Saturday, 24 December 2011

Higashiyama onsen

A nice onsen resort on the mountains near AizuWakamatsu, Fukushima prefecture, with this old ryokan and many modern hotels.

Kitakata train station

At Kitakata train station in Winter 2011, as usual there is a lot of snow and is very cold. The very nice red cartoon character on the train and on the flag is the mascotte of AizuWakamatsu area, Fukushima prefecture, is a red cow.

To separete from you.

The tears
struggle to contain
with the inconsolable sleeve.
Oh how much I would avoid
to separete from you!
From The Genji monogatari of Murasaki Shikibu (1000 d.C.)

Friday, 23 December 2011

A sparkling new year to all.

Merry Christmas and happy new year

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Summer Kakejiku

In Japan, at home, there are not pictures hanging on the walls all the times, every season is accompained by some decoration and a new picture, painting or calligraphy is displayed on the wall. I love this harmony with season, nature and universe of traditional Japanese culture. This nice kakejiku (calligraphy or drawing on a scroll) representing a suski, symbol of the end of Summer accompained by a nice chabana (flower composition), the porcelain sphere is an incense box called natsume and is used in the tea ceremony. In this picture is used a traditional golden screen. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Murakami Haruki

I'm reading the latest Murakami Haruki's novel, just translated in italian, I'm sorry but cannot read it in original language. I have read all translated Murakami's book and I love them all. I'm really mesmerized by this book, really intriguing and fascinating. I look forward to go deeper into the story and discover new world, as usual in Murakami's books. And waiting for the second volume.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Chozuya

At the entrance of the jinja enclosure there are always a chōzuya, a basin for washing the hands and rinse the mouth for purifying oneself before approaching the temple for respect to God. This chōzuya is a carved big red stone with running water and a bamboo holder for the dippers.

New year wish

For greeting the new year, people visit the jinja (temple), they pray, make offerings and ask for fortune buing a omikugi, a written oracle and, after reading it, they tied it to a wire or a brunch of a tree in the temple enclosure.

Sake factory Yamatogawa

The Yamatogawa sake factory near my family's house in Kitakata, Fukushima prefecture, make a selection of sake (the rice wine) of high quality indeed. I like the slighty sweet sake and the nigori sake, raw sake, not filtrated with a milky looks, is really good. I hope taht the radiation from the March 2011 disaster will not affect the rice fields in the area and so the sake industry there.

Lanterns in the snow

I miss a lot the Winter festivity in Kitakata, the snow, the cold, the warm family there ...

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Flower composition

A nice flower composition made by a great artist, Matsuyama san. In Milano for a concert of The Japan Association of North Italy with many good Japanese musicians and singers. The location is the house for elderly musicinas build in the late 17th century by the great composer Giuseppe Verdi, portrayed in the paintings on the background. He was a real pop star of his time, earned a lot of money end spent them for this great building in the proximity of the center of Milano where can live many ex musicians and artist of the show business.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Emi in Turin

I love black and white pictures, the person looking at the image can concentrate on mood, composition and expression and not be distracted by the color of things. In this image I love the ear and the beautiful line of the neck, very sensual. Is not a portrait, in the classical sense, the face is not in light and out of focus, but is important the natural feeling of this image, very relaxed and intimate mood. I really like back light coming from the window in the back. A beautiful woman reading a book by the window in a Autumn afthernoon ...

Friday, 7 October 2011

A Summer rainy day

Even in a rainy day I like to watch out of my window and, somethimes, shoot some picture to the people passing in the road. Actually, I love rain especially in Summer.

From my window

I love this road out of my mother's in love house in Kitakata, the stone pavement and of course, nice girls passing by on a byke on a Summer afthernoon.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Kakejiku artist


This kakejiku and screens artist lives and work in Tokyo, his name is Inazaki. The kakejiku must be at the same level of the work of art that have to support, is more important than a frame, colors, dimension, textures are all elements have to consider in making the kakejiku of gret quality an artistic value.

Kakejiku


The kakejiku is a scrool with a calligraphy or painting to be hung on the wall, is made of many layers of very thin paper glued together to support the picture, this is for resist to many roll ups and unwraps. There are small part of the scroll with paper or fabric decoration and at both extremities a cilybder of wood. In Japanese tradition, is hung on the wall something new every season, just one thing, painting or calligraphy in harmony with the season. There are't many paintings on the wall only in the tokonoma, just one and for a limited period of time.

Shoji

This is a shoji, a wooden frame covered with paper, of the size of the window, in between are positioned bamboo curtains to lower more the light, that draw a grear shadow on the white paper. In traditional Japanese houses there always low light. The great Japanese writer Tanizaki Junichiro wrote "In Praise of Shadows" where explain beautifully the Japanese aestetics of shadows and darkness.

Painting on the wall

The painting or calligraphy scroll is called kakejiku, is one of the element of the tokonoma, the most precious corner of the main room. The most important guest sit close to it. During tea ceremony there will be displayed a flower arrengement called chabana and a box with incense. This painting represent a beautiful water lily. Is central in Japanese culture and tradition the harmony, with the universe, with nature, this photo was taken in Summer in Kitakata, so the painting in the tokonoma have to be in harmony with the season because the lily is a summer flower and also the painting represent water and so giving the idea of freshness. Picture taken with natural light coming from the window with shoji that dimm much the light

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Kendo shinai

The kendo as sport originate from the training of the samurai, in ancient time they used the katana, the famous japanese sword, that is still used in a martial art called iai. The kendo sword is called shinai, is made in bamboo, four pieces tied together, very flexible and make a great sount when hit the opponent. To protect the hands must wear the gloves called kotè.

Kendo men



Kendo helmet is called men, is weared over a cloth called tenugui, with the name of the school or team or calligraphy from famous master. The uniforms and clothes for kendo are tradutionally indigo blue, with diverse finishing.

Kendo armor

To play kendo it needs to wear many protections, this is the armor to protect the abdomen, called Do. Master of high level, like this one is 6th dan, in competitions and exhibitions need to wear very sophisticated equipment and clothes, this do is covered is shark skin and the symbol of the family called kamon.

Kendo




Kendo is a traditional Japanese martial art very popular abroad too, children at school plays it and is part of Japanese police training. I took this pictures in Wakamatsu, Fukushima prefecture, where there is  a great tradition in martial art because there was a castle and so many samurai lived there in the past, young generation are keeping alive this tradition after the end of the American ban on martial arts during the post war occupation of Japan.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Flava

This is the sign of a bar in Kitakata, is not particularly interesting, but .... my name is Flavio. During my daily walk with my camera, I take some picture, even very simple subjects, just the pleasure to look at the word without any pressure of work or result, just the fun of it. Natural light.

Stone lanterns


The stone lantern in Japanese gardens are called torou, this are in the garden of Izumo jinja (temple) in Kitakata, the flags are displayed during the matsuri, the festival of the jinja. I like the contrast of materials in this pictures, the haviness and stillness of the stone in opposition to the softness and lightness of the fabric. Photographed in natural ligh in a graysh afthernoon.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

たんじょうび おめでとう! ありがとう!

Today is my birthday and my brother in low and his wife arrived in Kitakata from Tokyo early in the morning with this lovely bunch of yellow roses for me! They know I'm crazy about yellow, anything yellow. Thank you so much for your love. In Japanese happy birthday is tanjoubi omedetou, arigatou is thank you.

If you are interested in technical details: I shoot this picture with the 105 mm. macro lens, wide open to have a great bochen effect, with natural light coming from a window and balanced the white (very important to do so correctly ;-) no post production nor saturation correction.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Zippei is a star

Zippei (pronunced Jippei) is the tv star of this Summer in Japan and he is touring Fukushima prefecture with live broadcasting every morning on national tv. We did not know him and his broadcasting at all ;-)  Few days ago the tv troupe was parked under our house in Kitakata early in the mornig and I went down .to meet the nice dog.

Blue Cadillac

It was a great surprise when I discover a new Jinja (temple) in Kitakata with a nice big garden around and parked beside the main building I found a blue Cadillac with customized blue wheels. May be the priest's car? Was late afternoon and there was a great warm light coming out from the breaking clouds, after a summer shower.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The sake sleeps at night

The Summer moon over the sake factory in Kitakata.

The moon and the pine

The moon and the pine plays in a Summer night in Kitakata. Photo taken with natural light, moonlight and exposure of 30 seconds at 100 iso.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Tha art of sushi making


The art of sushi making is a great process to witness, everything happen in few seconds, the small quantity of rice is taken from a wooden basin, shaped quickly, add wasabi to the cutted fish and placed on top of the rise and voila! Sound easy but is really difficult to do it nicely and good, but photographed here is a real artist of sushi, Shimizu san.

Sushi


 For me the best food in the world is sushi and I've been so lucky to teaste real sushi in Japan and particularly the delicious one from Midori Sushi reastaurant in Umegaoka, Tokyo. every food is different in differrent restaurants, with sushi is even more impressing the difference. We ask only for Shimizu san sushi, because his prepration is special, is pure art, indescribable. This are just starters!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Red lanterns

Every year I visit this small jinja in Kitakata, I like the quiet feeling here, just some children playng in the field nearby.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Sake is mature!

Outside the main door of sake factory there is always anging a nice big ball made of  brunches of Japanese cedar, they put it outsidein Winter, when the sake is made and all leaves are gree, in Summer the leaves turn to a nice red and that means the sake is mature and ready to drink.

Clear, fresh sweet water

Japanese culture and is great, I love it, the attention for details is paramaount, in this photo can see  a detail of the the roof's tiles of the sake factory, the lower roof of the entrance gate. Every year I go to Kitakata I take new pictures of the same places, I discover new details, in different season (only in Winter and in Summer I can go, unfortunately) or the same but in a new light.

Sake factory


Close to our house (my wife's mother) in Kitakata,  there is a very good sake factory called Yamatogawa, this is the noren, the traditional curtain at the entrance of the shops with the name of the owner and the date it was founded, pfthen with nice calligraphy writings. The fountain outside the sake factory of pure spring water is coming from the nearby mountains is there for passerby to drink or even bottle it. To make good sake it neds good rice and good water, and here in Kitakata are both very good indeed! I like sake.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Give children a future

Please, give children a safe future.