Today’s post brings us to the main reason that we traveled to Matsue. Over a year ago we saw a particularly striking photo of a garden on one of our Japanese calendars. Tracie eventually figured out that the photo was taken at the Adachi Museum of Art near Yasugi, Japan. Yasugi itself is fairly small and out of the way, so it is usually recommended that one travel first to nearby Matsue to visit the Adachi Museum. This all sounded a little complicated at first, but upon further investigation it appeared that Matsue itself was worth visiting anyway and we decided that we’d add it to the itinerary.
Mastue is home to one of the few castles remaining from the feudal era of Japan’s history. We figured that it would be a must-see while we were in Matsue, simply because castles are generally must-see sorts of things as far as Tracie and I are concerned. The castle and the surrounding grounds were indeed very much worth visiting. Two things caught us by surprise. First, the castle grounds are home to a lovely collection of cherry trees that were at their peak while we were there. Second, the castle is home to a small but spectacular collection of old armor, helmets, swords, arrows, etc. The lighting inside this area is obviously not idea for photography, but I took a bunch of photos anyway. There is a new set on my flickr site here containing over 70 photos from the castle grounds and interior.
We visited Matsue for the first time during our trip in Japan this year. Matsue is a city of about 195,000 people near the west coast of Japan, i.e. on the other side from where we’ve spent most of our time. It’s not on a shinkansen line so one reaches it by taking an express train. We took the shinkansen from Kobe to Okayama and then switched trains for the remainder of the journey to Matsue. I’ve posted a set of photos taken from the train here. Tracie took most of them; she was trying to take pictures of the numerous small farms visible from the train. Next I’ll post at least two sets of photos from Matsue, one of the castle there and one of the spectacular gardens surrounding the Adachi Museum.
I have to interrupt my (admittedly sluggish) coverage of our Japan trip to post a brief video I shot earlier today. Heavy rainstorms in April are not uncommon here. Heavy snowshowers like this are less common:
I just put up a set of photos on Flickr here taken at or near the Hase-Dera temple near Kamakura, Japan. It’s a lovely place and there’s much more to it than these photos show but I’ve taken a lot of pictures there on previous visits and hence mostly just admired the cherry trees.
I just put up a set of photos taken in the Asakusa area of Tokyo here. There are brief comments on some of the photos. (Yes, I said I’d put up this set yesterday, but yesterday I was a complete wreck from jet-lag).
[Bonus points to the synth geek who can name the artist whose song I’m referencing with the title of this post. No fair using a web search if you don’t already know the answer.]
We got home yesterday around 6:00PM, I think. I say “I think” because after about 20 hours of traveling and sitting around in airports, and changing time zones from Japan to US MST, my sense of time was/is completely out of whack. The cats helped us unpack:
We stayed up until around 9:00PM when we hit a wall of fatigue. Then we were wide awake again a bit after midnight and finally got up at about 2:00AM. The clock says it’s now 7:15AM which looks about right judging from the angle of the sun outside, but no part of my physiology would even hazard a guess about the time of day.
This will be the last post from Japan, and it’s just a quick one to say that we’re about to start the long journey to home. I’m trying to not think about how it takes about 24 hours to get from here to there.
I’ll post a bunch of photos over the next few days, so check back for those. Thanks for reading.
Today’s our last full day in Kyoto. Last night we came up with a plan to make a mad dash by shinkansen to Tokyo to look for a particular JR souvenir that Adam thinks he saw somewhere in Tokyo Station. This morning, however, the notion of spending six hours (round-trip) on a train the day before spending 13 or so hours on an airplane seemed much less appealing, even considering that shinkansen are far more comfortable than airplanes are. So instead we elected to just hang around the Kyoto Station area, do a little bit of last-minute shopping and a lot of sitting around and relaxing. I also took the opportunity to construct a time-lapse movie of the main floor of the station. It came out quite well; I’ll post it once I’m home and have access to an editor and a good compressor.
I’m completely in vacation mode now. I tried to come up with something to post last night but I couldn’t convince myself to sit at the computer (since sitting at computers is what I do for a substantial amount of my non-vacation time). We’ve been having a great time and have been putting in fairly long days, and hence I haven’t found much time and energy for writing.
[Digression: The TV’s on so that we can get our nightly dose of somewhat incomprehensible game shows and surreal commercials. One disturbing difference I’ve noticed this year is that American companies like Glade have started pushing so-called air freshener products into the Japanese market. I’ll refrain from going into a rant about how these things should be banned because they’re essentially dispensers of airborne solvents and poisons, and instead simply say that it’s dismaying that a country that makes the best incense on the planet has become a new market for these nasty things.]