Walking in Kyoto’s Streets

Maiko Style Experience It’s been very hot the past few days. The temperatures have been rising past into the hundreds (about 40°C), and when it’s hot like this, I remember the spring and summer heat from my time living in Japan… I’m just glad that it isn’t humid here in California!

I’m still very behind on my blogging. Lots of posts from last year’s summer travels still. But, I wanted to share a post from last spring when I got to dress up like a maiko in Kyoto during the hanami season. This is one of my favorites because the focus is on that beautiful obi!

Happy summer! Hope you are all staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen, and enjoying the gorgeous, late sunsets!

Japan in Lucky Color

Diana F+ | Lucky Color 35mm

The New Flickr

Flickr just announced their big changes and a new look to boot. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the changes and am contemplating whether to maintain my Flickr Pro status or revert to the free account. There are loads of changes, but in summary, the biggest difference now between being a free user and a paid user is that free users get 1 TB of storage space (and ads, boo!), and paid users (~$50/year) basically get an ad-free experience with no difference in storage space or bandwidth. As for Flickr Pro, Flickr is no longer offering new Flickr Pro accounts. They are, however, grandfathering the existing Flickr Pro users — same benefits as before (unlimited storage and bandwidth), for same pricing of ~$25/year. I’m included in the grandfathered accounts, but I still don’t know if $25/year is worth it now. I was basically paying for the space, and now they’re just handing it out for free.

But moving along, this is not a post about Flickr. Although if you’d like to take a peek at my Flickr, it’s here: { mmmfruit on Flickr! }

Expired Lucky Color Film

I spent some time today learning more about VueScan and my scanner, and I was able to get better, and more consistent, results with the scans from my test roll. Also, upon closer inspection of my film, I discovered that the purple spots are in fact on the negatives, and not a problem with my scanner. (Phew!) I’m not too worried because, well, it is a test roll, and they aren’t my best shots anyway. So, don’t mind the purple spots, dust, or scratches; I didn’t bother to remove any of them.

I was happy to see the few images which did come out though. I got a bit of that 懐かしい nostalgic feeling seeing pictures of my old home.

Diana F+ | Lucky Color 35mm An improved scan from the neighborhood sale in Fukuroi City, Shizuoka. I’m much happier with this one than the first one I shared earlier this month.

Diana F+ | Lucky Color 35mm

Diana F+ | Lucky Color 35mm

These two are from a hanami party at Hamamatsu Castle in Shizuoka prefecture.

All of the images in this post were photographed using a Diana F+ with 35mm film adapter, using Lucky Color film 200 ASA expired in 2007, developed and scanned in 2013.

a neighborhood sale in Japan

a neighborhood sale in Japan

A snapshot from my life in Japan, captured on 99-cent only store Lucky Color Film from China several years expired and badly stored through extreme changes in temperature. From a test roll using a 35mm adapter in my Diana F+.

Will re-scan after I have time to inspect my scanner. Am getting strange purple spots which I don’t see on the scanner, or on the film. Also, color and quality of scans is completely different using same scanner (Canon CanoScan 8800F) but different programs, so I am going to have to do a few more experiments before posting the other shots from the roll.

This photo makes me miss my former life in Japan.

Kyoto Station

Kyoto Station

In the two years I lived in Japan, I visited the city of Kyoto about six times. Next to Tokyo, it is probably the city which I visited the most, and one of my favorite cities in all of Japan.

Kyoto Station Completed in 1997, Kyoto Station in particular is also one of the most beautiful stations I have ever passed through. It contains elements of futurism architecture, yet it is the main hub of one of the least modern cities.

Kyoto Station 京都駅 #Japan #Kyoto #travel

The architect who designed Kyoto Station is Hiroshi Hara (原 広司). He is also known for designing the Umeda Sky Building in Osaka, the Yamato International building and the University of Tokyo’s Komaba Campus II in Tokyo, and the Sapporo Dome in Hokkaido.

Kyoto Station

Bentenjima & Tsu Hanabi Taikai

Tsu Hanabi Taikai Fireworks Display 2012 津花火大会

Tsu Hanabi Taikai Fireworks Display 2012 津花火大会

The Lost Blogs #35

Festival Dates: Bentenjima Hanabi Taikai (July 7, 2012);
Tsu Hanabi Taikai (July 29, 2012)

Tsu Hanabi Taikai Fireworks Display 2012 津花火大会

One of my favorite pastimes in Japan was attending hanabi taikai, or fireworks festivals. These festivals are typically held in the hot and humid summertime, and they are a great way to just kick back and relax with a cold drink, some snacks and sweets, and the company of good friends.

Bentenjima Hanabi Fireworks Display

Bentenjima Hanabi Fireworks Display 2012

Bentenjima Hanabi Fireworks Display

Last summer, I was able to enjoy not one, but two, fireworks festivals held at local beaches. The first was in my own city of Hamamatsu, in a small town called Bentenjima. My friends and I actually gathered at the beach in the neighboring town of Arai where it was less crowded. Although we weren’t at the main site of the festival, there were still plenty of street vendors, and plenty of people. I actually ran into a few of my students, who were surprised to not only see me outside of school grounds, but wearing a bright pink jinbei (甚平).

Tsu Hanabi Taikai Fireworks Display 2012 津花火大会

Jinbei is a set of clothing traditionally worn by men consisting of a kimono-style top and matching shorts. They are usually worn around the house, like pajamas or casual house wear, but are also worn outside of the home when attending summer festivals. Men can choose to wear these in place of the traditional yukata (casual summer kimono). Lately, it’s become popular for women, teens, and children to wear jinbei to summer festivals. I actually own two sets of yukata and have worn both of them out to festivals, but I actually prefer to wear the jinbei because it is easier to put on, and is much more comfortable to wear…

Bentenjima Hanabi Fireworks Display

Above is a picture of me jumping around freely in my comfortable jinbei and Birkenstock sandals. Weeee! I would not have been able to do that in my yukata!!

Although the yukata is a “summer kimono” and doesn’t require the several layers of robes that a traditional kimono has, many sets still come with an “undergarment” robe or slip which can be worn underneath the yukata. Additionally, there is the koshi-himo or “waist cord” which is used to hold the yukata in place after putting it on properly and adjusting the length by folding it. And then after getting everything into place, you must also put on an “obi”, which is the decorative sash. Many modern yukata sets now come with simpler obi, which you just wrap around and either velcro, snap, or tie into place; and come with a clip-on pre-tied bow. I have one of these, but I also have a traditional obi which requires a lot of practice to tie it properly. It’s really just a lot of work, and without centralized air conditioning, I am usually sweating by the time I manage to get everything on… and since the sleeves and yukata are long in length, I can’t really manage to cool down. This is why I prefer wearing jinbei, because as you can see, the fabric is light and airy, and both the sleeves and bottoms are short. The only downside is that suddenly all your skin is exposed to the hungry mosquitos…

Bentenjima Hanabi Fireworks Display

Bentenjima Hanabi Fireworks Display

Bentenjima Hanabi Fireworks Display

It was so much fun to sit around with the friends I had made over the past two years in Hamamatsu and enjoy the fireworks on the beach with them. So, when we were visiting our friend in the tiny town of Tsu, I was ecstatic when she informed us that there would be a fireworks festival down at the beach in her town, too! Although, looking at the WalkerPlus website for finding hanabi, you would think that Tsu wasn’t so tiny after all.

bentenjimahanabi

In the screenshot above detailing the Bentenjima Hanabi Taikai, it says that there are approximately 2,600 fireworks released and that about 100,000 people are expected to attend based on the previous year’s data.

tsuhanabi

In comparison, the Tsu Hanabi Taikai has approximately 3,000 fireworks and an attendance of 150,000 people! I was really surprised. Though the size of the festivals are roughly the same, I could definitely tell the difference. The firework display in Tsu was so impressive! You could hear people in the crowd ooh-ing and ahh-ing and gasping in surprise and delight. There was plenty of food, but I was really shocked to see…

Tsu Hanabi Taikai Fireworks Display 2012 津花火大会 … REGULAR (by American standards) sized soda cups!! Those Coca Cola cups are gigantic compared to the ones you would normally get at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s.

So enough chit chat, I’ll leave you with some pictures I took of the amazing fireworks display. And if anyone living or visiting Japan this summer is interested in finding a fireworks festival, Surviving in Japan has written an awesome “How To” guide on navigating the Walkerplus website.

Tsu Hanabi Taikai Fireworks Display 2012 津花火大会

Tsu Hanabi Taikai Fireworks Display 2012 津花火大会

Tsu Hanabi Taikai Fireworks Display 2012 津花火大会

Tsu Hanabi Taikai Fireworks Display 2012 津花火大会

Tsu Hanabi Taikai Fireworks Display 2012 津花火大会

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...