Weekly Photo Challenge: Half and Half

Last weekend, a friend and I went down to Jingu Stadium for the Tokyo Swallows vs. Yokohama Baystars game. It was my first time to an outdoor baseball park, so I was looking forward to seeing how different the atmosphere was compared to indoor stadiums.

Even though we got there around 5pm, the sun was still beating down on us something fierce! So many sweaty bodies in such close proximity – it was not cool. As the sun finally retreated over the horizon, a cool breeze gave us all some relief. Then, like a reward for putting up with the heat, we were treated to a beautiful sight. The sky flashed gorgeous shades of pink and purple for about 10 minutes before the night sky took over. It made for some interesting half and half images: a battle of the earth vs. the sky.

Were they photos of the sunset with a baseball game in the foreground? Or was the focus the park with a nice sunset in the background?

Jingu Baseball Stadium Jingu Baseball Stadium

Thanks Ben at the Daily Post for the interesting theme this week.

Tochigi’s Mystical Hydrangea Shrine

For the Weekly Photo Challenge, Brie has got us thinking about what is our muse. Without a doubt, my biggest muse is nature itself. I am always inspired by flowers in particular and can spend hours walking around a garden taking photos!

Yesterday, I visited a shrine called Ohirasan Jinja which sits on top of a mountain. To get to the shrine, you walk through a forest and up a path that consists of 1000 stone steps! By the first 100 steps I would say the sweat was already starting to pour out! But I felt like reaching the top was an achievement, and the view over Tochigi city was beautiful.

Not only is the view nice, but the hike up is also part of the attraction. The stairs are lined with thousands of hydrangeas which burst open in the rainy season. I spent about 1.5 hours in total meandering my way up and back, stopping every 2 metres to admire this spectacular little corner of the world. I’ve taken a million photos of hydrangeas before, but I never get tired of them. I’ve also been experimenting with water drops recently, and have been trying to take macro reflection photos (without much luck yet). There’s so much hidden beauty in nature. It’s fun to try and capture things from a different point of view!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid

I’ve been living in my east-facing apartment for about 3 months now, and I’ve come to realise something a little depressing. It has happened about 3 or 4 times in the past couple of weeks, where I’ll be working on my computer in the kitchen or living room, and while taking a quick break I’ll open up Instagram on my iPhone. My eyes bulge as scroll down and see about 10 of my Instagram friends who also live in Tokyo posting pictures of an epic sunset which is happening right at that moment. So I drop everything and rush outside to check it out with my own eyes. How sad is it that I need technology to tell me what’s going on right outside my window! Other times, I’ve overheard people down on the street below actually exclaiming how pretty the sky is which has also given me the same reaction. Maybe I should start going for a run at 7pm just to make sure I don’t miss any more!

Brilliant sunsets tend to happen mostly in spring and autumn in Japan. Thankfully, there have been occasions in the past where I was in the right place at the right time. Watching the sky changing colours multiple times and seeing that last glow of sunlight is an experience unlike any other. It makes time slow down, it’s calming, it’s inspiring!

I chose 2 photos that show my interpretation of Vivid for this week’s Photo Challenge. The first was taken from an overpass near my home when I lived in Nagoya, and the second from my current workplace here in Tokyo.

Sunset

 

Sunset

Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

The Color Run… the happiest 5k on the planet!

A couple of weekends ago, some friends and I headed over to Tokyo Bay near Disneyland to participate in this year’s The Color Run Tokyo. We joined last year too and it was so fun that couldn’t resist going again! The Color Run has spread like wildfire around the world, with something like over 50 countries now holding their own events.

Basically, it is a 5km fun run, where at every 1km mark, you run through a coloured powder war zone! At the start line, everyone is wearing their pristine white T-shirts. But it doesn’t stay clean for long. As you run through the 1km mark, orange powder hits you from every angle, then at 2km it’s blue, then yellow, and finally pink. As you cross the finish line, you’re looking something like a rainbow from a Mardi Gras parade or a festival goer at Holi in India. The main idea is just to be happy and have fun! At the finish line, there’s an outdoor party with a live DJ – the best part, in my opinion!

Thank you to Jen at the Daily Post for the Weekly Photo Challenge theme: Motion. Here are a few images which I hope capture the action and excitement of the event!
Color Run Color Run

Color Run Color Run

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make us smile!

A chill, Saturday morning.

Taking a stroll in the warm spring weather down to the shops…

And while there, running into a random life-size mascot character of a lady bug?! One of those Only-in-Japan moments. I’m still confused about it.

Then on the way home, catching the waft of fresh bread from the local bakery.Bread

It’s been a few weeks since I got the keys to my new place, and I’m loving it! I’ve actually found myself in a lovely, quiet residential area close to a little shopping street. After moving houses, it’s always exciting to get out and explore the new neighbourhood. Literally a few doors down, a bakery teases us everyday with its enticing smell of bread. I finally went in and picked up a few delicious things this morning for breakfast – a cherry danish, custard bun, garlic bread, and a loaf of bread so fresh it was still warm. Heaven!

Bread Bread

Thank you Jen from the Daily Post for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge theme, Fresh.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity

I’ve been so busy since coming back from holidays – getting back into my work routine, apartment hunting and sorting out immigration paperwork to renew my visa – that I feel like I’ve hardly had time to catch my breath. So, this week’s photo challenge theme “serenity” has actually come at a great time to make me stop and relax!

Japanese gardens are designed as serene places where you can reflect, meditate and be at peace. They are always aesthetically pleasing, and grab your attention in the most gentle of ways. From the lines in the raked sand, to the colours in the garden, and the moss on the rocks, you can rest assured everything is in its place!

These are some of my favourite Moss, Rock and Promenade gardens of Kyoto.