With exams over forever (for now) and being sick at home, I decided to get some things done, first was mounting a projector screen on the ceiling. I’ve had the screen for close to a year and a projector for even longer. After about an hour of buying materials and getting it done, this is the end result:
Nothing better than Despicable Me on the big screen :D, 71 inches on the diagonal for a 4:3 image or 63 inches for a 16:9 image. Awesome 😀
So as you can see I’ve finally gone through some more photos and these should be the last of the birthdays I’ve been to where I’ve had my camera with me. The first is a small album from Ben, Carmen and David Huynh’s birthday, not quite as entertaining as the year before, but it was just a nice cake cutting at Carmen’s place followed by dinner at Wagaya.
Next up was a dinner and karaoke night at Mizuya in the city, fun night out and in terms of photography, I’ve experimented a fair bit with these photos trying out various different looks (either low saturation, high contrast B&W or playing with split toning). Any thoughts and opinions would be great.
Particularly fond of this shot though, just like the way the light from Kim’s phone shines on her and makes her stand out.
So after this post I’ll be a couple of photos from being up-to-date, but since I stopped blogging for a while until now, quite a few things have changed, I’m finally in my final semester at Uni with another two subjects to go (seriously can’t wait til it’s over) and in addition to that, I had started full time work. Such a drastic change from being able to laze around and bludge to getting up before 7am getting ready to catch the train every day to work. Days at work vary, some insanely hectic to others where you’re not too busy. Team’s been great, everyone around is heaps friendly and always willing to help out and answer questions. I won’t mention the awesome start to the year, walking out of the Etihad Stadium with a huge smile on my face, if you weren’t there, you wouldn’t understand.
Deb’s birthday wasn’t too far away from the start and I was there to take a few snaps.
Next up was my man Mike’s 22nd birthday. For some reason this kid decided not to have a 21st birthday but instead, opts for a large 22nd! I just don’t get him sometimes, but it was a great party despite me not being able to get back in at 12 as Aurorar bar sucks and no re-entry after 12 is permitted. Cover photo is in black and white because I’m moody and all that ;).
Final set of photos to complete this post is little Yvonne’s 22nd birthday, celebrated with plenty of food.
So just another post and I’ll be good to go, apologies to those waiting for photos (if you want them quick pay me :P).
So the last days of 2010 went by rather quick, first and foremost a lunch outing with the majority of the crew that did BIT or ISM starting from 2007 (God that was a long time ago) to celebrate their final days of Uni (not me though, because i’m special). It was a nice lunch courtesy of Christine, our course coordinator who’s helped us through hundreds and thousands of emails and queries. It was a a nice gathering and good to see everyone before we all parted ways.
Once back from my trip and having a few days of long away rest and sleep, it was time to be out and about again, firstly, a BBQ at Lily Tran’s house to celebrate Christmas. Nothing better than spending a nice summer afternoon with friends around the BBQ with a drink or ten. No one ended up too drunk and with my fairly okay drink count, I was still quite good.
No summer is complete without a fishing trip of sorts, so early one morning we make the trip up to Clifton for some fishing action. There were quite a few people there already so we couldn’t get prime position, but we pushed on anyway and hoped for some luck. But as you can see from my album title, it was somewhat fail, ended up catching 2.5 fish (one of them was a tiny bream). Nice thing about getting up early is catching the sunrise and I’ve finally done some sunrise photography.
One of the final set of photos for the year was from my younger cousin’s birthday who despite his size, is only 12.
So these photos represent the final days and weeks of my 2010, but it was such a thrill being able to spend the transition into 2011 with an all night party with the number 1 DJ, Armin van Buuren. Such a great event and you really can’t top seeing Armin for 9 hours straight, still remember the climatic countdown with the drummer just hammering away, almost as though he couldn’t keep it up. Small glitch in the countdown but it was one hell of a night. Spent the next few days exploring a bit of Melbourne which was quite fun, but definitely gotta plan another trip down soon.
Well that wraps up 2010, I’m a step closer to getting this blog updated and getting the rest of the photos up.
So after almost six months of coming back from my awesome Japan trip with good friends Michael Tang, Edmond Tsui and Gavin Wa, I’ve finally finished writing up blog posts about what we got up to in the land of the rising sun. It’s been hard to find the motivation to go through and select some photos which represented our trip but now I finally feel like I’ve completed my trip. The next step will be to finish going through the photos and hopefully make a photobook and add some more prints to my wall (once I’m bothered to get it re-done).
So with the blog posts about Japan out of the way, it’s now time to catch up on all the other stuff I’ve neglected over the past six months, plenty of birthdays and outings to write about and plenty of long-awaited photos to come as well. It’s been a long time, but you know what they say, better nate then lever (kudos if you get this reference).
So during our last day in Japan, we will explore the city of Nara, since waking up and leaving the hostel, every step I had taken was painful, but we pressed on to check out the deer and the largest wooden structure and bronze buddha. We got to Nara in the morning and had a few hours to explore around.
We took a bus up to the temple area which is listed as a World Heritage site. From around here you can already see deer lurking around, I decided to buy some crackers to feed them, it was a terrible idea. Once they saw I had food, a couple of them converged, butting me and even nibbling my leg! I was simply like WTF these deers are crap and disposed of the crackers as quickly as possible. Not impressed.
Once I had escaped the deer, we proceeded onwards, the entrance itself was this grand wooden structure. Despite looking rather aged, it was magnificent heaps of detail and just gives the impression that there is something big behind it.
One can only wonder what the original would have looked like before it was weathered down, must have been just spectacular with all the detail that’s there.
Inside the entrance lies two guardians, unfortunately they’re netted off so it’s hard to see their size and the detail that’s gone into it. A bit hard to see their facial expressions, but they looked FIERCE.
Going in a little further, the Daibutsuden is surrounded by a wall and there lies another entrance, it was closed off however and we had to enter from the side.
And also because ‘everyone else was doing it’ I lit up a stick of incense and fanned the smoke onto myself, not sure why everyone does it, but it seemed appropriate.
From the entrance, the building itself looks large, but you don’t realise how big it actually is.
It’s not until you’re standing right under it that you realised that it’s ‘friggin’ huge’! and the detail and architecture is simply exquisite. Such fine detail and it must have been a real piece of work to get it built.
So this extraordinary building houses the largest bronze Buddha in the world, while I was kind of expecting it to be rather shiny and pretty, but instead it looked pretty worn out. It however was quite massive and looked extremely heavy.
Inside were some models and relics of various things from the original building, it’s interesting to note that the structure we were in isn’t the original. What’s even scarier is that the original was 33% bigger! and had the two pagoda’s standing at the front beside it.
One of the highlights of this place was a certain pillar in the building, at the base of it however is a small hole. It’s said that if you are able to crawl through it, you will be enlightened in the next life! It was rather small and during my attempt, I felt a little stuck, but after wriggling, I finally made it all the way through, to the surprise of the onlookers.
Gavin managed the same feat, but he’s a lot smaller.
Walking around the site, we bump into this sign telling us what the deers here can/will do. Wasn’t much good as I had already been molested by the hungry deer.
Up the hill from the Daibutsuden lay another temple, it was pretty large, but no where as impressive as the Daibutsuden, we went up to have a look around anyway and it had provided a pretty decent vantage point.
Now I noticed I didn’t post up any pictures of the deer, so here they are, nowhere as nice as the ones on Miyajima Island. I noticed a lot of them had patches in their fur, looked like they’re from bites or just them licking their own fur.
The walk back was rather painful with my tired legs so I just tried to get back as quick as possible so I could get a little rest before the flight home.
Despite my desires to go home quickly, I just had to stop by this Pagoda and check ti out, it’s one of the original ones that used to be outside the Daibutsuden, you can see it from the model previously.
Walking through the arcades and alleys, I noticed something strange, a Vietnamese restaurant! This is the first time I had seen Viet food in Japan, didn’t go in to try any as you’d obviously prefer to eat Jap food while in Japan.
Quick snaps of the surroundings before I decided to be a lazy shit and take a bus back to Nara train station.
As I got back, I packed my bags sat down for a bit before going out to find my last meal in Japan. It was also a good time to spend the rest of my money, so I decided to head to a restaurant nearby, Udon with Tempura would be my last meal and it was pretty good. Although looking back, I think I would have preferred some Okonomiyaki as that is just simply amazing.
While back at the hostel, we met some fellow Australians who were also on their last day in Japan, they also coincidentally had the same flight as us to the Gold Goast. The group of 8 were from Queensland and we all headed out to the Airport together, the timing was pretty bad as it was peak hour and the trains were packed! It was especially difficult with our bulky luggage and it was hard to dismount our backpacks as it was just too tightly packed.
Finally getting to the airport I spent the last of my Japanese currency buying some more kit kats and sweets, after that it was time to board and have a much needed rest. We were also lucky enough to have the front row seats meaning extra leg room which was a definite bonus to help my aching legs. Well, these 21 posts sum up my trip to Japan, it’s seriously an amazing country and somewhere you definitely have to visit and visiting just once isn’t enough. I’m definitely going to have to plan another trip back as soon as possible.
Again we had an early morning to hope to catch the morning light and get some nice shots of the floating torii gate, this time though, it would actually be appearing to float as it was no longer low tide.
We also got the chance to explore the Itsukushima shrine as it closes at night.
So we were off to explore Hiroshima and took a tram out to the memorial area. Again we were struck by one of the annoying things about Japan, you can’t get proper food before 10 or 11am. As we were waiting for a restaurant to open, we decided look around instead. With Japan, their stores have heaps of things out on display for you to play with. I got my hands on a Pentax 645D Digital Medium Format Camera and this thing was amazing. The bokeh and depth of field you get was just stunning!
It’s also nice to see Japan is still in touch with classics, this man here was photographing using some sort of medium format camera.
As we had an hour or so to wait before breakfast, we explored the monuments on one side of the river, the most notable and distinct is the A-bomb dome (or what’s left of it). It’s one of the few structures which survived the atomic bomb blast, it’s been maintained over the years to serve as a grim reminder of the power and destruction caused by the bomb.
So because we couldn’t get good view of Kurashiki by night, we decided we would get up early and see it in the morning light, as you can see, the sun was barely up when we left the hotel room.
We basically walked to the same shrine and explored around there and could see where we walked passed during the previous night. There were actually quite a few cemeteries around the place and they’re all quite small, with only a few burial plots.
We also saw a few of these little ‘poles’ in the ground which I didn’t really understand, not sure what it was actually referring to.
Our time in Osaka was coming to an end and we checked out of our hotel, we were lucky not to be charged a late checkout fee as we slept in from the previous night out. Gavin and I split from Tang and Ed as they went to do some souvenir shopping. On the other hand, Gavin and I ended up splitting as well as he had forgotten his wallet or something, so I was left to check out the Osaka Castle myself.
Getting off the train station was this large hall, not sure what it’s actually used for though.
The entrance to the Castle is very nice, it’s surrounded by a moat and lush greenery as well.