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Youth of yesterday

27 01 10 - 16:29 - kieren - Photostory| No comments - §

You, me and the bourgeoisie

If any theme can be pulled from the photos of the last five years, it would have to be the appearance of DS-chan in a great portion of Rhod's portraits.

20 01 10 - 00:00 - kieren - Photostory| No comments - §

My life would suck without you

From the lofty heights of Hiei-zan and Kurama to temple gates and temple bells, Kyoto has given us moments of peace and wonderment. Whether it be laughing beside abbots, enjoying fire festivals and the fiery leaves of autumn, smiling with friends or just reclining quietly in tended gardens, Japan has offered us opportunities to experience things that most people do not, and for that I doff my hat to our sometimes home.

19 01 10 - 17:41 - kieren - Photostory| No comments - §


There are general rules that can be applied to any of the galleries posted on Kyonoki. They will most certainly always include photos of Rhod in various poses and very few of me, but most will be dedicated to Japanese scenery. You can also tell exactly when the photos were taken by looking at my weight and Rhod's haircut. These next few posts will certainly seem a little self-indulgent, and perhaps all that nostalgia I feel around Christmas-time is finally getting to me, but as there are now over twenty-thousand photos stored it is nice to focus on us without the temples, shrines and statues. Occasionally other people who have shaped our time in Japan will pop up, but really this is a celebration of our four years in Kyoto.

19 01 10 - 17:38 - kieren - Photostory| No comments - §

Tako and Akko

Akko and tako* and Wii...what fun!

18 01 10 - 03:23 - kieren - Photostory| No comments - §

Waking Ebisu

Ebessan is one of the three most popular Ebisu (god of wealth) shrines* in Japan. Established in 1200 as a guardian shrine for Kennin-ji Temple, the shrine is dedicated to Ebisu -one of the Seven Lucky Gods- and draws many followers praying for success in business and safety in the home. The shrine is at its liveliest during the Ebisu Festival held January 8-12. Ebisu is also revered as a guardian of travelers.

The shrine is exceptionally small and the access-roads narrow, making the press of bodies queuing to pray at the altar almost as unbearable as the wait. Add food stalls to the mix and the maelstrom becomes suffocating. Misako fortunately took us around the back of the shrine, where we could squeeze into the courtyard and by-pass the crowds. Because of Ebisu's association with wealth and business, each festival day is chaotic and the lines of people waiting for charms and amulets* is as great as those before the prayer bells. Kagura (sacred Shinto music and dance) is held all night during Toka Ebisu.

Before leaving, it is customary to bang on the side wall of the hall, waking Ebisu from his customary sleep in the hope that he will stay awake long enough to bestow wealth and protection. Misako dryly commented that many of those rapping on the wood were doing so in the wrong place, rattling a small door rather than the actual wall itself.

10 01 10 - 18:55 - kieren - Photostory| No comments - §

Echoes of 1963

Not even the snowy days of my youth measure up to this year's blanketing, and I missed the whole damn month of it. Sunny skies in Kyoto do not warm my heart.

09 01 10 - 18:36 - kieren - Photostory| No comments - §


The worst snow-storms since 1963 cover my family home in the quaint little village of Bradfield.

07 01 10 - 05:02 - kieren - Photostory| No comments - §

Hatsumode 2010

I have never seen women fight over sale bargains until today (I thought it was just something made up for rom-com movies), and it is not something I ever want to see again. Like ravenous dogs they tore the boxes from the poor shop-girl and descended with clawing hands and greedy shoves. All for the lucky bags (fukubukuro*) inside. For a moment I was reminded of zombies attacking. I am not sure what other countries do lucky-dip bags, but it is the big thing in Japan during the New Year sales. Shops fill these bags with random items and sell them at a discounted price. Now to me this is odd logic, because although you are getting items cheaper, you have no idea what you are going to get. Misako explained it is better to go with friends, then you can swap the contents, but the bottom line is that even if you hate the contents, you still got a bargain. Whether or not you end up wearing or using the things does not matter. While Japan is no busier than anywhere else during the New Year sales, the lucky-dip bags do bring a different element into the scramble for goods.

We went to the Heian Jingu Shrine for Hatsumode (the first shrine visit of the New Year) but the queues before the altar were so long that Misako prayed from afar. I snapped some photos and then we all cycled home for doughnuts and a four-player game of Mario. Bliss.

02 01 10 - 17:54 - kieren - Photostory| No comments - §

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