Monday, 28 January 2013

Gino Zucchino

Gino Zucchino is the name of this nice piece of design by Guido Venturini for ALESSI, is a sugar bowl, a very funny and cheerful object, I think, my wife hate it instead ;-) I took this picture in day light coming from a window in a very cloudy day, was raining up to one hour before and use some white reflector, 105 mm. Micro Nikkor lens, fully opened at 3.3. The blurring is really great on this lens and the sharpness of the on focus is great too.

Stone lanterns



A small garden near the big park of Akasaka in Tokyo, was Winter and the garden was a bit bare but have still a sensual beauty in the shadow of tall trees and sharp beams of sun warming the old stones and stone lanterns. A little oasis of peace just on the side of a very busy city road. Photogrphed with 85 mm. lens.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Shibuya

Somethimes I like to take to shoot town landscapes, actually only when I'm in Tokyo, is a really fashinating city and give me so much inspiration. Photo taken with 85 mm. lens in daylight.

Sogetsu headquater, Tokyo



This is the headquater of the Sogetsu in Akasaka, Tokyo, the famous ikebana school and have branches all around the world. Ikebana is the Japanese traditional art of flower arrangment or flower composition, very important and popular in Japan. The building is really impressive, I like the big stone carved with the name, the other stone composition in the entrance too. It was a great sunny Winter day in Tokyo, I photographed with the 17-35 mm.  Nikon zoom lens

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The kintsuba from Aizu


This are the traditional Japanese sweets called kintsuba, this particular way is from Aizu area, Fukushima prefecture. Are a kind of small pankake sandwich and there are two different variation of filling: the traditional with anko, sweet azuki, and a more recent version with custard cream. This stall was at AizuWakamatsu market on the 10th January, is very popular and have always a long line. Photographed in day light in very cold and snowy day with 17-35 mm. lens.

Tempura soba

Home made tempura of shrimps and soba, perfect in a cold winter day.

Hiotan sushi bar



 
In AizuWakamatsu we went at Hiotan sushi bar, hiotan means calabash, a kind of pumpkin, the kind that is hanging from the ceiling of the restaurant. Was very, very good, this is maguro don, means raw tuna on rice, there is also a white fish and tamagoyaki, the Japanese omelette made with dashi and slightly sweet. For this photos I used the 17-35 mm .f 2.8 and the 85 mm. in ambient lights, daylight from the window, neon and tungsten light bulbs.

Omikuji

A little girl tie an omikuji at Suwa Jinja in Kitakata.

Kurosawa soba

This is the noren, the courtain at the entrance of a soba resaurant in Tokyo, there is written Kurosawa on it, the name of the family of the famouse film director, that manage this very good restaurant.

Road work kawaii


Kawaii is a Japanese word that mean cute, lovely and is becoming an international term for a certain sweet and cute style of anime, cos-play and more. The Japanese are masters in cute-ology, is deeply rooted in them, and this photos are the demonstration. This road sign are normal around Japan and there a re frogs and monkeys too.

Roof detail

A roof detail with snow in Kitakata, after a night of snow the sun is welcome. Photographed with the 85 mm. lens at f 1.4.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Raku yaki

While staying in Japan I watch a lot of television, even if I do not understand much I found it very interesting and entrataining, there are many interesting broadcasting about culture and art. I discovered that raku is the name of an old family of Kyoto that still make ceramics (I forgot how many generations of artist are now, more than ten anyhow) and give the name of a type of ceramic, but would be improper to call other people ceramics with this name. But is common to call the style and tachnique raku. This is a raku yaki from Kyoto but not from Raku family (is incredibly expencive), yaki means cook, fire or glaze. I found interesting the sediment of matcha, the powdered green tea in the chawan, left after drinking the gree tea. I used natural light and the 105 mm. Micro f 2.8 lens fully opened at f 3.3.

A rite of passage

On our arrival in Japan, the first task was to go and visit Yoyogi Hachiman jinja, a little nice temple in Tokyo, we manage to get there at sunset and the light was low, but the mood was really paceful and intimate and there was underway the preparation of new year festivity, is a rite of passage. This big straw circle is called shimenawa (enclosing rope). People walk through the circle to purify themself to start the new year.


A cup of matcha

A chawan, a cup for the tea ceremony in the hands of Emiko, showing the proper way to handle a chawan. This chawan come from Iwate, the unfortunately now famous little town hit by the tsunami 2011 on the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. This particular chawan is a Chagu Chagu Umakko that is the name of a traditional horse festival held every year in Iwate. I shoot this picture in Kitakata, in natural light from a window with 105 mm. Micro Nikkor f 2.8 lens, fully open for obtain a great shallow focus effect.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Hoshigaki

Hoshigaki are the Japanese traditional dried kaki fruits, are very good, are sweet and choowy a bit like dried apricots, they are shrinked and are big like a kiwi. I took the photo with a 105 mm. Micro Nikkor f 2.8 with natural light coming from a window in a sunny day.

Yellow face

At the Kitakata hatsuichi, beginning of the year market there was a lot of food and handicraft and I found this nice yello van with a really kawaii face. It was a really cold day but with a great sun shining.

Red umbrella

I found this nice Japanese red umbrella as sign of a new coffee bar in Kitakata, very few new shops are opening in town, fortunately, usually is not happening much, only big shopping mall are opening in the outskirt of the town with no personality at all. For this close up I used the 85 mm f 1.4 in natural light, was a bit cloudy.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Hiotan sushi bar



 
In AizuWakamatsu we been at Hiotan sushi bar, hiotan means calabash, a kind of pumpkin, the one that is hanging from the ceiling of the restaurant. Was very, very good, this is maguro don, means tuna on rice, there was also the Japanese omelette kind (the yellow one) called gyoku. I took the pictures in ambient light, natural light coming from the window (the blue light) and I balanced the light in camera for the tungsten and neon inside the restaurant. I used the Nikon 17-35 mm. f 2.8 lens and the 85 mm. 1.4 for the close up on tne plate.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Hebi doshi

Hebi doshi, year of the snake, according to the chianese horoscope the 2013 is the year of the  snake, as in the Japanese tradition they turn into something nise and sweet, kawaii is the Japanese word that is getting known around the world. Is tradition in Japan to display in the house as good luck charm an image of the zodiacal animal of the year. Photographed in natural light coming from the window in a sunny day using the 105 mm. Micro f 2.8 lens on a black laquered tray.

Kuro neko

Kuro neko, means black cat in Japanese, photographed on the poarch of a small jinja in Kitakata, all around a lot of snow and it was enjoing the mid day sun and looked at me with just one eye. Photograpy taken with 85. mm lens at f 1.4 in sunlight.

Sugawara jinja


Sugawara jinja is a small temple in Kitakata, Japan, I went many time to visit this temple in different seasons, is always charming, and I take a lot of pictures, especially of the many traditional red lanterns and can see part of the torii, the gate of the temple, in this case is in concrete. Photo taken with 85 mm, f 1.4 Nikon lens

Yuki


Yuki, 雪 means snow and this year I have a lot of chances of taking nice pictures of it、everyday I walk around town with my Nikon D3x ant take some pictures, I like to do this kind of photography wich normally I never do, here I'm on holyday and very relaxed, close up landscape suits my mood, I like details, minimal images.

Samui


This year is particularly cold in Japan, samui in Japanese.  In this photos you can see some proof of it. Many icicles from roofs and ice in the chain to gather the water from the roof. Photo taken with 85 mm. f 1.4 in natural light.

Kaki tree

On the side of my mother in law in Kitakata there is a big kaki tree, no one picks up the fruits, so they remains on the brunches and falls little by little after covered by snow. Many birds are happy to feeds on it. Nikon D3x with 85 mm. f 1,4 in early morning sun.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Zori

The zori are the traditional Japanese wooden clogs, this are a present for me, are hand made by a Kitakata's artisan. Sadly I have to wait until next Summer to wear them, now is snowing and really cold all around Japan, in Hkkaido is -31C° today. I took the picture in sun light filtered by a curtain that soften a bit the light, with 105 mm. Micro lens.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Keitai girl

Keitai in Japanese means cell phone and on the trains or tube the majority of people are plyng with them, not talking, because is forbidden for respect of other people tranquillity, unlike Italy where all people shout theyr persoana and very personal businness. I like the nice hand of this girl and the elegant and sensual gesture of holding the cell phone. Shoot in a Tokyo underground train, ambient, light at 100 iso, 85 mm. f 1,4.

Sushi and sake

After a long time I had the chance to go back at Midori Sushi in Umegaoka, Tokyo, for me the best sushi bar ever, thank to the great chef, the chief of the sushi cooks in the restaurant, Shimizu san. He's a real artist and eathing there is always a great experience. I like salmon, even if is not much appreciated in Japan, here have always the best quality of it (of everything) and I can feel the difference. The sake is served on a clear glass in a cubic box and they overflow the sake into the box anmd fill it as well as sign of abundance, ospitality and abundance. Photo taken in ambient lights, so the color is not perfect and the light is harsh but this photo give the atmosphere of the place. I used (as usual) Nikon 85 lens at f 1.4 at 100 iso. I took only this two pictures, I do not want to spoil the exhperience of this moment, sorry.

Nanakusa no sekku


Today, the 7th of January, in Japan is nanakusa no sekku, the traditional day of the seven herbs, in this day is ancient custom to eat a rice porridge like with seven herbs, as purification for the new year, afther the festivity bust. Is also traditional to give a baket composition with the seven herbs as present as good luck and healt for the new year. I took the photo on the house balcony covered with snow in sunlight and shadow of the balaustrade that give a nice stripy shadows, I used the 105 mm. micro Nikkor lens fully open.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

A stone in the snow

I photographed this stone in Kitakata, inside a temple courtyard, is not a stone lantern, there are no engravings on it but I found it very interesting, covered with snow.

A little shrine

In Japan can find little shrines or altars at many corners and people of the area stop and bow and say a little prayer. There are with a torii in front (the typical gate) or without, on the side of the rouad, beside buildings or even in private courtyards. This little srines are stone pillars with a writing engraved on it, and a small cavity that symbolyze the house of the god, standing on a larger stone ofthen a raw stone. This one is in Kitakata, in the old part of the town, on a corner of little streets.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Teramachi jinja

At the Teramachi jinja, close to my motherinlove house, there was a new year decoration, this curtain of raw fabric and the writing in Japanese kanji Taishō. This is the name of the emperor Taishō, that give the name to the Japanese history of his reign, dating from July 30, 1912 to December 25, 1926, the names of Japanese history are always given by the emperor of the period. Photo taken with 85 mm.lens in sunlight.

Gateau Rusk


Today we receive from great friends in Tokyo a nice box of great quality French style bisquits, are made in Japan with great attention to details and the teaste. Is crunchy breat with sugar and also covered with white chocolate (my favourite chocolate). Thank you very much Mitsuko san! I immediately teated them, are delicious, and can't resist the temptation to take a photo of them, okasan provided a range of different plates to arrange in Japanese style the picture. Wich one do you prefer? Photographed in natural window light on a laquered black table an a wooden raw and a laquered plate, all Japanese artifacts. Nikon D3x with Nikkor 105 mm. macro lens.