A Travellerspoint blog

First impressions about Japan and trip to Sensoji

32 °C

Kannon do from afar

Kannon do from afar

Visitor purifying themselves before entering the temple.

Visitor purifying themselves before entering the temple.

Getting the answer from the gods

Getting the answer from the gods

I hope they received good news!

I hope they received good news!

Kannon do main door

Kannon do main door

View from inside Kannon do

View from inside Kannon do

Sensoji

Sensoji

I already heard that few japanese people could speak english fluently, but I didn't expect it would be so bad. Just to give you an example... I went to a shop to buy some cloths and simply wanted to ask a question about the my size. The employ than called the manager and once the manager arrived, she just let me understand that she didn't understand any English. First I was disapointed and almost a liitle bit angry. But than it made me thing... why should I expect the japanese people to speak english if I didn't even made the effort to learn a few sentences in Japanese myself. After the japanese industry don't rely much on tourism. So now i really regret that beside a few really basic sentences, I'm not able to speak any Japanese. Especially since japanese people seem to be really nice people, even though they are also really shy around strangers.
One thing I already learned to appreciate is the japanese food. The night of my arrival I bought some food at the convenience store next door without expecting too much, but it turned out to be even better than a lot of wannabee japanese restaurants in Germany. Today I also ate the best "ramen" I ever had at a small and inexpensive restaurant. I was especially delighted by the fact that they prepared the noodles exactely how you wanted. From the size of the noodles to the thickness of the sauce, everything could be customly choosen.
My trip on the first day was to Sensoji, since it's only 5 minutes away on foot. Sensoji is Tokyo's oldest temple and one of the most significant. It attracts a lot of tourists every day that have to pass through hundred meters of souvenir shops before reaching the main temple. Actually the shops don't limit their sales to religious items, from convenience food to kids toys, every can be found there. The complex is pretty impressive. The gates and main temple are really imposing. Before entering the temple, people have to purify themselves by washing their hands and mouth with water from a nearby fountain. Most people I saw inside the temple came to pray but also to question the gods about their fate. The way it is done is by shaking a box of fortune sticks until one stick falls on the floor. People would then read the number on the stick on get the corresponding answer written on paper from the drawer in front of them. I also gave it a try and according to them, there are a lot of changes and good things coming my way. :)

Posted by Niels1303 08:08 Archived in Japan Tagged japan asakusa sensōji Comments (1)

The downside of travelling

semi-overcast 24 °C

Beef noodles

Beef noodles

Narita Airport

Narita Airport

I was quite happy to have found cheap flight tickets for my trip, but completely overlooked the part where I would have to wait 8 hours at the airport in Taoyuan. And if you combine the 2 hours that It took to reach the airport, the 2 hours waiting before the take off, the 13 hours to fly to Taipei, the 8 hours waiting, the 4 hours to reach tokyo airport and the last 2 hours to get to (and especially find my way through the subway maze) it took me incredible long 31 hours to reach Tokyo!!! Hopefully I had a few good things coming my way to make my suffering more bearable, like: the free vouchers for the national palace museum in Taipei, the empty seat next to me on the plane (I finally managed to sleep longer than usual!), the delicious beef noodles in Taoyuan and the nice japanese speaking people on the final flight who turned to be taiwanese. :) And to be honest, even though I am dead tired, I would still have done the trip, even if it had taken me twice as long...

Posted by Niels1303 07:53 Archived in Japan Tagged tokyo japan flight airport taiwan tired taoyuan beef_noodles Comments (0)

Preparing my photogear

rain 17 °C

photogear.jpg
Although many manufacturers offer great camera bags allowing to carry a lot of gear around, I was never a big fan of those. The first reason is that it makes its users really look like tourists and the second reason is that I prefer to travel light. Therefore I simply bought a simple small black army style bag and sew some padding inside to protect my camera. I also incorporated a "sun sniper" sling to the bag so that I can rapidly take out my camera whenever I spot an interesting scene. It´s like a "quick draw holster" for photographs. ^^
To some other fellow amateur photographs used to compact cameras it may still seem like a lot of equipment, but bear in mind that I won´t be carrying all the stuff on the picture at once. I´ll use my trusted Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 zoom lens with the polarization filter during daytime and switch it for my compact and lightweighted Canon 50mm 1.8 lens, the small tripod and the flash unit at night. The grey filter and the timer remote will hopefully help me create timelapse videos. The filter will help me "drag" the shutter to create a smoother animation. A total weight of 3.4 kg including the bag sounds quite reasonable to me; especially taking into account that there are lenses out there that weight more than that alone!
I hope I didn´t intimitade anyone with this "jibber jabber". :P To be honest I´m still in the learning process myself and most of the knowledge I have about photography is just theory. But what really matters is going out on the field, making mistakes and learning from them!!! At least I promise to try hard to capture beautiful shots for my readers that will hopefully make you come back to my blog...

Posted by Niels1303 13:48 Archived in Germany Tagged camera packing photogear Comments (0)

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