"T"ragic Falls

In 1903, the stunning beauty of Kegon falls (華厳の滝) in Nikko had lured an 18-year-old high school student to jump. Several others have followed him since. Because of that the waterfall has became notorious as the place to commit suicide. It's utterly "t"ragic.

But now it's SAFE!

It's no longer possible to get to the top of the waterfall. Rather, the entrance fee of 530 JPY (around $5 for using elevator) is charged to watch the beauty of the waterfall from the other side. This waterfall is one of the "must-go-and-shoot" places for "t"ourists. However, Nikko natives seldom visit this famous place (unless they have guests visiting), due to the entrance AND parking ($3) fees.
In a month or so, the waterfall will be covered with snow. This photo was taken in January 2010.

This is for Outdoor Wednesday, Watery Wednesday, and ABC Wednesday entries. T is for "T"ragic.




Winter Illumination

During Christmas season, you can find light-ups and illuminations taking place almost everywhere. So I bundle myself up with layers of clothing and photograph. In order to have the biggest and round "bokeh" (= blur), the aperture of my lens is always the widest. This was taken at Nasu Harmony Hall in Otawara city, Tochigi Prefecture, sometime in December 2009.

This is a Ruby Tuesday and That's my world entries.


Pastel Colors

Sorry that this photo is totally out of season. I just wanted to have pastel colors on my blog. It's just a compensation, you know. But I can't wait for spring to come!

This is a Moody Monday entry,  The theme is "Muted". And Today's Flower entry.


Have a wonderful Monday.


Bonten Festival

A 17m gigantic bamboo mop with a huge red-and-white pompom attached to its tip is being waved up and down. This crazy performance is dedicated to the Shinto deity, Ukanomitama (宇迦之御魂神) during Bonten festival (梵天祭り).


Jigendo Hall Revisited

This is one of my favorite buildings in Nikko's historical district. I can spend many pleasant hours there simply by sitting down and looking around.
The color photo of this building can be seen here.

This is a Black and White Weekend and Scenic Sunday entry.

Have a wonderful weekend.


A Path Through A Forest

Autumn is already over in Nikko. Almost all the colorful autumn leaves are on the ground and this tiny path is covered with fallen leaves. A massive amount of leaves, I have to say!

It was photographed with my old but lovely film camera, Nikon F801S with 15mm Fisheye lens (Kodak Super Gold 400).

This is an entry for Show Me Japan.

And of course, this is also Sky Watch Friday and Looking at the Sky on Friday entry.


Under The Weather

Sainoko Lake (西ノ湖) is about 2 km away from the west side of Chuzenji Lake (中禅寺湖). These two lakes are said to have been one big lake once upon a time. Due to volcanic activity Sainoko Lake was sequestered from the big portion of the lake (= Chuzenji). Since Sainoko Lake is only accessible by a low emission bus, only the really enthusiastic trekkers are there. It's a quiet and cozy place. I can recommend you to go there if you have a chance to visit Nikko.

Since this lake is so shallow, its shores are under a strong influence of weather. When I visited there, we haven't had rain in over 10 days and look. The water is receding!!!

This is a Thursday Challenge entry. The theme is "Weather"


"S"low "S"hutter

Whenever I see waterfalls, I find myself unconsciously taking the ND filter out of the bag, attaching it to the front of the lens, and photographing with a slow shutter effect. Then I think of myself as being a Pavlov's dog...

Are you one of them? Or are you a creative photographer?

This is a Outdoor Wednesday, Watery Wednesday, and ABC Wednesday entry. S is for "S"low and "S"hutter.



Tochigi Hot Air Balloon International Championships

Are they afraid of collision with the other team's balloon???  
Oh no, don't get any closer to ours, or we will be re-launching!!!

It took place November 19 to 23 in Tochigi Prefecture. We went there on Nov. 21. There were three places where the balloons took off from. The rule is that each team decides their own destination (empty rice field) and tries to land as close to the destination as possible. Or they drop something as close to the destination as possible. Depending on the direction of winds, the jury members decide as to which place is best-suited for all teams.

We were at one of the places, expecting that this is the starting point. Murphy's law!!! We were betrayed and ended up jumping in the car and driving toward the alternative starting place. When we got there, almost all the balloons were swollen with hot air and launched one after another... 

What we did next was, again, jump in the car and start to chase them, without knowing their destinations... We managed to take some photos of them but they are unsatisfactory...

Did we enjoy it?

Answer is "Yes". Seeing and chasing a lot of colorful balloons in the air was sort of exciting! If we have a chance, we will definitely go there next year.

We posted another pictures, here, there, article and video of this competition.

This is a Ruby Tuesday and That's My World entries.



A Pair Of Monkeys

Whenever I stop at the parking lot of Akechidaira (Nikko city) in the morning, I see monkeys digging through trash bins and licking disposable dishes. It's so heartbreaking to see what they do but that's the reality. They got to survive harsh winter, especially the mom who takes care of her baby.

While the mom is having "breakfast", the baby monkey hangs on her belly. The baby does not lick dishes because Mom still breastfeeds it.

What can I do for them??    Well, I photographed them.


Sea Urchin In The Lake?

Today I discovered white sea urchins sparkling in the lake!!!

No. It's a reflection of the sun on the surface of stones in Chuzenji Lake.

This is a Black and White Weekend, Scenic Sunday, and Weekend Reflection entry.

Have a nice weekend.


Sunny Day in Nikko

This is one of the rivers flowing to Chuzenji Lake.

This is an entry for our brand new meme Show Me Japan.

And of course, this is also Sky Watch Friday and Looking at the Sky on Friday entry.

Short Announcement

Cited from Budget Trouble:

There are photo memes for every conceivable subject out there, from dried flowers to used facial tissues, so I thought "hey, why don't I jump on the bandwagon, too?"

And after a lot of thinking (if about 10 seconds could be considered a lot, and trust me, for many people it is), I decided to host my own photo challenge, with Mr Linky, a pretty badge (which I still need to design) and all that.

And the topic?
"Show Me Japan!"

The rules are simple:

1. You have a Japan related photo.
2. You post it on your blog between Friday 1AM and Sunday 11PM Japan time.
3. You stick the link to that post in the fancy Mr Linky widget which I will add to this blog.
4. You visit other links for more Japan-related photo goodness.
5. Hopefully, you will see some new things, learn new stuff and make new friends.
6. That's all.

So yes, I'll give it a try and see how it develops.

We will open for entries on Friday at 1AM Japan time and let it run all weekend. Get your cameras ready!

知恵熱が出る程の深い熟考の末(10秒くらい)、新規のフォトチャレンジを始めようと決めました。リンクはMr Linky、専用のバッジタグをデザインしました。

"Show Me Japan!"

2. 日本時間金曜日午前1時から日曜日午後11までの間に自分のブログにポスト
3. Mr. Linkyウィジェットにリンクを貼る(上記時間帯ブログに現れます)
4. 他の参加者のブログを訪れて、コメントを残してください
5. 参加する事で日本について新しい発見があったり新しい友達が出来るかもしれません
6. 以上、これだけ


Please consider that. I am begging you as seen in the picture above. I will keep you informed whenever updates are coming.


Time Is Cruel

As you can easily tell from the header of this blog, I am totally obsessed by tattered sunflowers. This was photographed in early September. You may think they are ugly and battered since their glorious phase has already passed. Yes, time is cruel to everyone/everything. But for me they are beautiful in their own way.

Plants flower after the vegetative phase. Yes, flowers are beautiful but note that plants flower in order to set fruits/seeds. Setting seeds is the ultimate mission to them. It appears to me that the beauty of flowers is embedded into seeds. And because of that, they are beautiful!!!

This is a Thursday Challenge and The Photo Challenge for Saturday entry. The theme is "Time" in both. And Today's Flower entry.


"R"ushing across the "R"iver!

After the overwhelmingly astonishing storm, a river appeared in the middle of downtown Moka city. Reckless drivers desperately drove their cars in the river...
Did they leave their wash and futons hanging outside? Is that why they drove like speed-demons? To rescue their hanging laundry?

If you are curious about what exactly happened, we have a video to show you.

And we have a story to tell ya.

This is a Outdoor Wednesday, Watery Wednesday, and ABC Wednesday entry. R is for "R"ush and "R"iver. AND Friday Photo Challenge entry. The challenge of this week is "liquid".



Kagura Performance

At Nakamura Hachimangu (中村八幡宮) in Moka city.

If you are curious about this performance, click here. If you want to know who that long nose, red face, blondish hair guy is, go visit here. He is a Shinto deity named Sarutahiko (猿田彦).

This is a Ruby Tuesday and Moody Monday entry.


Here is the video of this performance.

If you want to know more about Shinto dance Performance, click here.


Autumn Festival in Tochigi City

This image is NOT taken with "multiple exposures". If you have a zoom lens and are bored with taking ordinary pictures, attach your camera to a tripod, have 2-5 second shutter speed (change ISO and aperture settings) and either zoom-in or zoom-out the lens!

Supplementary Info:
ISO: 100
Aperture: F10
Shutter Speed: 5 sec
Focal length: from 75 mm (approx. 2.5 sec) to 18 mm (approx 1.5 sec)
*Margins are slightly cropped.

If you want to see more, please visit this or that.

This is our video from the first day of the festival.

And a couple of pictures from the festival.

This is for That's My World entry.


In Flames

Baby Daruma doll leaning on Papa Daruma in flames at Futaarayama Shrine.

Here is why we burn Daruma dolls

Daruma doll is a Japanese doll that represents the founder (or transmitter) of Zen school of Buddhism, Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma is depicted as wearing red cloth while performing zen - he sits down with his eyes closed.

In Japan we have a custom to buy a Daruma doll when you are planning to accomplish something. When you make a wish, you paint the left eye of the doll. When your mission is completed, you paint the remaining eye of Daruma.

Then you are supposed to bring your daruma with both eyes “opened” back to either temple or shrine where you purchased it for an annual ritual ceremony called “Daruma Kuyo”. Monks perform a ritual ceremony to express gratitude and daruma dolls are put in a fire after the ceremony.

If you are curious about our local ceremony during which Daruma dolls are burned, please visit our post on Budget Trouble blog.

This is a Black and White Weekend and Scenic Sunday entry.

    Scenic Sunday