Japan trip 2018




Thrilled to be getting on a plane tomorrow and heading back to Japan!
And this time I have a trip to Hokkaido scheduled too, which will be a little chilly – leaving summer in NZ for the start of winter in Japan… forecast for Hokkaido the other day was a high of +1 and low of -1! Hoping for lots of snow!!

I’d booked my tickets before I knew of it, but was overjoyed to discover my trip overlaps with a 45 year retrospective of Michael Kennas incredible photography at Tokyo Photographic Museum. While I own 3 or 4 of his photobooks it will be a rare pleasure to see prints in real life!






Accidental Surrealism in Japanese Supermarket

Supermarkets are fascinating to visit in Japan!

Presume the second jar is chillis, any idea what the first one is?

Huge daikon! I have some planted in my garden at home, can’t imagine they will reach this size!!


click image to see larger version/slideshow…





shot with Fuji TX2/XPAN2 in Kansai, Japan 2016

JAPAN sticker data dump

146 images in this little gallery…

history of Japan

wish Bill Wurtz had been my teacher at school!

Forms of Japan


This truly gorgeous new book arrived today: Forms of Japan by Michael Kenna – I preordered it when it was announced, I’ve been lucky enough to buy a couple of his earlier books when they were released & then seen the secondhand price escalate rapidly… I dont buy them as a financial investment, but it is frustrating to discover a book you would like to own is suddenly US$400!! He is a profound inspiration to me, so this is more of a creative investment….


Kenna shoots mostly at night & using a medium format Hasselblad 500, and I remember reading a funny story about him setting up what turned out to be a very long exposure shot on the roof of a hotel he was staying at. He went back downstairs & when he returned he found access to the roof was locked, and spent the rest of the night attempting to get to his camera before the sun rose & blew out his exposure!
Quite amazing to see a photo such as this one: Eleven hours, TeKaha, Eastlands, New Zealand



Field recording Japanese Summer Insects at Lake Unagi

While in Kyushu we went exploring in our rental car into Lake Unagi, which google earth reveals to appear as a crater lake…



We stopped along the side of the lake & I went for a fly & shot a few photos…


Once I flew high enough & could look out to the coast the crazy rock formations could be seen in silhouette


We drove around to the end of the road, passing a few geothermal vents with steam plumes but it was when I stopped the car & got out that the sound overwhelmed me!!!


If you look to the bottom right of centre you can see my little Sony D100 sitting on the ground and OMG the insects were so loud! I’d recorded some insects up Mt Rokko and Mt Maya and the gain was set for those but the density & volume of these insects were such that it was peaking like a rock band!!!

The alien world is revealed even more when slowed down…

And some of the recordings I made on Kobes Mt Rokko and Mt Maya:

First a ratchet sounding insect, at real speed, then half then quarter speed

Second, a cicada/semi that to me sounds like a laughing chainsaw – real speed, then half & quarter speed

Lastly an insect with a pulsing call, the rhythm is revealed at quarter speed…

Japanese Motion Graphics 2014

My excess baggage arrived today, one week from Japan via post isn’t too bad (& definitely better than the Y197,000 Cathay Pacific tried to charge me for one extra 20kg bag!?!!) So I now have all the books I bought while travelling and have just been digging through the Japanese Motion Graphics 2014 book & DVD… So I’ll post a few highlights as I discover them… More info/buy the book here.

While checking out other work by these artists I also found this useful site: Japanese Film Database “offers information on Japanese films released in period from year 2002 to 2013 together with contact details on Japanese film industries, bilingually in Japanese and English”




Abe Shinosite





2014 GREETINGS from flapper3 on Vimeo.


Kai Fujimotosite


Takuya Hosoganesite

Takuya Hosogane MotionReel 2011 from Takuya Hosogane on Vimeo.


Takuya Inabasite





[BRDG015] EVE from BRDG on Vimeo.


Hiroshi Kondosite

Eye know from Hiroshi Kondo / STNW on Vimeo.


Teppei Kosekisite


Takuma Miyamotosite

Nyolfen – Dancing in Blue from gupon on Vimeo.


Random Field recording in Japan

A few sounds from my travels – I’ll leave posting the industrial sounds until I have that library ready to release next year, but these are some random sounds I captured during my time in Japan.

1. Jack Hammers at Umeda
This sound I heard in the distance & as it was intermittent I wasn’t sure what was creating it… It sounded heavy & powerful & was echoing around the streets in a way that made me think of Godzilla snoring or something… As I got closer it became apparent, workmen were replacing concrete steps & were using jack hammers to break apart the old steps…


2. Kids in the park
Across the street from my girlfriends apartment is a park which the local kids play in – I recorded a few ambiences, but one day whatever game the kids were playing involved lots of screaming. At first I wondered what the hell was going on, but when I played back the recordings at half speed it made me think of some alien jungle…


3. Distant Sirens
Another day I was recording some ambiences from home and suddenly lots of sirens started going off. When walking to the local train station via a different route than usual I discovered there was a fire station a dozen blocks away, but what intrigued me about these fire engine sirens was the extra tone: after each rise & fall of the siren there was an answering tone, that was almost musical in nature…


4. Electioneering
With upcoming elections in Japan it was quite common to hear cars drive by, with loud hailers blaring out electioneering… One day I came out of Yodobashi in Umeda & along the block was a big political rally from which the speech was echoing around amongst the buildings… And not being able to understand what was being said made it seem slightly sinister, when I am sure it wasn’t!


5. Train passes
I love the sounds of trains in Japan – there are so many different kinds of trains, and of course depending on tracks the same train can also emit very different sounds (eg there is a section on the MidoSuji subway track that gets really loud in the mid frequencies at a certain point between two stations) One day on the way home I stopped by a train crossing and recorded a few local train passes, waiting for the occaisional express train between Umeda, Osaka and Kobe. The first one that went by overloaded my levels so I had to stay & wait for the next one quarter of an hour later…




All recordings made with a Sony PCM D100