so for my photo class i made a series of portrait-style photos of different people rocking the bear suit… man i really need an autofocus-capable lens! i took tons of photos, mostly in low light… and hardly any came out in focus… at least the ones that did come out were pretty cool… i did well in the critique, but the thing that stuck with me the most was the criticism of positioning and background… one person said it would have been better with really varied backgrounds (like at the train station… in the supermarket etc..)… and one person said all the backgrounds/positions should have been uniform… like on a brick or white wall… but i think regardless of how well they go together as a conceptual series (and i agree with the criticism, but i was operating under a severe lack of time), these photos came out nicely. enjoy.
they should have all been set up like this one (above)
or this one
hope you enjoyed it
so last weekend was huge! sorry for not posting sooner, ive been super busy with school (midterms and all). first and foremost big ups to dave and emily for taking care of second camera duty during the trip (and also letting me tag along with them a majority of the weekend) they took a bunch of these photos with the point and shoot…. as i mentioned in the last post, i spontaneously left on the shinkansen (best invention ever!) at the behest of my dad, for osaka/kyoto/nara… and it was rad! first night was kind of a bust, just cheap drinking and then sleeping at an internet cafe…
shots from the shinkansen
sunday in osaka was way more epic!
this is osaka castle… rad!
fishing in the moat… notice the little cut-out algae fishing hoop things
im pretty sure this is an arhat, something i learned about in asian art history in shoreline… but they just beg for alms all the time… in the name of buddhism… i kicked down some yen for the cause
this is osaka castle, super epic!! wikipedia says that it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. major stuff.. of course like most things in japan, it burned down in an earthquake and it was refurbished and turned into a museum.. so the inside is kinda boring (aside from all the awesome museum info-ness)… but sen rikyuu is the man… he invented the tea ceremony
bikes! i think this is a single speed though, it seems to have front and rear brakes
looking down the osaka castle well
after osaka castle, it was on to the “floating garden observatory” which was in fact not a garden at all.. just an observatory on top of an awesomely constructed building
this is the escalator up from the 30-something floor to the 4oth
heres a photo from the actual observatory
no skanking! no skating!
then we ate killer okonomiyaki which is this pancake/omelette thing but its not really a pancake or an omelette.. discuss! the cook/owner was super nice and he gave us our little spatulas to take with us! nice guy! then dave and i walked around osaka for a while… he looked up a bar he wanted to go to, and after getting super lost… we found A POKEMON CENTER!!! i don’t know what goes on at a pokemon center, but someday i’ll have to find out. so the quest for artemis bar continued…
and then i rocked out. then we got really lost and found a giant whale
we recruited 2 separate trios of people, and they guided us to the bar! then dave caught the train back to the kyoto hostel where i couldnt get a bed, and i walked around some more and then went to the internet cafe and passed out in a little cubicle.
nijo castle was super super cool! heres a snippet from wikipedia about ninomaru palace (there are 2 palaces on the grounds…)
In 1601 Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of Tokugawa Shogunate ordered all the feudal lords in Western Japan to contribute to the construction of the Nijō Castle. The construction was completed during the reign of Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1626. It was built as the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns.
In 1867 the Ninomaru Palace was the stage for the declaration by Tokugawa Yoshinobu, returning the authority to the Imperial Court. Next year the Imperial Cabinet was installed in the castle. In 1939 the palace was donated to the city of Kyoto and opened to the public the following year.
there are tons of awesome paintings on the walls, but they arent protected by the sun very well, so all the windows are shuttered and theres no real lighting in the room. i’m sure it didnt help that i went on a cloudy day either. one super epic feature are the “nightingale floors” that squeak all the time, so that ninjas couldnt attempt late night assassinations.
super cool garden
you cant go inside of honmaru palace, but when the walot shogunate takes over japan, i call this one
then it was time to check into the hostel, and i took a shower… and dave and i rented bikes, which was a genius idea.. we covered so much ground, and got to ride mama chari!
we went to a bunch of temples and shrines, but it was kind of late in the day so most of them were closed.
this guy was chanting in a very cool fashion
this is a crazy restaurant i think
then dave went back to the hostel to do homework and i found a killer reggae bar and hung out there for a little bit, listening to all the reggae jams of the 60′s and 70′s… and a little 80′s… but there wasn’t alot of good music in the 80′s…
the next morning we left for nara, with a stop at the inari shrine… on the train this guy had cool shoes with brass knuckles on them
Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社?) is the head shrine of Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Japan. The shrine sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines.
the inari shrines are all about foxes (kitsune) and this particular shrine has possibly thousands of toriis lining the trails up the mountain! epic! beautiful! huge!
this is one of the main statues.. the fox is holding a key to the rice granary… inari are often worshipped by merchants for business prosperity
you see that paper tied around the foxes tail? thats from the japanese fortune lottery… theres like cylinder with sticks in it, you shake it up and one sticks out of the little hole on top with a number on it… and that corresponds to a fortune. if you get a bad fortune, you are supposed to tie it on a tree, but i guess the fox works too. i got a good fortune though, so no worries.
all over are these bells, i think you pray and then ring the bell so that the inari hear your prayer
these are the torii gates lining the trail/path… i think this shrine has the most toriis in japan… the trail goes all the way up the mountain
i blended 6 photos to make this killer panoramic shot at the top of the mountain… to see it larger click here.
when you enter a temple or shrine you are supposed to wash your hands and mouth with these things… this was a particularly cool model
for some reason there was a little crab on the mountain.
at the top of the mountain we ate kitsune udon… i guess at bigger shrines they have udon noodle soup with ingredients that the kami there likes… hence fox udon… it has inari (fried tofu soaked in some kind of sweet vinegar) in it. which doesnt make sense to me because why would a fox eat tofu? either way it tasted great and it was in a very scenic setting. then i saw this cat and i stopped to pet it and it just crawled into my lap! it wouldnt even get off, i had to force it off me and put it down, cute though.
then i got to pet a shiba inu! inu means dog by the way.. i know akita inus are called akitas because thats the city/region/prefecture they are from.. akita. i wonder if thats the case with shiba inus? ill look it up on wikipedia…
nope i was wrong… heres yet another blurb from wikipedia
The word shiba usually refers to a type of red shrub. This leads some to believe that the Shiba was named with this in mind, either because the dogs were used to hunt in wild shrubs, or because the most common color of the Shiba Inu is a red color similar to that of the shrubs. However, in old Japanese, the word shiba also had the meaning of “small”, thus this might be a reference to the dog’s small size. Therefore, the Shiba Inu is sometimes translated as “Little Brushwood Dog.”
Anyways, I think we went the wrong way off the mountain and ended up walking for 45 minutes to a train station through some town… but it turned out to be advantageous since the new stop we were at was an express train stop and the inari stop wasn’t, so we saved about 30 minutes on the train ride to nara
nara was awesome! theres todai-ji, which has the biggest buddha in japan… and more importantly TONS OF DEER! DEER THAT YOU CAN PET! AND CUTE BABY DEER! these sika deer are thought to be shinto messengers for the gods, they just cruise around the area
heres the pudding… see the proof, its in that pudding.
this deer is drinking deer urine off the street
the male deer get pretty pushy, and they start to headbutt you… progressively harder… i was walking around trying to feed the littlest deer and this bull deer would follow me around and keep butting me harder and harder
deer trying to fight over and open some human food product
i like how only that little bit of fur is in focus
deer biting dave. dave was kind of terrified of the deer after this
why the hell youd ever bring your cat with you to the deer park, i’ll never know. needless to say this cat was absolutely terrified
this deer took our itinerary out of my back pocket and ate most of it. good thing this was the last part of the trip. we also got good luck envelopes for buying a restoration tile to help restore todai-ji, and in the envelope was an awesome drawing of the vairocana (cosmic) buddha.. but a deer also pulled it out of my back pocket and ate it.
this is me about to be headbutted by a deer
oh yeah, theres also todai-ji… which has the biggest statue of buddha in japan. the buddha is 15 meters tall and weighs 500 metric tons. the todai-ji building is also the largest wooden building in the world
this is it. its absolutely enormous! and cool.
this is the tile we split.
i think these are protectors of the vairocana buddha
these are also protecting buddha i think
outside of todai-ji
replicas of the lotus petals in the statue
helping dave overcome his fear of deer
last but not least was the pillar you crawl through. the hole in the pillar is the size of nostril of the statue, if you can crawl through it you will supposedly have an easier time reaching enlightenment
this weekend was a blast! i highly recommend osaka, kyoto and nara!
well… i decided that since i had a 4 day weekend and nothing better to do besides clone my hard drive that it was high time for a proper adventure! i put my camera and a hoodie in my backpack and went to shinagawa station to get a ticket for the shinkansen (bullet train). for those of you who dont know… the bullet train is seriously the best thing ever invented. its a train… that goes like 200 miles per hour! genius! not only is it super comfy, but it goes so damn fast! why doesnt america have shinkansen? the ride from tokyo to osaka is only 2.5 hours, and totally gorgeous! i will post photos later when i get back to the pad and have a camera cord available, although i’m sure that most of the train photos will be blurry on account that i was practically breaking the sound barrier… anyways, i met up with some friends, after finding out that shin-osaka and osaka stations are two separate places, requiring an extra subway ride… and we went to izakaya… america also needs izakaya nomehodai…. for 15-20 bucks, its all the bottom shelf alcohol you can drink for 2 hours…. yay asahi beer! yay ballantines whiskey! i also got some steak fries and a plate of spaghetti… very odd. but all japanese italian food consists of spaghetti with some canned tuna and chopped up hot dogs… so weird… then we went to an internet cafe to sleep… and then we woke up and 4:30 in the gozen (am) and tried to find another place to sleep. basically we ended up back at the internet cafe to sleep for more hours, except that now i cant sleep because i had too much free coffee. tomorrow, or later today… im going to the biggest statue of buddha in japan! wild!
more on these internet cafes.. its a nerd paradise! you could basically live at one… theres ramen, showers… free coffee.. what i can only assume are (free) porno magazines (probably dirty free porn… either way, not my scene) [would you seriously touch a free porno in a nerd cavern? im sure all the pages are stuck together] … in your little stall you get a tv and a computer… im probably going to sleep at internet cafes all weekend… what a deal! this is better than my dorm room! its like my dorm plus all the free porn i never asked for! wow!