Meet Karen Gao. She is a 35-year-old lady that has been living in Xingping for the last 10 years. She moved here because of the hard-core trike bike scene that is so prevalent amongst many Xingpingers. She enjoys riding her trike bike in all conditions, and preferrably with the back of it piled high with premium Magnum ice cream bars–her trike bike sponsor–which helps her beat the heat and humidity on her long trike bike journeys, not to mention, helps her make lots of new friends. She dislikes unicycles and despises the color green.
*This may or may not be a completely erroneous story filled entirely with fiction!
Well here are a few pictures that I have processed so far. I have never used a DSLR with snow in the background so I read up on how to get the best results. Most people recommended overexposing by 3 to 4 stops to make sure the snow is actually white. Maybe that is good advice when the entire frame is filled with snow, but I seem to need to do a lot of work to recover the blown highlights.
Seeing these Macaque monkeys was by far the coolest thing we have done in Japan so far. We are both enthralled by monkeys in the first place, and these little guys just are way too personable to only see once. The little babies definitely break the cute meter. We have already submitted reservations for a night in the ryokan located in the monkey park. I’ll be posting a lot more pictures in the next few days!
Today we finally were able to make it up to the Jigokudani Yaenkoen monkey park which is full of Japan’s famous Macaque snow monkeys. Monkeys are the coolest little guys ever and they really helped out with Operation Get Wifey Interested in Photography. We will definitely be heading up there again this winter.
Along the way we stopped by this graveyard and took a few shots. We found a little well wisher that helped insure our trip would end without a gang of monkeys jumping me and stealing my stuff like they did in Thailand. These Macaques were more mild-mannered than most humans!
We are scheming to go see the Imperial Palace gardens on the 2nd of January. From what I have heard there are only 2 days a year when the gardens are open to foreigners to explore on their own. What does this picture have to do with the Imperial Palace or gardens? Well I suppose water is useful in gardens, but I kind of like the shot and it is taken across the street from the Imperial Palace. Good enough?
In other news.. I ordered a Nikon D80 which shipped out this Monday stateside time. This wait is going to be worse than Christmas when I was a little kid!
Since I have been in Japan I have been viciously attacked by spiders 3 times! I am pretty sure they are out to get me and I think their aggression is completely unwarranted. I can’t even remember the last time I smashed a spider…
This is a Golden Silk Orb-weaver spider and they are famous for their golden colored webs and the size of webs they create. They are the largest webs in the world. They plaster them all over the biking trails here, so whoever is in front gets to break trough their web and end up with these guys on your body. So far I have had one get inside my helmet while riding a bike.
From what I have read, they are pretty mild manner spiders which is good because their bite is similar to a Black Widow’s, although the pain typically subsides after a day. These two spiders are actually little guys compared to others in their species that we have come across.
We have a park nearby called Showa Park. It is pretty massive and we decided to explore it one Saturday. I still have a lot of pictures to go through, and eventually I need to go back to explore the rest of it. I was also surprised to see people carrying some of the nicest photography gear I have ever seen!