Five stories and a twist




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.



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



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 …?


    • 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˜‰


      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 .


  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

What's that you say? I can't quite hear you. Do you mind writing that down here? ;)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: