Here is a small selection of photos taken in Japan in the last years. Japan has many faces, such as the beautiful Japan, the traditional Japan, then the modern, very industrialized Japan and finally that Japan that surprises the unprepared foreigner.
The Beautiful Japan
The page is showing different images of Japan taken during different seasons such as during sakura (cherry blossom), the autumn season with its spectacular leaves, the fresh spring colors and a rare snowy winter day. In my neighborhood I found one day this giant salamander in the Minoh River. Yakushima is an island with trees that are thousands of years old.
Technology in Japan is impressive, from the controls in elevators to modern architecture. There are nostalgic sites, such as traditional restaurants with bamboo and wood decoration built into the 35th floor of a high rise building. And it takes its toll. The countryside is full with power lines, concreted river beds, and in the cities train tracks, roads, bridges, and buildings compete for space in three dimensions. Japan embraced since a long time ago western culture: for example classical music or International dance.
Japan is often known for its traditional culture, its Buddhist temples, Martial Arts like Karate, Judo or Aikido, Zen, Tee Ceremony or Flower Arrangements. Obviously for many people in Japan this part of Japanese tradition plays an integral role in their lives. Yet for quite a few Japanese, the tradition seems to appear quite remote from their busy modern life that like in the West often follows a culture of consumerism.
Life for a foreigner can be full of surprises, even after many years of living in Japan. For example, some years ago, I (Thomas) was surprised to see in the land where people keep bonsais that are lovingly attended to (carefully cutting small leaves and tiny branches) that trees in the cities are cut by basically hacking the branches down with chain saws. Finally only ugly trunks are left standing. And the timing was the worse imaginable as well, I observed this “trimming” just weeks before the beautiful autumn season. When I was making my inquiries I was told that this has to do with some people not wanting to have the red leaves on their side walks and streets. I was surprised.