Day 4: Kamakura

13th October 2007

So once again, I set off at about 7am after prepping up my equipment and myself (bath>_<) I set off for the Kanda train and then got off at Tokyo station. I took the next Rapid train to Kamakura which I think took about 55 minutes.

It was 8 something-nish. It was cold, quiet, empty…….perfect. I would not have annoying tourist bugging the hell out of me along with their annoying kids running around. I could do my photography in peace. CC by then should have gone to Nagoya for the Nagoya matsuri.

From what I read about Kamakura, I could have stopped at the kite Kamakura station instead of the main Kamakura station but there seem to be no reason to do so then.

I read that walking was consider the best way to get around Kamakura so I decided to walk.

There were only a few people walking about and I pretty much enjoy it that way. I had roughly about 8 hours time to spend here.

Though I wish the weather had been better when I was there, serious case of cloudy overcast which annoyed the hell out of me as I had to switch my WB to shade. I offer this tip to those who are forced to shoot in cloudy overcast days, if you’re using digital you have 2 choices either shoot black and white or set your WB to shade to try and put some saturation back into your pics or else everything going to look washed out.

I did shoot film that day and was using provia along with velvia. The film (3 rolls) I had brought from Malaysia had been sent to be developed at Yodobashi yesterday.

I strolled through the still sleeping town, I then took notice of how Japanese built their towns and how packed everything was, not a square inch was left to waste. I also notice that their road system was very efficient as well as “uncluttered”.

I could see from one end of the town to the next just by looking down the road. It was that uncluttered save for the street pole and their power lines.

I just love the peace calm and silence, it really is very different from the noisy crap I endure at home. I so hate that and I still do.

I had made a mental note to maybe later come back and stroll through the shopping district ( I didn’t).

I also saw another photographer who was heading the same direction, he was carrying a Leica M7 a film camera. This brings me to another point, I’ve notice that film still dominate the camera market here and the fact that the major camera makers of the world are located in Japan who are making all those cameras with higher and higher megapixels every month.

It was odd to find that 90% of the people here who are serious into photography use film. But I’ve notice this trend as well with many other countries (from what I read) such as the Singapore, UK, USA, along with Europe where film is still in high demand unlike in Malaysia where everyone seems to switch to digital (just because it’s the latest) and film is perceived as dead and going to film is perceived to being uncool and not keeping with the times. I get a lot of flak for going to film especially from my peers at fotokrazy who keep trying to put me down for using film.

After a while I encounter this little fat fellow. Cute, fat and adorable, I stayed for a while just petting it.

I then decided to try some flower shots (again).

Here I thought I turn it B&W as the original pic was washed out due to the overcast that day.

Played with B&W here along with vignetting. Give it a try you might not know what you’re going to get.

Soon I reached the Hachiman-gu Shrine

There was actually an easier way to get here, I could have just walked out of the central station and followed along the Komachi-dori

I then went in and went into the small shrine on the right first instead of going straight into the main shrine

I so love playing with bokeh! Taken using sigma 70-200mm.

It’s quite a small shrine surrounded by water and access is only possible via the stone bridge. It was at this point I was getting more down as I still did not see any autumn leafs.

Wish for 2 wishes

I tried to have a small conversation with the monk there asking him when will be the koyo, sadly I was informed it would only be there in November, same reply I got in Tokyo. Tragic, that is what I felt then.

I turned to head for the main temple and then I found this little thing waiting for me by the stone bridge.

Note: I should have gotten closer to the bird but sadly I didn’t have enough time to switch lens before it moved away (no, it didn’t fly away, it just walked away). I also had a small accident with a bird, one of the pigeons had landed on my shoulder, thinking it was a good sign initially, I wanted to take a REALLY close pic of it but it flew away and not without leaving a little package on my coat >_< (EEEWWWWWWW!). There would be some washing tonight………. . The tip here? longer lens and keep the birds off your shoulders.

Moving along (and attempting to clean my coat), I then headed for the main shrine.

I’m not sure what this is, but I can guess it’s some sort of structure where rituals are carried out? In any event, there was a number of construction going on around and I guess there would be some sort of celebration tonight (no plans to attend).

All the booze for tonight’s celebration I think.

I then headed up the LONG stairway up to the main shrine. Though I was greeted by this at the bottom of the steps

After reaching the top I went in, nothing much to really see.

500 yen o buy those wooden things, RM15. Was tempted but then decided what could I write anyway?

I have a disturbing love for perspectives.

So I decided to head out for the next place, Zuisen-ji temple. Though it took me but I did get to see a lot. Initially I had thought of going to Great Buddha but I had a terrible feeling it would be packed with people so I skipped it.

Flowers, I so much like flowers.

Though I kind of lost my way and found myself at the Hokai-ji Temple.

The temple seemed quite rundown, this was very evident from the surrounding.

It was also the only place where you could find these flowers

I believe this temple is for samurai who committed sepuku, this is what I read from the signs and pamphlets.

When I say this place is a bit rundown. I’m not joking……

Triforce? @_@

Still while it seemed to be in need of some repair work, the place was quiet and serene. I liked it, no noise. Then I understood why, behind the place where cemetery where status and place markers for the people this temple was dedicated to.

Offerings are made to them as well as gifts.

The place offered me a good challenge on getting the right exposure especially the fact that the day was overcast lighting. Tip here, increase ISO to high and spot meter on the darkest portion.
Also try and get the aperture at the sharpest. Let the camera decide on the shutter speed. This would create the soft lights you see here.

Vignetting did not go very well with this one. Maybe I’ll have to redo this some other time.

I spent a while on this picture. I think got it on the 7th try. I was feeling tired from all the walking but I just had to get this pic right.

Then I went onto Zuisen-ji temple, but by the time I got there (long walk…….really long walk) I was exhausted and went into the food court nearby to rest (I think I rested for an hour or 2) but by then my whole being was tired.

Though it did have a different take on the usual wooden plates, instead of wooden plates, it would use small porcelain figures where you write your wish and put them on racks.

As you can see here, as usual you need to make a small donation to write one. Which I didn’t sadly.

I then decide to head back to the station as I was getting tired and I needed to pick up the rolls of flim I sent in to be developed. I took the bus back to the central station as there was not way I was walking all the way back.

I then arrived at the station and purchase my ticket back but I was still early so I decided to look around the place. But lo and behold! I actually managed to find some signs of KOYO!

Finally! Although the tree was fenced off….. meh! At least I got the shot then as there would be more later.

So after taking that, I decided to grab something to eat and there was a MacDonald nearby, going against my better judgment I went and found GASP! a PORK BIG MAC! Worth my money!

Bon appetite!!!!

So with that, I headed back to Tokyo where I then proceeded to Akihabara!

Unfortunately, I was too early by 2 hours as the film would not arrived until 6pm. So I decided to kill time wondering around. I stumble by a street performance that takes place between 5pm till 7pm. There are more performance at Harajuku but I didn’t have time to go there during my vacation there (more like I got lost a few times and never found the place).

Here are some of the street shots I took

These people have guts, they also had their albums on sale but sadly it sold out >_<

All the bands were pretty good which drew a huge crowd to support them!

I wasn’t the only photographers. Also this shot was taken by accident when for some reason, my lens just wouldn’t focus. I tried to just take randoms shoots just to provoke the autofocus but nothing worked. I then decided to turnoff the camera, take off the lens and plug it back on. The fix worked but I wonder why it wouldn’t work. In any case when I went back this shot was among those taken when I was test shooting the problem.

After I had gotten all the shot I wanted, I then went to sit down while I waited. I was exhausted but I had to get the film today as I would be going to Kyoto tomorrow. I was wondering if CC was having a better time then me (he was).

I decided to take some pic of the huge LCD screen over the entrance of Yodobashi. They have some pretty interesting things.

maids….yes……I like it

dancing skirts….Yes I could see myself living this life ^_^

Then the film came back, I paid the amount and then headed off to one of the many light tables they had there for people to review their slides (mounted). I was estatic! (2 of the rolls had spoiled of course) but the rest of the fortia film were wonderful! I decided to have them digitized and sent another roll of film to developed.

The guy at the counter doesn’t seem to be very friendly but I couldn’t care less at the time as I was glad the film came back all right (minus the 2 roll that were spoiled by Malaysia’s xray machine). I then decided to head back to the hotel, bath (>_<) and do my finances.
Bwahaahah my deathnote! (why is it red?)
I tried to do my finance like I always did but the tracking was incredibly hard. So I decided to do this instead, give myself a limited amount to spend a day (in this case 10,000 yen == RM300) which worked pretty well as I managed to keep it less then 5,000 yen a day (Rm150).

Here is a shot of my film camera set (the picture was taken using my digital equipment).

My secondary gear line
Along with my new 50mm ais f/1.2 bwahahahah!

I then decided to see if CC was back yet as I needed to give him something, but he didn’t come back until 11pm. I passed him the slide he wanted and bid him good night as we would be going our separate why by tomorrow. He would be going to Dreamparty tomorrow before heading to sendai the day after that. I should have joined him at DreamParty but I had my own objectives here.

So that’s all for this entry until my next entry on Kyoto, pleasant dreams!

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