Daily Photo – Fresh Snow in Japan
This was pretty much the last adventure before Covid shook up the world. I’ve been to Japan about ten times, but this time I was determined to go as far north into the fantasy-like snowy mountains and villages. When you get further away from Tokyo, English signs and speaking is almost non-existent. So, navigating the subways and trains is one thing, but the Japanese bus system is another beast altogether. Anyway, I had to figure out how to get here to Shirakawago. I finally got off the bus and started to hike into this village and this is what I saw. I didn’t know where I was gonna stay for the night, so I kind of knocked around on different doors to see if anyone had a room. I ended up staying in one of those adorable little farmhouses you can see in the back.
You can create some awesomely large files with the new Mavic 2 Zoom and its panorama mode. Here’s a little video about how I process a 9 photo pano from it…
Daily Photo – The Snowy Mountain town of Shirakawa-go
Right after I arrived (which took 3 trains and 2 busses with no English!), I immediately launched the drone to get some photos from above. I knew it was a small town, but I was kind of lost… I sometimes do this as soon as I get into town so that I can get a sense of it. It turns out that it was small enough for me to visit every little street and every little farmhouse.
Before Passport Sunday, it’s Podcast Saturday again…
Season 8 Episode 1 of “Walk n’ Talk with Trey” This Episode: “Patrick Crawshaw and the language of Interior Design”
I was up in the Bay of Islands and stayed at this incredible place called Donkey Bay ( https://www.donkeybayinn.co.nz/ ). I was invited there by my friend David Maxwell who runs https://www.eighthwonder.travel/ . It just so happens that his half-brother, Patrick Crawshaw did the interior design for this unique place!
Trailer for 7 Days in Hell
This is, by far, my favorite sports mockumentary!
Daily Photo – Snowy Fantasyland in Japan
I slept inside one of these old farmhouses for a few nights. They look very cozy, don’t they? Well, let me assure you… they were absolutely freezing! The only warm room was the dining room in the middle where they made my dinner, but when I went back to my little room, it was way below freezing. I had about 30 seconds to get onto my futon under a blanket before I froze to death. The worst thing was waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, which was quite a long way away!
Speaking of Netflix
I decided to take a screenshot of My List on there… I put arrows to some of my favorites of the favorites!
Daily Photo – Exploring Shirakawa-go
I was glad I chose to spend several nights in this mountain town and jump around to a few different ryokans to stay in. All of them were very similar in that I had a very tiny little room. That’s okay. I don’t need much. But there was barely room for my bags and my body. I slept on the ground, on a futon, that was prepared for me while I was having dinner. It was so cozy to get back into my little room when it was freezing outside and curl up inside my cocoon.
Fun Passport Sunday Behind the Scenes
If you’re a Passport Member then today you get to see about a 10 minute video of my time here in Shirakawa-go, Japan. I talk about the shots I’m trying to get, my travel pains, my travel pleasures, and other various tips and tricks. I hope you enjoy!
A Walk Around Shirakawa-go
This was a last-second idea to make this video in Shirakawa-go, Japan. I was having so much fun… I was totally alone, and then I thought, hey, why not bring the Passport members along with me on this little adventure! Anyway, here ya go… a lot of stream of consciousness in here, but I hope you like it! 🙂
Amazing photo of a Stingaree
In the last 13 years of this blog, you know how unusual it is for me to share other people’s photos. It’s not a matter of solipsism; it’s mostly because I spend so much time taking photos of my own… on my own adventures… seeing amazing things… etc. BUT, I do visit reddit when I get bored, and I saw this INCREDIBLE PHOTO. Very few photos make me stop. This one did.
Daily Photo – Farmhouse in Shirakawa-go
Here’s one of the beautiful farmhouse I lived in while in the north of Japan. I don’t actually really CARE what people say about my photo when I post them online, but I do NOTICE. Even though this is not my own personal favorite photo, this is the one that got the most likes/comments online. I find it to be sociologically interesting when I have such a disconnect with the audience. Sometimes I like to think that I know what people will like, but photos like this remind me that I have no idea what happens in the minds of other people.
Another Cool Video
After that cell division video yesterday, I went down a Jan van IJken (the creator) rabbit hole. I found this cool video called “The Art of Flying” that I share with you now! 🙂
I asked my friend Matt Ridley about this effect that is called a murmuration. He said it is usually affected by predators that are trying to attack just a single bird, but the entire flock reacts to protect itself.
Daily Photo – Old Farmhouses in Shirakawago
Here’s a rather embarrassing story.
So, a few of these old farmhouses in Shirakawago, Japan, have been converted to ryokans. A ryokan is an old-style “hotel” that was used by traveling samurais with the sliding rice-paper walls, you sleep on the floor on a futon, you have group dinners and breakfasts, etc. I stayed in one that quite bare-bones with tiny rooms. You could literally hear your neighbor turning over in their bed as the sheets rubbed across their body. I was trying so hard to be quiet.
Anyway, about 1 AM I felt a gurgle below my tummy. I tried to go back to sleep and deal with it in the morning, but that didn’t work out well. It was that feeling you just have to deal with now: explosive diarrhea. I don’t know what the heck I ate, but things were going crazy south of the border. So I had to get out of bed, which was noisy enough on its own, but nothing next to what came next to disrupt the silence.
The next morning at breakfast, the other four guests at the ryokan were glancing this way and that, trying to figure out who had the midnight issues… I think they knew it was me.
Welcome to a week of Japan!
I just spent TWO weeks in Japan, but I thought it would be fun to share my favorite 7 photos over the next 7 days. Regular readers of the blog know that I jump randomly around the world with my daily posts to keep it fresh, but I thought I would mix it up a little! I had such an amazing time there, and I’m excited to share it with you.
Daily Photo – A Week of Japan, Starting with Shirakawa-go!
Could this be a more perfect little fairy tale snowy village? I’ve been to Japan about eight times, but I’ve never ventured way out into the mountains in the winter. Now it’s one of my new favorite things! Before the trip, I identified five different new towns to visit. It wasn’t very easy to get to these places. It basically required me to master the rail and bus system of Japan. That’s not the easiest thing in the world, especially because as you get out of the main cities, no one speaks English and none of the signs are in English. I made more than a few mistakes, but now I’ve completely mastered the system! This is exciting because it means I can go absolutely anywhere in Japan with no help! Now that I’ve mastered it, I’m hankerin’ to go back!