It's been far too long! In lieu of proper catch ups and dancing in fractal-like forests, I've been very poor at keeping in touch. No longer! This life update post is dedicated to you dear Jynae ^_^.
The year kicked off with a bit of shiny and less shiny things. I slaved through a short-term contract that while unfulfilling, earned megabucks and set me up for future adventuring, tasty food and nice outfits :p! I did enjoy the stability/ease of it though - it's lazy money I guess?
I spent lots of time with m'lady, Winnie, either being homebodies or venturing around Sydney. I think you'd like her ^_^. She's lovely and genuine. Super creative too! Actually, being around her motivated me pick up a pencil a bit more and do silly drawings - I forgot how much I enjoy doing that! Anywho, it's been awesome. She's a keeper.
And then there was Japan. Japan was beautiful, culturally fascinating and generally glorious. It was glorious. I was there for 3 months (just 2 days shy of the visa limit), initially to shoot a wedding, but mostly to spend time with my brother and nephew and travel. I'd never spent so long in one place that I had to buy kitchen ware, groceries, and do the mundane -- I got pretty settled in. It was perfect for my curious/observe-y self.
I'm not sure what the kid above was doing. Later, when he left, he turned and said "Konbanwa", a polite good evening. Interesting kid!
The picture of everyone asleep on the train is what it looks like on the first morning train in Tokyo. The metro stops operating pretty early, at say 11.30pm, so after that, people are committing to having a big night out, or all-nightering til the 5.30am train.
Speaking of trains, each city in Japan has its own train mascot! Train culture is huge in Japan, probably cos it runs so perfectly on time and ridiculously fast. I went around the country on the bullet trains (Shinkansen). Winnie joined for a couple of weeks, but predominantly I flew solo.
I bought a bike. I fell in love with my bike. I took it everywhere in Japan, the highlight probably being on the Shimanami Kaido. It's 7 bridges connecting six islands with a dedicated bike track the whole way (roughly 70km?). Bikes = death on Sydney roads, so it was sooo nice to ride across. It was raining and I got soaked through but it was just bliss. I had a dumb grin stuck on my face for far too much of it :D.
I ended up riding more and soaking in the views / experience rather than properly photoing. It's a tough balance!
One of my favourite spots and memories were on Yakushima, an island just south of the mainland. It's the place that inspired one of my favourite animation films, Princess Mononoke. The environment artists would sit in the forest and sketch/paint directly from what they saw. The forests are thousands of years old. My photos don't do it justice, but I'm sure you can imagine what it would be like.
There are tree spirits in the place, called 'Kodamo', one for each tree. You could really feel that you were in their world, just a visitor in their magical place.
At the spot below, I paused and dug out my headphones to put on the beautiful opening theme that goes along with the movie. I stood there with arms out stretched, internally laughing and with emotion coursing right to my soul. It was an incredible feeling.
When I turned around, an elderly couple were standing just behind me, waiting patiently for a photo chance while I stood there in oblivious joy :p.
Okay, so I gotta stop and write more specifically about my nephew, Natsu. So I'm not really the kids type, but Natsu is so easily an exception. He's just a really nice and fun kid - makes me a proud uncle y'know? Future ladies (or maybe gents) will have to watch out for this guy :p.
So basically, life continues to be good! Sure there have been blips along the way, but the vast majority has been wonderful. Looking back at this little retrospective of a post reminds me of just how great a year it's been and the little achievements and memories that were really what was most important.
I think of you all the time! I just go in a weird cocoon of quietness like you've probably seen me do on a micro scale at shamb, so thanks for calling me around! I really do love hearing from you and sharing photos with you ^_^.
I had a random thought while putting this together, would you be up for being pen pals? I'm sure I'll see you elsewhere in the world soonish, but it'd be super nice to send and receive actual letters!
Also, Happy New Year!! And congrats on the Vancouver move :). 2017 is going to be a good one me thinks.