Fragments of a Winter Dream

I guess this is it: my long overdue Japan blog entry. I’ve made several attempts at this since escaping the warm winter of Myanmar for ten days back in January. It was a whirlwind trip; I packed in a lot, spent a fair amount of time on trains, and got little sleep. It was cold enough to qualify as “winter,” I suppose, or at least a gentle reminder of what that season could be, in other places where I used to live.

As for the blog entry, I tried, first, the deep approach. Full of reflections, tangents, and connections to larger social, cultural, and historical issues, this was the approach that came naturally when I first sat down to type and let my fingers fly, free of any premeditated agenda. But after a considerable amount of time and words, I was still in Yangon (which I hadn’t even considered part of the trip until indulging in this process) and it was clear that following this approach through to its conclusion would be a huge undertaking, and probably better suited to a very long essay or short book than to this blog.

Next I tried the fragmentary approach, which involved cherry-picking some of the products of the deep approach, while only alluding to others and leaving most completely untouched or unmentioned. This, too, proved to be time consuming, but more so irritating. Every writer knows that careful selection is more difficult, more painstaking than production. Volume is easy enough to come by, but determining what stays and what goes is much more difficult.

So why not let the photos speak for themselves? There are plenty of notes and anecdotes behind these images, but the utility in drawing them out isn’t clear.

So, finally …

I guess I’m left with the wordless* approach.

* But I will add this: thanks to my old friends Hide and Satoshi, and by extension, their families and friends. It’s all because of them that I was able to get a little glimpse of the real Japan in such a short trip. Behind all these fragments are their hospitality, knowledge, and advice.

* … and this: as always, I recommend clicking on individual images that you find interesting, as you’ll get a much better view.

Yangon

Temples and Curiosities

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Tokyo

Old fish market area and Meiji Shrine

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Tokyo to Hiroshima

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Kamakura

Temples, Shrines, Daibutsu, and Beach

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Hiroshima

Peace Memorial Park and Museum

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Miyajima

Ropeway, Misen Mountain Hike with small Shrines and Temples, Istukushima “Floating” Shrine and its Famous Torii

 

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From Hiroshima to Tokushima

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Shikoku

Route of 88 Temples, Bamboo Forest, Nagoro (Village of the Scarecrows), Bicycling, Ramen, Historic Iya no Kazurabashi Vine Bridge, Onsen, and more

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Kyoto

Temples and Shrines

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