Friday, July 1st, 2022

Flowers, boats and mascots: random images from June

Photograph of a hydrangea flower with vibrant violets and purples set against a calming background of green

Every month I take several hundred photos. While a few make it onto the pages of photowalk commentaries, or posts about aspects of life in Japan, many stay in my private collection, waiting for me to enjoy in a quiet moment.

This is a small selection of images from this month that didn’t make it onto a post, but I thought worthy of mention.

Concerto, Kobe Harborland

Photograph of a boat being tied up harborside at night with a crew member and dockhand working together

Every night the Concerto arrives in Harborland at about 7pm. There’s a flurry of activity as the passengers grab their final selfies and shots out across the harbor.

Meanwhile, the crew and dockhands work hard to secure her dockside.

Oor Wullie, Scotland

An independence referendum is back on the table in Scotland. Whether it happens remains to be seen, or what the result is. I’d prefer to see an Independent Scotland as every time I’ve been there the difference in culture with England is stark. It’s more like a Nordic country than a Germanic one.

Meanwhile, what better opportunity to share this happy chap. Oor Wullie were fun sculptures put up around Scotland, each painted in a different style. This one comes from Dundee, which would have become my home had Japan not worked out.

Dystopia, Kobe Winery

Monochrome photo of a Hello Kitty go-cart seemingly abandoned with a Thomas The Tank Engine cart in the background and foliage in the foreground

A random lunch, then off to Kobe Winery for a walk amongst the vineyards. There were few people around, and at times it felt like I was alone in some abandoned village.

It’s probably what inspired me to turn an otherwise innocuous image of children’s playthings into a monochromatic dystopia.

Ferris Wheel in Harborland

Photograph of a Ferris wheel taken from a low angle with a wall in front and a hint of sunlight flashing off the pods

A beautiful evening to sit out and enjoy the setting sun. Why I turned around in my seat I don’t know.

Glad I did.

Mitsui Marina on a beautiful (rainy) day

Photograph of a marina in bright sunshine with wisps of clouds in the blue sky, and four rows of yachts and motorboats coming towards the camera

According to tradition, the end of June is rainy season here in Japan. Someone needs to let the weather know, as we’ve had a few beautifully sunny days.

This was taken on the anniversary of my engagement to Mrs H. She took a day off, and we wandered down to Mitsui Outlet Park, an open air shopping mall in view of the Akashi bridge. Being midweek it was quiet, and the bright late spring sun was warm.

Although we go down there every couple of months, this is likely to be our last trip for some time. The park is about to be closed for a complete renovation.

Filter experiment

Photograph of a cute bumblebee mascot posing as if in the middle of a funky dance move

A mascot from the service area in Awaji, just over from the impressive Akashi-Keisho Bridge. The original image was somewhat overexposed, so I tucked it away to experiment with later. It was the baseline image for a filter I called “Negative Nostalgia” in Affinity Photo. One day I might get around to writing up what I do with these filter experiments and maybe sharing a few.

And finally, the hydrangea

Photograph of a hydrangea flower with vibrant violets and purples set against a calming background of green

Japanese houses don’t tend to have large gardens, and mine is no exception. There’s a small planter at the front and an almost inaccessible “yard” across the back of the house that’s less than a metre wide.

Doesn’t mean I can’t do something with it.

Last year a hydrangea was planted, and I’m pleased to say it’s flowering beautifully. A companion was added this year, so maybe next year’s display will be better. Either way, it’s a lovely sight to see when opening the door in the morning.

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My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.