davidbeallphoto

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Yoyogi Park and the final day...

<b>(Let me apologize for the huge gap in time between my last post and now.)</b><p>Sunday morning was here (the final day of my trip) and I woke up finding it very difficult to get out of bed. The alarm went off at 9am, and I forced myself to stay awake by turning on the TV. After a half hour, I finally dragged myself out of bed, got dressed and did the last bit of packing.<p>Then it was time to eat some breakfast. I brewed some coffee, via the instant drip coffee provided in the room, and ate the last of …

Shinjuku: Kabukicho and Piss Alley

I arrived at Shinjuku Station tired, but in no way ready to go back to my hotel. I exited the station and decided to head towards the Kabukicho area, just to the north of station, with the hope of finding something interesting.<p>Emerging from the station, I found myself on Shinjuku-dori (Shinjuku Street) facing the local landmark, Studio Alta. (Studio Alta is mostly know for the massive TV screen that adorns the front of the building. But it’s also a shopping center with a TV station located on …

Tokyo Tower

I made my way south to Tokyo Tower from Okachimachi station to Hamamatsu-cho station, via the Yamanote line. The sun seemed like it was really trying to break out of the clouds along the way.<p>Hamamatsu-cho station was still familiar to me from the week before so navigating through it was nice and quick. Emerging out onto the street in front of the <i>World Trade Center Building</i> that sits next the station, I hopped in a taxi and made my way to Tokyo Tower.<p>The ride was actually much shorter than I’d …

Rainy Shibuya

Riding the Yamanote line train to Shibuya (from Tokyo Tower), gave me a chance to rest my feet and let my mind wander. I started thinking maybe I should go back to my hotel and drop off some unnecessary gear, but quickly dismissed the idea, as going all the way back to Shinjuku just to turn around and come back to Shibuya (which I was going to be passing right through) would’ve been a waste of time on the final night of this trip.<p>Nonstop to Shibuya it would be.<p>The ride was quick and I exited …

Ameya-yokocho

Morning had arrived and I was dragging a bit waking up. I was definitely missing the first few days after arriving in Japan, where I could easily wake up at 6am and go all day. I was officially on Japan time just as my trip was wrapping up- perfect.<p>I got up and did my normal routine- ate my yogurt with Frosties, had some coffee, showered, gathered my gear then called home. While I was Facetime’ing with home, I began to notice balloons floating up past my window on the 26th floor. It was amusing …

Kyoto to Tokyo

The cab ride back from <i>Nishiki Market</i> to Kyoto Station was pretty quick. It was hot in the back seat, and I began to sweat like crazy as we sped down the back alley streets. My driver didn’t seem to have any interest in using the air conditioning (at least not in a way that emitted any cold air) so to make the best of the situation, I used my hand fan to cool off and listened along to the classical music coming from the radio.<p>We sped passed the curiously named “Tits Cafe” before emerging out …

Nishiki Market, Kyoto (part 2)

So, with my newly bought tea stashed in my camera bag, I continued on.<p>This house was just outside the market on a side street. I love the shape and pattern of the woman’s umbrella against the verticals in the house.<p>Back out of the rain and onto the last block of the Nishiki Market.<p>I finally reached the end of the market walk which let me out at the entrance to the Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine in the wonderful Tenmangu Shopping Arcade.<p>The Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine entrance- so beautiful in the rain.<p>I …

Nishiki Market, Kyoto (part 1)

It was raining today, and raining hard. The typhoon that had been working it’s way closer to Japan since I arrived was finally catching up to me. Today was also the day to leave Kyoto and head back to Tokyo. That being the case, it left me only a short amount of time to do anything before I had to catch my train out of town. I decided my plan then would be to just head to the Nishiki Market (near where I went the night before) to do some photography and buy some tea from a local shop in the …

Kyoto Night Walk

The Shinkansen got me back to Kyoto, from Osaka, in 14 minutes. So nice.<p>I decided to have tonkatsu again for dinner, this time at another KYK Tonkatsu location in the Kintetsu Mall Miyakomichi that was located in the south side of Kyoto Station. This location was “fancier” than the one in <i>Porta.</i> The menu had different cuts of meat and sauces were different. However, it was still delicious!<p>After eating, I went to Aeon Mall behind Kyoto Station to pick up a couple things. I hit the <i>Baby’s “R” Us …

Osaka for the day (part 2)

After leaving the signage store, I continued walking north into the shotengai, but stopped when I reached a wide open intersection. The smaller street I was on opened up into a large area that then forked off in two other directions. Directly to my left, there was a bookstore and I decided to take a break and head in and look at the photography section. The store was large and it took me a minute to find the section on the floor map. The second floor was my destination and up the escalator I …

Osaka for the day (part 1)

<b>Sorry for the long interruption. Things have been quite hectic since my last post, but, I am back to finish the rest of the tale of my recent trip! This new post picks up the next morning, after the events of the last blog post. I am still in Kyoto. Thanks!</b><p>Another morning has begun, and I’m still in Kyoto for one more full day. Surprisingly, after yesterday’s trek through the mountains of Kurama, in northern Kyoto, I managed to wake up on my own, just a little bit before my alarm went off. Upon …

Northern Kyoto: Kurama and Kibune (part 2)

So, I finally made it to Kibune and was it ever worth it. My “hiking buddy” was still with me, about 10 feet ahead, as we finally came to the end of the trail. All I could think about was finding a vending machine and pouring huge amounts of liquid into my body. I was so soaked in sweat- it was just stupid. I’ve been living away from such a humid climate for so long that I’m just not used to it anymore. In an attempt to cool down on the hike, I had taken off my light weight oxford shirt that I …

Koyasan part 3

I slept incredibly well and woke up before my 5:30am alarm. One interesting aspect of staying at the temple lodging is that you are required to attend the morning Buddhist ceremony. No participation, just attendance. I was a little worried about being able to get up easily for this before my trip but I had zero problem. In fact, I really enjoyed getting up that early. The hadn’t risen very high and the temple had a really nice atmosphere to it. As I was getting dressed, I realized hat I …

Northern Kyoto: Kurama and Kibune (part 1)

The beds in the Hotel Granvia are very comfortable and I slept very well. Maybe too well. I had set my alarm to wake me by 7am but I guess I just shut it off in my sleep. I was surprised when I woke up and realized it was after 9am, since every morning prior to this, I woke up easily before 6am. I was now feeling a bit rushed as the day began and it was already looking pretty hot, and like it might rain at some point.<p>I fell asleep the night before as the computer was downloading that days …

Onto Kyoto

Leaving Koyasan was a hot, humid journey.<p>I took the bus from Shojoshin-in Temple to the cable car station and had to stand for the ride since the bus was small and there wasn’t anywhere to put my suitcase. I was already sweating profusely before I boarded the bus and the lack of air conditioning only made that worse for me. Also, I was stressed as I had to pay close attention to the time for this journey. In order to arrive in Kyoto at a decent time that evening, I had to make the 3:19pm cable …

Okunoin Cemetery (Koyasan part 4)

Okunoin Cememtery<p>So after breakfast I returned to my room to pack and get checked out. I was sad to be leaving after such a short stay, but onto the big adventure for the day-Okunoin Cemetery. However, it didn’t take me long to get sidetracked on my way out the temple. As no sooner was I 20 feet from my room, than the tripod was out and I was shooting. The place was just too beautiful and every time I turned my head, I saw something new and interesting.<p>I spent the next hour shooting around the …

Dinner, but not in Koyasan

Dinner, but not in Koyasan.

Koyasan part 1

People here in Japan were curious as to why I would want to go Koyasan. It’s out of the way and nothing but temples. Plus, it’s a little bit of a pain to get there when you have to tote a suitcase. But, I decided to go becasue I thought it would give me a better glimpse into the traditional Buddhist element of Japan, clearer than just going to the main temples all the toursits go to.<p>Here’s some background on Koyasan from an excellent website on Japan and Japan travel called Japan Guide:<p>“Mount …

Koyasan part 2

So dinner was wonderful, simple and really not that unfamiliar since it was a lot like other Kaiseki meals I have had at Ryokan’s before. The only difference was the absence of meat. It filled me up for sure and gave me the energy to get moving again.<p>I slowly made my way back up to my room to grab my tripod. I forgot that it gets darker earlier here so I was going to need some support to shoot in the dark. I started shooting around the darkened temple first. It was so quiet. I then headed out …

Onto Koyasan

I am on the Shinkansen now heading towards Osaka where I will be transfering to a non-JR line for the 81 minute trip to Koyasan. Yesterday was spent picking delicious purple grapes and relaxing with my host family. It was a wonderful time and we had long conversations about what being “Japanese” is compared to being an “American”, and how the world has changed in the 20 years since I first came to stay with them.<p>One thing I absolutely love, is that they seem take every chance they can to find a …

The journey begins

So the book project journey has begun, even though my Kickstarter project didn’t go through.<p>I arrived into Tokyo at 4:30am which is an interesting experience. I slept some on the plane, like I would have if it had been a late work session (about 5-6 hours) but my body definitely knows that I lost a day. I am tired but not tired, does that make sense? It’s different than the other times when I have arrived in the late afternoon. This is the better way to go for sure. I imagine though that I’ll …