Nikko

Sorry for the long absence. I was so busy with work and studying for the JLPT that blogging sort of got pushed to the back burner. As did my planned 2010 Autumn Road Trip – originally I was all set to head way out west towards Yamaguchi and Kyushu, but at the last minute there were just too many things to and not enough time to do them in, so that got cancelled.

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I guess there’s always next year, though. I did manage to work in a quick trip to Nikko as a sort of consolation prize, which was nice. By the time we made it to Nikko (in the first week of December), most of the Autumn leaves had already fallen, which was kind of sad. Nikko is really beautiful in the Autumn, if you can survive the jaw dropping crowds, so I kind of regret that we didn’t make it there during the prime viewing season.

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All was not completely lost, however. There were still a few isolated spots of colour here and there, and when we first arrived the sky was a brilliant blue and the sun was shining down from up on high, making for a perfect akibare (“clear autumn weather”) type of day. So at least we got a small dose of those oranges and reds I do love so.

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By the time we made it over to the temple areas, however, the sun had retreated behind a cold, dark cloud cover and a quiet grayness descended over the entire region. This was especially true once we were deep within the tall trees that surrounded the various temples – at times it almost felt spooky (the lack of people around, and the fact that the sun sets around 4pm these days only contributed to the atmosphere).

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On the other hand, Nikko definitely possess a somber charm all its own once the sky darkens and you start wandering amongst the silent grey rocks edifices of the unusually decorated temples (some of which are quite intimidating in size, especially the stairs). It’s a nice place to come and contemplate the quieter aspects of Autumn – and about as far away from the brilliant orange hues of other popular Autumn sightseeing spots (like Miyajima, for example) as one can get.

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Speaking of Miyajima, this reminds me that I still need to finish up the last installment of the Great 2008 Cross-Japan Autumn Road Trip series. I’ll get on that in the next week or so, just as soon as I finish up adding a couple of long-delayed features to the Photo of the Day. So stay tuned.

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More pictures after the keep reading link below.

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Okay, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading!!

Now listening to: Tritonal feat. Cristina Soto – Piercing Quiet (original mix)

6 Reactions

  1. kori

    There’s something about Japan that I am eternally in love with but can never really put into words. Your pictures often capture it. Funny, I’ve been back 6 weeks and have hardly picked up my camera.
    Hope the JLPT went well! I took a nice break from spending the day failing this year….

  2. michaelpanda

    @kori thank you for the kind comments as always! I’m never satisfied with my photos, especially after I see some of the talent out there on the intarwebs, but I’m trying. There’s so much to capture here in Japan – I love living here for the visual stimulation and photographic matter alone! I hope you pick up your camera again soon – your pictures from your time in South America were fascinating! (especially when you were taking care of that puma (tiger?)!)
    As for the JLPT, it went… well, it went. We’ll see how it goes – it was definitely harder than any of the past years exams (in my opinion) that I took for practise. The fact that I was surrounded by Chinese students didn’t help – as I struggled through the kanji section, all I could here was everyone around me literally flying through it without even breaking a sweat.
    Ah well, c’est la vie!
    BTW, whereabouts in Japan are you these days?

  3. Tom and Miya

    Hey Panda,
    These pictures are lovely! Before Christmas I was thinking to myself that I wanted to be able to take decent pictures like you, so asked for a proper camera for Christmas. I am now the proud owner of a D5000, but have only just started on the lengthy journey of learning how to use the thing!
    Hope all is well with you. We’re expecting baby boy no. 2 in March, so are unlikely to get any rest soon!
    Cheers guvnor,
    Tom

  4. Al

    Hi Panda,
    I’m heading to Nikko for the first time in a few weeks. Any recommendations for a place to stay?

  5. Michaelpanda

    @Al: I sent you an e-mail about nikko to your hotmail – sorry it took me a couple of days.
    @Tom & Miya: Thanks for the lovely compliment – you’re too nice to my little panda ego. ;)
    I’m glad to hear you got a good camera! It feels nice to hold a DSLR in your hands, doesn’t it? Something about the sound the mirror makes when you snap the shutter and all that – like it’s almost inspiring you try and take more pictures.
    Oh and I sometimes read Miya’s updates on Mixi, so I heard about your little one coming this March. Congratulations! You two must be so excited. Also, you’re making me feel like I need to get a move on with my life – damn, I’m nearly … well, nearly no longer in my twenties, and I’m still nowhere near married, let alone with child.
    Not that errm, I can be with child. oh god. English…. slipping…from…me…
    Anyway, can’t wait to see what pictures you take with your new camera!