Even after three weeks in Japan I feel like I just barely grazed the surface of what there is to discover in this beautiful land. It’s not just the beautiful sites that captured my heart but also the hospitality, grace, and kindness of the people in Japan.
There’s nothing quite like exploring a place for the very first time and it’s even more enchanting when it involves discovering a new culture. In someways my preconceived notions of what Japan was going to be like were completely wrong. I think I was expecting more historic Japanese style architecture blended with an almost science-fiction like feel to the big cities. I was therefore surprised to see that so much of Japan looked similar to most other western modern cities. However, where there was a Japanese feel and style to locations, it was extremely Japanese. So what was the stuff that was extremely Japanese? The politeness of the people, the unique and extremely delicious foods, the perfectly manicured Japanese gardens, the incredibly detailed temples and other historic sites, the punctuality of the transportation system, the cleanliness of the cities, and a vending machine every 20 meters wherever you were at any point at any time.
Japan, not only a mega-busy city that thrives on electronics and efficiency, actually has an almost sacred appreciation of nature. One must travel outside of Tokyo to truly experience the ‘old Japan’ and more importantly feel these aspects of Japanese culture.
One thing that struck me in particular was the harmony of nature and man. The Japanese have a reverence for nature and seem to be able to build around nature in a respectful fashion. The flip side of that is also true where even when there are natural elements such as gardens added to historic, residential and commercial areas, those gardens are so well-maintained, intricately designed, and beautifully manicured. It’s no longer gardening, it’s pure art, much like the bamboo forest at the Adashino-Nenbutsu-ji Buddhist temple as seen in the above photo. Just a few meters away from this beautiful path in the midst of a small bamboo forest you’ll find a temple, cemetery, hundreds upon hundreds of small stone statues. Oh so very Japanese.
Part of the trip was certainly devoted to taking photographs but another part was to be able to meet with our hosts at Fujifilm world headquarters in Tokyo. I was there with my friend and colleague Elia Locardi to meet with the product development team and marketing people for the X – series of cameras and lenses. I’m stoked to be working with Fujifilm and love the fact that they are looking to make their new line of cameras and lenses appeal to a wide range of photographers and photo enthusiasts. This is some serious equipment and after seeing what is in the pipeline for the next few years, all I can say is: Hold onto your hats people!
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
In addition to my regular DSLR kit including some exceptionally cool Zeiss lenses, I’m now completely set up with the full Fujifilm camera system and I’m absolutely loving it. I’ll have more to talk about in the near future regarding this innovative new mirrorless camera system but for now I’d highly recommend that you go check out the whole line of X – series cameras and lenses for yourself.
I’m off to Rome later today and will be revisiting some of my favorite places in that beautiful country on my spring Italy photography tour. It’s always fun to be back in Italy to share all the art, history, and natural beauty of this very special country with the participants that join us. It’s even more fun when I get a chance to run these tours with great friends like Naomi and Elia. The food and wine ain’t so bad either ;-)
Thanks for being so awesome Japan, hope to see you again very soon!