We’ve been having a great time in Japan, exploring temples, walking through markets, taking pictures, and eating great food!

I’m officially re-obsessed with photography (is that even possible?) so I decided to show a few of my favorite shots from the past two days we’ve spent here in Kyoto (Japan) and explain a bit about them!

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Practicing photography feels almost like a religion or a new way of seeing things. It makes me slow down and pay attention to little things, and reflect. I can find something to photograph everywhere. In zen buddhism, it is a belief that one can practice anything as a meditation. Whether painting, raking gravel at a temple, or finding interesting ways to capture images of beautiful things, you can focus and clear your mind. I am glad to have been a photographer today.

We just came back from a relaxing Japanese bathhouse, a sento or せんと, in Japanese. We also tried a new style of Japanese food called okonomiyaki, おこのみやき, which is cooked on a big hot plate and then transfered to a little hot plate built into your table. It reminded me of a yakiniku (grilled meat and vegetable) restaurant because of the cook-at-the-table part. At a yakiniku restaurant, you typically order plates of raw vegetables and meat, and then get to cook everything on a grill in the middle of the table, dip it in sauce, and eat it immediately! This seems to be a running theme with Japanese food, the cook yourself idea. I would describe it as more of an activity or experience rather than just a meal. You get to experience the food.

For lunch we had another version of cook-at-the-table food called sukiyaki. You may notice the repetition of the word yaki in all three kinds of food I have talked about: okonomiyaki, yakiniku, and sukiyaki. There is also teppinyaki. Yaki means grill or grilled. Sukiyaki is similar to yakiniku but it is cooked in a heated pan not on a grill. Usually you cook meat, tofu, clear noodles, and veggies, and then pour broth on it to soak up all the caramelized flavors! today at lunch we were instructed to crack an egg into a bowl and then dip the cooked things into the raw scrambled egg like sauce. My first reaction (in my head) was eww.. dipping stuff in raw egg and then eating it… but it was actually pretty good.

Oyasuminasai everyone! (good night!)



26 thoughts on “Japan!

  1. So awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love the Ginko leaf. The trip sounds great and I wish that I could go to Japan someday. Your photos are amazing! I can’t wait to hear about what adventures await you!!!!!!

  2. Sounds amazing! I love your photos 🙂
    Talking about the orangutans seems like it will be a really cool experience, and I’m sure you’ll do great!

  3. E — I like “re-obsessed”! Great to see your pix and ideas about photography and being here. I agree it’s a wonderful way to SEE and not just walk through the world.
    – J

    • Thanks!
      It’s like a 7th sense. The photography smell-er, taster, see-er, do-er, feeler, hearer. The umame of living. The photography vision.
      If I was speaking to you instead of replying to your comment I would now say “dun-dun-dun…..” in a suspenseful voice like a lame creepy movie, but because that is not the case, please feel free to forget the whole “dun-dun-dun” part of what I just said.
      -Emma {:()}

  4. i love that photo of you watching the incense rise.
    i resonate with the words you wrote about photography as meditation.

    ps. you are 100% pay to hear speak worthy E. thrilled for you!!!

    • Thank you! I am not skilled enough to take good pictures of myself 🙂 so the two of me I stole from my dad!
      Tell everyone that I miss you guys and am looking forward to another sleepover when we get home!!
      -Emma {:()}

  5. Emma, dear, for me as your great-grand-mother, you are just growing, (adulting), too fast! Where is that little “T” girl? If you khow what I mean. However, I can’t help admiring you and being proude of you, my dear orangutane girl. love lotta

  6. Hi! Emma, Thank you for giving this young experience of your travel. Seen through your eyes with wonderful words is amazing, Awaiting a lot more new stories from you, and your pics.:)

  7. Dearest Em –

    Science.. is careful observation. Photography counts, of course, because it requires careful observation if done well.

    As to the “people paying to hear you speak”. I wonder if this means that people other than me think you have something amazing to talk about. Or… write about !!!!
    Isn’t this blog a wonderful idea ??????

    • Wonderful.. (visualize eye rolling)
      Though it is nice to have my own blog where no-one (except probably you) can really tell me when to post or what to post about!
      -Emma {:()}

  8. Beautiful photos, Emma! I agree with your great grandmother that you are sound SO grownup (I had to recheck that it wasn’t your mom writing the post – although you definitely have your own voice in your pieces). And thanks for the reminder that one can practice meditation in many forms.

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