INTRODUCTION TO GALLERY
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INTRODUCTION TO JAPAN GALLERY
Living Tokugawa-era cultural museums: the castle-town of Matsumoto; the old town area of Takayama, Asakusa in Tokyo, and Kyoto with their samurais, geisha, ladies-in-waiting, jinrikisha and dancers; Shinto and Buddhism; teenage school girls with their too-short skirts; kendo, that institutionalized sport practiced in armored blue uniformed boys and girls wielding bamboo swords; Japanese shrine archers compete in Hawaii; a mountain shrine and symbols of Shinto; traditional roof ornaments and farm houses; 50s--American Occupation-era pedestrian street lights; a kanji painted street in Ueno, Tokyo; and messages guiding public behavior.
Some of my favorite pictures from this trip were taken when it was raining and I forced myself to take my camera along. I didn't have a tripod with me for the picture of the cars going past on the roadway with large kanji painted on it in Ueno, Tokyo. I placed my camera on the ledge of a foot bridge above the roadway and took several short time exposures to get enough light as much as anything and put two pictures together in a composite for the shot shown here. It was raining when I took the four pictures of the geiko in Gion, Kyoto. Two of the women in full dress and makeup posed willingly, while the other woman on her "free" time was reluctant to look my way though made no attempt to block my shots with her umbrella. I like the shot of her full body because of the details of her dress it reveals, but I also love the close up because the red light filtered threw the umbrella adds drama to the beauty of her face accentuated as it is by the small beauty mark above her lips. The image of the jinrikisha's feet and cart with the colored leaves of fall on the stone road would never have had the same effect if it had not been raining. The moist ground held the contrasts to a minimum and yet provided enough richness in the leaves to offer a dramatic contrast to the otherwise black and white scene. Finally, the pictures of the temple bells from Kiyomizudera were also taken in the rain and I was not sure that I would get enough light on them to reveal the beauty of the multiple colored braids. Fortunately, the rain made me focus more closely than I might have otherwise done.