#POTW Japanese restaurants at night

Japanese restaurants are a dime a dozen. Japan has a reputation of being a very expensive place to live, especially with $100 watermelons! However, the Yoshinoya restaurant chain makes it possible for you to get a bowl of rice and beef or pork and walk away full for about $4. A typical meal out with friends, at a nice restaurant, good clean décor and premises, style, and great menu options, can cost under $20, and that’s without skimping. Here is a great model I had the pleasure to work with, Allyce, who’s leaving a restaurant. The curtains across the entrance indicates the place is open for business.

A young lady travelling in Japan leaving a restaurant in the evening.

A young lady travelling in Japan leaving a restaurant in the evening.

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#POTW: A beautiful lady in a kimono in Kyoto

This is the first Photo of the Week in a long time. I have been busy, and so I’m sorry for letting this fall off. So, it’s with great pleasure to re-introduce the POTW with this one from Mariko earlier this year. You can see her story about her kimono photo shoot. You can purchase a licence to use this photo at Alamy.

A young lady renting a kimono, enjoying walking around Gion, Kyoto.

A young lady renting a kimono, enjoying walking around Gion, Kyoto.

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How is it wrong to steal photos or use ones you “find” on Google?

How is it wrong to steal photos? It’s like stealing a magazine from a newsagents or plagiarising a friends essay in university. The creator gets no money because you didn’t put in any effort to make the photographs yourself, and you did not have permission. Not getting permission makes you the bad egg in the box. Not convinced?

I found this wonderful video on PetaPixel.Com about a photographer, Renee Robyn, who spends literally hours and hours to create one, single, composite photograph. The video shows the struggle she has experienced after an accident, and then her passion for her art. I couldn’t help but see a second perspective to the video, and this is it: You might spend hours and hours at a desk in an office, and you get paid for it. She spends hours and hours at a desk, and I people who use her beautiful images pay her for it. Please don’t steal photos, find the original photographer or look up a stock agency. If you want to use my photos without paying, here’s how you can do it, Free Stock Images (but there’s a catch).

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#LifeWellTravelled :: Delayed suitcases

Today is the 27th August, and it’s been over 58 hours since I last saw my suitcase that I checked into Cathay Pacific in Sydney Australia. Late at night, on the 25th in Nagoya airport, there were announcements to two small groups of people in Japanese language, about why the checked-in luggage was delayed. There were no announcements in English or Chinese, so non-Japanese speaking people had no idea what the problem was. It was when I specifically asked a Cathay staff member what’s happening, did I learn that they weren’t able to open the cargo doors due to the strong winds. I had two choices:
1. Leave now and catch the last train, and have my suitcase delivered the next day (26th Aug)
2. Stay and maybe in an hour or so the typhoon winds will have dropped enough for them to open the cargo doors safely, and spend the night in the airport (maybe with clean underwear)

I chose option 1. It wasn’t until 3am when I was able to get into bed, because the last train from the airport was so delayed, that I missed other last trains back to my place… AND my house key was accidentally not taken out of my suitcase before I checked it in. I was so, so lucky that a friend answered his phone and let me crash at his place. I got my spare to and got into my apartment on the 26th. I assumed sometime yesterday my suitcase would arrive, but so far no, and so far, no word or attempt to contact from Cathay has been made. I have tried to phone them, but a lot of their phone numbers didn’t get me anywhere. The only phone number listed on their website that worked was the for the baggage handlers in Fukuoka, and their Hong Kong and Nagoya airport answering machines (messages were left, but still no response). All other phone numbers, including their international toll free number did not work.

Whilst I’m able to sit at home, with my spare key next to me on my desk, I feel sorry for two Hong Kong guys. They had five days planned in Japan, and spoke zero Japanese. I helped them at the airport station when the staff their only spoke to them in Japanese. They had planned to go to Takayama (3.5 hour train ride from Nagoya) today. I have no idea how they’ll meet up with their suitcases. I also wonder how ruined their trip was. A #LifeWellTravelled ? I hope they were able to make the best of the situation anyway.

I honestly believed that Cathay was so, so much better than this. Now, all those travel blogs about Americans losing their luggage and only taking carry-on luggage makes sense. I just thought it was an American problem. Anyway, I got the spare key to my apartment, and now I’m writing this whilst sitting in clean underwear, unshaven, and unbrushed hair. I can’t go out again today, in case my suitcase does arrive… maybe.

If you want to reply to this story on social media, here it is on Google+, and Twitter at @JapanesePhotos.

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Stuck In Customs for real at Nagoya Airport?

Cathay Pacific in Nagoya made no announcements in English or Chinese, only in Japanese. Due to the strong winds, they could not open the cargo bay doors, and so the Japanese only language announcement said that they can deliver your suitcases tomorrow. Go to a counter at the end of the carousels to fill in a Customs Declaration and delivery form. Also, due to the strong winds, the airport train is not operating, instead, get your ticket and ask for the bus to Tokoname station (just across from the airport island), and change to the train to Nagoya there. The last train for the evening is at 11.30pm (in 20mins time). Hurry, or you’ll be stuck.   

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Website maintenance: PhotoShelter

If you can see this picture below it means all is well. Otherwise, PhotoShelter plans to perform some website maintenance on the 8th of August, for 3 hours from 11pm to 2am (9th Aug) US Eastern Daylight time (-4.00GMT). PhotoShelter hosts one of my portfolios, so in that time my other portfolios like Westheim Photo and Alamy will still be accessible.

1. Image hosted on PhotoShelter

2. Image hosted on this blog (you should always see this one)

Website maintenance

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Summer Coupon

It’s the time of year when Japanese communities get into party mode and have their festivals. There’s lots of summer festivals happening, from fireworks, to whole city events like the Nara Lantern Festival, cosplay, domatsuri, and the traditional shinto types. So, celebrate summer with a discount.

  • Coupon code: SUMMER2015
  • Discount: 15% off
  • Minimum purchase: USD$30
  • Expires: 12th September 2015 (New York EDT, -4hrsGMT)
  • Site: Only at my PhotoShelter portfolio.

Nagoya Domatsuri, held annually in September.

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Summer festivals

It’s that time of year when many towns are starting to have their festivals. It’s a time when the heat forces people to become nocturnal, don their light weight happi or yukata, and relax and enjoy life in their communities. See here for summer festival photos like this one below. Japanese festivals often involve a parade of portable shrines, food stalls, cold drinks, and hanging out with family, friends, and neighbours. Learn more about festivals like the Kuwana Ishidori, Nagoya Dance Festival, Nara Lantern festival, the Osaka Tenjin Festival.

Buy this photo.


Buy this photo. Nagoya Dance Festival Gallery.

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