This Photo of the Week is of this lady with the most adorable personality. She is physically tiny, and as you can see, her ceramic wares stall is also really tiny. However, she is surrounded by a vast and wonderful collection of pots, cups, you name it. The styles and designs are beautiful. If you happen to find yourself in Vietnam, you can possibly find her in amongst the myriad of stalls at the Ben Thanh Market, Saigon, District 1, of Ho Chi Minh City. Of course, more photos of my Vietnam adventure will be posted in coming weeks to my PhotoShelter Vietnam gallery.
Oh, if you’re a little confused by the city names. The city is a new city, being established by the migrating Vietnamese, as they took over this part of old Cambodia. Then the Chinese came. Then the French merged the sprawling areas and called them Saigon-Cholon. Then the Cholon part of the name was dropped, and Saigon was used to refer to the smaller area and the wider city. Then the communists won the war which ended in 1975, and they renamed the whole city HCMC, but ‘Saigon’ still refers to the central part of HCMC. I think I’ve got that right.
An elderly lady selling ceramic goods in the Ben Thanh Markets, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam.
Each and every summer, all over Japan, there are fireworks festivals. Each town or city has their publicly funded display, and tens or hundreds of thousands or more people flock to see them. The fireworks are held in the early evening, and Japanese people say the explosions somehow helps them feel cooler, and less hot from the day. I quite get the relationship, except to explain it away as the cooling evening and getting out of the house helps them cool down. Anyway, here’s the first photo of the week in a long time.
An exciting event is coming up, but I won’t be telling you what it is. If you can work it out, please bite your tongue, and point others to this little blog. Wikipedia’s entry for Dorothea Lange.
Photography quotes for the 175th year of photography.
This Photo of the Week is of the Naked Man Festival to be held this Wednesday. The festival began over a thousand years ago in Nara, and is held in Kounomiya, about a 20 minute train journey from the centre of Nagoya on the Meitetsu Line. It typically involves over 13,000 men (and boys), and unsurprisingly, over 180,000 spectators (more if it’s on on a weekend). The public spectacle begins at about 1pm (though you need to be there by about 11am for a good standing space), and it’s cold, and it has snowed in previous years. More information can be found in previous blog posts, and at Japan Visitor.
For this photo, and others like it, see my Naked Man Festival gallery on my PhotoShelter portfolio, and at my agent’s website. Also, here is a Naked Man Festival video for you to enjoy, entirely free.
This Photo of the Week is very simple. For most expats and tourists their idea of Japan at this time of year can be summed up in this simple equation:
Winter = Snow + Mountains
The number one group of tourists to Japan in this time is apparently Australian skiers, who apparently flock to Hokkaido. I’ve not been anywhere near that far north, but this is as far north of Japan I’ve been so far, and it’s still a water freezing, bone chilling -10° Celsius, it’s Shirakawa, the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For this mountain + snow photo, and others like it, see my PhotoShelter portfolio, and my agent’s website.
This is an interesting Photo of the Week. Japanese people pride themselves on their food. It’s almost as if anything about food is a profession, hobby, interest, lifestyle, but least and last of all, a means to live. There’s even a large magazine industry just on local eateries. There are many, many tv programs playing all day long about food, home cooking, restaraunts, and eaties in various locales around Japan. They’ve even gone so far as lodging an application with UNESCO to have certain Japanese foods list as intangible cultural assets (News on Japan). In short, food is a national obsession, one that is so ad nausem that I do everything possible to avoid it. As a consequence, I don’t have much choice of photos for this story, but they’re good.
What’s the story? In the Oxfam Food Index, Japan is ranked only, only 21st. Despite the near-extreme obsession with food the Japanese have, laid back Europe out ranks Japan.
For this photo, and others like it, see my agents website, and my PhotoShelter portfolio.
A food stall at the annual Ishidori Festival, the loudest festival in Japan.
About this time next month there will be the Naked Man Festival, aka Hadaka Matsuri, apparently on the 12th February (Kikuko’s Website). The festival doesn’t have men who are actually stark-naked, nor are they all men, there are boys there, too. Also, you might be thinking, “Next month? But it’s winter, isn’t it?”. Yes, it’s winter, and it’s cold, and it may snow. There is a historical reason for the festival, which involved famines, plagues, and such problems over a thousand years ago, and so the religious elite decided to have a festival where people endure the pain of the cold in order to life the blight afflicting them (JapanesePhotos.Asia/blog, Japan Visitor, Kikuko’s Website).
For this photo, and others like it, see my Naked Man Festival gallery on my PhotoShelter portfolio, and my agent’s website. Also, you can see the 2012 Naked Man Festival video, to enjoy entirely free.
This is the first Photo of the Week for 2014, so it’s only fitting to look at what’s up in Japan now… snow! Shirakawa town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is in the Gifu mountains, and is pretty guarranteed to get lots of snow. The town is in fact a collection of rural houses moved to this location to help centralise and maintain a traditional architectural style, and also to maintain the culture required to re-thatch the roofs every 20 years. This photo was taken on film, and the others in the Shirakawa Gallery of my PhotoShelter portfolio were taken on a mix of film and digital.
This Photo of the Week (POTW) is from a shoot I did in the early autumn in Osaka. As you can see, it’s a great way to send a message. For this photo, and others like it, see Ana’s Gallery on my PhotoShelter portfolio. Also, there’s a discount coupon available, with a very, very limited time it’s still available for. Finally, have a happy and prosperous 2014.
A young lady holding a message.
This Photo of the Week is of course about Christmas. Christmas in Japan is not a family event like it is in Europe, North America, and other such countries. Instead it’s a regular work day, and all good little Japanese boys and girls wake up excitedly and early, and go off to school… as per usual. Otherwise, it’s a day for young couples. Apparently, ever since the 1980’s group Wham released the song Last Christmas, 25th December has been associated with young romance (Japan Today). Additionally, since Christmas lights are so pretty, why take them down after Christmas? Why not rename them as “Winter Illuminations”, and now you’ve got a long-lasting winter delight. These lights below are from the Nabana no Sato (Nabana Park) in Nagashima, which is pretty renowned in central Japan.
This photo, and others like it is available at my agent’s website. Merry Christmas, and have a wonderful New Year and 2014.
A couple admiring the field of decorative lights at Nabana no Sato (Nabana Park) during the annual winter illumination, Nagashima, Mie, Japan