Back in the Big Sushi… What’s with this Weather?!?

Summer travel blogs and photos

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Berg Lake

Just to say, I returned to – an extended rainy season in – Tokyo from my summer trip to Canada late last week, and I’m currently posting blogs to Exit Booted and photos to Instagram from our backpacking trip on the Berg Lake Trail in Mount Robson Provincial Park.

Check out pictures on Instagram   https://www.instagram.com/tokyoaaron/?hl=en

Or follow the story as I continue to post it on Exit Booted   https://exitbooted.wordpress.com/tag/berg-lake-trail/

Tokyo Photo Drift: Kichijoji

Hibana: Spark in Kichijoji

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Kichijoji

Netflix’s first-ever Japanese TV mini-series “Hibana: Spark,” a comedy-drama about a small group of struggling comedians in Tokyo, is getting decent reviews on imdb.com (8.9 out of 10 stars), though considerably less well on the Japanese edition of Netflix itself (2 out of 5 stars). I dunno: my jury’s still out, if that makes sense. On the one hand, I kind of like Kamiyasan’s rebel-without-a-cause, art-for-art’s sake character, and his ambiguous relationship with Makisan is intriguing. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of manzai-style comedy, and a lot of the routines just don’t do much for me.

In any case, one of the biggest surprises about the show is the locations: a lot of the scenes are shot in K

ichijoji and nearby Kami Shakuji: R. lived in the latter when we first dated, and we both still spend a lot of time in the former. In fact, I was there today, and took the chance to shoot some rainy day pictures of the Harmonika Yokocho eating and drinking alley which figures prominently in Hibana, as well as some pictures of the new station building.

 

Tokyo Rainy Season 2016

The tsuyu (“plum rain”) rainy season doesn’t kick off officially in Tokyo until June 8, but already a steady rain is falling from skies the colour of dirty rice water. And is forecast to continue to do so every day this week…

Actually, the weather changed abruptly around mid-morning Saturday, Tokyo time. Until then, we’d enjoyed a gloriously warm, sunny, relatively dry early summer – perfect for hanging laundry (just saying). Then, before noon, sombre grey clouds overcast the city, the temperature dropped — and my allergies went into overdrive.

Fortunately, Japan has very effective over-counter-allergy medicine. Unfortunately, the best of the weather may be behind us here in the Big Sushi – and the rest of Japan. The forecast is apparently for a “La Niña” climate cycle to replace the El Niño, bringing – yet another – record-breaking hot summer.

We won’t be alone. Apparently for the first time in history, the whole planet has been setting month after month of heat records since March of 2015, which is itself a record: never before have there been 12 consecutive months of record heat.

 

Mount Mitakesan Photo Hike

Mount Mitakesan to Hinodesan

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Tengu Tree

Even now, after more than a decade of visiting and photographing around Mount Mitakesan in western Tokyo, R. and I still find new pictures to take. Sometimes it’s something new or that we didn’t notice before, such as the goblins “hidden” in the renovated stairs which lead to the summit-top shrine, or a new lookout spot to the green serrated ridges of the surrounding mountains on the trail from Hinodesan to Tsurutsuru onsen; other times it’s a new way of seeing an old subject, such as the backlighting on the tengu tree this trip.

Mitakesan continues to be enjoying its moment, as there were far more visitors than we’re used to, and far more tourists at the shrine and on the trails. On the plus side, work crews have done some serious maintenance leading from Hinodesan down to the Tsurutsuru onsen; this section of the trail used to have steep, knee-aching stairs but have been replaced by far gentler, knee-saving steps.

Another great day at Mitakesan. Despite the growing crowds, I expect we’ll continue to return to one of our favourite power spots in Japan…

If you like these pics, check out my continually updated Mitakesan gallery at 500px…

 

 

 

Mount Mitakesan Photo Gallery

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The stairs to Musashi Mitake Shrine

For more than ten years R. and I have visited the Shinto shrine at the summit of Mount Mitakesan, the village of minshuku and restaurants below, the “Rock Garden” river course, and the trails to surrounding peaks such as Mount Otakesan and Mount Hinodesan.

In order to create this gallery of pictures from those trips, I have gone back to the earliest scans of pictures I shot back in the days of film photography, when my pride and joy was a Konica Hexar Silver camera and rolls of Fuji Velvia and Provia. I’ll continue to add pictures, though it will take time: we average maybe three trips a year, and we’re going again this weekend!

You can view the Mount Mitakesan gallery on 500px, or see all the galleries on 500px on my gallery landing page…

Aaron Paulson’s New Homepage

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As some of you may recall, I’ve maintained a personal webpage for going on two decades now, ever since I started this overseas adventure (“Home in three years:” yeah, right) in Hokkaido. The last few years, as the adventure turned into more of a lifestyle, I’ve let the webpage go in favour of more attention to my blogs – including Big Sushi, Little Fishes. After a steady bombardment of sponsor ads from Squarespace on the podcast Serial, however, I have finally relaunched a new homepage. It’s still very much a work in progress, but I’ve added links to some feature blog posts and now my first gallery on my re-invigorated 500px account. And there’s more to come… Check it out at aaronpaulson.org.

Oze National Park Photo Gallery

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After a respite, I first cleared out and then resurrected my account at the photo sharing site 500px. My inaugural upload is a gallery of pictures of autumn and winter trekking and climbing in Oze National Park, a highland marsh between Tokyo and Niigata. Check out my Oze National Park gallery at 500px.