Introducing PHOTOGUIDE.JP

2006 is looking to be another busy year for me with new major projects, both offline and online. Let me just talk about my online plans here.

I’m quietly observing my 10th year online. Yep, PhotoGuide Japan has been online since spring 1996. The Internet and my Web site have come a long way, and I had a blast. (More about this in a later note to celebrate my 10th year.)

I now feel that I have devoted enough time and effort promoting Japanese photography to the English-speaking world. It’s time to pursue new challenges for the next 10 years online. I will now focus on something bigger than Japanese photography: Japan itself.

This is actually a natural next step since all along I have been promoting Japan and its people and culture through photo books and works by Japanese photographers. I have already begun this new long-term project with the launch of a new Web site called PHOTOGUIDE.JP. It aims to introduce Japan in pictures and in English. It will be an image-rich, visual guide to Japan. I already have over 5,000 pictures of Japan online. This is not a random stock photo collection. It is a coherent collection of photos showing specific subjects in a logical sequence.

I plan to write detailed articles to go with the images. I’m learning a lot about Japan already. After living in Japan for so long, it takes a lot more to be enchanted by Japan (and life itself). I have a constant desire to seek out, discover, and experience new things and people. And that’s what I want to photograph and write about. The things you don’t see in the tourist guide books and Web sites.

There are people who write about Japan or photograph Japan and cannot read Japanese, people and passing tourists who write about Japan only on a superficial level, and people who photograph Japan without explaining about their pictures. There are just too many of these people. They are not all bad, but you just won’t learn much from them.

I hope to do better than these people. But I do it more for myself, to learn more about Japan on a deeper level. That is what I look forward to the most. There’s so much stuff I still don’t know about Japan or never really studied (especially historical things). If I can share the knowledge and experience I gain, then I will be happy.

Note that I will continue to maintain PhotoGuide Japan. But I won’t be spending as much time on it as before. One thing I wanted to do but could not, was updating the maps for camera shops, galleries, etc. If anybody wants to do it, let me know. You will be fully credited.

Hope you all have a great 2006.

Latest images for Jan. 2006

Over 5,000 photos of Japan are now online. This update centers on winter, castles, and fall colors.

Sapporo Snow Festival
1998 Nagano Winter Olympics
Katsube Shrine Fire Festival
Wakakusa-yama Burning
Toka Ebisu Festival
Himeji Castle
Inuyama Castle
Nijo Castle
Osaka Castle
Nagoya Castle
Kakegawa Castle
Karatsu Castle
Akashi Castle
Imabari Castle
Uwajima, Ehime
Kochi Castle
Matsuyama Castle
Fukuoka Castle
Kokura Castle
Ogaki Castle
Hirosaki Castle
Kiyosu Castle
Sunomata Ichiya Castle
Fukuyama Castle
Kameoka, Kyoto
Todaiji Temple
Okaya, Nagano
Suwa, Nagano
Hiroshima
Lake Yogo in winter
Lake Biwa Rowing Song
Omi Shrine

For a complete list of images, see PHOTOGUIDE.JP.

End of Bronica

In Oct., Tamron announced the termination of their Bronica medium-format business with the discontinuation of the Bronica RF645 6×4.5 camera and its interchangeable lenses and accessories. The decision was made due to the shift to digital cameras by wedding and portrait photographers who formed the main core of the Bronica market. The Bronica brand is now history.

Photo Imaging Expo 2006, Mar. 23-26

On March 23-26, 2006, Photo Imaging Expo (PIE 2006) will be held at Tokyo Big Sight.

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

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: http://www.pie2006.com/
The Web site includes information (including rates) on having a booth at the show.

Finland in Sept. 2005

As I mentioned elsewhere, I gave slide shows in Finland in Sept. 2005 upon the inivitation of a small town called Kuusamo, northeast of Helsinki.

It was a great trip and meeting so many photographers from Europe was very nice. I spent about 8 days in Kuusamo, and many of the days were spent on day trips to watch bears, rafting, forest hiking, etc. My 200+ pictures would tell a better story so here they are:
http://photoguide.jp/pix/index.php?cat=97

These are a few photos in particular that you might find interesting:

Japanese gun in Finland
http://photoguide.jp/pix/displayimage.php?album=101&pos=15

Aurora
http://photoguide.jp/pix/displayimage.php?album=102&pos=50

Library
http://photoguide.jp/pix/displayimage.php?album=102&pos=59

Japan photos for Nov. 2005

More photos of Japan have been uploaded. For this fall 2005 update, the pictures center on Shiga Prefecture. Over 1,400 (!) images of Shiga are now online. A lot of gaijin (even those who live in Japan), have not heard of Shiga or don’t know where it is. Well, it’s right next to Kyoto Prefecture.

I also have major image collections of major autumn events like the Tokyo Jidai Matsuri (144 pictures), Tokyo Motor Show 2005, and the Emperor’s Birthday (Dec. 23). Enjoy!

Tokyo Jidai Matsuri
Tokyo Motor Show 2005
Emperor’s Birthday
Ibuki-yama Taiko Dance
Nagahama Hikiyama Festival
Chikubushima, Lake Biwa
Takeshima, Lake Biwa
Azuchi Castle
Nagahama Castle
Minakuchi Castle
Koka Ninja Village
Omi-Maiko
Otsu, Shiga Pref.
Shiga Pref.
Kumano, Wakayama
Tokyo Millenario

For a complete list of images, see PHOTOGUIDE.JP/pix/.

New vintage photo catalog from Old Japan

UK-based Old Japan, run by my friend Terry Bennett, has just published its latest catalog (No. 33) of old and rare photographs for sale.

The 50-page catalog is profusely illustrated with many valuable photographs of a wide variety of subjects, even a candid and unauthorized picture of Emperor Meiji. Single pictures as well as stereographs and albums are up for sale.

The catalog also provides interesting background on all the items. Very informative if you want to learn a little bit about Japanese history in the late 19th century and early photographers in Japan.

The catalog is available for $25 at Old Japan:
http://www.old-japan.co.uk/catalogues.asp

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