Arashiyama, in Kyoto, is a 5km (or thereabouts) stretch in the mountains, filled with gardens, groves, and temples. In fall, it’s absolutely breathtaking with all the autumn leaves; in springtime, it’s a similar thing with all the blossoms.
This time of year, the area has what Japan calls a “light-up”, which means lanterns and coloured spotlights are set up throughout the various walking trails so that people can visit at night. Things usually close around 4 or 5pm in Kyoto, so this is a real treat.
The best part was, by far, the bamboo grove. These photos aren’t touched up or artificially coloured in any way; the blue and green is what you see in real life. It’s ridiculously eerie, especially when the wind blows through the leaves at the top. If you’re ever in Kyoto, I highly recommend it.
So one of the most common spiders in Japan is this lovely beauty:
The size of your palm (legs included)
This is a ジョログモ (jorogumo) spider. In Japanese mythology, the Jorogumo is a kind of demon who eats unwary humans. Usually the jorogumo takes the shape of a beautiful woman to seduce men, whom she then traps in her web and eats at her leisure, but sometimes they don’t bother and just start chomping away. There were literally hundreds of these in the forest I walked through; had I realised exactly what I was looking at, I probably would not have gotten so close in an attempt to get a picture.
I’m tired, I have the remnants of a migraine, and I dropped my phone, which now looks like this, so here’s a picture of me and some leaves. Despite the phone thing, today was a good day. Just trying to wrangle out a few words on NaNoWriMo before I collapse.
It’s NaNoWriMo, so my photo-taking has been pretty sparse — but even worse, it’s been unseasonably warm this fall here in Japan, so the leaves haven’t turned yet! :( So whereas you’d usually be getting lovely autumn leaves, have my typical hunker-down-and-write supplies instead.
Clockwise from left: writing notebook (for ideas, structure, brainstorming), chai, mobile internet, netbook, 160GB iPod.
And for those of you coffee snobs, I write at Starbucks because a) it’s close and b) unlike EVERYWHERE ELSE in Japan, there’s no smoking.
Bonus: Kate Beaton shirt and my GIANT HEADPHONES which I use because in order for someone to talk to me, I have to physically remove them from my head in a very put-upon manner (unlike just popping out an earbud).
The Akashi Straits Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the WOOOOOORLD. Between Awaji Island and the mainland. It’s not actually part of Akashi, but they won the naming contest, so now everyone thinks it’s there rather than in poor, forgotten Maiko. Not a bad move on Akashi’s part.
Lots of photos of Japan (mine included) focus on the natural beauty, but the truth is, Japan is an industrial nation, and a lot of the populated areas can look like cities anywhere else in the world. That doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful.
Sunset over the home centre near my apartment, next to where I go to the gym.
I went to Tottori Prefecture a few weeks ago and spent some time paragliding on the sand dunes. After that I went for a walk out past where the tourists got bored and turned back. All I have to say is, if I were going to pick a place to become a reclusive writer, this is pretty high on the list. The sounds of the tourists faded until I heard nothing but the wind over the sand. Amazing.
I love sunsets. Anywhere, any time, any season, in any weather. Back home in Ontario we would get some fantastic sunsets, probably among the brightest, most vibrant I've ever seen. But I have to say, after seeing the sun set over the sea, this has got to be one of my favourites views.
Shirahama in Wakayama is a tiny town with great PR. It's a sleepy town that takes hours to get to, with not much to recommend it besides a lot of rocks, hot springs, and cliffs. Years back, they rebranded it, importing sand from Australia, building some theme parks, and naming all their rock formations. This one is the Senjojiki, or Thousand Tatami Mats.
It is, granted, beautiful. But I don't think this mass of sandstone would have half the traffic it did if they hadn't turned it into a major tourist attraction. ;)
Springtime in Japan means a plethora of cherry blossom photos. It's kind of a thing. I don't go as crazy as some people, mostly because I like plum blossoms better, but they're still very pretty. There's something to be said about walking underneath a canopy of blossoms.
This was taken at Osaka Castle Park. That's the castle in the background.