A couple of years ago I won some plane tickets to Japan, and went inter-railing around Western Japan with my friend Vicky. The whole trip was short notice and on a very low budget, but we had fun. When I came back I made a zine about the trip. The paper edition is still available here, but for the foreseeable future I can only send physical copies to the UK. So I’ve made a digital edition for people to read.
So I’ve finally put up all the photos I took in Japan. Below is a summary and links to each post. I have also created some designs for gifts and homewares over on Society 6 with my photographs from Japan. You can find them here.
An important aspect of Japanese shrines and temples are ema plaques (the name 絵馬 literally means “picture horse”). These are small wooden signs with a picture on one side. You write a wish on it and hang it up (or take it home as a souvenir). Each site has its own design, so I made a collection of photos of different ones I saw in Japan. They are originally a Shinto tradition, but can also be found at Buddhist temples. At bigger sites you can find messages written in a lot of different languages.
When I was in Japan I went to the Studio Ghibli Museum just outside of Tokyo. Sadly pictures were not allowed inside, but I wrote about it in my zine of the trip. I highly recommend the museum, it’s magical. The bookshop was also stocked with Miyazaki’s own favourite books, as well as books related to the studio’s films. I didn’t buy anything, as they were all in Japanese, and it would take me forever to read anything, but I noted down a lot of less well-known books I saw in the shop to compile a reading list (helpfully the copyright tends to list the author’s names in roman text rather than try to make it fit katakana). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to write down the Japanese author’s names in most cases as reading unknown names written in kanji is very tricky. However Miyazaki made a list of classic children’s books (including a lot of the usual suspects like The Secret Garden) elsewhere which also includes some Japanese recommendations.
Here’s a selection of instagram photos I took in Tokyo. I felt I was giving it short shrift only having one post with a few photos. You can see more in the Japan category, and also read about the trip in the zine I wrote.
I took a lot of photos in Japan, and it’s taken me a while to sort through them. I’ll be spreading out the posts over this week to avoid having one giant pile of photos at once. I wrote a zine (available here) about the trip to Japan as well, so I’ll save blog posts for the pictures (which you will be able to find under the Japan category).
These are from Tokyo. I didn’t actually take that many DSLR photos in Tokyo, mostly film and phone photos. You can see the phone pictures on my Instagram account, with all of the neon skyscrapers you’d expect from Tokyo. The gate above is in Taito, an area further out of town where we stayed.
This March I’m going to Japan for two weeks with my friend Vicky (also of Pen Fight zine distro), co-inciding with her 30th birthday.
A little while ago, I won a competition I’d entered at a food fair run by Japan Centre food halls.The top prize was two flights to Osaka courtesy of Air France KLM, five nights stay at the Hyatt hotel in Kyoto (way, way out of my normal budget), and a free tour of the Gekkeikan Sake Brewery. The runners up got free sake. I’ve entered this kind of competition before, but only ever won the free booze at best, so I was astonished to hear that I was the winner, and didn’t quite believe it was real until the whole trip was firmly booked yesterday. So a big thank you to Kim at Japan Centre (and also for the delicious free lunch at the company’s restaurant when I collected the prize).