Last Photos from Japan

As you may have surmised from my Twitter feed, we have returned home. The trip was excellent–very relaxing, no trips to the emergency room, no brush-with-death experiences. We were, as always, sad to leave.

There was a taifun passing not far from Japan during our last days there. It was probably responsible for some amazing skies we saw from our hotel-room window, including a double rainbow over the Sky Tree on the last evening and a spectacular sunrise the next morning:
IMG_0133 processed

IMG_0138Speaking of the weather, on the way home we flew straight into the first winter-like storm of the season as we descended over the Rockies and hence encountered some rather awful turbulence. I very nearly tossed my proverbial cookies, but at least it woke me up for the following drive home from the airport. read more

Ramen With Rafael

As he put it, dinner with our friend Rafael at the Ippudo ramen restaurant is now a traditional part of our visits to Japan. Here are some photos from a couple of evenings ago.

2013-09-29 17.48.00 2013-09-29 17.48.19 2013-09-29 17.48.51

Silliness in Asakusa

2013-10-01 16.09.39

Did some shopping in Ginza and Asakusa today. Why is it that I consistently find shoes more interesting in Japan than in the US?


IMG_0104We went to Hase to see the Great Buddha today. I’ve taken numerous photos of him on our numerous visits, in spring and in fall, in dry weather and in rain. The challenge now is to find something different to capture and portray with photography, other than the usual obvious portrait-like shots. Today I didn’t seem to be up to the challenge, so, for variety, here’s a photo of some trees near him.

Yes, Generally Speaking

2013-09-29 09.28.58The Japanese text for “Koto blend coffee” and “Iced coffee” says “blend” and “ice” respectively. The Japanese text for “Weak coffee” says “American”.

Things We Saw Today

Today we went to Uji, a town near Kyoto known for its production of tea. We first stopped at the Agata shrine, one of the oldest of its style in Japan:

IMG_0041 IMG_0044 IMG_0039 IMG_0052

We bought a couple of matcha bowls from this gentleman:

IMG_0082He has a small but beautiful stock of tea ware. We bought a bowl from him during a previous visit, but didn’t discover until today that he has a rather good command of English. It turns out that he has visited the US a few times “when [he] was much younger.” His website is here. read more

Body Surprise

Smaller text says “Refresh Place”. Seen in Kobe, Japan.


In Kyoto

We traveled from Tokyo to Kyoto by shinkansen yesterday. We’ve traveled by train in Japan dozens of times without incident, but this time I somehow managed to leave a suitcase on the train. I’m claiming distraction due to a local fellow striking up a conversation with us while we were en route. This led to a somewhat drawn-out and faintly confusing encounter with the Lost & Found office in Kyoto Station. When we arrived at the hotel, we described the situation to the receptionist. She took matters into her own hands and arranged to have the suitcase delivered to our room sometime today. read more

In Tokyo

Yes, we’re back in Japan. We arrived early evening yesterday and it’s now about 6:45AM on Tuesday, local time. I didn’t get a chance to put up my customary pre-departure announcement here because, in short, life’s been a little crazy lately. We are looking forward to a relaxing stay in Japan. Somewhat ironically, a big typhoon hit Japan just as the storm in Boulder was tapering off, causing flooding in Kyoto and other areas.

I learned long ago that I shouldn’t make promises about my blogging activities while traveling, but my goal for this excursion is to post a minimum of one photo a day. It may just be a silly snapshot with no explanation, and it almost certainly won’t be touched up nicely before I post it, but it’ll be something. That’s the idea, anyway. To that end, here’s a shot of the Tokyo Station as seen from our hotel-room window, somewhat hastily taken shortly after our arrival: read more