Monday, April 3rd, 2023

Scooters, blossoms and books: photos from March 2023

Photograph of plum blossom shot against a beautiful blue sky

These are some of the images I shared on social media, with a little of the history behind them. March saw the start of spring as first plums, then cherry trees burst into flower. It was also a chance for a couple of my long photo walks.

Just a heads up: This is the last of the monthly round-ups I will be posting. My photography posts will take on a longer and more documentary form than these have been. If you still want to see what I get up to with my wandering around Japan, follow me on Tumblr.

The scooter and the wall

Photograph of a green wall with a scooter parked in front of it.

This caught my eye during a walk near the old foreigner settlement in Kobe. Something about the green wall and the black scooter in front of it got me interested. The shape of the door was an added bonus.

A bit of “me time”

Photograph of pink plum blossom against their rich green foliage

When I need a bit of “me time” I grab the camera and wander off somewhere.

This was at the start of my walk to Itayado and beyond. I took quite a few shots, mostly of bits of architecture that interested me. That’s part of a bigger project that’s slowly gathering pace.

I was pleased to see the plum blossom out. Makes me feel like spring is well and truly on its way.

Up close

Photograph of a small Buddhist temple

From my office window I can just make out a temple on the mountain. I went there a couple of years ago, promised I’d go back in 2022 and didn’t. So this year I made amends.

There was going to be one of my “photowalk” posts on this, and the temple next door. However, I discovered dust had found its way on to the camera sensor. A few shots could be salvaged and found their way on to Tumblr.

Still, it gives me an excuse to get back up on the mountain in a few weeks.

A return visit to Tatsuno

Photograph down a traditional street in a Japanese town

This is another one of those places I kept meaning to go back to. Tatsuno is famed for brewing Soy Sauce, and for having a quaint traditional town attached to its castle. It’s a beautiful place to meander around the streets, enjoying the old houses and maybe finding your way down to the river.

It was a whim that took me there this time, that and a missed turning.

Learning to sign

Photograph of a cover of a book on Japanese Sign Language

This isn’t a particularly good photo, but I think it’s an important one. My struggle to learn Japanese is well documented, but this seems to be helping. I’m learning Japanese Sign Language alongside Kanji, and a few weeks in I’m finding it quite helpful. There’s more about how this is helping on my LinkedIn.

Plum blossom in Okamoto

Photograph of Plum blossom in pink and white

Everyone knows about the “Sakura” cherry blossom. And yes, we love it too.

A few week before the Sakura arrives there’s a first wave of pink and white in the form of plum blossom. Various parks are well known for their plum trees and in Kobe, Okamoto is one such place. I was lucky enough to go there just as the majority of the trees were in full bloom.

Kyoto in black and white

Black and white photo of a temple in Kyoto, Japan, washed out and caught by sun flare

At the very end of February I went to Kyoto for an exhibition of 1980s and 90s posters. That only took an hour, so visiting a couple of temples and castles were in order. This was one of my trips where the 35mm prime was attached and black and white mode set.

Forgotten hero

Photograph of a Japanese Police Car abandoned under an expressway amongst other seized and trashed cars

Discovered by accident under an expressway. Clearly an abandoned vehicle lot, it’s a shame this had to finish its days forgotten, rotting and home to pigeons.

And finally, blossom

Photograph of plum blossom shot against a beautiful blue sky

It’s Japan. We like blossom. It reminds us spring is here and the hot summer not far behind.

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.