Category Archives: Japan 06

Mt Fuji At Dawn

Nikon D100 (repost)

Taken at the Yamagisi Ryokan, Kawaguchiko.

Artist Statement
My work explores the relationship between Jungian archetypes and romance tourism. With influences as diverse as Nietzsche and L Ron Hubbard, new combinations are crafted from both mundane and transcendent structures. Ever since I was a teenager I have been fascinated by the essential unreality of the universe. What starts out as hope soon becomes corrupted into a hegemony of futility, leaving only a sense of what could have been and the prospect of a new reality. As temporal replicas become clarified through studious and academic practice, the viewer is left with a clue to the edges of our condition.

The Shadow

Nikon D100

Flying into Narita airport, Japan.

Like this guy, but going the other way:

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This one, too:

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Someone much more ambitious than I could probably calculate the time the satellite spent on each of the RGB sub-images, based on the estimated speed of the plane and the distance between each of the shadows, in that last image. I’m not sure what to make of the shadow in the second image – that halo is weird.

Hmm… looks like Google updated those images. The planes are gone!

How about this one:

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Jumping Someone Else’s Train Post

Marklow has a list of train journeys he’d like to take. His #10 is Tokyo to Nagasaki, on Japan Rail.

And now I will reminisce…

Mrs. Cleek and I took most of that trip (we did Tokyo to Kyoto then Kyoto to Hiroshima, then back to Tokyo), and here’s what it looks like:

Nikon D100, 28-80mm

Seriously. 95% of it is a 120mph blur of the backsides of an uninterrupted string of industrial cities, with occasional tunnels. It’s as charming as NJ Transit from Newark to Manhattan. The speed of the bullet trains (a.k.a. “shinkansen”) is fun, no doubt. And there are sections, near Kyoto IIRC, where it goes between some mountains and you get to see some tea plantations. And there are a couple of spots where you can see the ocean. And Mt. Fuji is visible for the first couple of hours out of Tokyo – if the smog is thin enough that day. But overall it’s not really a scenic trip.

They do have a choice of toilets: western style, or traditional Japanese style (a hole in the floor).

Nikon D100, 28-80mm

And here’s what we had for lunch when we stopped in Osaka:

Nikon D100, 28-80mm

Japan being a civilized country, you can buy beer and whiskey from vending machines, even from vending machines on train platforms. And the Snickers was better than most Japanese snack food.

Personally, I thought the little train ride we did from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko was more interesting. It rattled around the valleys between incredibly steep mountains and puttered through the small rural towns, for a couple of hours. That’s quite a different scene from Tokyo.

Nikon D100, 75-240mm

Kawaguchiko is a small tourist town on one of the lakes surrounding Mt Fuji. There are paddle boats and ice cream shops, kitschy souvenir shops, resort hotels and an amusement park – but it’s all geared towards Japanese tourists, not Western tourists. It’s the Japanese Lake George.

Nikon D100, 28-80mm

Nikon D100, 28-80mm

Can you spot Mrs Cleek?

And then the bus ride from Kawaguchiko to Shizuoja (IIRC), where we picked up the shinkansen to Kyoto, was pretty fun, too – though because of the language barrier, we were completely at the mercy of the bus driver to tell us where to get off, or to not get off, as it turned out. But it too, snaked around the mountains, and then down through a different set of small towns and cities. It was the only time we got to see Japan outside of the big cities.