Sunday, December 30, 2012

Day in Charlottesville

So about two weeks ago or so I went to my friends place in Charlottesville. We pretty much just hung out and walked around town a bit. It is a nice city/town and the campus is pretty beautiful as well. He takes photographs as well. Anyways, here are some pictures that I took. 


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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Orange Tori Gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine - Kyoto, Japan

Fushimi Inari Shrine is in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto which is south east from central Kyoto. This sites at the base of a mountain named Inari and the mountain has tons of paths and trails with more smaller shines. Now Inari is a fox which is the god of rice. Each of the torii gates that you see lined along the trail is donated by a Japanese business since Inari is seen as a patron of wealth.
Some of the earliest structures built were in 711 on the Inariyama hill before relocated per request from a Monk. That was in 816 and the main structures were built in 1499, at the bottom of the hill there is the main gate or "Romon, Tower Gate" and the main shrine called "go-honden". Up the mountain further half way you have the central shrine, "okumiya", and up to the top the the mountain lots of private mounds.
Also the fox is a sign of the messenger and that is why he is seen all over the shrine area hold a key to his mouth to the rice granary.
This was awesome place to visit and I would love to come back and hike to the top! I only went a ways up with a friend and looped back down. Anyways, enjoy!

I love the orange torii's and I saw  them in so many pictures that I had to go!

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Jones Run & Doyles River Hike

Hey everyone! So I hiked along a circuit hike that runs along the Jones Run and Doyles River in Shenandoah National Park. You can check out the map and loop at this link here. I went with two others and it was long but really nice to hike along. 
It wasn't to hot or windy and was really nice to hike!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

SMC Takumar 55mm 1:2 Screw Mount Lens

So I have been wanting a Prime lens for a while again. I bought one when I went to Japan the Canon 50mm 1.8 lens but sold it on my return since I found I was not using it much anymore. Now I want a fast prime lens once again. I, for the fun of it, placed a bid and won for a few dollars this lens, the SMC Takumar 55mm f2 lens. I was hoping for a 50mm and perhaps smaller aperture but I don't mind this since I spent so little for it. The optics are great and it is fun working with a manual lens again. The build of it feels solid since it is all metal and it is a lot smaller then my other lenses that I have. I also have a m42 to EF lens mount that I got for a buck that makes it usable on my T3i. Anyways I took a few pictures of the lens and then some more pictures of me using/testing it out. I think I still would love the Canon 50mm 1.4 Ultrasonic lens. Still would like a fast auto focus lens haha. Take a look!


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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Kongoji Temple - Kyoto, Japan

Kongoji Temple is a small temple in Kyoto that is part of the Jodu-shu sect of Buddhism. I tried to look up some information on the temple but it is so small and there are other temples that are called Kongoji in Japan that I got none. I took a picture of the sign that gave information and you will find that below the first one! Anyways, I more or less stumbled upon this temple when walking the streets :) Also, for some reason my camera was in black and white mode when I took the pictures so sorry for the switch between!

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Random Mushrooms of the woods

Few weeks ago from all the rain we had fungi popping up all over the place in the woods. There were a lot of different kinds, but all interesting!
These little guys are cute!

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Shimogamo Shrine - Kyoto, Japan

This is the Shimogamo Shrine, which is located along the Kamo River. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This site is believed to be older then Kamigamo Shrine by 100 years  dating farther back before Kyoto became the capital. It is a lovely Shrine and more orange!!!
This is the Romon of the Shrine, is a tower gate or two story gate.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Flowers around this Fall

So there was quite a few flowers that were still hanging around the yard and woods even though it was fall. Summer was warm and the fall started off that way as well! The bugs seemed to be happy about it as they hugged them!
Lovely little guy that was hanging around...

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Kamigamo Shrine - Kyoto, Japan

Kamigamo Shrine is one of the top places to check out in Kyoto. It is on the banks of the Kamo River in northern Kyoto. Was founded in 678, and is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan and is the UNESCO as a world Heritage Site. It is also dedicated to Kami of Thunder. There is a sister like Shrine called the Shimogamo which is coming up soon! Enjoy the structures, I did go on a rainy day and it was one of my last to visit before I went to Tokyo.



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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Azalea Bonsai Exhibit at Ueno Park - Part 2

Here are the rest of the Azalea bonsai that I saw in Ueno park. You can find the first post here.
These unlike the last post are more tree like and stand up in a Christmas tree like shape. I am not feeling it and it might just be my preference but they are still beautiful to look at. 


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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fall is coming to an end

Hey guys!

So it has been a little while since I have done an update, maybe since late October or the post about hurricane Sandy on Nov. 1st. Well anyways not to much has really changed since then. The large job that I was working on at dominion Power is now for the most part complete. I wont be going back in unless they have some other thing about it that they need me to check out for them. I was there for a lot longer then I was expecting and was great to build up some money. I did talk to my boss that (company that I interned for and now a contractor) and she said she probably has an idea to use me on another project with Dominion since I am already use to working there and have clearance. I can hope for it! She also invited me to the company Christmas Party which is nice. I am still also the server which I have to work 6-9:30pm tonight which isn't to bad. After tips it's like making $20 and hour which is great, plus you get to take home all of your tip money even what was put on the credit cards. Now I walk around like a boss with my wad of $1 bills haha. I still am looking around for that full time position as that is what I need period. I am a graduate and need to pick up and go with it!
Fall is really coming to an end now, most of the leaves have changed or fallen now. Some maples still might have their leaves on with bright reds and oranges, check out Maymont post from last week here. I mist a lot of the nice weather but I was glad that I was able to go to the mountains when they were changing and hike Old Rag and also the check out around town at the colors. Fall is one of those awesome seasons that really draw me outside to capture the colors. It rivals the Spring time! I think I still have a few more pictures that I can post of the fall so look forward  to them! I also been taking out my Fujica AX-3, I tried something like removing the old foam and covering up the window in the back of the door to see if that fixes the light leak. If not then it is the foam at the hinges and the edges where the door comes together. I will find out when I get this roll developed, just need to use it up first!
Winter is heading our way. I am starting the feel the cool air coming on us, especially those crisp clear sky nights where their is a breeze and you get that shiver up your spine. It isn't to bad yet with the days peaking at 45 Degrees F. It has been freezing at night a couple of times but I don't mind the cold weather but so much. My hands get really dry though and that can be annoying. I can't wait for it to snow, I love it when it snows and it is really pretty when it happens when you are back in the woods.
I did not do any buying of anything on Black Friday or Cyber Monday at all! That is a record for me as I have done so and gotten up early for it for years, before I could even drive :) I did buy a model the other day at normal price because I was dying to have it and needed something else to keep my hands and mind busy inside for the holidays  Problem is that I use spray cans and it will probably be to cold to paint outside for a while. I  might get a lucky day where there is no breeze and it is over 50 degrees F. Today was right at 50 but I need to not be lazy and go get the right color of spray.
How was everyone's Thanksgiving for those that celebrate it? I ended up working on thanksgiving but no one came in the bowling alley so I was let go early and had two Thanksgiving (one before and after work) that day and they both were tasty!!! My grandparents form Maryland came down to enjoy it with us and it was nice.
Oh yeah, how was everyone's Halloween???!?!?
So right before Halloween I met someone. Well more like I didn't meet someone but I knew them, just made my feelings more obvious to them. It was someone that I worked with at the retail job I had for all that time (2007-2011) and I kinda just kissed her when we were hanging out. I was super nervous that I made our friendship awkward by doing so but she returned it. It made me really happy and not to long after did we start to date. I can easily say that I have been really happy. I feel that I can be really honest with her and she really cares about us and myself. Oh did I mention she is in culinary and a magnificent baker? She makes some great meals! I am not the kind of guy using her for that, I cook for her and she loves it. I smile every time I see her it's crazy. Sorry to get all mushy, but it is just great that I can feel at ease around her. Take a look!
Oh and she is camera Shy!

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Anyways thanks for taking a look!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fall Colors at Maymont

Hey everyone! 
I hope you guys have been enjoying the fall weather and colors that have appeared everywhere. I was going to go camping in the mountains where the colors are long gone now with my new girl friend but we decided to stay in town. Plus we had some colds that we wanted to rest up on and get better. We decided to do a picnic/drink tea at  Maymont in the afternoon this past Saturday and the colors on the Maple trees were gorgeous! The deep reds and the oranges with yellows were driving me crazy. She also loved them as well! I think I might have to do a post on how we ended up together but I will keep that for another time. Anyways enjoy the leaves, that is pretty much the majority of the pictures!

Like I said the colors were so vivid and deep, it was to bad that the sun was mostly down so there wasn't much light. 

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Azalea Bonsai Exhibit at Ueno Park - Part 1

When I visited Tokyo and went to Ueno park, post here, I was able to catch a special Bonsai exhibit near the fountains by the museums. All of them were Azalea's, check out my azaleas here
They were all really fantastic and nice to look at. A lot of people my age walked by them and didn't pay any mind but all the older Japanese folk stopped and were taking pictures like I was or talking among themselves deciding which might be the best technique in the designs. I love all bonsai and plants but somethings are breathtaking to what you can manipulate a plant to do and show. Yo can put an entire story into or a landscape and it fit in a pot not larger then 12" X 12". I got big into bonsai and I have a few small ones but these are great! Also these are way older then me by probably another 40 years. I have two posts since there were so many to see so sit back and enjoy them, the next post will come out in a few days. Also as a side note, there is not a normal azalea that has multiple color leaves, like some leaves are white then the rest or pink. They were grafted onto the azalea and there are of course hybrid ones as well ^^

The colors are great in this one.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Yasaka Shrine - Kyoto, Japan

This shrine was once called Gion-jinja or Gion Shrine which as you can tell is in the Gion district of Kyoto where you will find Geisha and tourists. The shrine was originally constructed in 656, that is a long time ago. 
An interesting piece of history and I have found that it has had shaped a lot of shrines is that there was an epidemic in 869 in Kyoto. The mikoshi (divine paladin  of this shrine paraded around town to ward off this epidemic, and that started the Gion Matsuri (festival) which is a huge festival now! You can also access Maruyama Park if you walk through. Enjoy the pictures.
One cool thing about shrines is that they are open all the time and free usually. You can come through at night and see all of the lanterns alight. Brings a whole new experience.


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I really love the orange that you find in all the shrines...

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Home away from Home in Kyoto

So it has been 6 months to this day that I spent my first night in Japan. I stayed at a house that does home stay's. Some short term and long term, what ever you are looking for. They are the Konaka's Residence, they have a small imported Wine store on the first level off Kitayama-dori. It is up in the Northern part but it is an easy walk to places to get food, and there was a new store that opened right next door so I could get all my food to cook. Also you can walk with no problem or bike to the Golden Pavilion or Kinkaku-ji temple. It was a nice place to stay at and you get your own room. there might be others there but the family generally will let you do what you want. They will answer any questions that you might have while you are there and will give you plenty of information. Well here are some pictures from the place that I stayed at. 

My room had not to big or small, it was good for my stay. I had a closet, futon, cabinets, a table and a shorter table. I loved Mets Grapefruit!


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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rain, leaves, twilight

Yesterday I got out and around my woods for a bit after the sun finally broke through the clouds. It was right after 4pm so the sun was setting and it was golden time. Problem with golden time in my woods is that most of it is in a hollow so the light is at the top of the trees. It had rained yesterday and was a bit cool out maybe around 40 degrees F. Anyways, there still some colors out there from fall that have yet fallen off. Enjoy.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Box Turtles Everywhere

Few weeks ago there were turtles all around the place, what was up with that? Matting seasons I suppose!
I enjoy these turtles, we had one live in our front yard for a month this summer. 

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fall in Shenandoah

I went up in the mountains specifically the Shenandoah National Park where I hiked Old Rag mountain and then spent the night up at Loft Mountain and did some minor hiking. 
The park is super crowded at this time of year and makes pulling in lookout points really hard as it is packed with cars and people taking pictures with cameras, phones and iPad's. Don't get me wrong it was nice to go and quite relaxing to see the colors and enjoy my favorite destinations!

Enjoy the pictures below!

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Maiko girls on the Streets of gion - Kyoto, Japan

Walking around in Gion area after I visited the Kiomizu-dera temple I came across a few Maiko girls which are Geisha in raining. I do not know if they were real or not as you can come in this area as a tourist and pay to get dressed up in makeup and walk around for a few hours in it and get pictures taken. 
Anyways, here are a couple girls that I took pictures of, crazy amount of time is put into the outfit. 
They are cute though, am I right?


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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Maruyama Koen Park - Kyoto, Japan

Maruyama Park which is located really close to Yasaka Shrine and Gion area. It is a great place to Cherry Blossom view but of course I was not there and missed out on that. There is a weeping cherry tree that is really popular and during the time of blossom viewing they light it up at night. this is a public and free park here and you can cut through Yasaka Shrine and it is the oldest park in Kyoto. Anyways enjoy the pictures that I have. 


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Nice clock in the middle of the park...

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Old Rag Mountain

I went a few weeks ago myself to hike Old Rag Mountain myself and it was a blast. It was right after a lot of rain so there was fog that hung around for a long time.
The colors were nice to see as I went up...

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Jishu Shrine of Love - Kyoto, Japan

I visited the Jishu Shrine of Love which is located on the grounds of the ever so popular Kiomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto. This Shrine was dedicated to Okuninushi which is a god of love. At this shrine they have two loves stones that stand apart. If you are lonely or single then you can walk between then with your eyes closed. If you can walk all the way to the other rock and reach it with out opening your eyes then you will find love or perhaps true love. I had this explained to me while I was there by some students and I went ahead and did it successfully but I might have received a little help haha. If you get some assistance then that means that you will be assisted in finding that love through other means, a go-between. Something to start things moving. 
It was crowded and I had a lot of people stare at me while I did it haha.

The shrine was popular among the students, probably trying to find out who likes who :)

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I picked up my green  traveling charm for safe travel at this shrine, I have safely traveled everywhere since then since I always have it with myself.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

After Hurricane Sandy

I would say that we here in Richmond are really lucky and out of the horrific grasp of Hurricane sandy. Many states in the North East and New England were not so lucky though. There was a lot of damage and I am sure you probably have seen it on the news at some point. I didn't ride it out at home like I said and there was not really any type of damage around here for us to worry about. Just leaves and limbs down and didn't even lose the power.
Here is the backyard, looks like we have more the rake now!

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Sophie was out enjoying the nice weather after the storm, my cat actually decided to go outside that night in it, she isn't to bright haha.

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Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Better have toilet paper before you go to Japan

In a lot of public bathrooms in Japan I found that they is no soap or toilet paper inside like you find in America  There is sometimes a vending machine outside the door of the bathroom where you can purchase them! Sometimes there is not a machine at all. There was some in the stores though just not usually at the Temples, Shrines or parks!

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Friday, October 26, 2012

How I love the fall

Hey everyone!
So it has been awhile since I sat down to do an update on what has been going on of late. It has almost been to busy to any kind of posting, only reason some of the posts were posted this past month because they were pre-made in the summer and had set times to be posted haha.
I am at work and not sure if I should be on here or not. I am currently working for the company that I interned at for two years during College at VCU. Only thing is I am a part time employee and being contracted to Dominion Power, which is a large power utility in the eastern part of the United States. I have been here for about four weeks now plugging away on a project similar to the one that I was on board with in the Summer months. It is a lot of work but should soon be calming down. Now forty hours a week of work would not deter me from posting, but at the same time that I had started my contractor job here I started work as a server and that has been at night and weekends. So with the sixty plus hours or so of work a week I use my other time to get read for jobs, prepare food, commute time, sleep and maybe some go playing and TV watching before I pass out in my pillows. Today for instance I got up at 7am got ready and arrived at work around 7:45am and will be here close to 4pm. I have to run a few errands after work like the post office and take care of a friends cat, but then also go home make a early dinner and get ready for work at 6pm as a server. I don't get off that job till 1:30-2am tonight which by all means I am exhausted when I lay down (being a 15-16hr work day). I will be honest that going to school full time (16 hr credits), my internship, my part time retail job and commute time this past semester had a lot more down time then this. It probably will calm down soon once this job is lifted for a bit until I get another call in for more.
That is why I am not complaining as well. I have two jobs (one will last till the work is complete) in a time where it is hard to find a job. I will manage this for now because I know it will soon go away. I know I still need a full time job and not just a few part time ones as I will not have my benefits and such. Not to mention that one day I can move out once it is affordable. I do have another job prospect that I have interviewed for and awaiting to hear back from. I will keep it a secret for now as I have no clue what might happen.
So last week I had two days off from both jobs and I went to hike Old Rag mountain in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia (about 2 hour drive). I enjoyed it a TON and recommend it a lot. I did injure my self and I recommend that you either be with someone or KNOW that other people will be on the trail. It is a really popular trail and I went alone (I do know about survival and first aid skills) but it is better to be with someone. It was a busy day when I went so I was with in ear shot or eye sight of someone at all times. Plan a day for it at least as I started at 9am and didn't get to the summit till 11:30 or so and got back to the car at 3pm. I love the mountains and I always try to go during the fall season. Of course that is when it is the most busiest. In the Summer when I posted pictures from my camping trip you would be the only one pulling off on Overlooks but this time of year there would be at least five other cars there if not more. Trails will be crowded and what is peaceful and wilderness in the Summer because a trail you would find in a busy park in your county. Never the less it is still gorgeous and I recommend at least a day trip up there in the fall time. The leaves have already peaked though, that I can tell you and it is peaking right about now here in Richmond. I have a bunch of pictures that I have taken on  that camping trip last week that I want to get up as well as some pictures around the house and in my woods. I hope to get out some time soon to Maymont and get in more pictures of Fall but this weekend is looking really rough. I was hoping to maybe go the the Zombie Walk tomorrow in the afternoon in Carrytown where people dress up as Zombies and walk around like a hoard of them ready to eat the flesh off the living. They have been doing it for a few years and I have missed out and hope to do it. I also have work from 5pm-1:30am tomorrow night as well as a Halloween party right after (if it is still going). Problem is though that it is calling for rain this weekend now to our good friend Miss Sandy, a now Category 1 hurricane, that has left Cuba and the Bahamas and is heading North over the Atlantic Ocean. It is probably going to gain more energy over the water, which right there is the Gulf Stream and this time of year has some warm waters which will definitely enrich the Category 1 with more energy. It is has been studied and has been predicted to turn west and actually come towards the east coast and definitely making land fall. There has been a few model tracks but it is likely to hit somewhere between my state (Virginia) all the way to Maine. It is most likely that it will hit somewhere between the Eastern shore of VA/Maryland all the way to New York. Even though Richmond is pretty far inland by like 100 miles or so we are still in the alert area of this storm. Now the reason why people are calling the "Frakinstorm" is not all because it is happening on the weekend and days of Halloween festivities but because there is a massive cold front moving from the west and heading east. With these two storms coming together on the east coast we can be seeing some interesting weather that does not happen very often at all. We can be expecting some strong winds from the hurricane followed by lots of rain causing storm surges, flooding wind damage but because the cold front coming form our west might cool enough to cause snowing in the areas as well. I am not sure if I will be lucky enough to see the snow being a little farther south but it is possible for snow fall to happen in the hurricane. Very weird indeed.
So if it is bad, I will take some pictures of aftermath and perhaps at home during the storm. I may lose power for a few days and if that happens I will not be posting anytime soon haha.
Now after this storm it will probably rip all of the leaves off the trees and there will be no fall colors to take pictures of. I hope there will be something to enjoy by the end of next week indeed.
Well I hope to get more pictures up for you guys soon enough. I still have lots of pictures from Japan to come and some other random things. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cute Bus in Asakusa Tokyo

On my way back to the hostel from Tokyo Skytree I manage to see this cute cat themed bus ride right on by me! It is for the amusement park in Asakusa, Asakusa Hanayashiki. This is the oldest amusement park in Japan and has been there since 1853. Then it was a flower park and was opened for Mathew Perry of the US Navy. Of course now it is an amusement park that has tons of kids come through the doors all the time. It is right in front of the hostel I stayed at and it sounded like the kids were having a blast!!!


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info from Asakusa Hanayashiki's site

Monday, October 8, 2012

Once In a Blue Moon on the James River - Richmond, VA

So back on August 31st there was a Blue Moon or when there is a second Full Moon in a month or 4 in a season! That is were the term came from as it happens rarely. "Once in a Blue Moon."
I was with a friend down on the Pipeline trail in Richmond, VA and walked in the dark but was basking in the moon light. Decided to take a couple of pictures which are below. I still have a ways to go with long exposure!
The James River!

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Mind you, this is about 11pm at night...

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Boss Coffee Mug (Bozu)

So while in Japan I enjoyed Boss coffee out of the vending machines! I really enjoy my tea at home but I don't really have any mugs of my own and have always been looking for a mug. So when I was at a temple, along the street there were a lot of souvenir shops and one of them had this mug and I knew I had to have it.
I love the mug and it is a good size, not super large but not puny. Just right and I love the color and look. It looks great on my desk with out any tea or coffee in it. I wonder if Boss is mad that I use it mostly for tea though, I hope not.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Colonial Williamsburg on a Rainy Day

So this past weekend I went to Colonial Williamsburg for a few hours with a friend. It ended up being a rainy day but we still had a good time walking around. I also meet up with a friend that I had meet at the place I stayed in Kyoto! He goes to school near there oddly enough and it is easy to get to Williamsburg from Richmond, just 45 minute drive! Anyways on with it...

The Governors Mansion!
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The walls of Nijo-jo Castle - Kyoto, Japan

I went with the guy that was staying at the house to Nijo-jo Castle! We rode some bikes on down the main road to get there. There was a lot at the time that was under construction but it was still a nice overcasting day!
This interesting castle has two walls of fortifications! In 1601, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate (Tokugawa Ieyasu) sent the order to all Feudal Lords in Western Japan to help construct the castle. It was finished in 1626. It was the home for the Tokugawa Shogunate in Kyoto. In 1939 it was donated to the city of Kyoto and soon made public for the people to visit!

Now when I first walk in you see is the Ninomaru Palace!
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Out front before my friend and I entered the palace, there were tree Japanese high school students that came to us and offered to be free tour guides. they are part of their schools English speaking club and was there to practice there English speaking.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hawksbill Mountain - Shenandoah National Park

More Skies and mountains from when I went up there with my father.
This time I visited a new trail and the tallest mountain in Shenandoah National Park, Hawksbill. 
Like Stony Man Mountain it reaches over 4,000 ft being the tallest at 4,051 ft (1235 m). 
This was the first time I have been up to this one and it will be one that I re-visit for sure. Offers views into the valley to the west and views to the east on the plateau heading towards the ocean. 
It is some what developed as they have s stone shelter up there, not for camping, and also the highest point where there use to be a marker they built a stone wall where you can stand or sit and look out over the blue mountains. 

Like Stone Man, the view is not blocked by trees as there are rock outcroppings that drop off on the other side. 

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My father over on the left, I'm looking south...

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sumida River at Night in Tokyo

The Sumida river runs along the east side of Tokyo. This part specifically is near Asakusa Shrine and Senso-ji Temple. It is actually a park along the river and you can ride the river cruise there and take it all the way to Odaiba if you like.
Anyways enjoy the pictures, glad it was such a nice night, it was the last night that I spent in Tokyo.

Nice couple relaxing along the river...

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nintendo Headquaters in Kyoto

The World Head quaters of Nintendo is located in Kyoto! I happen to come across the building with my friend by accident. We got off the subway to early before the one we were shooting for which is the one Fushimi Inari Shrine. Anyways, we jumped the gun to early and jumped off in the rain and realized it wasn't the right station. I turned around and said, "Hey isn't that the World Headquarters of Nintendo?" Sure enough it really was, dumb luck I guess haha.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ryozen Kannon - Kyoto, Japan

The Ryozen Kannon was a war memorial that was created to honor the Japanese that had died from World War II. The main statue of the Kannon is made of concrete and steel and was done in June 1955 and created by Hirosuke Ishikawa. It is 24 meters tall and is the Bodhisattva of Mercy. 2 million Japanese are honored here with tablets and also the memorial of the Unknown Soldier from World War II is here as well.

This was a nice stop in the area of Maruyama Park and not to far from Kiyomizu-dera Temple.
A lot of Japanese people lost their lives in the war especially from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It would be very respectful to visit this once to honor those who lost their lives.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

High Bridge Trail State Park

High Bridge Trail is a nice long train in Virginia that is now a State Park. It was once part of the Norfolk Southern and once part of the Southside Railroad. The trail was finished this year and completes more then 30 miles of trail that is available for use by pedestrians, bicyclists and even horse back riding. The name of the park/trail is from the "High Bridge" that traverses the Appomattox River near Farmville, VA. The bridge its self is 2,400 ft/730 m long and depends at what place it stands 60-125 ft off the ground.
Was originally built 1854 over the river at this location and it was all wood with 21 brick piers which can be seen the the photo below where they still stand next to the newest bridge. During the Civil War, both sides tried to destroy to get an advantage. the Confederates finally did manage to set it on fire but it went out on it's own. After the Battle at High Bridge, the Confederates soon surrendered at Appomattox. 
In 2004, the last train went over the bridge and Norfolk Southern donated the 30 miles to the states conservation and recreation where the puled and estimated $11 million budget to turn it into a trail/park system. The current steel bridge that is used was built in 1914.

Great trail and views from the bridge...

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower

This building is really interesting tower that stands up in Shinjuku! You can get a great view of it from the streets and also from the Shinjuku Metropolitan government Building which I have a post up here.
This building is a 50 story educational building with three individual educational institutes; Tokyo Mode Gakuen (fashion), HAL Tokyo (tech and design) and Shuto Iko (medical). 
It has been standing since 2008 and is the second tallest education building in the world but only ranked 17th in Tokyo. 

This was taken on way out of Shinjuku Park behind the Government building

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The Mode Gakuen held a contest and offered up someone to design  the building that they would move into with one requirement that it not be rectangular!

This view is from the Government Building's Observation deck...

info from Wikipedia

Friday, September 7, 2012

Calm day at Belle Isle in Richmond

So Belle Isle Park is in the middle of the James River near downtown Richmond Virginia. It is a great park to walk on, jog, ride your bike or what not. You can get to it from Tredegar Street and take a walk bridge that runs under the Lee Bridge on over. 
There are more post from the past on Belle Isle here, here, here and here.

It was a little overcast that day by a bit but still pretty nice and not to humid. At least the river was below normal levels so no murky brown water...

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