Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 12, 2009, Akebonoyama Tulip Festival and Odaiba Photoshoot

Today is is April 19, 2009, and like last week, I didn't sleep much. It is already 5AM here and I am still wide awake. I thought, I should start blogging about our trip to Chiba last week.

Last Sunday was a beautiful day. We started it by getting up at 6AM because we need to be at Kawasaki by 8AM to meet Crispee (Ben), Mamimo (Neri) and Wired (Rance) - they are members of the Timog Forum. This Forum is the chatting and meeting place of Filipino photographers here in Japan. Ben has a car and we are to hitch a ride from there. By the way, it was also our first time to meet, except Rance because I know him already way back from the Airsoft stuff.

We arrived at Chiba at around 920AM and many people are already there, the car park is already 90% full.

My wife's eye widened the moment we reach the Tulips. They are just beautiful. We haven't seen something like this it before.

It was our first collaboration with some of the TF Photographers, so we just follow their lead. Mr. Ben (The Roadrunner) gave me a lot of important pointers about photography and I was thankful. We met up with Sonny (Sarpon) and his officemate Jeff. It was cloudy in the first half of the day but the sun came out later after we had that beautiful lunch. Mr. Ben's wife prepared everything until the last detail. We even have garbage bags and toothpicks. Thanks a lot maam.

We went on to shoot 2-3 more hours before we decided to leave for Odaiba. It is on our way home and with that beautiful day, it was expected to be a beautiful sunset. We rushed out of Chiba and we barely made it. Took some neat sunset shots and moved on to the fashion poses. We don't have models with us, so we took turns on posing. My wife Josephine (Tata) got most of the play time. It was her first time but she enjoyed it so much.

Later that day, we still have to run to a birthday party, and about 1AM the next day we finally arrived home, exhausted. I thought I should go to bed straight but stayed for an extra few hours in front of my PC looking at the shots we took.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 11, 2009, Window to Tamagawa River

We were looking for some fun on this Saturday afternoon. The weather was perfect and it will be a waste if we stayed home. Again, we walked to Tamagawa River, took the left route to Kawasaki. We were lucky to find that some parts of the riverside is covered by grass weeds that grow beautiful flowers. I don't know the name, it is wonderful like a Nanohana. Just beautiful, took some shots with my wife sitting in the middle and surrounded by it.

Witnessing the sunset was just a grand prize, and it was so amazing. Will I ever see something more dramatic? I wouldn't know but I could watch this wishful setting forever. We stayed there with much joy, wondering if it is was a dream.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 8, 2009, A Walk to Tamagawa

Wednesday, 9:30PM. Still feeling after-shocks from the weekend of “Sakura Hanami”, I went home from work at around 7:30PM and told my wife that we should go for a walk at Tamagawa River after dinner. I felt that we are still hungry for more “sakura” and it was a good way to supress it, it was also a great time to see and take photos of the final stage of this yearly occurrence. She complied with much delight, adding that we needed a little exercise to burn- off some calories because we both gained a little weight through the winter.

The weather was perfect, the temperature was OK at around 18° C, and the sky was lit by an "almost-full-moon". All in all, it was a good night for a walk. Our target was a park just right after the Tamagawa Station, bordering Denen-chofu and the Tamagawa River. It is a park on a hill overlooking the river and the Kawasaki area. We will walk for 20 minutes from our apartment to reach our destination.

Tokyo could be the busiest and the largest metropolis in the world. The City devoted most of its resources not only to skyscrapers and highly advance technology, but also to parks and places of relaxation to reciprocate the constant stress of the giant economy and the busy life. The parks inside and outside the city boasts great landscaping and beautiful flowers, Japanese gardening leads in concept and composition in the world world today.

We got there after taking the Marukobashi route, bypassing the “Nakahara-kaido” (a main road going to the Kanagawa area) and went up from the river. The park looks magnificent at night with the whitish-pink sakura trees revitalizing and giving extra colors to the scene. Just as expected, the light of the moon illuminates the river and the trees, silhouetting a fine hint of glow. We took some pictures and went on deeper into the park. There we saw more sakura watchers, or more like drinkers. They are group together, sitting in a circle with their mats, eating and drinking. But the people here are fewer this time. Bought our beers and we joined them. Took a couple of shots, relaxed a little and we went home.

On our way home, I thought that maybe it's good to take some shots of the beautiful Kawasaki skyline. Took a shot at the bridge too. It came out quite good. Here are the rest of the pictures including a shot at our neighborhood.

Monday, April 6, 2009

April 5, 2009, Sakura Festival at Senzoku-ike Park

April is my favourite month in many ways. It marks the end of my hated season, which is Winter, shifting to the best season that is Spring. It is also the month where the famous Sakura blooms (Cherry Blossoms) boasting magnificent scenery and a relaxing atmosphere.. well not so, since a lot of people go and see them. Eating, drinking and talking under the aura of these amazing trees, people flock the parks and the places where these are, setting mats and stools in a picnic-like manner. Drinking beers and "sake", with a lot of "yaki" (roasts); "takoyaki" (octopus), "yakitori" (chicken), "yakiniku" (meat, pork or beef), "yakisoba" (soba - a type of noodle) and others. For some reason, a lot of vendors set their booths around these areas during these events, some even have tables and chairs that really looked like restaurants where you can sit down, eat and drink your beers, in a more comfortable fashion.

I went with my wife at around 5PM hoping to get dusk shots, and praying that maybe the place will not be that packed, but when we got there, OMG, hundreds of people are still there, even at that hour and to think, it was a Sunday, hence, work for the next day... uh-oh.. I had a feeling that they will be there until midnight. It is indeed a festival.

The place is just 2 stations from our apartment, in fact, the park is one of our jog destinations. It is huge with a man made lake that caters to a good number of wild ducks and swans, including some gulls and doves. The lake also has a huge population of "koi" (colorful japanese carps). I noted the biggest to be a meter long. It felt like a monster with its bone structure crooked, but it moves so slow. Well it is for sure ancient.

The "Sakuras" are in full bloom, well except the pink ones, these bloom late.

Took a few pictures but our real challenge is to get good dusk and night shots, that is why we brought our tripod. We actually got a few good ones (wink). We drank beers and ate "takoyaki" and "karage" (fried chicken with no bones) while we waited for the best time to take the shot.

Stayed until 7PM and went home. It was a good experience.

April 4, 2009, African Festival Yokohama 2009 at Akarenga

As an Embassy staff, I needed to be at this event, the 3rd African Festival in Yokohama at Akarenga (Red Brick Warehouse) near Minato Mirai, the famous landmark of Yokohama, where literally, the Landmark Tower is located. I'm there not only for my job, but also for fun. I can hear the Immigration Officer say, Welcome to Yokohama, you are visiting for "Business of Pleasure"? and I answered.. "Uh.. Both!"

I came with my wife and we enjoyed the African food and live music during lunch (1PM). The rhythmic thumping of tribal drums and chanting of ancient vocals was a perfect display of the colorful culture of this continent of hope. Africa is known to be the "Cradle of Life" and from the artifacts and the handicrafts exhibited here, it might be, because it seems so "Earthly".

In the backdrop of the Festival, a Flower Garden was also in display. Tourists from all over the Kanto region flocked to this venue, wielding their cameras, pointing and shooting at the magnificent flower formations.

At about 3PM, on this cloudy Saturday, people suddenly gathered around the back portion of the Flower Garden and there it was, a wedding occurring in the middle of this most public site. It was just breath-taking.

Regardless of the onlookers, I thought that it was a perfect wedding. A Japanese bride, married a Black American, and I'd say he's maybe Military or a rapper.. (Ironic).

Later that night, I closed the booth and went on shooting for something poetic. Captured a few shots from here and there. I forgot my tripod so everything was hand held.