08 December 2006


Flying past Mount Fuji...

It has been a while since I updated ANy FIdelity. That was due to an HDD crash in early November and the following post-crash panic and shock. It took a week to see whether I could get my data recovered (couldn't) and another week to get a new HDD (under warranty thankfully). Then it took another week to scramble back into work catching up to lost time, and yet some more weeks to generally recover from the whole trauma. Don't ask whether I had backed up all my Nikon photos taken since September. Bloody 'ell, it's painful.

So just the thought of heading out to take some pictures -- when I was finally caught up with work and had some free time -- made me cringe. I didn't want to be reminded of my loss, which amounted to about 2500 pictures. Isn't it always ironic when computer train-wrecks occur? Since I had never suffered a crash before, I had become complacent and not as prudent as I should have been when it came to backing up data. I used to back up all photos once a month (some would say that isn't being careful enough) but due to a busy September I didn't back up. Then I was planning to do two month's worth of backup on the first Sunday of November. The night before, the erstwhile-trusty Powerbook ground to a halt with some awful gut-wrenching noises. The next day, just when I had planned to back-up, it was dead. Bloody, painfully ironic.

So that shot of Mount Fuji from the airplane in late October was my last for a while.

Two weeks ago I ventured out, making a short trip to Arashiyama, a popular small resort town near Kyoto. It was a weekday, but the crowds I had hoped to avoid were there in force, as it is a popular place for viewing autumn leaves in November-December. In April it is just as popular for the cherry blossoms.


Some attractive gardens are situated in a number of the local temples and shrines, including one that is a world heritage site. Cherry and Japanese maple trees abound. A crowded shopping street is packed with souvenir shops and restaurants. To get away from the crowds, there is a lovely short hike you can take along the nearby Oi river; if you can afford a riverboat, take that instead. Either way allows you nice views of the steep river banks covered in autumn foliage. Drivers use long poles in the shallow water to push their crafts along, sometimes latching onto boats with clever vendors selling hot drinks. Smaller two-person dinghies can be rented, too. I just ambled around for a few hours, but there are quiet inns and hot springs to entice travelers wishing to spend more time.

Arashiyama is about 30 minutes by train from Kyoto station, to the north-west. From Osaka station, it is a combined trip of shortly more than an hour.

1 comment:

Me said...

Great shots of Arashiyama - takes me back (I lived in Osaka '95 to '98, before heading north to Shizuoka and later Tokyo; now Vancouver). If you haven't visited, I strongly recommend Kurama (in the north eastern corner of Kyoto, almost in Yamashina) - take the little Keihan trolley from Demachiyanagi. Get off at Kurama eki and hike (climb stairs) through the forest and temples to pop out on the other side (I can't remember the station name). Killer natural beauty and photo ops. A great 'date hike' even in the rain.