12th October 2007
After a good night’s sleep, we felt like a million bucks and could take on Tokyo properly. We woke up at about 7am although we had agreed to only go out at 7:30am but I was too excited now to contain my excitement and wanted to make full use of that day.
I had also set myself a challenge that day, I would only use my 17-35 lens on my film building making it truly a wide angle lens (using my 17-35mm on my film body removes the crop factor of digital camera but if you want to know what it was like think of putting a 12mm on Nikon camera and you know what true wide angle mean) and an 85mm or higher zoom on my digital body.
at about 7:45am we set off, the streets were quiet and peaceful. It was at this point CC told me that he would be going to Nagoya for that prefecture’s Matsuri (festival). I decline as I don’t like events with a lot of people. Although in retrospect I should have if I wanted to see actual Japanese culture. I then decided to make a trip to Kamakura if I could see the majority of the places I wanted to go in Tokyo today first.
Here are some shots of the street in Tokyo early morning.
A little underexpose
Here is where we had dinner last night.
I like how the majority of my film shots turned out. Although I shot most of these using center weighted metering which cause some of my shot to be underexposed but as long as the scene’s main subject was metered correctly and showed what I saw, it was acceptable.
Anyway, I talked to CC last night if he wanted to try out my plan on going about in Japan as he didn’t have anything in specific except for visit either Akihabara or Jinbochi. So he decided to give my plan a try since it consisted of visiting some of the scenic places in Tokyo. After having break fast, our first stop was Kanda Myojin Shrine which was not very far.
This temple was 1,200 years old though the current structure is actually a reproduction of the old one which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1923 but in terms of the establishment, it was considered one of the oldest shrine in Tokyo.
We soon reached the temple after a short walk.
The main entrance of the Kanda myojin shrine.
The sign at the entrance of the shrine giving a detail description about the shrine. Sadly I could not understand a single word on it.
A shot of inside the shrine CC managed to get permission for after asking (a good idea is to bring someone who can communicate in Japanese. CC was worth his weight in gold for a lot of things), the only restriction was from behind the donation box and no flash. So I pumped up the ISO to maximum for this shot.
Another thing you will always notice at all shrines and temple throughout Japan is the place to wash your hands before entering, I believe it’s purpose is to bless your or something to that effect. The procedure is fairly simply, use the scoops to hold the waters that comes out of the dragon’s mouth, then use the water to wash each hands and the remaining water you either drink a bit and then wash your face.
Here is the dragon.
Here is the scoops to hold the water.
Somethings you would find a different type of fortune slips like this paper fan version I found on that thing above. At this point I started to use my sigma 70-200mm instead of the nikkor 85mm on my digital as I wanted to get some insane bokeh.
Shrines or temple would also offer worshipers the small wooden things you see commonly in Japanese shows after making a small donation to the temple, where you can write on your wish and desire then hang them here in hopes of it coming through.
Generally anything can be written on these things including drawn pictures.
I went and bought some lucky charms from the temple and asked if I could take a picture of the miko that was there. I have to say, while I do like the shot, I wish she would smile. It would have made the picture a whole lot better.
Here is a shot of the gift shop.
The main entrance which we paid 300 Yen as fee to go in.
I am really starting to love how my 17-35 performs on film! Also I love how fortia works! I can’t wait to see how the other type of film I bought handles!
Taken using Sigma 70-200mm, tip here. It may not look much but use glare to your advantage if you need to make it stronger, use a polarizer and exaggerate it further instead of reducing it.
When taking pictures of leafs or plants, try and position so that the light is shining through the it. Why? it makes it look nicer by showing more details
After reaching the Shidome subway station, we reached topside and decided to have lunch at a Korean like place? I can’t be sure but I don’t think Kimchi is part of the Japanese staple of food.
We then proceeded to what we thought was the Sumida boat port.
This was taken by accident as I had left the camera on aperture mode but I decided to keep it as it convey the urgency of us getting to the that port so we wouldn’t missed the boat.
I had switch out my 17-35 from my film lens to my digital body during lunch as I wanted to go back to digital for now so I put my 28mm back on my fm2n.
I so hate a tourist trap.
Lots and lots of people.
We reached th Benten-yama Shoro but was so crowded we decided to divert to the Asakusa Jinja shrine instead (which was a smaller shrine located next to the main temple) as the crowded was literally nil over there. I was fine with that.
One of the only un-crowded shots I managed to get as every freaking senior tourist got in my way. Have they no courtesy or brain?!
Ah! So much better! I can now breath!!
Once again the place to bless ourselves. I was starting to like this part as it really invigorates me from the all that walking.
And it comes with visual guide!
I don’t know why but I would always find myself drawn to these as I try to read whatever that I could understand and see what were other people’s wish. I think it allowed me to look into other people’s lives albeit in a very small way. I could imagine who were the people that wrote these, all their thoughts and desire.
I also like the cute drawing that I would sometimes find on them. Though these are actually template that you can choose so not really drawn by those who hung them there.
Some even had bells attached to them.
One thing I did love about Japan, in one stretch of road I could find more variety of flowers then I could in the whole of Penang! Which provided me ample chance of shots!
Here is a pic of a pic of the shrine’s departed cat which passed away 3 years ago. I found it quite cute and sad because the cat was not there anymore but cute and happy the shrine people there still remembered it fondly.
A majority of the stuff there at Yodobashi was not really that much cheaper then back in Malaysia but they did have a point system where 10% or so of the amount of the price you paid for would be accumulated which you could use (1 point== 1 yen) for later purchases, so the more you had previously shopped at Yodobashi, the more you could buy later. Sadly I was a tourist so the point system is of little value to me as I wasn’t staying long.
Though I have to admit, they have everything out for test and feel. I managed to try out a Mamiya medium format camera and it was really cool! Sadly, I don’t have the money to buy. They also have the biggest tripod section that would dwarf Matthew’s shop completely back in Penang!
I wish I had taken some pictures inside but there was again a no photo policy and they were pretty strict about it.
I then head to the second hand camera shop that was only located across the street from Yodobashi. It was located on the 4th floor of this out of the way building you wouldn’t have guessed was selling camera until you saw the little sign nearby.
I proceeded up and one thing I really like about Japanese business is that they will always greet you as you entered their shops unlike here where they couldn’t give a rat’s ass about you unless you wanted to buy something. I asked them if they had the Nikon F4s MB-20 battery grip and sure enough they have!! For RM144 I could now shed of some serious weight off my Nikon F4s! Next I looked around their used lens collection, now let me tell you, they had the widest as well as the cleanest lens collection I’ve ever seen.
Every piece they had on sell was given a rating base on its condition and thus would determine their price. It starts with AA, AB, BB, BC, CC ,EE with AA being perfect and never used condition with EE meaning superb crap! I managed to score a Nikkor ais 50mm f/1.2 (non-NOCT version) which was in AB condition (with minor wear on the mount but the glass was perfect!) for RM900! You can still buy this lens new on the market but would cost you RM1400~RM1600. Yodobashi was selling a used one for RM1200!
I’ve notice that in Japanese, ais lenses are not in any hot demand hence the reason why they can go for very cheap. While AFD lens I rarely saw any second hand ones for sale, it seems from what I gathered from the sale person (who spoke fluent english, THANK GOD!) told me that people where now selling off their old ais lenses (which they can taken great care of) and buying AFD or AFS lenses instead.
I saw a second hand mamiya 645 camera with all the trimmings such as lenses bag and box all for RM1500 and was tempted to buy but then I would have trouble bringing it back as it was heavy. I put that idea off for now and would decide later then (I never did buy that medium format cam). So here I was happy and fill with joy that I found the grip along with a really good lens! Though I still did not find the the type K focusing screen for the Nikon F4 though I was already happy with what I found.
I then headed back to the train station and realized it was rush hour time, at this point I was tired so I didn’t take any photos and just wanted to go back to the hotel.
So I then took a bath again (>_<;;;) and I waited for CC where we then had dinner at some place not far from the hotel. That was how my the 3rd day of vacation went so until my next entry, pleasant dreams. PS: I made a note to myself to not go visit tourist trap places and decided to go to Kamakura tomorrow!