Earthquakes in Japan

I’ll add more to this post in due course, but I hope this information will be useful for you now. Most Japanese people are trained in schools how to respond during earthquakes. Despite the disaster preparedness and rehearsals even in most companies, there were still some bad decisions made on the 11th March 2011 earthquake and ensuing tsunami and nuclear disaster.

  

In light of this, information is still important. The first thing I’d like to share is this link. It’s the Real-time Earthquake Monitor. It’s a constantly updating website made especially for smartphone screens. It shows where there is movement in the earth, and importantly shows the radiating spread of quake ripples and their strength. Here’s the link: http://realtime-earthquake-monitor.appspot.com

As I said, more information will be added later. 

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Google offers photo editing software Nik for free now

PetaPixel just reported that Google is now offering photo editing software Nik for free (PetaPixel). Is it just me, or does this seem like a game changer, at least for amateurs? For me, it was a terrible idea for Adobe to move to a subscription charging service. I don’t need a constantly updated LightRoom or PhotoShop, and so monthly and annual subscriptions are bad for me; it would be money lost for no reason. Consequently, I’m using the last versions of Lr & PS that were available with licenses for perpetuity. However, at some point, I’m going to buy a camera that isn’t supported by these versions, and so I need to be on the look out for Adobe replacements.

Adobe PhotoShop LightRoom 3 does not support my new camera.

Adobe PhotoShop LightRoom 3 does not support my new camera.

Now Google does this? Admittedly, I’ve never heard of Nik. Is it any good? I’ve tried other photo and batch editing software before, and always LightRoom has been head and shoulders better than others. Nik? I have no idea. Is it a batch or single photo editing or processing software?

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@500px cutting their payments to photographers is selfish

This is a unilateral decision. A couple of years ago, 500px.com launched their “Market Place”, where photographers could earn money from selling their photos. However, there were two immediate problems. First, they let Pinterest members get and use the photos for free anyway. Subsequently, I have almost stopped uploading photos to 500px, and restarted using Flickr. Secondly, they offered a measly 30% of the sale price. The cost of employing a model, makeup artist, maintenance of photographic equipment, and photographic software cannot be covered by such a payment scheme. Understandably, photographers complained and boycotted. So, 500px bumped up the pay to 70% commission, which is better, but their prices were still kind of low. So, I never joined their market place.

Screen shot of the JapanesePhotos.Asia 500px portfolio.

Screen shot of the JapanesePhotos.Asia 500px portfolio.

 

Now, PetaPixel reports that 500px is again unilaterally readjusting the price. All non-exclusive market place members will have their commissions cut to 30% (again). 500px claims that in order to be competitive, they need to ‘restructure’. For photographers to be competitive, and to create photographs, we need money, and cutting the amount paid is is utterly ridiculous. The quality of product will suffer, and so will 500px’s sales. In any case, it doesn’t affect me, as I don’t take 500px seriously, as they don’t seem to take the whole thing and photographers seriously.

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5 things to do in Tokyo

Tokyo is an exciting city with many things happening all the time. If it’s your first time, I really recommend you stay at a hotel in Asakusa (Google Maps), so you’re close to the rickshaws, Sensoji temple, kabuki theaters, the vibrant restaurant districts that are typical of Japan (but these ones have English menus), and a casual walk to Tokyo Skytree Tower.


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1. See the Shibuya Crossing

It is said that in peak hours about a thousand people cross at each light change (every two to three minutes). I guess this is in the evening when people are coming from and going to work, and going to a night out with colleagues. This is the crossing that has featured as “Tokyo” in various movies including Resident Evil, and has it’s own Wikipedia entry (Wikipedia). You watch could watch this fascinating coordination of people scrambling from the Loccitane Cafe (pictured, the yellow place behind the tree), the Metro station, or Starbucks 2nd floor in the Tsutaya building (pictured, to the right), and you might be lucky enough to get a rarely opening window seat. You’d have to case out the place and figure out who is camped out for a few hours, and who are there just for the view. The ones who are there for the view will probably be bored after about half and hour and leave. Be ready to grab your tray and claim a spot quickly. Interestingly, “Tall” is the largest size this Starbucks serves.


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2. Visit Sensoji Temple

Sensoji Temple is in Asakusa near the Asakusa Metro station on the Ginza Line. It is perhaps the oldest or first religious site in Tokyo, and the most visited tourist attraction. Despite the ominous promise of crowds, it’s not that bad, and other tourists are nice and respectful.


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3. Rent a kimono

It is possible for men and women to rent a kimono for the morning, afternoon, or the day in Tokyo and Kyoto. The best place in Tokyo is probably in Asakusa, near Sensoji Temple. It’s a small area, and so you don’t have to walk far wearing it, and have all the great photo ops you can imagine. A model of mine has written about this experience before, see here for Mariko’s kimono story.


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4. Try the food

DON’T do McDonalds! Ramen is a cheap, classic, healthy, and hearty food. It’s quick and easy to order, and is a real friend to weary travelers at the end of a long day. Also see previous blog posts on food, including ramen and sushi blog posts.


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5. See the sumo

Sumo is held for middle two weeks, every second month. It also is held in different cities. The schedule is January-Tokyo, March-Osaka, May-Tokyo, July-Nagoya, September-Tokyo, November-Fukuoka. Tickets go on sale about two months before the tournament, and can sell out quick. It is possible to book tickets online in English. See previous blog posts for more info about sumo.


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Bonus: Rickshaw rides.

Rickshaw rides are best had near Sensoji Temple, Asakusa. The rickshaw pullers have some English language abilities, lots of energy, and will tell you about the neighbourhood they’ll take you through, with lots of unique photo ops you’ll never get back home. They can even give you some additional advice and perhaps discount offers for other unique Japanese things like tea ceremonies and more.


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I’ve only been to Tokyo once for two short days, and couldn’t even scratch the surface of this busy city. There’s lots more to see and experience, including maid cafés, kabuki, Japanese tea ceremonies (held at some hotels), restaurant pubs, the city view from the Mori Building, and lots more. My advice is spend at least a week there, and may be do a day trip to Mt Fuji. Finally, make plans to go back for more exploration.


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My first trip to Tokyo and model shoot

It was my first trip to Tokyo, and it seems I got the best and worst of Tokyo weather in two days. Day one, 20°C; day two, 8°C. It was great working with Miyu, who knew exactly what to do. We were lucky and blessed with beautiful warm weather, and lovely breeze which was hinting at Spring and coming summer. However, day two was cold, dreary, and wet. Below is a sample of the shoots, and more photos will be added to galleries and portfolios in the coming weeks.

A young Japanese lady in Asakusa and Sensoji Temple, Tokyo. Gallery: http://ablyth.photoshelter.com/gallery/Miyu/G0000icZgc.Msf1o/C0000quDQSfYbu8k

A young Japanese lady in Asakusa and Sensoji Temple, Tokyo. Miyu’s Gallery.

Day two was a reprise with Ana, and a first time with Joanie. Both were fantastic to work with, and they worked great together. However, the glue of the operation was Ksara our makeup artist. She did a great job in keeping everyone’s spirits up on a cold and dreary day, and helped us all pull through and do well. Her work, her attention to detail, and commitment are all great.

The photos are available at Alamy, and my portfolio in these galleries, Ana, Joanie, Miyu, and Tokyo.

Young women sightseeing at Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo. <a href="http://ablyth.photoshelter.com/gallery/Ana/G00004.pqC18m0o8/C0000quDQSfYbu8k" target="_blank">Ana's</a> and <a href="http://ablyth.photoshelter.com/gallery/Joanie/G0000xEFX95vGJC8/C0000quDQSfYbu8k" target="_blank">Joanie's</a> galleries.

Young women sightseeing at Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo. Ana’s and Joanie’s galleries.

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Does this Nara Park deer need help?

Does this deer need veterinarian help? If so, how important or urgently? I was in the Nara Park (Nara, Japan) on the 18th March, near a toilet block far from the other deer. I saw this guy and notice what looks like a problem with his mouth. It appears that the lower jaw is recessed a lot, and possibly twisted slightly counter clockwise. There also appears to be a lump on its lower left lip, and some foam coming out of its mouth near the lump. It also appears to have a runny nose. Also, it was far removed from all the other deer, possibly avoiding the other deer.

People

People can interact with wild deer in Nara Park.

People can interact with wild deer in Nara Park.

There’s also another issue regarding humans. The white stuff coming from its mouth isn’t frothy, but it made me a little concerned that it might be infectious. I doubt it would be rabies, but Children do pat and feed the deers. I’ve even seen adults put a deer food biscuit in their mouths, so the deer would take it from them for a photo op. So, there may be some risk to humans. There is no health or welfare oversight for these wild deer, so it may be up to us.

Below I’ve included two images that may help. The first is an index of key images that show the problems. The second is the two locations I photographed the deer. The first is near the toilet block that can be seen, and the second is actually at an ice cream stand, tagged at the lower left of the satellite image. The actual coordinates are: 34°40’58” N 135°50’24” E (Google Maps ref: https://goo.gl/maps/VEhEHBu37rP2). Of course, I assume that deer will roam a lot, but I have a feeling this guy might stay in quieter safer places.

Also, if this deer does need help, who can we contact? Please send this link to someone who is a vet, or someone you think knows a vet. Use the address above or this: http://bit.ly/1Vj1BOI.

A possibly sick deer. See details here: http://japanesephotos.asia/blog/2016/03/18/does-this-nara-park-deer-need-help/

A possibly sick deer. See details here: http://japanesephotos.asia/blog/2016/03/18/does-this-nara-park-deer-need-help/

Location of possibly sick Nara Park deer sighted.

Location of possibly sick Nara Park deer sighted.

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