Mount Fuji from Mount Takao, Black and White

Written by on November 25, 2008 in Blog, Photography, Photos along the way with 1 Comment

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Traditional, modern Japanese dancers, in pictures

Written by on November 24, 2008 in Blog, Photography, Photos along the way with 6 Comments

We rode our bicycles to the park yesterday to catch a local festival here in Takao (Ichomatsuri). The kids promptly bought chocolate covered bananas, and I got okonomiyaki (because I’d skipped lunch). Then we walked over to eat and watch local dancing troupes. I enjoyed taking snapshots of the cute kids in between bites, including these girls who danced skillfully in front of us.

Then I started to leave (the kids were desperate to go find the cotton candy), but an old lady said we should see the next group. She insisted, so we stayed.

The next group didn’t disappoint. Their music and dance was a blend of traditional and modern melodies and rhythms so typical of Japan today. They rocked and inspired, and they had a lot of fun.

They changed costumes three times during the performance, and they had a menagerie of shiny and colorful accouterments tucked in their belts:  clackers, fans, samurai swords, and mutli-colored streamers.  The dust rose, the light streamed through, and the flags waved  behind as the dancers rushed about in frenetic displays occassionally stopping for a group pose with a flash of color.

Golden fans … what next?

They just kept …

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The Night I Met Miss Universe (Riyo Mori, Japan, 2007) and…

Written by on November 21, 2008 in Blog, Photography, Photos along the way with 8 Comments

…I also met Kurara Chibana (1st Runner-Up in 2006) and Hiroko Mima (Miss Universe Japan in 2008).

I walked into the Ginza Gucci Store, went upstairs to the cafe, and there they were standing in the middle of the room looking regal. Someone said, Why don’t you take their picture. So I did.

Riyo Mori, Kurara Chibana, and Hiroko Mima (Oct 25, 2008)

Then I walked around taking photos of everyone, sometimes pausing to grab some roast beef on a cracker or whatever else was coming around.

I was the photographer, and the event was a fundraiser for Room to Read. Room to Read raises money and uses it to build schools and libraries for children in impoverished communities worldwide. Previously, I wrote about my site visit to see Room to Read’s work in Cambodia here.

Later in the evening Erin Ganju, co-founder of Room to Read and future CEO, gave a presentation.

Room to Read got started because John Wood and Erin Ganju (and others) went traveling to see the world. Like countless others they were touched by what they saw. UNLIKE innumerable others, they did something in response. Now Room to Read is having a …

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Preschool kids in Japan having fun on mountain bikes

Written by on November 19, 2008 in Blog, Personal, Photography with 3 Comments
Lined up

Before going to the starting line

Going for it

He really resented having a tiny bicycle and training wheels

Growing up

This year his father had him training hard for this


With a look of determination (and enjoying it)

With some help

This was his second day on a bicycle

Small but proud

He rode hard after his brother's record at that age


Pedalling hard up the hill

Mari and a stranger

The course passed through and around farmer's fields

The winner

Mari at the finish with a tired smile

All together again

The group returning to the preschool


This was the scene with Fall colors and blue sky

All lined up again

Drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies

The prize

Mari gets her medal, a proud moment

At the end

Posing with their medals and certificates

Yesterday the preschool kids had their annual bicycle race. The race is a one hour marathon. The one who goes the farthest wins. Reia won two years ago by going 14 laps. Last year a boy pedalled for 17 laps. This year Mari and Maika are the oldest, so they both hoped to win. It turned out to be Mari’s day. She went out hard and led the whole the way (15 laps).

Most of the kids in the preschool this year are very young.

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Photos of Angkor Wat and nearby temples

Written by on October 28, 2008 in Blog, Photography, Photos along the way with 1 Comment
Dog at the Temple

Another vistor...

Roots of Decay

Yeah, a terrible title for another photo every visitor takes

Looking out

Temple walls and a receding pathway

Looking Up

Light streams in from above at the center of one of the temples

Face Shot

One of the giant faces of Buddha at the Bayon

Inside a temple

Temple workers and an image of Buddha

Vishnu of Angkor Wat

The statue of Vishnu that was enshrined at Angkor Wat


Images of Buddha were defaced after an ancient Hindu revival

Angkor Wat

A photo that everyone has to take before they leave

Here are nine of my favorite photos from Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples. I’m not going to hash out the details (or even attempt to remember the names of all the temples); I’ll just let you enjoy the images (with brief captions). The history of the temples and the civilization that built them is too much for a simple blog post, but you can get a taste here.

I spent about 8 hours visiting 6 or 8 temples with a driver and a guide. It rained for about 6 hours. That meant carrying an umbrella with my heavy camera bad on my shoulder (and camera in hand). Oh, and struggling into a yellow

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Dog at the Temple in Angkor Wat

Written by on October 21, 2008 in Blog, Photography, Photos along the way with 4 Comments

I’ve been to Angkor Wat — been there and done that. I’m glad to have seen it, despite the rain. I’ll show a series of photos soon, but I thought I’d open with this one. It’s a bit different than the others, but I like it.

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