nuanced options, and superior craftsmanship. Not cheap but these are generational-quality clothing items.

Anyhow, this video is an interview and tour with one of the originals called Betty Smith going back to the 1960s. They specialize in ladies jeans in heritage (1970s!) styles, made by Japanese women in a fantastically interesting factory, with a museum and other supporting attractions/tours etc.

Make sure to turn the CC on for English translation.

Record shops: a enthusiast’s stroll

Onwards! this time record shops:

You know I love records, quirky shops and dig “grassroots” creative productions, as such, this fellow named Michael, who also lives in the same prefecture (I don’t know him), started up a channel to share stuff about records and shops and rice fields and here’s him coming into my erstwhile hometown of Okayama.

Unrelated to the video *but* a great example of the “Obi” paper wrapper and Japanese liner notes you’re find with records here
He seems like a nice guy, give his videos some click

He rides the cool streetcar, checks out a few local record stores – several i’ve visited, several are closed on Wednesday he made his outing – so you can see some of my under-appreciated city and where to score some legendary Japanese pressing/packaging vinyl.

Goat farm, my fave place

This is my favorite place in all of Japan, Mac Kobayashi’s goat farm, cafe, market and music lounge (plus my accidental art gallery :))

goats, not doing yoga, listening to music… Seriously, they love listening to the music

Please watch the video below for more about the goat farm and my pal Mac Kobayashi in this exhibit related video (5:34 mark) and of course my postbox haiku paintings :)

Goat farm starts at 5:34 but watch it all

Memo: The painting was “just the postbox”, then i found a matching mailbox and installed at the farm, wrote the haiku onto the postbox, and then added to the painting to complete the meta circle. oh then made postcard prints and a book and mailed postcard of the postbox to the postbox…

Also (of course there is more):

Throughout this archive, you can find videos about the best way to get from the airport (KIX/Kansai) to here, how to get around this area, a language primer plus all kinds of “field notes” about museums in Okayama and other cities (including faves like Nagasaki, Kanazawa & Toyama + Tottori & Shimane aka Japan’s hidden gems.

I probably have miscellaneous archives of trains, in fact I definitely have lots of ambient videos of riding trains around Japan, and maybe some posts about the fantastic nearby city of Kurashiki &/or the local jazz scene. If I don’t let me know cause I can address these topics. All other topics, probably not, I don’t get out much.

Give me a call, we’ll talk about Japan / video by Trevor Williams (oh, I should share his video about Bizen pottery… really though this deserves more discussion

I have nothing to share about Tokyo or Osaka and a few minor unhelpful things about Kyoto. Fortunately, the Internet is jampacked with stuff about those places which frankly, you should just skip for best experience. I mean, they’re great and everything I guess but that’s where everyone goes and don’t you wanna do something unique and interesting? Sure you do.

Your humble correspondent awaits your correspondence

For the most part, you can rely on the posts being rather sloppy, definitely quirky, rather unedited and only marginally useful.

Exhibit: Shimizu Hian Shodo Calligraphy in Ukan, Okayama, 2021

In April 2021, we visited a shodo calligraphy exhibition at a saké distillery with special floral arrangements made by Ryoko’s frequent collaborator in arboristing & other natural arts, Oka-san (true salt of the earth tough guy with a deep gravel voice, leathered by perpetual smoking with a heart of gold and an artistic sense of nuance and splendour), who showed us around – along with his wonderful young daughter Momoka.

In a previous dispatch, shared some pleasureable scenes of everyday life at the distillery, the deserted street outside, and a tucked-away-in-mountain coffee shop.

This dossier is a round-up of shodo art pieces on display by Shimizu Hian for my (and possibly your) memory, inspiration and edification.

A few notes about the artist: {actually not finding much of anything in English aside from archival auction sites and living years of 1883-1975, i'll work on this} Here's another one of his works listed at Japanese Modernism and another out-of-date auction listing. 

I enjoyed his “less formal and more whimsical than usually seen” style and mixing of words and images seamlessly. Form is meaning and meaning has form.

Also variety of techniques moving beyond the “usual” few bold kanji on white.

The exhibit was on display at his historic sake distillery where we purchased a couple of bottles to go – as is the custom – after enjoying tea with the family.

Takeaway: here is a collection of most of the pieces, in a handy collage to keep close to your heart.

If you know more about this artist, please drop a comment and thanks to exceptional shodo master Yoshiko Yoshida for assistance getting this far. And take a moment to explore the area with us.

Field Notes: Kyoto’s Gingaku-ji (6 instax-views)

Japan is a land of photographers and places to be photographed. Truly, there’s an endless variety of both the photographers (and of course their equipments) and the places to be photographed.

Among them are the sites of The noted “old capital” Kyoto, usually overrun, quite literally, with photograph-snapping holiday-makers going from Shinto shrine to Zen Buddhist temple to Imperial Palace to endless Torii gates to the Gion district seeking kimono wearing ladies and contemplating water business restaurants gingerly tilted on stilts over river since forever.

This is all to say that you will see much finer photos of the Ginkaku-ji aka “silver pavilion” which, isn’t really very silver unlike it’s cousin the “golden pavilion” which is very gold.

No matter, the buildings are inspiring, the grounds filled with nuanced detail and various stations to write prayers on wooden tiles, have monks inscribe books (or in my case a Cascadian passport) sit for a while on a bench, spot the leaves grass and possibly fish.

And yes, I took some photos both with a Fuji Instamax pictured below as well as a few others with a pocket robot which really should be retired (not really, i’ll use it until it totally stops).

I added the results (commingled with other ephemera, tickets, brochures, cards, scribbles etc.) into a scrapbook – and in my usual recursive documentation, filmed the making of the analog scrapbook, with the luscious sounds of cutting paper and the silence of glue along with punk rock records in the kura barn studio.

But for now, here are six views of Ginkaku-ji. Poorly lit, off-center and perfect. ^^