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Photography

Ginza Backstreet

When I was in Tokyo last year on my solo trip, I stayed in Tokyu Stay. Not far from the main Ginza street. This has been my favourite place to stay. It is smacked between Tsukiji Market and Ginza. Was easy for me to walk to Tsukiji for breakfast, and back in hotel in 5 mins (for those usual morning “runs” in the toilet).

The photo that I am showing below, I think taken from my hotel room. I think! Not particularly sure because I cannot remember and there weren’t any gps tagging as I was indoor! But anyway, I suspect, its not far from the hotel as I don’t remember being on any observation tower in Ginza. The best was on top of Matsuya Ginza (I think!).

Ginza Backstreets
Ginza Backstreets

The other good part of staying in Ginza is that, when you wake up in the morning and do my street shoot, there are always an abundance of subject to capture. I don’t need to travel far to start utilising my rangefinder.
Ginza Street
Ginza Street

I remember back in 2016, I stayed in Minato. Yes it was much cheaper, but the access to public transport was a bit far, and there weren’t much subjects to shoot around there. But then again, I might be wrong as I have not gotten back to rangefinder and hard core street shooting back then. In fact, that trip, I just used my iPhone if I am not mistaken!

Anyhow, I always enjoy my time in Japan. Looking forward for my next trip, but I am telling myself that I need to diversify the places that I go to! Let’s see…

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Photography

Looking forward for my holiday break

I still remember back when I was extremely active in photography. Every single weekend, I will be going out to the streets to shoot photo. Be it landscape, architecture or even street. Over time, I improved my skills and now, to me I can say that I am generally good in comparison to other amateurs.

Years passed by, my priorities changed. I have picked up many other hobbies like drawings and motorcycling. Recently – I gave up motorcycling because I didn’t have enough time to ride. I guess, there was a bit of fear in me and that kind of prevented me from riding every weekend. Yes – it was a very expensive hobby, but sometimes, we grew over it and change our priorities. Now – I am back at doing photography, but not as active as before.

The focus of my photography now, is more to do it during my holidays. This year, I’ve been going on holidays for quite often. In fact, to my count – I have been to the following places:
1. Chiang Mai in January
2. Yangon in February
3. Japan in March/April
4. Bangkok in April (slightly extended from my work trip)

In May – I was supposed to go to Manado for a colleague wedding, but due to work commitment, I had to change my plan. I regretted that to be honest, but I guess we need to focus on work. Holidays need money!

My next trip will be in 2 weeks time where I will be heading over to Hokkaido for 2 weeks break. In fact, it’ll be driving trip. First time ever. I have not done a driving trip before so I guess this is the time to try. It’s during summer thus it’ll be quite fun!

The following shows the video of my trip. This is the plan. All hotels has been booked and I am looking forward for the trip.

In preparation for the trip, I have started imagining what kind of photograph that I want to shoot. It is extremely important as in my previous holidays, I was not prepared for the photography aspect and felt that my gear was not good enough to enjoy the holiday. This time around, I went to a crazy extend where I bought a new camera! My Leica M10, though its very good, it is not suited to do landscape. I have not decided whether I will bring it along as it’ll add more weight! Still thinking about it. Let’s see.

In addition to the camera, I also gotten myself a set of square filters to help shoot landscape. Its an expensive investment I must say, but I guess square filters are things that you will buy once, and you will use if forever. One of these days, I should blog about it. I have not gotten the chance to fully try it. The weather has been very demotivating. Sigh. I have 2 weeks to go and I do intend to try it out!

Lee Filters!
Lee Filters!

I have a lot of expectation for my trip, especially on the photos. I hope I don’t disappoint myself!

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Photography

Chiang Mai – The Big Gallery

Going to Chiang Mai was an impulsive action where I wanted to take a break from all the craziness at work (not that crazy). I do believe that taking little breaks every now and then does give me some recharge (or not).

Also – this year is where I am taking a strategy to do more shooting and getting more holidays. In fact, I am trying to get into holiday once every month. Which means that I will be shooting more.. and spending hell a lot more money.

The following are the gallery of photos that I’ve taken in the 3 days 2 nights in Chiang Mai. In short – I must say, I like the place. Very nice indeed and I do plan to come here more often for my quick little breaks. The coffee is great indeed. And lets not bring up about, just absolutely awesome.

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Photography

Chiang Mai Part 4

Do Suthep

Another collection of photos from my recent trip to Chiang Mai. Such a pretty sight to see a lot of colorful temple.

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Travel

Cafe Hunting – Blue Bottle Aoyama

One of the joy in life is to go cafe hunting whenever you are on holiday. This morning I woke up quite late – as I was extremely tired from the major flight screw up on Sunday. I lost a whole day of walking and a seat in first class. So this morning, instead of having coffee around my hotel, I decided to go and have coffee in one of the nice cafes. I do have a list from my friend but it seems to that the place that I wanted to go was closed!

So – googling around and found Blue Bottle not too far. Quick walk and wow, managed to find the place. Pretty nice looking place indeed. Didn’t expect the coffee shop to be this nice. I’ve been to blue bottle before and bought a whole bunch of coffee beans and latte. It was awesome. And the queue was pretty looooong indeed. This morning – it was great.

So this morning I had a small lot Guatemalan coffee – single origin drip. Pretty nice flavour. Not too strong, not too sour. Just nice and clean! Love it. Now I am deciding whether I want to bring any coffee beans back today or not. Maybe I’ll buy a bag or two or three. So that in case I don’t have time – I still have some coffee!

Also – to pair with my coffee is toast with poach egg. Something simple. Didn’t bother to eat anything fancy. But one thing for sure in Japan – their toast are just awesome. In my mind – I always think if I should just get my bread supplies from Japanese bakery like Sun Moulin. Then again – I should be cutting in carbs and not be consuming too much bread.

Ok then… to end this post. Just a view of of my sloppy travel look…

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Travel

Tokyo from the Top

I am missing Japan to be honest – it has been almost 4 weeks since I am back from Japan. Here is one of the best photo I shot with my phone. It was shot using my iPhone X 🙂

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The view is from Tokyo Tower. Its not that far from the city centre, but all things considered – it was a long journey. There are a lot of things you can do in Tokyo Tower but I guess for me given that I am on tight budget, I just do what I think I need, which is to see Tokyo from the Top.

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I could not resist but do this ideating shot of “touching” the tip of the tower. Its wasn’t easy given that I was trying to adjust the camera and my hand. Clearly my hand-eye coordination is extremely bad. Very bad indeed.

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The photo above is one that really making feel like pissing in my pants. I have a severe fear of height. To be honest even with the “safe” environment – I am really scared of that.

Anyway – if you do go to Japan, Tokyo specifically – do visit Tokyo Tower. On a good day, you can see Mount Fuji 🙂

 

#30 days posting challenge – Day 5 out of 30

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Fun Posts Travel

Day 6/7 – Jobless in Japan : Exploring Kagoshima and Sakurajima

 

Kagoshima is the furthest point that I am going in this trip. The strategy that I am employing is to go to the furthest point during the initial part of the trip (i.e. 3-4 hours train rides) and then followed by shorter train ride as I move back to Tokyo. Though this is the furthest point, it is not halfway point. Halfway point is planned to be in Osaka which is towards the end of next week, where I will spend approximately 2 days – just enough for two rounds of Endo Sushi (yes – it is a reason to go to Osaka) and scallops at Kuromon Market!

 

Kagoshima

Kagoshima is a a port city, it is nearer to South Korea than to Tokyo. In fact, the weather in Kagoshima is an opposite reflection of the weather in Nagano. Few days ago – I was trekking in cold winter and now – it felt like I am in spring. The weather is approximately about 12-15 degrees Celsius. Pretty nice if you ask me.

The train ride here from Kyoto is quite long. It took more than 4 hours and required a switch of train in Shin-Kobe. As it is still a Sakura Shinkansen – there was no need to switch platform. Just need to change train. The following map shows the route that I took from Kyoto to Kagoshima:

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Fun Posts Travel

Day 4 – Jobless in Japan: Arashimaya via Kyoto


Today is the day that I am going Arashimaya. Arashimaya is a western district of Kyoto. It is a major touristy site! Going there just for the check box exercise.

In order to go there from where I stayed, I need to take a local train from Kyoto Station. It is a 15 mins ride. As I have a JR Rail Pass, I just need to show the conductor my pass and here I go! The track is track 31-33 at the JR West Gate.

The train will take you to Saga-Arashiyama Station. Do note that there are two types of train, one will take you direct to this station from Kyoto, while the other will take you thru most of the stop. To me it does not matter as I am not rushing for time. It took me less than 30 mins to get to Arashiyama.

Once you get to Arashiyama Station, you will need to walk about 10 mins to get to the Main Street of Arashiyama. Here you can make a decision on whether to go to the Bamboo Forest or you can Tenryuji Temple.

A bit of video from today’s adventure!

 

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Fun Posts Travel

Day 3 – Jobless in Japan: Nagano to Kyoto

My trip in Nagano is done. I’ve achieved couple of things:

  1. Went to see the temples in the city (and also experienced Murphy’s Law where most of my cameras are not working except for my phone!
  2. Visited a Winter Olympics site – never been to one before!
  3. Saw some Snow Monkey!

So today.. I am off to my second destination. Somewhere which is quite far and takes a total of 3 hours train ride (~300km).

Me in front of the train tracks heading. I will be heading towards Kanazawa first in which I will switch train to Thunderbird and go to Kyoto.

After I reached Kanazawa, I had a nice lunch at Maimon Sushi. I had sushi here before and hence why I came back here to eat it. It is not as good as Endo in Osaka but it is already great.

The total for the set is JPY2300 which includes 9 pieces of sushi, miso soup and a hand roll. Pretty decent.

After the meal, I then had my first Cremia if the trip. Awesomenesss as always. Unfortunately, I didn’t took any photos. Lol.

After dessert, got back to the train and I am in Kyoto. This is the second time I am here. The first time was when I went to Osaka and dropped by to Kyoto for a day trip. Visited Fushami Inari. This trip I don’t think I will be visiting the Shrines but we shall see.

After checking in to the hotel, I headed over for dinner. Initially wanted to get some Okonomoyaki but unfortunately the place was full. I ended up with Yakitori. Booyah! The place is called Yakitori Sukiyanen(https://www.tripadvisor.com.my/Restaurant_Review-g298564-d8599443-Reviews-Yakitori_Sukiyanen-Kyoto_Kyoto_Prefecture_Kinki.html?m=19904). Very decent food indeed. Small but yet cosy.

Cosy place indeed. Very traditional.

Headed over to Yodabashi to look for something to fix my belt. As I didn’t have enough food and started to lose weight, my pants kept falling down. Lol.

Till tomorrow. Arashiyama!

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Fun Posts Travel

Day 2 – Jobless in Japan: Nagano – Snow Monkey Park and Obuse

Today is my second day on holiday. This year – I am actually nursing a foot pain, hence walking for longer distance would be extremely painful. Well, at least to start and once the pain goes away, its actually quite ok. This is probably resulted from my massive preparation for this holiday in which I trek about 5-7km a day, almost 7 days a week (that is until my feet got into severe pain). Probably gotta look at another post for that. And today is only day 2! I am still in Nagano, and today I visited Snow Monkey Park and Obuse.

Snow Monkey Park

First and foremost, you can get more details on Snow Monkey park from this website – http://en.jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp. The attraction for Snow Monkey Park is where you are able to see the monkey in the hot spring or Onsen. It is really fascinating to see this, but unfortunately in my trip there – I was not able to experience that. The only that I was able to see was the monkey sipping some warm water from the onsen.

Snow Monkey – sipping some water

Here is a short video!

 

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Travel

Day 1 – Jobless in Japan: Nagano

Nagano is a city not far from Tokyo. It is about 2 hours train ride. Refer to my previous post for the experience coming here.

 

 

From Wikipedia:

Nagano is located in former Shinano Province and developed from the Nara period as a temple town at the gate of the famous Zenkō-ji, a 7th-century Buddhist temple which was relocated to this location in 642 AD, and as a post station on the Hokkoku Kaidō highway connecting Edo with the Sea of Japan coast. During the Sengoku period, the area was hotly contested between the forces of the Uesugi clan based in Echigo Province and the Takeda clan based in Kai Province. The several Battles of Kawanakajima between Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen were fought near here. During the Edo period, much of the area came under the control of the Sanada clan based at Matsushiro Domain. The area suffered from flooding in 1742, and from a destructive earthquake in 1847. Following the Meiji restoration and the creation of the municipalities system on April 1, 1889, the modern town of Nagano was established. Nagano was elevated to city status on April 1, 1897. It was the first city founded in Nagano Prefecture and the 43rd city in Japan.

Snippets from today!

 

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Fun Posts

Japan Food

  1. Completely have no clue what my plans are. 
  2. All I know is that food is great in Osaka. 
  3. I should be cutting my carbs.. Yet I am going to a place where most of the food are paired with rice. 
  4. Hopefully I’ll enjoy my trip. I am sure I will!