Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Monday, 15 December 2014

Driving home from Work

Through the mountains and rice field, snow makes everything even more beautiful.  The mountains seem so peaceful with snow.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

New Camera

Finally a manual camera, I love taking pictures in low light, and picked up a Sony M, the reviews were all terrible, but I couldn't resist the price.  First walk out in the snow through the neighbourhood temple garden.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Tokyo Station

Love the graphic for this train station sign.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Hand Knitted Trousers

I am so grateful for these woolen trousers, perfect for warming up and cooling down, at the beginning and end of yoga practice.  Perfect.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Funky Coloured Clouds

Just can't resist these cool colour cloud shots while riding around town.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Hijiori Lantern - 肘折ランタン

Artists spend a night in a hot spring town and make a lantern, inspired by their stay in this little time warp of a bathing town, deep in the mountains of Yamagata.  This is Mise Natsunoke's.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

A Detail

Love how these appears to be peeling off a layer to reveal the gold underneath.  Like meditating.  Sitting still for long enough to feel the gold.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Mise Natsunosuke

First stumbled upon his work at an exhibition in Tokyo - was very difficult to tear myself away from the paintings, fascinated and totally absorbed.  That was about nine years ago, now he is a professor  in the art university here in town, I haven't seen his work for nine years - just wonderful.  Love this.  Look at the shadows on the far left of these panels, they were made by hanging a large intricately designed cut out work, creating another layer, an ethereal element, a movement in the work.  Sublime. The exhibition feels like a journey, internal and careening with moments of peace.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Another of Yamagata's Waterfalls

We walked about two hours, and this was what greeted us near the end.  The map showed a waterfall, but we didn't expect this!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Friday, 26 September 2014

月山 - Moon Mountain

Mt Gassan is one of the three holy mountains that make up the Dewa SanZan.  A sacred training ground for the Mountain Ascetics, who've been in these parts a long long time.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Autumn Hiking

One of my all time favourite mountains to climb.  Mt. Gassan.  It was in particularly splendid form on this day!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Community Spirit

In Japan the whole neighbourhood gets together for the local Shrine's festival of taking the Kami-sama out and around. This is one of the side events, children put their heads in the Dragon's mouth for good luck.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Volcano Crater

60 metres deep, with some impressive colouring!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Zao Okama Crater Lake

Isn't this gorgeous!  Actually had a little dip in it, probably not a good idea as it is a dormant volcano, verging on active apparently. As we trod in gas bubbles were bobbing up to the surface.  After a deep breathing exercise the next day I could still taste the sulfur.  Won't do it again, but had wanted to for so long, I can finally cross it off my list.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Traditional Japanese Food

Green beans dressed in a black sesame dressing, a touch of vinegar, sugar and soy.  So so so delicious!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Fudo Taki 不動滝

Another exploratory walk rewarded with a fine fall.  Noticed a strange looking rock in an alcove, went over, turned it up and found it was a Fudo-San statue, righted him, and put him back in his proper place watching over the fall.  You can see him centre, left. Felt I'd done a good deed for the day.

Fudo is a Buddhist deity, original Sanskrit name is Acala.  He is said to convert anger into compassion and to cut the ties of negative feelings and demons to liberate us from suffering through self-control.  There are many waterfalls named after him, as sitting under the icy water is said to purify your soul of desire and attachment, not to mention a modicum of self-control!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Kannon Fall 観音滝

OK, so I've been on a bit of a water fall discovery mission.  This one we had to skip under a rope, and proceed rather cautiously to get to it.  But I could hear it and had to get a look.  It was worth it, 25 metres high and the pool at the bottom was the most beautiful turquoise colour.  Must get back here for a dip one hot summers day.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Tamasudare - Bead Curtain Fall

In contrast to the day before, this fall was huge!  63 metres high and 5 metres across.  Very impressive amount of water falling.  It is quite a tourist attraction, and said to change people's fortunes.  I also heard that it was another Buddhist training fall, and that there is an image of Buddha behind the water.  Apparently you are not allowed to go in the fall, but I saw no sign, so is on my list of things to do.  It's close to Sakata, on the Sea of Japan side, a beautiful drive there from Yamagata City too, passing many smaller falls on the way.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Hidden Fall

Was really really happy to find this beautiful little, secluded waterfall, after a steady 2 hour walk.  The rock formations were stunning, felt like quite a discovery, as it isn't on the map.  The path not very worn, seems to be a training ground for the local Yamabushi (Mountain Ascetics).

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Baking the days Bread

Hope to come back to Doha again.  Loved walking around the market.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Flight Delayed in Qatar

This is how it was, the most amazing emerald green sea in Doha.  My delayed flight, was a pleasant excursion. Actually, I'm glad I got a to spend some time there.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Southampton Art Uni Graduate's Illustration

She is a bit of a heroine for me, so seeing her picture in a window display as I cycled past was just great.  Very cool Victorian Adventuress!