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A bit of everything 変型のポスト

April 14, 2014

The images that I’ve included here are kind of an eclectic mix, though I suppose they sort of come down to art, architecture and people (alive and dead).  That was far too long for a title, however.

このポストの写真はちょっと変型のです。たぶん、テーマは美術品だし建築だし人たちです。

Like many of the European cities I’ve been to, Prague, Budapest and Rome in particular come instantly to mind, the architecture of Paris is gorgeous.  Canada is a very young country, so being able to wander around among buildings still being used and lived in that are older by far than anything in Canada is remarkable.  Maybe I’m only seeing things with a tourist’s eyes, but there’s also something inherently cultured about these old-world cities.  Still, one of the most amazing things I observed in Paris was that people were not addicted to their mobile phones.  This really hit home when I was riding the metro.  Here in Hong Kong, people are constantly plugged in, but in Paris there was a very small portion of the ridership that were.  It was a refreshing change.

プラハとかブダペストとかローマ同じぐらいパリの建築は素晴らしいと思います。カナダは若い國ですので長い歴史の都市に散歩してことがとても面白いです。たぶんツリストの目で見えてですがこの「旧世界の都市」は固有な教養があると思います。あの日、地下鉄に乗ったながら面白いことを見かけた。ほかの人はスマートフォンがあんまり使わない。このごろそれはびっくりすことでしょうね。香港にはどこにも使います。癒し系の場合でした。

Like London, and even the other cities I mentioned, it’s easy to forget that within the last 100 years there were times when Paris had the stuffing knocked out of it due to conflict.  There’s not much to remind one of the damage that was inflicted on Paris during the second world war, but as the photos will show, every now and again, a reminder will pop into view of how devastating the war was.

ロンドン同じ、第二次大戦間にパリは踏み荒らされました。もちろん建物は割れされましたが万骨も絶え果てさせられました。たくさんパリに住んでいるのユダヤ人は強制収容所からぜんぜん帰らされなかったです。散歩した時に時として追悼を見えました。大変。大変。

 

The icons   ザ アイコンズ

April 3, 2014

When you think of Paris, or even hear the word, there are probably certain images that come to mind.  Landmarks, more likely than not.  There are undoubtedly certain landmarks that are up for debate, but I’m sure that most will agree that the Eiffel tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and the Louvre are instantly recognizable by much of the world.

パリ。その言葉を聞きながらなにが考えていますか。イッフェル塔でしょうか。ルーブル美術館ですか。世界中その史跡の意味はパリですね。

Having lived in Hong Kong for many years now, where even apartment blocks rise to 50 stories or more, it’s remarkable how flat many European cities are.  Paris is no exception to this.  As a result, it’s amazing how many views of the Eiffel tower there are, from all around the city.

香港の建物の高さはとても高いです。たとえば、僕のアパート建物は42階です。香港の一番高い建物は110階です。反面にヨーロッパの建物は高くないです。それでパリにたくさん所からイッフェル塔を見えます。

The challenge for me, I quickly discovered, was figuring out how to get something different out of one of the most photographed cities in the world.  Could I get a different perspective of Paris that others before me hadn’t?  Highly unlikely, though I tried not to let that stop me from giving it a go.

数十年まえから人々はパリで写真を写しています。沢山有名な写真家も素敵な写真を写しました。それでぼくが異色な写真を撮るかどうか分からなかった。ありえないと思ったのに最善の努力を行った。

 

Just an entree 前菜だけです

February 17, 2014

This is just a bit of an intro, or an entree, if you like.  Over the Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) break recently, I spent the time in Paris.  It was my first trip to the city and certainly won’t be my last.  Despite the less than ideal weather, it was a great introduction to the City of Light.

このポストはちょっと前菜だけです。今年の春節休み中、パリに行きました。はじめの旅行です。天気がちょっと悪かったのに楽しかったです。

Of course, there were the typical tourist things I needed to do as a first-timer, like go to the Louvre, head up the Eiffel tower, and see Notre Dame cathedral, but I also spent a lot of time just wandering around the various areas and seeing what could be seen.

もちろん、ツーリストのことをしました。たとえば、イッフェル塔に登ったし沢山美術館にいきました。でも、数ヶ所で散歩しました。面白い事を見たしやさしい人を会いました。

Before going, I had heard the stories of how Parisians aren’t all that friendly or accommodating to people who don’t speak French, but I didn’t find that at all.  I speak a small amount of French, enough to get by in a basic situation, but when I got into trouble and had to ask if they could speak English, it was never a problem.  I met quite a few folks in my wanderings, and by and large I found the French to be a pretty genial lot.  So, don’t believe everything you hear.

旅行に行った前、「パリ人は優しくない」の申し立てを聞いた。でも、全体にそのことはないと思います。実は、ほとんど問題なかったです。

Last of the old year  旧年の最後の写真です

January 24, 2014

I’ve been a tad lax, I realize.  I finally got a few rolls from the end of 2013 developed and scanned over the holidays so, with no particular theme, here are some of the last images from the old year.

もう遅くなってですね。よやく、最後の2013年撮ったフィルムが焼いた。このポストはテーマがありません。

All of the square-format images were taken with my Mamiya C330F, twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera.  I got it fitted out with a grip and metred prism finder so it makes it much easier to shoot.  I’ll certainly not be getting rid of my Hasselblad any time soon, but the TLR is a whole lot quieter.  Besides, it also makes for an interesting conversation piece while I’m wandering the neighbourhoods of The Big Lychee.

全部、四角形の写真は古いマミヤC330Fツインレンズレフレックスカメラで撮ったです。僕の八セルブラッドカメラは大好きのにマミヤのほうが静かです。それで、ストリートで撮影のことのためとても便利です。

I’ll be in Paris over the Chinese New Year break, so I’m looking forward to coming back with some interesting photos and stories.

すぐに、春節休みがあります。パリに行きます。いい写真を撮る楽しみにしています。

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

春節おめでとうございます!

Memorials メモリアル

December 2, 2013

Near the beginning of November, I headed out to two very different forms of memorial in Hong Kong.  The first, is the military cemetery on Stanley peninsula.  This particular cemetery, as well as the Sai Wan war cemetery are quite poignant because they include the resting places of many Canadian soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of Hong Kong, defending against the Imperial Japanese Army between December 8th – 25th, 1941.

11月つき始めに二つメモリアルに行きました。最初にスタンリーの軍人墓地へいきました。第二次大戦の間に大日本帝国陸軍は香港を攻め込んだ。その時、カナダの隊員は香港にいました。

It may come as a surprise to many Canadians that our troops were involved in protecting Hong Kong during World War II.  It was something I only found out about once I came here.  I can’t recall ever learning about this fact in school.

じつは、香港へ来るまでその歴史を知らなかったです。学校で学ばなかっただと思います。

The second memorial was the newly revitalized Mei Ho House in Sham Shui Po, one of the oldest and poorest areas of Kowloon.  In 1953, a blaze ripped through the shanty town that was in this area; the government’s solution was to create Mei Ho House as the first housing estate in Hong Kong.

次、シャム ショ ポにメイ ホ 家に行きました。1953年、その所に大火災がありました。それで、メイ ホ 家は香港の初めの公団住宅が建たせました。

A couple of friends and I had originally meant this particular Sunday to merely be a day for wandering around, photographing Sham Shui Po.  One of the friends I was with had actually grown up in the area so it was great to get an insider’s perspective of what it was like 30-plus years ago.  We actually stumbled upon Mei Ho House by accident only because we were planning on walking up the hill behind it to get a good view of the area.  The three of us were pleasantly surprised and in the end, impressed with the revitalization.  It is now a youth hostel.  More than that though, it’s an excellent museum.  In the back courtyard, there’s also a “general store” and a fantastic cafe.  This is, by far, the best example of a revitalization project I have seen in Hong Kong.  I do hope that it won’t be the only one.  I highly recommend checking it out.  Here’s a map showing its location.

二人の友達一緒にシャム ショ ポへ行くために写真を撮るつもりだった。一人の友達はその近所で育った。それで近所の歴史を教えました。面白かった。僕たちは偶然メイ ホ 家に行きました。見た時、驚いた。今、ユースホステルと博物館です。面白い伝統的なカフェーもあります。時間があれば勧めています。

In search of yakimono 焼き物を探します

October 28, 2013

I made two other day-trips that I thought deserved their own post.

I’m a fan of Japanese pottery and I visited two very important pottery towns in Western Japan: Karatsu and Hagi.  How important?  Well, there’s an adage in describing the preference of tea masters for teabowls:  “Raku first, Hagi second, Karatsu third”  I haven’t any of Kyoto’s Raku-ware yet, though it’s only a matter of time (and money).   My foray into Japanese pottery started by collecting Bizen-yaki from Okayama prefecture, but  I’ve been branching out a bit more over the last few years.  In addition to tea-ware, many artists also make fantastic sake-ware and on this trip I was determined to add to my collection both chawan (tea bowl) and guinomi (sake cup).

このことわざしていますか:一に楽焼、二に萩焼、三に唐津焼。茶碗についてこの諺は大切です。僕はまだ楽焼がありません。ぜったい将来に茶碗を買います。採取始めた時、備前焼が好きだった。また好きですが僕の嗜好がだんだん進出しています。このたび、茶碗やぐい飲みを買うつもりだった。

An interesting note about these styles of pottery is how much they were originally influenced by Korean potters.  It was during the end of the 1500′s (late Muromachi and Azuchi Momoyama periods) into the early 1600′s (early Edo period) that the “pottery wars” saw Korean potters go to Japan to fire up kilns.  Some went willingly, some not so much.

Karatsu is fairly well known and quite close to Fukuoka.   Sadly, as a town, there really isn’t much there worth seeing unless you’re visiting for the purposes of finding pottery.  The most famous kiln in Karatsu is the Nakazato kiln.  This family has been producing Karatsu-yaki since the late 1500′s.  The current head of the pottery dynasty is Nakazato Taroemon XIV – an unbroken lineage of 14 generations.

唐津市は福岡市近いにあります。残念ながら焼き物を探してなければ面白いことがありません。唐津のなかに一番有名な窯は中里窯です。室町時代の結末から中里窯は焼き物を産物しています。現在の中里たろうえもんは世代14です。すごいですよね。

Hagi-yaki is said to have begun around 1604 when two brothers from Korea, Ri Shakko and Ri Kei, were employed  to produce personal tea utensils for Lord Mori Terumoto of Hagi.  Without your own vehicle, getting to Hagi is quite a journey, and unless you’re really into Japanese tea ware, the town itself is a bit of a mystery, even to the Japanese.  In fact, when I told a few of my Japanese friends that I had gone to Hagi, their responses were, “Where’s Hagi?”  It’s in Yamaguchi prefecture, just so you know.  Yes, the journey was long, involving several hours and no less than three transfers, but well worth it.  Via a two-car local train, I went through some fantastic countryside.  Half the route into Hagi is so rural that the stations don’t even have station masters; you pay the conductor on the train.   You also don’t want to miss a train as the next one might not trundle by for an hour or two.  The route also went along the Sea of Japan coast where the waters are crystal-clear and the tip of South Korea is only about 200 km away.   Hagi is also very important from a historical perspective as many of its citizens were critical in bringing about the return of Imperial rule during the Meiji Restoration of the 19th century.  If you have the chance, even if pottery isn’t your thing, I recommend going to Hagi.  While heading there by car would certainly be the most convenient way to go, there’s something to be said for sitting back and enjoying the ride in an old-style local train.

萩焼きの開始はおぼしき江戸2年でした。韓国人兄弟リ シャッコとリ ケイは萩に行きました。森てるもと領主のために茶道具を作り出した。萩市の所をしていますか。山口県にいます。福岡市から遠いです。片道のは4時間ごろかかりました。でも旅路は楽しかったです。2号車の普通列車できれいないなかを旅しました。日本海も見ました。とてもきれいだった。見たときに「ダイビングはどうですか」と思いました。(笑)その所から南韓国は近いですね。200キロぐらいだけです。萩市はいい都市と思います。雰囲気がいいし会った住民が優しいでした。行ければ車で一番便利ですが普通列車でとても面白いと思います。おすすめです。

You’ll no doubt notice that I’ve included images of the pieces I bought during the trip.  There’s something extremely satisfying about drinking tea and sake from finely made pottery.  I’m sure it’s all mental, but the taste is just seems better.

Summer in Western Japan 西日本で夏休み

October 21, 2013

I’m still on about summer.  One could be forgiven for thinking that I’m having a hard time relinquishing the holidays.  One wouldn’t be entirely wrong about that, but no, it’s just that I’m finally getting everything organized.  But the added stretch is OK too; Xmas is just around the corner!

また夏休み中撮った写真をポストことです。遅いでしょうね。実は、クリスマス休憩がきます!(笑)

As I usually do during the summer, I tend to take a bit of a short trip after being home in Vancouver.  I have the time, after all.  This year, I decided to head to Fukuoka, on the island of Kyushu.  This is a part of Japan that I’m not overly familiar with so figured it would be nice to visit and explore a bit more.  I used Fukuoka as my home base and then did a lot of day trips around Western Japan.  Fukuoka is a nice city and it would be quite easy to live in.  It’s small enough that walking around is easy and it’s nowhere near as crowded as the larger cities in Japan.  Great food culture too.  The mobile yatai (food carts) that come out at dusk, particularly along the riverside are great places to try some local comfort food.   Pork-based ramen is particularly famous all over Kyushu.

相変わらず、バンクーバーから帰ったところほかの短い旅行に行ってきました。今年、福岡市へ行きました。福岡市からいろいろな日帰り旅行を行って来ました。屋台で美味しいラーメンや串焼きを食べた。楽しかったですよ。

The big day trip that I had planned was to go to Hiroshima and the island of Miyajima.  I’d been to both once before, but that was about a decade ago.  I left Fukuoka early on the shinkansen (bullet train), arrived at Miyajima by 9:30 am and found the place was already packed.  According to accounts, Miyajima, Itsukushima shrine (a UNESCO world heritage site) in particular, is the most visited place in Japan.  I believe it!  I wandered around in the 37-degree heat for a few hours then hopped the ferry again for the mainland.  I didn’t stay very long in Hiroshima city as I hadn’t planned on heading right into the city, but I did stay long enough for a late lunch/early dinner of Hiroshima-yaki (okonomiyaki with a Hiroshima style to it).  My main goal was actually to walk around the Peace Memorial Park and see the “A-bomb” dome again (also a UNESCO world heritage site).  If you go to Hiroshima, I do highly recommend the Peace Memorial museum, but on an emotional level, be prepared to be completely, utterly devastated.  It’s a place that should be mandatory for every world leader to visit.

福岡から広島市と宮島に行きました。この前行ったことがあるけど十年前ぐらいです。その時、原爆資料館に行きました。原爆資料館のことを見るながら情緒障害することがなりました。それで、今回に行かなかったです。でも、原爆ドームに行きました。まず、厳島神社に行きました。日本中、厳島神社は一番人気の所と言う事です。信じられますよ。9時半頃着きました。その時、すでに込んでいました。「すごい!」と思いました。更に、天気がとても暑かったです。それで散歩したことが大変だった。

The other day trip I’ll mention here was two-fold: first was to head out to the “canal town” of Yanagawa and then the temple town of Dazaifu on the way back.  I had a nice time walking around Yanagawa, but it was not quite as advertised.  The canals were not at all close to the station, nor were they overly accessible for walking along.  If it’s a nice canal town you’re looking for, I recommend Kurashiki in Okayama prefecture.  The canals there are more accessible and the old buildings have been maintained much better.  It’s much more of a step back in time.  As for Dazaifu, on this trip, there were just as many people taking photos of the new Starbucks located on the Omotesando (shopping street) as were photographing the shrine.  Actually, it is pretty cool, though also surprising to see one on the street leading up to a shrine.

太宰府と柳川市も行って来ました。柳川市にはたくさん河渠があると言う事でした。倉敷市と同じだと思いました。実は、違うと思います。河渠があるですが駅から遠いだし面白い建物と店がないです。川下りは人気があるですが「河渠村」に行きたいすれば倉敷市をおすすめです。

All in all, it was a fantastic trip and I was happy to have been able to explore some new areas of Japan.  I even had friends come up from Kumamoto to visit me in Fukuoka for a day, so that made the trip extra special.

ついに福岡市など旅行は楽しかったです。新しい所を探りました。それはいいですね。

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