Happy New Year!
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! May 2019 be filled with love, laughter and joy!
We woke up the first day of 2019 to gorgeous weather - not a cloud in the sky and highs of +10C. As usual we spent the morning with family and then went to visit a local shrine - one I have visited almost every year since I came to Japan over 30 years ago. I always feel nostalgic when we visit as the sights and smells bring back memories of my very early years in Japan. There is also a welcoming familiarity as we make our way through the grounds and festivities in a route we have perfected over the years. First the back entrance, then the open area to check the children doing the lion dance, then the bridge, then the shop selling "baby castella" (similar to doughnut holes), and then... Ah, the list goes on. It was a beautiful day to be out and about and a great day to begin a new year!
I took a few photos while we were there only to discover that my camera battery was on its very last legs and I, of course, had left everything back at the house. Ah well, isn't that the way! I did manage to eek about a few more photos from that dying battery and here are the results.
Awaji Shima Bliss
Our Christmas present to ourselves was a few days visiting Awaji Shima, a small island not too far away. Ah, bliss! Several days of Japanese hot springs and delicious food was such a treat! We've both been exceptionally busy these past few months so the chance to relax and unwind was most welcome. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't all that cooperative - mostly cold winds and overcast skies - but still there's something about the open expanse of sky and sea that is good for one's soul. And, well, hot springs certainly help too...
Despite several days of heavy clouds and light rain I did manage to take a few photographs. Here are some from our very last day.
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the coming year.
Thank you so much for your visits. The number of visitors has been steadily growing and I'm so encouraged! Unfortunately, I don't have as much time as I like to be active here but I will continue to post when I can. (Less demanding days are coming but they're not here yet...) Thanks again for your support. I feel blessed.
(This ornament was on the Christmas tree at my workplace.)
TITLE: Topsy-turvy Christmas Tree
Every December, the St. Regis Hotel in Osaka erects a huge Christmas tree decorated with beautiful ornaments made from Japanese paper. The colors of the tree are blue and gold and it's quite spectacular. We visit often and I always try to take photos of the ornaments but I've never been happy with the results. However, that doesn't stop me from trying and so I return as often as I can to try yet again. (No luck yet.) One year I was distracted by a food cart off to the side full of empty glass jars with lids. They looked like oversized cookie jars and perhaps had been used earlier in the day for that very purpose. The glass knobs on the tops of the lids were particularly interesting and as I got closer, I realized that the colors and shapes I could see in them were upside-down reflections of the room. So cool! Thankfully everything was aligned so all I needed to do was position myself in the right place and - ta-da! - the result was this topsy-turvy Christmas tree.
WHAT I WAS THINKING
Plum Blossoms at Kitano Tenmangu Temple, Kyoto
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto holds a monthly temple sale on the 25th of each month. I had wanted to visit for many years and finally everything aligned so we could go. On the drive there my husband told me that the shrine was famous for plum blossoms and that we would probably be able to see some. I didn't believe him. It was the end of February, after all, and my Canadian brain could not conceive of anything blooming that time of year. Well, as you can see, I was mistaken. The plum blossoms were spectacular! I was still struggling with my camera at that time and so I fumbled with the settings and muttered under my breath as I tried my best. To my great surprise, once I got home and looked at the images on my computer, I discovered I had some that were worth keeping. I'm very happy with the photos from this day but I always see them as a bit of a fluke.
WHAT I WAS THINKING
I'm a photographer based in Osaka, Japan. I love to take photographs. I like to share.