Five stories and a twist

 

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Friday morning I woke up, did some house cleaning (before I passed my key on), and finished up the last of my summer work. It was three before I started looking for a hotel — and they were all over priced in Kyoto. I scanned the route in my mind. Okayama. I could stay the night there then catch the ferry over to Naoshima. It was five by the time I left with Hiro’s backpack and two pairs of each: shorts, t-shirt, over shirt, socks, Calvins. I packed one outfit for sleeping and the essential grooming gear (toothbrush, razor, gel, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair). All the rest was camera equipment — and it was heavy. Over my other should I carried my tripod.

The Shinkansen from Shin Yokohama is about three hours. They sell special bentos onboard called “Eki Ben“, each one packed with foodstuffs from all the major areas a given Shinkansen passes through: Quality, not quantity.

Onboard I found my hotel through my iPad 3, used Wikipedia on the Mini Retina, and Facebooked on the iPhone — traveling alone with the world in hand.

I got to Okayama sometime after nine. The drizzle started the moment I left the station — and it did not stop until I came back home four weeks later. Still, my holiday was a blast. One of the many perks I get by living in Japan as a teacher is two – three months holiday. Don’t misunderstand. I work hard. I work seven days a week, plus I have to do extra things Β in my free time such as grade 5-page essays and create lesson plans, which is all to say I earn my vacation. The twist is that I use it to learn. This year, my aim was to teach myself how to take better pictures.

This post begins a photo series I will tag “vacation” and “travel” along with whatever city I happen to be in. My pics aren’t perfect. I’m posting them not only to share to but learn through your criticisms and comments. I also hope they’ll give you a sense that Japan is someplace you’d like to come visit. It really is unlike anyplace else you can go on our small, blue dot.

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I’m starting with five different pictures which look the same. They were taken near the same spot around the same time in the morning (about seven a.m.) but with a little math I endeavored to put them on the same plane. They are of Okayama’s main attraction: The Okayama Castle. I’ve been to Okayama several times and so this time I didn’t wait to go inside. Rather, things happened and I changed my plans yet again to see something new which I’ll write about next. In the meantime you can play “Spot The Difference” and/or tell me which version you like best. Enjoy your weekends!

 

okayama part one--4 okayama part one--3 okayama part one--2 okayama part one-okayama part one-100-3

 

 

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15 Comments on “Five stories and a twist

  1. Pingback: The country under the mask | Made by you and I

  2. Beautiful shots. I prefer photo #2 of the castle for its depth, color balance (seems most natural) and highlights. #5 is stunning and reads like a pen-and-ink drawing. Boffo.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love your story and your pics. The first has kind of an eery feel about it. Then I think I like the 4th color picture the best. It seems the most natural. But that black and white is striking! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. To my untutored eye it looks as if you’ve raised the gamma level every time …
    Are you going to live there for the rest of your life …?

    Like

    • Well, I plan to live long into my 100’s, so most probably no. But right now, during these very good decades, I see no reason to leave just yet. Honestly, I’m inclined towards Canada. We’ll see what happens with global warming, land prices, and nature up there. πŸ˜‰

      πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I had the good fortune of studying in Japan in college. It’s a remarkable place & I love hearing your description of life there. ‘Glad you enjoyed your vacation. As for the photos, they are lovely. I am partial to the black and white version. Thanks. D

    Liked by 1 person

      • I was there for 8 months during my junior year studying Japanese and teaching English . Also worked on a forestry project with some Waseda University students. A great experience all around .

        Like

  6. Your castle shots are beautiful. And the B&W rendition is striking! Thanks for the Ekiben photos… I’m fondly salivating.

    Your vacations sounds, indeed, earned. Glad you enjoyed it and added to your learning experiences.

    But what truly brought a grin, was your mention of Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

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