2 Day sale: Society6

Come check out my Society6 shop, we got a two day sale goin on.


25% Off Everything with Code FRESH25

Start: Sunday, 6/24/18 @ 12:00am PT
End: Monday, 6/25/18 @ 11:59pm PT
Details: 25% off excludes new wall hangings



Kyoto & Nara was awesome!

Next up on our whirlwind vacation to Japan is Kyoto and Nara, in a day!

For this portion of our itinerary, we tried to get a local guide from Triple Lights but no one was available so they recommended a very nice gentleman instead. He agreed to come get us at our airbnb at 8am and take us around until 5pm. We felt pretty confident that we could do this and that at least we won’t waste any time trying to find our own way via bus and train as we did during our day in Osaka. So off we went, first up, Nara.

Nara is famous for the free roaming and somewhat wild Sika Deer, in Nara Park. What is so special about this? Well, you can buy special crackers from vendors and shops all around to feed these deer and let me tell ya, they aren’t shy! Many will come up and bow to you! Then you’re supposed to feed it a cracker. Or you can instigate and bow first, in which case they will bow as well. Really very cute. These deer go all over the place..in the streets, on the sidewalks and even inside the shops that don’t close their doors!

For the most part the deer are pretty tame, some are persistent and will tug on loose clothing. In my experience when they get a bit of leg, they won’t bite down. Most won’t stand still to be pet maybe just a quick touch of the head you can get away with. The male deer have antlers but the vast majority of them have their antlers cut off.

We all loved it and needed to buy lots more crackers. We also had to be warned multiple times by our guide that we needed to get moving as there were lots to see and many many more deer all around. Ya it was that fun, the novelty of bowing deer. Oh and just wait til you see the baby ones, guaranteed you’ll stop and try to feed it!

Within Nara Park are a few temples/shrines, shop house and nature and well….stuff like stone ornamental sculptures and statues. Here’s Kasuga Taishi Shrine,

Here’s Todaiji Temple. With it’s HUGE pillars and statues. Todaiji Temple houses the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue! If you’re into this sort of thing (architecture, wood work, history etc) you gotta see this massive piece of history!

Remnants of history, a golden spire from the top of a pagoda destroyed by fire:

Moving further up the hill (lotsa stairs), I saw this view…it felt so serene and surreal to me so I captured it in infrared to preserve that moment for myself:

I could easily spend an entire day in this park. There’s just so much to see! Unfortunately and reluctantly, we had to move on. Our guide asked if I was interested in seeing a real samurai sword…hello, who wouldn’t, am I right? lol. So he took us to Kikuichi Cutlery. They “engage in the manufacture and sale of hand-forged uchihamono cutlery.” This was such a treat! Being the cook in the house, naturally I had to buy a knife. Hands down, it’s the sharpest knife I’ve ever used! Engraved on the blade is the Imperial mark and they engraved my surname on it too! There’s a restaurant/bakery/tea house type setup inside as well so we took a tea break and had some deer shaped cakes! They were so good that we bought a box to take home, they didn’t even last back to the airbnb. Kikuichi has such a rich history, if you have time, go check them out!

It was at this point that we were feeling the pinch of time (gone was the confidence that we visit all the places on our list) and we resorted to riding taxis from here on out. Plus we requested for more of our guide’s time and he graciously agreed. Kyoto here we come.

First stop, Golden Pavilion. Wow, the gold you see on this pavilion is covered in gold foil. A shogun had it built for his personal place of worship! It’s really a sight to see! No one is allowed in now, I think I heard the guide say. I was too busy looking at all the stuff around.

And right around the bend is this huge bonsai tree:

Now it’s getting dark and it looks like it’s gonna rain so off to the Fushimi Inari Shrine (Vermillion Gates). Yup we got there and it’s raining (lucky we had umbrellas) and dark but wow what an atmosphere walking up the barely lit trail underneath the reddish orange torii gates the occasional stone ornaments off to the sides. You would think that it would feel scary but surprisingly it wasn’t, not even for my kids (maybe its because they’re teenagers?). In fact they found it had a “peaceful feeling”.

Well, the weather and the time put a damper on our spirits (plus all the walking, lol) so we called it a day and bid farewell to our guide. Although we missed going to our last stop, Gion. We were all feeling satisfied with our day and everything we got to see and experience.

If you can’t tell already, I highly recommend going to Japan and visiting these places here in Kyoto and Nara but also Osaka too! I’m hoping to make it back one day and spend as much time in each place that I need.

If you want to see more, please follow me as I still have Tokyo to document on this trip. Here’s my Osaka post.😃

Oh, all the images (unless otherwise noted in the post) are my images and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome. As are upvotes and resteems, if you like what you see.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes,

Ray

PS. If you wanna see my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

http://rayshiuimages.com
http://newbiephoto.net
https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/ray-shiu.html

*** This post was originally posted on my Steemit Blog.



My Trip to Osaka

Let me start off by saying, I LOVE JAPAN!!! I was fortunate enough to get some time to go visit, 7 days and 4 cities in December. Boy, let me tell ya that’s not enough time. There’s just way too much to see and do! Ok enough about that.

First up is Osaka! Of course, the gem of the city is our first stop, Osaka Castle.

I love visiting historical places, seeing the artistic styles and craftsmanship. I like trying to imagine what it must have been like back then, what the culture would have been like. Anyways, the castle grounds is pretty big but walk-able and open to visitors without having to register. Standing in the shadow of this castle, even knowing it was rebuilt, felt awesome!

Around the castle’s premises is a big moat, well a few moats, it’s not one gigantic ring of water around the castle. Parts of the moat is now dry, some parts wide and long enough for boat rides while the rest is home to many different species of birds, like this guy (I think it’s a duck):

Moving on via train and walking, we saw a variety of shrines and temples but I only got to explore 2 due to time constraints. Here’s an image of the dog shrine near Osaka Castle:

and here’s one of Tenmangu Shrine:

There so much culture/history that i wanted to see, but I lost the vote, my kids wanted to check out the Osaka Aquarium because the whale shark is one of their favorite animals. So here it is:

Just kidding, that’s just the huge sculpture “swimming” up the side of the Osaka Aquarium. It lights up at night, it’s really quite pretty. Here a close up of one of the two whale sharks:

Now within the same plaza area as the Osaka Aquarium is a boat ride tourist attraction. A replica of the Santa Maria (the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus to sail to North America). Due to time constraints we didn’t go, plus a couple of us get sea sick. Here’s a snap:

As it was getting dark and noticeably colder we skipped the huge ferris wheel directly across the plaza from the aquarium.

Plus we had one more stop, Dotonburi. I was really looking forward to the neon signs and sculptured signage while my family wanted to shop. Anyways, it was a lot to see and surprisingly crowded, not crazy crowded but enough to know not to setup a tripod. As a beer lover, I had to take this image:

The yellow neon actually starts from the bottom and rises like filling a glass with beer! I think it’s about 4 stories high, so cool! The signage of some of these shops are amazing! Then you get this:

A ferris…oval? Yup this adorns the Don Quijote building. Don Quijote is a shop that sells almost everything, I think, and occupies the whole building.

It was at this point, we all looked at each other and knowingly realized that we only had enough energy to get back to the room. Surprisingly, although we knew we missed out on some experiences, we were completely satisfied with what we did experience.

If you wanna see more, please follow me. I still have Kyoto, Nara and Tokyo to document this trip.

Comments & Critiques are always welcome. As are upvotes and resteems, if you like what you see.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes,

Ray

PS. If you wanna see my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

http://rayshiuimages.com
http://newbiephoto.net
https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/ray-shiu.html

*** This post was originally posted on my Steemit Blog.



Sony World Photography Awards, monthly

Open for submissions, go check ’em out, it’s free!

 

The Sony World Photography Awards is one of the leading free photography competitions. Prizes include $30k cash, camera equipment and flights to London. This online photography competition attracts amateurs and professionals from around the world.



Singapore Garden Photographer of the Year (SGPY)

Here’s another contest for y’all. Best wishes and good luck!

The “Singapore Garden Photographer of the Year” photo competition aims to showcase the rich biodiversity and greenery that make Singapore an endearing and exceptional City in a Garden. Rediscover the heritage and value of our parks, gardens and nature reserves and capture your interpretation through photographic lens of this living space and greenery that Singapore is famous for. The competition features an open, youth and Instagram category.

Singapore Garden Photographer of the Year Photo Competition (SGPY)

Source: Nation Parks Singapore