In recent years, I’ve taken a shine to the work of Haruki Murakami and particularly to his novel, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.  In fact, I’ve taken so much of a shine to Murakami’s work that I decided last year to see his home country for myself.  So, in September, a couple of days after the Colin the Dog shoot wrapped, I boarded a flight to Japan.

One of the most satisfying aspects of the trip was reading Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words while on bullet trains between cities.  The book is by Jay Rubin, one of the main English language translators of Murakami’s work.  I highly recommend it if you’re interested in Murakami’s writing process, his influences and how his work has evolved over the years.  In Appendix A, there’s also an enlightening discussion of the challenges involved in translating Murakami’s writing into other languages.  Somewhere down the track I’ll post some quotes from the book that have helped me with my approach to writing fiction.

Pocket-sized editions of Murakami’s books, bought in Kyoto. As far as I know, Pinball, 1973 hasn’t been published outside Japan.

Another happy aspect of my trip was that I was finally able record my travels in a way that my pen couldn’t.  Among the various things I wanted to be as a kid was a photographer.  Well into adulthood, however, I doubted that I’d ever be able to figure out how to use anything more advanced than a standard point-and-shoot.  Finally, in June last year, I set myself a challenge to learn basic digital SLR photography in time for my trip.  I took an 8-session beginner’s course held at Sydney Photographic Workshops by Kim Welinski of Asterisk Photography.  Then I got myself an entry-level Canon DSLR camera and went snap happy, starting to take holiday photos before I’d even boarded the plane to Japan.

Below are some of the photos I took during my trip.  I should point out that, for the couple of weeks I was there, the temperature averaged about 37°C, which should give you some context for the frequent napping, resting and hosing you’ll see in this gallery.

My drawing skills are basic, so photography is becoming the most rewarding visual avenue through which I can document the interesting things I see.  The fundamentals of DSLR photography are not as complicated as I initially thought, so if you’re thinking of picking up a DSLR and haven’t used one before, I reckon you should give it a go.  If you’re in Sydney, the courses at Sydney Photographic Workshops will arm you with all the skills you need to make a proper start.

By the way, if you’d like to make a donation to assist with the recovery and reconstruction efforts in Japan following the recent disasters, here are some useful links:

4 thoughts on “japan

  1. Many excellent photos. All of them. I lived in China for 6 years, Thailand for 5, and now Vietnam for 1. And yet, I had this mental stereotype of Japan as being all urban. Thanks for straightening me out on that. Oh, and as for the napping, I do it myself now, although not on park benches. :-)

  2. Thanks, Michael! I’m not a napper (yet) but I’ve noticed it helps productivity – one of the artists who works in the warehouse where I write likes to use my wingback chair for a quick afternoon nap before he starts his night shift.

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