Category Archives: Experiences


2011 New Year Countdown at Zojoji Temple

S and I went to Zojoji Temple for the 2011 New Year Countdown.  I have more pictures and comments that I’ll upload eventually, but for now here is a clip of the 5 minutes leading up to the countdown.

Happy New Year everyone!

Experiences Food & drinks

Happy Holidays!

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 Just wanted to share  a few Christmas pictures, and thought I’d put them in my blog instead of the photography section.  This year I finally bought a small Christmas tree (on the left) – it’s the first I’ve had since moving into my apartment (almost 2 years now)!  I’m surprised how cheery it makes the place look.

I didn’t do much for Christmas this year in terms of food.  Last year I went all out with a roast chicken, tons of stuffing, potatoes, soup, and desserts, but this year… it’s just been too busy and I didn’t have the energy to spend all day cooking.  Plus, thanks to S, I’ve been trying to eat a little more healthily these past couple of months by trying out a different kind of “cuisine”.  More on that in a later post, but for now, here are some pictures of dinner – simple grilled fish, mashed potatoes, hambone soup, and salad – that’s it!

Despite the simplicity, it was very good, and I didn’t even have that belt-busting feeling I usually get after a holiday dinner.  Dessert was especially healthy – I know it may not look like it, but NONE of the desserts in the picture were baked or cooked in any way – it was all-natural “raw” ingredients!

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Run for the Cure 2010

It’s been a while yet again since my last post, for the usual reason (work).  I have a few posts lined up; I just need the time to write them out (and sort through pictures)…

This morning though, I managed to get up (sort of) early to go to the annual Run for the Cure event.  I’ve attended each one for the last 3 years and participated in the 10k runs the last 2 years.  This year, since it’s been so long since I’ve run, I just walked 1 lap (5k) and shot pictures along the way.  Those pictures will be uploaded later after I’ve had a chance to sift through them (took nearly 400 pictures >_<;)

After the run, there were a couple of events, one of which was a series of very cool taiko performances by the Tawoo group.  A couple of the members of the group were survivors of breast cancer themselves, and it was amazing to see the amount of energy they had.

I recorded 2 of the performances, both of which I’ve uploaded to Youtube.  Unfortunately, the recordings are nowhere near as impressive as watching the performances live, but hopefully one can get a sense of their spirit and energy.


Experiences Photography

FIT 2010 Charity Run

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I know I’m behind on the picture challenges, but I’ve decided to postpone it until brother J3 has finished one of his uni projects and is able to send a submission as well.   In the meantime, I’ve added another gallery to the photo section!

These are pictures taken last weekend, during the annual FIT for Charity run in Tokyo.  I had originally signed up to participate as a runner, but as I was still getting over the bug I picked up in HK I went along with Josh to provide moral support – and take pictures.

I’ve picked up a lot of photography tips from Josh during his stay here (one of which has given me an idea for the next challenge) and on this day I had the opportunity to work with natural lighting.  It’s really cool how sun+clouds make for a fantastic natural diffuser.  Between the two of us, we shot over 1,200 pictures that day alone.

I’ve uploaded the FIT 2010 pictures to the usual  I know some pictures may seem a little dark, but I didn’t have time to go through and lighten anything – all pictures are straight out of the camera, only resized.  Also, I’ve noticed that monitor quality makes a huge difference – on my glossy laptop screen all pictures seem well-lit, but on one of the older monitors I use at work, most of my pictures seem pretty dark.

I’ve taken pictures at each FIT event since 2008, and I’m pretty happy with how these turned out!

Experiences Food & drinks Photography

Travel pictures

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As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been traveling for work-related duties to Singapore and Hong Kong for the last two and a half weeks in October.  It was an extremely busy period of time (typically 12 hour work days and no weekends off) and I ended up getting hit by a particularly tenacious bug that’s still keeping me coughing over a week later.

Given the long hours I worked, I didn’t take any daytime pictures, but when I could I went out for some night shots.  Both Singapore and Hong Kong are very different culturally compared to Japan, and initially it took some getting used to, but in the end I felt quite comfortable getting around.  I have better memories of Singapore since Hong Kong was where I got sick. 😛

I’ll be posting pictures I took over time, starting with this series of shots taken of Little India, in Singapore.

Since it was late I didn’t get a chance to wander around too much that neighborhood, but my initial reaction when exiting the MRT (Singapore’s equivalent to the Tokyo Metro) was surprise – the place was *crowded* with people, and 99% of them were all men.  I don’t know if there aren’t that many Indian women in Singapore, or if they simply don’t venture out much at night, but it was just a little odd to see crowds of men and no women at all (save in some restaurants).

Little India had some pretty street illuminations going, in preparation for the Deepavali festival.  I also tried some very good fish head curry at a restaurant called Apollo’s (it looks really spicy in the pictures but it’s actually not that hot).

The image above is one that has been adjusted, but all the untouched pictures (including the original of the one above, which exhibited some bad lens distortion) are at the usual .

Experiences Fun

Metallica Live in Japan 2010 (pictures)

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Finally managed to go through all the 500+ pictures I took of the concert, and whittled them down to about 150.

As usual, all pictures are at


Metallica Live in Japan 2010

A couple of months back I was asked by a friend if I’d be interested in going to a Metallica concert.  Now, I’ve never listened to any form of heavy metal, and though I knew the Metallica name, I had no idea what their music would be like – to me, all heavy metal sounds pretty much like…noise.

However, I thought it would be an interesting experience, one of those things that you’d like to try at least once, so I went ahead and asked him to get me a ticket.  I also asked another friend (Leon, whose recital I recently attended) if he would be interested since I knew he was a Metallica fan from back in our university days.  He enthusiastically agreed, and said his fiancée would also be coming along.

The concert was yesterday (September 25) at the Saitama Super Arena, and the 4 of us met around 15:00, grabbed a bite to eat, and headed in to take our seats.

We stayed for the entire show which ran from 17:00 to almost 22:00.   There were 2 opening acts, one by a group called “The Sword“, and the another called “Fear Factory“, both of which garnered applause from an enthusiastic audience.  However, when Metallica came on, the entire arena burst into a frenzy.  Honestly, even though I’m still not a heavy metal fan, I have to admit that the sheer energy emanating from the audience was something to see and experience.  Watching a video on youtube or a music video on TV simply can not compare.

Though I was somewhat deafened by the end of the concert (seriously, I did have trouble hearing for a short period of time after the performance), it was actually fun!  My friends and I were commenting that we didn’t really see any teenagers in the audience – the youngest we saw were in their mid-twenties, and there were plenty in their 30’s.  In short, the audience comprised mostly of people who’ve probably followed the band since they first came on the scene in the 1980’s.  And there were plenty of fans – I’d guess at least a good couple thousand people were in the audience last night.

I took several hundred pictures last night (over 500…) and I’m slowly going through them.  I should have them uploaded in the next day or two, but for the time being, here’s a video clip I shot of the opening song.

Experiences Photography

Funabori Recital – Sep. 2010

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As mentioned in my previous post, I’d gone to see a friend perform in his first recital this week.  There were about 12 performers in total, each with varying levels of skill, and I tried to take all their pictures at least once.  To be honest, I’m rather disappointed in how the pictures turned out… low light + handheld situations is not something I’m very good at yet.  Practice, practice, practice I guess…

Otherwise, the show was quite nice.  It was peaceful, with an audience consisting mostly of family members and friends of the performers.

All pictures are uploaded to my photo section, .

Experiences Sights & Sounds

Futagotamagawa Fireworks – August 2010

JIH mailed me last week about a fireworks display at Futagotamagawa – though S and I weren’t able to meet up with the rest of the group (we got there a little later than expected) we managed to snag a decent spot and I shot a “few” (more like 200) pictures of the show.  I’ve whittled the number down to a more manageable 87 pictures, which I’ve uploaded to (I’ve decided to have a separate section of the site specifically for photos from now on).

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The show was spectacular – I think it’s the best I’ve ever seen!   I especially liked that they included music at the end, which really added to the overall “wonder” of everything.  I don’t know how many people were at the show, but I think it’s safe to say we numbered in the multiple thousands.  Surprisingly enough (or not, as this is Japan after all), everything was very organized despite the huge crowds, with police “herding” groups of people in alternating batches at the end to avoid a massive crowd crushing stampede to the trains.

The weather also cooperated perfectly, with just enough of a slight breeze to take the edge off the humidity.

Overall, it was a great show/evening. 🙂

Again, for more pictures of the show, please go to !