April 22, 2006

Jet-Lag posting

Okay, it's 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and I'm jet-lagged like a son-of-a-bitch, so I may as well do something constructive, or at least try blogging. . .

Melissa and I got in at about 3 p.m. yesterday, and I've been in and out of consciousness since.

All right, keep in mind, I try to be an artsy-fartsy guy, so pictures of me and significant others are often forgotten in my quest for the THE great picture. Thankfully, I have a girlfriend who insists on pictures of me with her and me with family members. HOWEVER, she's leaving for Cancun, Mexico today for ANOTHER week of vacation, and she has her digital camera with all her pictures, so I can only post the pictures I took with the regular film camera that I'm scanning in as I go. I'll have to post pictures of me with Melissa and my parents when Melissa gets back, provided I find that ambition.

Anyway, shall we begin?

*(Oh yeah, all pictures here are under copyright of, well, me, Ryan Rhodes, but that should be obvious, unless you're a lawyer--sorry Jeremy."

The day after we arrived, my parents took us via the bullet train (shinkansen) to Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. Just a quick note about the bullet train. . . that fucker's fast. Like, a bullet or something. Nothing like feeling as if you're scooting at ground level at over 200 miles per hour. I have mixed opinions about the viability surrounding public transportation such as light rail here in the States, but the Japanese, with their high-density housing, have it down to an art form. I've known this for years, of course, but it's still staggering to see it in action.

At any rate, after our arrival in Kyoto, we had time, before dusk, to visit one major shrine. I can't remember the name of it, but I guess it's kind of famous. Here are some pictures I snapped (click images for larger versions). Keep in mind, these are scanned images, so the Internet quality blows the mighty goat:


Quick fun fact. . . Kyoto's located in the mountains, so Melissa and I were cold as hell! On the plus side, because it was so cold, the cherry blossoms were out longer than usual than would normally be expected on the Kanto Plain (the most populated area of Japan).


You think cell phones are all the craze in the U.S.? Holy hell, try Japan on for size. When I lived there in 1992-1993, cell phones were a rarity, now they're EVERYWHERE. On the trains, everyone and their evil dopplegangers were clicking madly with their thumbs on their cell phone keypads. Some were playing games, while others were obviously text messaging. Still, it struck me as amusing to see these two beautifully-kimonoed ladies happily clicking away.


Just because the cherry blossoms were out longer than usual doesn't mean they weren't falling from the trees, which meant I couldn't resist this picture. I was going to crop this picture, but I'm too lazy, so sue me.

On to DAY TWO in Kyoto!


The Japanese are the masters of landscaping. Period. They could make a sewage treatment plant look like a work of art. In fact, maybe they have. Honestly, you could sit and marvel at the intricate detail for hours and come away relaxed as hell. Pictures don't do justice to scenes like this, because the sound of running water and birds and people disemboweling themselves just can't be conveyed by film.


Here's something I didn't know: the Japanese at some point crossed cherry trees with weeping willows. Truthfully. The result is amazing, I think you'll agree.



Ah, the Golden Pavilion. I'd wanted to see this in person ever since I constructed a model of it in 1992. The original was burned down by a mentally unstable individual in 1950 and then rebuilt in 1955. If I understood correctly, the current pavilion consists of 21 kilograms of gold. This site is incredibly popular, so getting pictures with no one in frame is a complete and total bitch. Especially when the weather was as shitty as it was for us, and everyone and their sister was carrying an umbrella.


I'm a sucker for Japanese stone lantern photos. This is the first of quite a few I took. I haven't developed about three rolls of film, so what you'll see in this post is only a precursor sampling.

Well, with Kyoto behind us, we move on to Tokyo itself. Meiji Shrine to be exact.


Meiji Shrine is the location of many traditional Japanese weddings and holidays, so you see a lot of kimonos and traditional wear. Here we see a mother with her aspiring Geisha daughter and her son, who has recently heard about a surprise attack on some location called Pearl Harbor and is eager to do his part for the war effort.


Little known fact: women like these are the real reason America decided not to invade the Japanese mainland.



Did I mention the cherry blossoms rocked? The cherry blossoms rocked.


Of course, the other flowers and colors are nothing to sneeze at either. Unless you're allergic, I guess.




These were taken in Kamakura, another former Japanese capital, about an hour train ride from downtown Tokyo, provided you catch an express train. I actually took a lot more pictures in Kamakura, but an entire roll of film was lost due to my own stupidity, which I'm still kicking myself about. Thankfully, Melissa took pictures of most of the same shots I took with her digital, so I'll try to post those when she gets back from Mexico. Plus, I have three more rolls to develop as well.

Anyway, back to jet-lagging it. *smooch*

Posted by Ryan at April 22, 2006 06:51 AM | TrackBack

This is all very nice, but . . . who's got the kitties? And will they ever forgive you for posting photos onto the 'net without them in?

On a serious note, you are one lucky S.O.B. - I've always wanted to visit Japan. I've got a couple of wall-hangings around the place given to me by my ex who taught English there for a few years, and I've watched nearly every Bruce Lee film ever made, but it's just not the same. Maybe at some point in the future when I'm not broke all the sodding time.

Posted by: simon at April 24, 2006 04:34 AM

Um, Bruce Lee is Chinese.

And, Melissa's sister watched the cats in our absence.

Posted by: Ryan at April 24, 2006 07:05 AM

one of my best friends moved to japan a few years ago, and i've never made it over there to visit her, and now she's moving back to the states. i think they've done an exceptional job of preserving their culture while at the same time keeping up with the modern world. your photos are gorgeous.

wow. you really are jet-lagged.

Posted by: amy.leblanc at April 24, 2006 01:33 PM

Uh, dude, you forgot to photograph the Great Wall.

Posted by: Jimmo at April 25, 2006 08:53 PM

Jimmo gets two gold stars for making me snort.

Posted by: Ryan at April 26, 2006 12:08 PM

Hey! I made that joke first with the Bruce Lee reference! I wanna gold staaaaa!

Posted by: simon at April 27, 2006 04:23 AM
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