Latest images Jan. 2007

My Photo Xplosion continues with over 11,000 photos of Japan now online. If you want to use any photos, Contact Us. Enjoy!

Toka Ebisu, Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, Osaka
Shirakawa-go, Gifu
Okinawan Dances
Kanazawa, Ishikawa
Kanazawa Castle
Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa
Ainokura, Toyama
Toyama Castle
Hikone Castle Parade
JRA Ritto Racehorse Training Center
Ishida Mitsunari Birthplace
Sekigahara, Gifu

Nihonbashi Bridge, Tokyo
Minabe, Wakayama
Seto Ohashi Bridge
Okayama Prefecture
Hot Spring Hells, Beppu
Oita Prefecture

Tottori Prefecture
Shimane Prefecture
Kumamoto Castle
Mt. Aso, Kumamoto
Kagawa Prefecture
Goshikinuma, Fukushima
Biwa Rowing Lesson

Gokasho Merchant Homes
Gokasho Museums
C. Itoh House, Toyosato
Omi-Hachiman Merchant Homes
Sagicho Festival, Omi-Hachiman
Shrine Fire Festival

Kinomoto Jizo-in, Shiga
Nagahama Station
Daitsuji Temple, Nagahama

Gichuji temple, Otsu


More images…

Photo Imaging Expo 2007, Mar. 22-25

On March 22-25, 2007, Photo Imaging Expo (PIE 2007) will be held at Tokyo Big Sight, West Hall 1 to 4.

This is the photo expo in Japan where you can find small-format film and digital cameras and accessories, large-format and professional equipment, and minilabs.

Various seminars, workshops, and entertainment for both business customers and families and children are scheduled.

It is Asia’s largest photo trade show. Opening hours: 10:00 - 17:00 (till 16:00 on last day). Admission 1,000 yen.

English Web site:
The Web site includes information (including rates) on having a booth at the show.

Canon still No. 1 in Dec. 2006

As of Dec. 2006, Canon retains its No. 1 position for the best-selling digital SLR and point-and-shoot digital camera in Japan.

When it was introduced in Sept. 2006, the Kiss Digital X (XTi/400D) dethroned the previous No. 1 selling camera, its predecessor, the Kiss Digital N (XT/350D). It has retained the No. 1 position ever since. Since fall 2003, no other camera maker has ever gotten close to overtaking the Kiss Digital, N, and X cameras (300D/350D/400D).

Newly-introduced cameras tend to immediately grab favorable market share. Nikon introduced two new D-SLRs in the fall so Nikon is currently ahead with regard to total market share of all its D-SLR cameras.

The Nikon D200 is also selling better than the Canon EOS 30D, probably due to pent-up demand caused by the long interval following the previous D100 model. And most EOS 20D owners are not upgrading to the 30D which is viewed as a minor upgrade.

Top Ten Digital SLRs in Japan*
1. Canon Kiss Digital X (XTi/400D), 27.3% of market share
2. Nikon D80, 16.3%
3. Nikon D40, 15.5%
4. Nikon D200, 9.1%
5. Sony alpha 100, 6.3%
6. Pentax K10D, 5.3%
7. Nikon D50, 4.8%
8. Canon EOS Kiss Digital N (XT/350D), 3.3%
9. Pentax K100D, 2.9%
10. Canon 30D, 2.5%

In the compact digital camera market, Canon again is No. 1 in Japan with its popular IXY (Elph) line. The IXY Digital 900 IS (PowerShot SD800 IS Digital ELPH) is the top-selling point-and-shoot digicam in Japan ever since it was introduced in Oct. 2006. With a 28mm wide-angle lens and DIGIC III processor, it replaces the previous No. 1, the Canon IXY Digital 800 IS (PowerShot SD700 IS Digital ELPH).

Canon’s closest rivals are Casio, Sony, and Panasonic. In this market, Nikon is well out of the picture.

In terms of megapixels, 6 meg cameras were most popular up to Sept. 2006. Now 7 meg models are selling the best grabbing almost 50% of the market. Cameras lower than 5 megs were least popular, and 10 meg cameras have less than 10% market share.

Top Ten Compact Digital Cameras in Japan*
1. Canon IXY Digital 900 IS (PowerShot SD800 IS Digital ELPH), 8.9%
2. Panasonic LUMIX FX07, 7.5%
3. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T10, 6.6%
4. Casio EXILIM EX-Z1000, 4.9%
5. Casio EXILIM EX-Z700, 4.3%
6. Olympus u750, 3.4%
7. FujiFilm FinePix Z5fd, 3.4%
8. Olympus FE-190, 3.2%
9. Nikon COOLPIX S8, 3.1%
10. Sony Cyber-shot T50, 3.1%

Canon’s IXY/Elph line is definitely one of the most appealing and successful camera product lines in history. Canon also celebrated the IXY/Elph’s 10th anniversary this year. See how the camera has morphed over the years, getting better and better while retaining a stylish design.

I also bought the first IXY in 1996 to try out the new APS film. I didn’t like the film format, but I liked the camera. And by coincidence, I ended up buying the 900 IS during this 10th anniversary.

So congratulations to Canon! We look forward to seeing more new and exciting cameras and features in the new year.

*As of Dec. 10, 2006, according to BCN Ranking magazine which ranks cameras weekly based on POS sales statistics gathered from over 2,000 computer and camera shops in Japan (including

Related article:
Interview with Canon’s camera development director

Looking at photos forestalls senility?

Interesting program on NHK TV the other night about senility (Alzheimer’s Disease, etc.).

Senility occurs when the brain shrinks or parts of it disappear. The program introduced various ways to slow down the disease with drugs, etc.

There was this 60-something old woman with mild dementia and her 70-something old husband who was dedicated to rehabilitate her.

At home, they had 2 large walls covered with nostalgic snapshots of her and her husband on trips, etc. They would routinely look at a few photos and the husband would ask her where it was taken and other questions to try and jog her memory. She usually had a hard time remembering, but it did stimulate her brain which was very important.

Apparently, recalling the past requires brain activity. And this is good brain exercise when it has to open all those old drawers full of memories.

That’s great to know because I’m really the nostalgic type who likes to look at my past pictures and recall all the good times and good people I came across in my life since childhood.

I better put up more nostalgic pictures on my walls. I should also take this opportunity to thank all the people who made my life so memorable and happy. I will always remember you. Thank you.

Blind Photographers Exhibition, Shinjuku, Tokyo

The annual National Blind Photographers Exhibition (Zenkoku Mojin Shashin-ten 全国盲人写真展) featuring photographs taken by blind photographers will be held in Shinjuku, Tokyo as follows:

Date/time: Dec. 7 to 12, 10:00 am – 5 pm
Place: Shinjuku Monolith Building, 1st floor

When you walk from JR Shinjuku Station, the large building is on the left of the Keio Plaza Hotel (and on the right of the KDDI Building).

Yes, there are blind photographers! How do they do it? Well, imagine how you would take pictures if you were blind. First, your ears would serve as a guide. By listening carefully, you can tell where the subject is and how far away. If you want to photograph a person, take the picture when you hear laughter. Your ears can serve well as a guide to when to take the shot.

For still-life subjects, you can touch the object (flowers, etc.) and decide which angle to photograph it from. If you’re waiting for a sunrise, feel the heat of the sun on your skin before taking the picture. You can also discern which direction the sun is in. Besides using your other four senses, a major boon is having a seeing person tell you what’s going on and when to take the picture.

The exhibition is quite big, showing 65 photos. They were selected from among 300 entries. There are two versions of each photo. One is a normal photo, and the other is an embossed or relief version which you can touch and feel.

A special copying machine by Minolta is used to make this 3-D print. Unfortunately, after Minolta and Konica merged, plans to further develop this special 3D copying machine has been shelved.

The exhibition is organized by the Nihon Bunka Kyokai (日本文化協会) advised by famous painter Hirayama Ikuo.

It has been held since 1985. More info here:

Satoshi Kuribayashi wins Lennart Nilsson Award 2006

Congratulations to insect photographer Satoshi Kuribayashi for winning the 9th Lennart Nilsson Award in 2006. This Sweden-based award is for scientific photography, and Kuribayashi-san was selected from among 25 or so candidates nominated by 50 nominators (including one from Japan) around the world.

The awards ceremony will be held in Stockholm, Sweden on November 2, 2006. The prize is worth SEK 100,000 (around USD 13,500).

I personally corresponded with Mr. Kuribayashi one year ago to introduce slides and movies of his fantastic work at a nature photo festival in Kuusamo, Finland. He is a very nice man, and his work was very well received in Finland.

I also have a few reviews of his books here in English:

See his official site here (in Japanese):

Award’s official site here:

From the press release:

The Lennart Nilsson Award was founded in 1998 with one of its objectives to recognize the work of the world-renown Swedish photographer for which the award is named. The prize awarded annually is given to someone who similarly to Nilsson, works in ways that furthers the discipline of scientific photography and reveals what was previously unknown.

The Award of SEK 100,000 (around 13,500 USD), will be presented in Berwaldhallen in Stockholm, Sweden on November 2, 2006. The occasion will also host the annual installation of Professors at the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden’s largest medical training and research centre and the home of the Nobel Assembly. Dr. Nilsson will be present at the ceremony.

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