Saturday, May 30, 2015

Matsushiro Onsen & Kami Yamada Onsen

The destination was Nagano prefecture. The purpose was rest and relaxation. Nothing says R&R like a stroll around a Buddhist temple so when we arrived at Matsushiro we went for a walk around one of the local temples.

The entrance.

This temple is very well maintained. This structure had all the chinese zodiac symles carved into stone.

I was impressed with the banister being carved like bamboo.

An elderly local resident bid us a cheerful good morning.

The gate to the main temple area.

And, the main temple.

There is an air of peaceful serenity as we walked around the temple grounds.

As we walk around the stress associated with everyday life just melts away...
 ...leaving the body and soul in perfect harmony.

One thing about temples is that they always have a bell. A big bell.

I was amazed at the way the bell structure rested on the polished foundation stones.

On the way back to town we stopped by this inviting udon noodle shop for some lunch.

Clean and cozy and the food was delicious.

At last, we arrived at the onsen (hot spring). After I snapped this picture I was informed by the owner that photography was prohibited.

Ok, I'm guilty! I waited 'til all the occupants went to the outdoor bath and I covertly took this picture of the indoor bath. There is a high content of iron in the water and it turns everthing red.

Even the runoff drain ditch is red.

 After a long leisurely soak at the hot spring we headed to Kami Yamada Onsen where we would spend the night.

To get to Kami Yamada Onsen one needs to cross the Chikuma-gawa river.

Emi waits in front of the inn where we'll be spending the night.

It's an old facility but well maintained.

After we checked in we went for a walk around town. Near the inn was a Shinto shrine.

Another inn nearby ours.

On a side street we found a shop that sold cooked river fish.

I took a peek into the kitchen where the fish is cooked.

Of course we bought some to take home with us.

Some of the older inns.

There seems to be more side streets than there are main streets and all of them are fun to explore.

The next morning before breakfast we went for a walk along the Chikuma-gawa river.

Time to check out and start working are way home.

Being that we were in no rush to go straight home we stopped at Isawa onsen in Yamanashi prefecture for another day of soaking at the hot springs. That night we stayed in a more modern hotel that had a view of Mt. Fuji from our room window. Just look through all the power lines at the mountain range; Mt. Fuji is just poking out in the center.

After checking out we passed by Lake Shoji and I snapped a couple pictures of Mt. Fuji under heavy cloud cover.

Last shot of the day before we grind out the kilometers on our way home.
All in all it was a fantastic trip!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Blurred Lines

I don't think we need to always live in a world where everything is perfectly focused. Sometimes things get a little foggy, not everything is clear, the lines start to blur a little; that is life. This is why I've been doing a lot of photography with manual focus lenses on a digital camera.

Strolling along

If I can count the number of things in focus on one hand I'm living in the real world.

Maybe things are a little blurry because the streets are lined with bottles of sake.

One of those "the light just came on" moments.

They've got someplace to be.

Movers and waiters

The streets of Yokohama are best navigated on a mama-san bike

The sun shines brightly on the street where I don't live.

Das Volkswagen

I can clearly see that this is not clear. By-the-way, Tommy Oshima is the master of out-of-focus photography.

The ships come and the ships go carrying their passengers from port to port while we remain firmly rooted where we are.

(1) Children: they run, they stop, they run again.
(2) Adults: they work, they stop, they work again.

The iPhone will turn everyone into zombies.

The world beyond the screen of ones iPhone is filled with objects d' art.

Simplicity and beauty are everywhere; sometimes one need only to look up to find it.

When the lines begin to blur embrace it.

The moons around the painting

No wine, no life.

Who would have guessed how popular convenience stores would become? There's one on every corner and several in between.

The bag man

I call this "Untitled".

She's a friend of Nicky and Nicole.

One cool dude!

One more cool dude!

I told him, "man, you're preaching to the pigeons"

Some people see the crate as half empty...

Where everybody knows your name
And they're always glad you came

Another light bulb moment

The lunch hour rush is over.

She said goodbye, and that was that!

Days often begin the same way and they end the same way too; it's everything that goes on in between that makes up what we're all about.
 The winners laugh the losers cry; deal the cards the games not over

Thanks or stopping by!