From time to time I grab my camera, a sturdy pair of shoes and head off in to the unknown.
I go through phases with my photography. Current phase is a return to "slap a 35mm prime lens, set to black and white mode, everything else to manual."
Whatever comes off the camera is what gets used. At most I'll straighten it, maybe add a watermark. And I'm not allowed to shoot the same thing over [keep reading...]
While there's no official state religion in Japan, both Shinto and Buddhism cast a long shadow over the culture. The country is full of temples, shrines [keep reading...]
Between the rain and work, I've spent too much of these past couple of weeks indoors. It's been tough, and I've slipped both mentally and physically. The aches are back. So too the melancholy. You should see my prompts [keep reading...]
I went nature spotting at the Kobe City Forest Botanical Garden. It's not the catchiest of names, but it doesn't disappoint.
Japan has distinct seasons. In times of old, a Japanese season lasted about a fortnight, and it isn't hard to see why. Sakura lasts about that long. [keep reading...]
For more than 2 years I've looked out of my office window at a mountain and thought, "I should hike that." The ridge is called Uma No Se - horseback - which is understandable given how it looks. A saddle of brown exposed rock sits between the green of the mountains.
The trail starts at the TsuTsuji bridge with a monumental climb. It's nice of the city to provide stairs, but that's close to a 200 metre ascent [keep reading...]
When it comes to cherry blossom, Kyoto gets all the attention. Countless tourists flock there, blocking up the narrow paths and bridges, jostling for that perfect shot. Queues form to see that "perfect" view down Philosopher's Walk, the most iconic of iconic sakura spotting locations in the former capital.
Yet I think there are better places to see the cherry blossom, and Sasayama is top of my list. A small town 50km or so outside Kobe, it's home to both a castle, an impressive hill top temple complex and a "merchant's quarter" that captures some of the architecture of the pre-modernisation era. Spread liberally around are parks [keep reading...]
It started as a joke.
"I'll walk to Sannomiya," sounded like I was about to undertake an epic hike across Kobe. It's the main transport and shopping hub, a sort of "city center" if you will. Then I [keep reading...]
When autumn arrived I was determined to start night photography again. Obviously not determined enough as the weeks rolled past and my planned visit to Sannomiya never happened. Aside from an accidental late night, when my wife was getting her latest booster and I had what turned out to be 20 minutes to spare, Japan's night life passed me by.
Frankly the weekly visit [keep reading...]
The new year is already a month old, and I've taken more than 300 photographs already. These are a few of the ones I shared on Social Media in January with a little bit more of the stories behind them.
The start of a new year in Japan is often celebrated with a visit to the local temple. This year I ventured down to the one in Suma as part of a planned walk around the area. It wasn't as busy as I expected, and there [keep reading...]
It would have been funny if people hadn't been hurt. Overnight 20-30mm of snow settled on the hills around Myohoji. Nothing substantial, you might think, but it was enough to cause chaos. Apparently unprepared after all the warnings, not a single road was gritted. Not a single pavement cleared.
Unwise in an area [keep reading...]
It was supposed to be a short walk to Nagata. 5km at most, take a few photos at the temple, find a spot of lunch, then train back. Except that isn't what happened. When I finished I'd walked more than 11km.
There's something disarming about this side of Kobe. Too often I'll walk somewhere because it's "only" a couple of kilometres, look at Google Maps and decide to carry on a bit further. These short distances chain together, quickly mounting up until my "popping out for half an [keep reading...]
It was the last chance for a wander around Meriken Park in Kobe before the new year. My wife finished work early, and with it being a bit too soon for dinner, we decided to go for a walk. I'm glad we did.
There's something special about Japan at night. The country uses light as a conscious part of its urban landscape. From vending machines announcing their presence to animated displays tempting shoppers, light is an [keep reading...]