Gardens in Himeji, Brutalism in Nagasaki and a toy car: photos from December 2022
Each month I share nearly a hundred photos across social media. Some are freshly taken from my wanders around Japan, others are pulled out of my archive. These are a handful of the ones shared in December, with some of the stories behind them.
Visit Himeji and chances are you’ll go to the impressive castle. Rightly so, it’s one of the most spectacular in Japan and full of history.
When you come out of the main gate, ignore the wide street in front, teasing with shops and restaurants, and turn right. A minute’s walk is the entrance to the Koko-en, an ornamental garden complex that’s companion to the castle. Constructed in the early 1990s on the site of a lost palace, it features several themes inspiredby traditional Japanese garden design.
Brutalism in Nagasaki
There’s a definite brutalist vibe to this mansion block seen in Nagasaki.
Kobe wishes you a safe voyage
Lost count of the number of times I’ve photographed the signal tower at Kobe Harborland. It was moved from its original position when the docks were revamped and flags were replaced with ship-to-shore radio. Today it’s a permanent monument to the old days, a popular meeting place for couples and spot for wedding photographers.
I wonder how many who’ve stood beneath it know the message her flags display?
Somewhere a child is missing its toy.
Another of the portraits dug out of archive. I did so much shooting before leaving for Japan, and none since I got here. I think I need to change that.
Anyway, this is a portrait of Raven. Lovely model to work with, we shot twice. Once in Central London, and this is from our later shoot in Paradise Fields. I’ve added it to my portfolio of portraits.
Bit of an oldie, I was walking around Buckingham Palace way back when I encountered quite a few people in formal dress milling around. Turns out there was a garden party, something the Windsors are want to do from time-to-time. Needless to say, many photos were being taken.
Not always by the guests.
Roasted on the Millennium Bridge
Another oldie from when I was working in London. I used to take a walk at lunchtime and snap what I saw on my smartphone.
Saw this one cold winter’s day. Guy stood there with his chestnuts getting roasted and everyone walking past. Nope, I wouldn’t buy they either. I mean, how does he wash his hands?
Rover SD 3500
I had this project in mind to catalogue all of my toy cars. A couple of weeks ago I set about photographing them on an improvised home set.
Sadly the depth of focus wasn’t quite right on the larger models. I’ve parked the project for the moment as I’ve other things going on. If I come back to it, I’ll have to reshoot some of the shots. Still, I made copious quantities of notes so it shouldn’t be too hard to put right what I got wrong.
A cemetery in Kobe
Christmas Day 2021 was spent on Rokko Mountain watching the rain sweep in across the Inland Sea. In 2022 it was spent in a city cemetery.
No war in Ukraine
The war in Ukraine has held the attention of the Japanese. Nightly news is full of updates and analysis, refugees have been welcomed and flags fly from city halls.
There are also symbols of personal support. From blue and yellow hearts on social media profiles to handwritten signs scrawled on sheets of paper and stuck to windows.
Perhaps not unexpected. Japan has history with Russia, including an ongoing territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands.