TCC 2021 June Photocontest - Japan
This was taken while wandering Hirosaki Park on 4/21/2018. It is so hard to select one pic to represent the Japanese experience but this sturdy traditional bridge and the momentary glory of cherry blossoms on this glorious day come pretty close. There is a wonderful castle just beyond this bridge completed in 1611 & rebuilt in 1810 after lightening struck.
A special surprise was that I had arrived during peak cherry blossom season. My guide said it was unusually early that year, perhaps by two weeks. She was concerned because she was to guide an American couple in a couple of weeks who were coming especially for cherry blossom season having planned their dates for when peak season was anticipated. But nature has its own ideas. Cherry blossoms symbolize spring, renewal and the fleeting nature of life. They remind me of Japan.
There are only around 200 authentic geisha remaining in Japan today, and they are rarely seen outside the "hanamachi" (tea house district). Most sightings of "geisha" in cities like Kyoto are actually tourists who pay a fee to dress up as geisha for the day. Still, even if the two women in this photo are only "pretend geisha," their magnificent attire, elaborately decorated wigs and unique makeup are an intriguing sight to behold.
She is the leader of a band I saw/heard perform in Naha. The music of this band—as well as their costumes--is a blend of traditional songs, updated with the latest in pop music. I enjoyed both the costumes and the music as they conveyed the local as well as the global, international world we live in today.
Miyajima, a small island outside of Hiroshima, boasts one of Japan’s most iconic views – of the giant orange Itsukushima-jinja torii gate, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is hard to overstate how romantic and colorful Miyajima is, and this view in particular. Deer wander freely through the streets and parks, but this little one seemed content to relax on the shore near the gate, enjoying the pleasant spring sun.
This was taken at the Nikko-toshogu Shrine on 3/28/2018. I lived in Japan when I was 6 and wanted adult memories to add to my childhood memories so Nikko was on my bucket list. This day I was photographing the wise money carvings ( in gold just behind these Japanese girls) when I observed their fun and asked if I might take their picture.
In keeping with being the cultural capital of Japan, this Kyoto mixologist is captured applying all the ritual care and attention to make the perfect cocktail, similar to the tradition embodied in the famous tea ceremony. We consistently found this striving for excellence to be a fundamental aspect of the Japanese character
After the once weekly 25-hour ferry boat from Tokyo's Takeshiba Port to Chichi Jima, the Ogasawara Islands did not disappoint. Another short boat ride to Minami Jima brings you to beautiful Ogi-ike Lagoon and it's natural arch. Filled with endemic species and nesting grounds for sea turtles, I fell in love with yet another part of Japan.
Returning from Palau to my home at the time in China in October, 2016, I had a long layover in Narita Airport and did a much-recommended activity. I visited the Narita-san Shinsho Temple. It was a cool and sunny day with the colors and aromas of autumn leaves. Cats lounged on the temple grounds. The best day of a trip can be the most unexpected one.
Returning from Palau to my home at the time in China in October, 2016, I had a long layover in Narita Airport and did a much-recommended activity. I visited the Narita-san Shinsho Temple. It was a cool and sunny day with the colors and aromas of autumn leaves. Cats roamed the temple grounds. The best day of a trip can be the most unexpected one.
While on a trip to Tokyo, I had the opportunity to see Japan's national sport - sumo wrestling. Though pushing your opponent out of the ring may only last a few seconds, there is much pageantry that leads up to that moment when the match starts. The sport is very steeped in tradition, where wrestlers live in training stables and follow strict rules that include governing what they wear and what they eat.
Tokyo is full of unique locations. One such location is Akihabara - Japan's pop culture and electronic center. During one trip there to look at the latest in Japanese electronics, I met a young Japanese woman drawing a manga character. Who was the character - Madonna, with the wording "I love Madonna."
Lívia Sganzerla Jappe
Nagano: my much loved son, Henry, the light of my heart and soul, was walking in the Japanese Autumn, in the garden of a Buddhist Temple, mesmerized by the leaves floating from trees to the ground. And there was just his adorable feet touching the green while his small hands were picking up the leaves, the powerful silence of fullness and birds chirping and small butterflies around him. This photo was the image of the nature framing this moment of my adorable son and his magical soul.
Amy Gallant Sullivan
When visiting a temple in Japan, one must first greet the kami-sama (deity) by bowing deeply two times. The proper order for praying at a shrine requires ‘two bows, two claps, one bow’ : Two-two-one（二礼二拍手一礼）or ‘ni-rei, ni-hakushu, ichi-rei’. People in Japan typically visit shrines for a specific purpose, such as wishing for a family member’s recovery from illness, or to pray for success — the prayer and request are dependent upon the shrine.
Returning from Palau to my home at the time in China in October, 2016, I had a long layover in Narita Airport and did a much-recommended activity. I visited the Narita-san Shinsho Temple. It was a cool and sunny day with the colors and aromas of autumn leaves with cats lounging on the temple grounds. The best day of a trip can be the most unexpected one.
Danielle Bretton / Eri Hazama
The photo of my mother and I in proper kimono was taken at my sister-in-law‘s house in Nara, Japan. My brother was living there and my mom & I went to visit their new baby in May, 2005. My mom & I studied Japanese for several months before going, to communicate with my sister-in-law‘s mother, Akiko, and to be able to travel around independently. My mom ended up getting along very well with Akiko, using sign language & the laughter of grandmas everywhere. Akiko-san, who did the ikebana (flower arranging) for my brother’s wedding, was also skilled in kimono & tea ceremony. We were indeed lucky to be gifted precious outfits to keep & Akiko spent about 45 minutes doing the formal dressing technique.
Danielle Bretton / Eri Hazama
This picture was taken just after seeing the elusive maiko (apprentice geisha) in Ponto-cho! We walked through this area where geisha and maiko live or work. My brother was so excited upon seeing a maiko that he forgot to get his camera out. He told us later we were very, very lucky as he had been living there for five years and had never even come close to seeing one.
Warm Japanese welcome at the Great Buddist Temple of Todai- Ji - in Nara ( home of the Sika deer deemed messenWarm Japanese welcome at the Great Buddist Temple of Todai- Ji - in Nara ( home of the Sika deer deemed messenger of the gods & decreed sacred).ger of the gods & decreed sacred).
Joachim von zur Gathen
In 1985, I travelled with my wife Dorothea and our two daughters, 3 and 5 years old, on the Transsiberian Train from Europe to China, spent a month in China, then South Korea, and finally Japan. With luck, we found a wonderful ryokan in Kyoto, a type of (inexpensive) traditional accommodation that seems to have gone out of practice. Ours was in a Shinto temple, where we learnt about Japanese bath rules: one after the other after a shower in the same tub, also for the other guests. Our super-friendly hosts even dressed us up in the traditional gowns of Shinto priests. So here we are, Dorothea and myself just a few days into the country and already deeply immersed in its culture.
After a day of visiting traditional temples and gardens, I chose to walk back to the hotel in hopes of finding a shop carrying koinobori - carp-shaped wind socks for my garden. Along the way, the stone torii at the entrance of the Higashi Tenno Okazaki Shrine (famous for rabbits) invited me in from the street to explore. Two women clad in traditional attire emerged just as I was getting my camera ready to capture the verdant landscape, affording the opportunity for just a single shot as they passed in front of the 1200 year old shrine's Honden (main hall).
Little did our family know when we traveled from Tokyo to Nikko, Japan, that we would have the good fortune to witness the “1,000 Samurai Procession” taking place the very day of our visit. Once a year, thousands of locals gather at the Toshogu shrine to parade in Nikko’s traditional warrior attire in tribute to the Divine Spirit of Ieyasu Tokugawa, the incomparable Samurai warrior. The exquisite costumes and the riot of color left us breathless. Of all those in the procession, the boys in their magnificently embroidered orange robes and golden crowns stood out above the rest.
My wife, Margarita, pays respect to architect Tadao Ando's 44' tall Buddha. Built into an artificial hill and accessible through a tunnel, the Buddha's head peers out of the opening and is surrounded by 150,000 lavender plants. Just outside the bustling city of Sapporo, this spot has offered a calm retreat for us through every season of the year.
Cameras in Japan are ubiquitous, and there is never a problem with taking photos of people. This photo is one of numerous times we found Japanese already posing. This picture was taken in Kamakura near Tokyo, where most people visit the giant Buddha statue. While pictures of important landmarks are part of travel, I find pictures of people of greater interest to experienced travelers. What better photo than two beautiful japanese girls dressed in their kimonos.
During a trip to Japan and Korea in 2019, a Japanese friend sent me a note asking me if I was able to visit Shuri Castle - a World Heritage site in the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa. I responded back, yes, and asked him why? He told me it had just burned to the ground. Very eerie, for I was able to see it in all of its beauty just two days before it happened.
Kyoto's Rokuon-ji temple complex is famous for its extensive strolling gardens, dating back to the late 14th century and highlighted by the shining Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion). Near the entrance, it's difficult just getting a good view through the throng of visitors and teenagers armed with selfie sticks, but with a little patience and perseverance, the crowds thin as the path winds through the gardens. I finally found the serenity I was seeking in this shot of the pavilion framed by overhanging pine boughs after some experimentation with different camera perspectives ranging from ground level - peering through hedges - to elevated views achieved by holding the camera far overhead.
Lívia Sganzerla Jappe
Kanazawa: walking inside the imagetic "Kenroku - en Garden", I saw this simple and amazing gardener completely immersed in the nature, blended with the grass. Immediately, it came to my inner soul the image of "wabi sabi", this so discussed and infered Japanese concept by the West that is impossible to describe, but yet very easy to recognize in the elegance of the simplicity. The passage of time, the evanescence of life, represented strongly in the seasons, in the colors of nature, were all there, in this image of the gardener in a garden of her own and proper world.