Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Kyoto On Film.

In December 2016 my family and I made our second visit to Japan, this time in the winter and this time only to Kyoto. Despite the absence of the picturesque orange-red abundance that thoroughly blessed my eyes the last time we came to Kyoto during autumn, winter in this beautiful city and less bustling part of the country proved to be equally wonderful. Visiting temple after temple and shrine after shrine, and in between toasting ourselves up in any small but warm and cozy ramen or sushi restaurant (because almost every one serves quality meals, no matter which eating place on the street you choose to walk into. Makes meal-planning incredibly stress-free, really), all at our own slow pace to match the city's tempo of lifestyle, was real therapy.
No doubt it's also my obligation as a tourist in Japan to praise the perfect (spotless, shining) hospitality, manners and helpfulness that we constantly experienced there. The country already being well-known for such qualities, I won't delve any further. Still, I can't help but refer here to the old lady car driver who smiled big and nodded at me with a polite hand-raise when she very nearly drove into me although I was the one who didn't look left and right before crossing a back road (then again, Japanese cars are so quiet and so without warning you could hardly tell one was driving alongside you if you were blindfolded...but look at me making excuses). Such road courtesy is rare in Malaysia so I was really grateful and surprised then over how kind that lady was (well the other day while parking my car I did get a hand-raise from another driver too, but it was more of an 'apa la ni' kind of hand-raise so...). The second reference I make is to the amazing white-haired granny living in the same apartment that housed our airbnb room unit. She left her own unit late at night just to greet us outside upon our arrival, she walked all the way up to our floor later that night just to advise us on how we might best use the water heater albeit she knew she spoke zero English and we, zero Japanese, and she came outside again the next morning just to see us off as we left for sightseeing, trying to tell us it might rain during the day, pointing to some umbrellas that she thought we might like to bring along, all with the warmest smile. And last but definitely not least is the pleasant Lost-and-Found service man at the Kansai Airport who, excitedly and in a manner of the biggest pride I've ever seen in anyone having done his job well, disappeared behind the counter only to return seconds later with my phone (which I had left behind on a bullet train to the airport, only realizing a good 30 minutes after) shining in his hands like a birthday gift. I'm also thankful of course to the kind and honest stranger, whoever it might have been, who found my phone and turned it in.

Now that I've written to my heart's content about the people who have done such deeds and morally inspired me, I shall now admit that I have only a few photos to post! It's been a while since I've started to get a bit tired of lugging the weight of my DSLR around with me on holiday trips, so this time I opted to use my much lighter, much smaller film camera. I love the film trend that has returned lately and last July was elated to stumble on a decade-old Olympus Mju Zoom Wide 80 lying around among old family possessions! Later on I bought 3 rolls of film and...only sent them for scanning last week (yes, I'm annoyed at myself too for procrastinating and taking 100 years to use up 3 film rolls). Anyhow, I know a common comment about film is that 'you never know what to expect' but still, the surprise I felt after getting back the scanned results was more than mild. The fact that quite a few photos turned out very blurry due to slow shutter speed did not lessen that feeling. Nevertheless! I'm really happy with how nice the grain and rawness look in many of them and can't wait to shoot more film with another roll I bought in Kyoto.
So here are my favorite shots from the trip! Taken with Kodak Portra 160 Color Negative film.