Jim Friesen - Photography

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We boarded the train leaving Hiroshima and were once again traveling through dream time.

My sense of being in someone else's movie came back when we were on an almost empty car with two large policemen who were escorting a young man in handcuffs. He looked small and vulnerable but I had no idea what he had done. That was where the real story was. I didn't take any pictures; I just looked out the window and thought about the near misses that littered my life.

We arrived in Kyoto ...

... and made our way to our Ryokan and to our room. There are many things that I did not spend as much time documenting as those things deserved; Japanese toilets (they take their toilets very seriously), onzens (click here to see someone who has given the Japanese bathing experience the time and artistry it deserves), restaurants (there were too many and the food was always wonderful), and ryokans (motels or travel lodges with small rooms). But they made this trip affordable and were charming. This was our room.

We went for a walk as soon as we stowed our bags. The Kamo River runs through Kyoto and we ended up walking beside it our first evening there.




bg_26791387168925.jpgThis photo of Angela, finding directions on her smartphone, is one of my favorite shots from the trip. 

Every meal was an adventure in Japan and that evening we found a great place near the ryokan where the chef worked on a large grill and put noodles and vegetables in a batter that he moulded into a cylinder and put on another grill in front of our place setting. We then put sauces on it and ate it. A poor description of an amazing meal.

The next day Angela wanted to explore on her own. I was sitting in the lobby of the ryokan looking hopelessly at maps when I saw a young man sitting across from me doing the same thing and with an equally confused look on his face. Raphael was from Paris and he was happy to join me on my photo safari. He became a friend during our stay in Kyoto. We decided to go back along the same route that Ange and I had taken the night before, but to explore it in more detail.


We went down random streets, taking photos of whatever struck our fancy, until we found a traditional garden. It was beautiful. 



Then we went back into the streets and explored the city.

Raphael made some friends. I believe they were Geisha in training.
bg_26861387170366.jpgKyoto has an entertainment district where Geisha and Geisha in training (half jewels) can be seen. These young women may be part of that tradition. You can find out a little bit about it here. There was a strange atmosphere in this aspect of the city, with cars and their drivers waiting outside houses ...


and drunk businessmen being chauffeured through the streets. I would have liked to have spoken with this young woman to find out what her life was really like; if she really inhabited a "flower and willow world". I stumbled onto her as Raphael and I wandered aimlessly through downtown Kyoto. There were a couple of other 'tourists/photographers who were trying to get a picture. One of them was a woman who ran past me trying to set up and cursing, "She won't stop so I can get a shot". I took this photo reflexively and later I felt as close as I've ever come to feeling like paparazzi. I hope that if she saw the picture she would forgive me.


I felt more comfortable taking pictures of this beautiful bird.


More of Kyoto to come.

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