Archive for the 'Iwate' Category

Autumn in Northern Japan 2010

Every year, autumn comes to my little corner of northern Japan. I always great it with a smile, but I know it will be a fleeting visit. Unlike Kyoto or Tokyo, Autumn arrives in Iwate quickly and it only lasts for a handful of weeks. I treasure every moment I have with it. This year, I took many photos during the autumn season. Autumn in Hachimantai can be thought of as two sub seasons: The color season, and the golden season. For this years photos I will show you some of my best examples of each sub season. If you can, you should really try to come here during the autumn season. Japan becomes one of the most beautiful places on Earth during this time. Well, at least in my humble opinion.

The Color Season

Break it Down

Autumn Soup

Rainbow Hachimantai

Fall in Full Gear

When gold and crimson are with us

Autumn Leaves. Autumn Bugs

A Place to Rest

Autumn Backgrounds in Japan

The Golden Season

The Patterns of Autumn

Golden Autumn

Golden Forest

Looking out over Hachimantai City at Sunset

Golden Pillars

Mt.Iwate and Lenticular Clouds

Living in northern Japan has its share of good and bad. Being in a smaller area means that you have less access to major shopping and entertainment facilities. These are downsides many people could not stand to live without. One major bonus, however, is the incredible amount of raw nature a person can experience. In my little area of Northern Japan, Hachimantai City, located in Iwate Prefecture, I live not 15 kilometers from Mt.Iwate, one of Japan’s one hundred famous mountains.

The Mountain
Mt.Iwate as seen from Hachimantai City

Now Mt. Iwate is famous for a number of reasons. It looks just like Mt.Fuji from some angles. It’s a great mountain for climbing, and its snow cap paints a picturesque view in the winter. Recently, I have discovered that Mt.Iwate, like other cone shaped volcanoes such as Fuji and Mt. Rainer act as amazing lenticular cloud making machines.

Lenticular Kind of Day

Lenticular Clouds near Mt.Iwate

Lenticular clouds are saucer shaped clouds that are often seen stacked like pancakes near large mountains. On certain days winds rolling off the mountains create a standing wave. If stable and moist the air is around the mountain and falling downwind when the dew point is reached, the disks condense into clouds will stack up on each other. Every year, many people call the police to report these odd clouds. They looks either like a flying saucer or a cover for one. they are perfectly normal clouds. But you tend to find them around mountains.

Mt.Iwate has been a perfect source of lenticular clouds this year, and I’ve had my camera going most of this summer trying to document them. The following is what I have recorded so far. Sometimes, the lenticular clouds bend and warp out of shape and form incredible bulges in the sky. Once or twice a year, they provide for a spectacular sunset. Please enjoy these photos and look out for them the next time you are hanging around some mountains.

Lenticular Clouds over Homac in Nishine


At the End of the World

Road to the Mothership

Dancing With the Fire

Sky Ribbon

Strange Clouds Seen near Mt.Iwate

It was near five o’clock yesterday when I looked out my window and noticed the waves in the sky. The sun had not set, but I knew there was something up with the clouds.  So I grabbed my camera gear and took off to find a better perch in which to shoot them. Here is what I got:

Sky Ribbon
It appear as if a large ribbon had formed over the sky.

At the End of the World (by jasohill)
This amazing lenticular cloud appeared out of nowhere.

At the Vortex (by jasohill)
More of the lenticular cloud with Mr.Iwate.

The Sky Opened up. (by jasohill)
The lenticular cloud and the ribbon wave seen together.

The Mysteries of Japan (by jasohill)
Mt.Iwate seen with the ribbon wave and a bridge.

Happy Birthday Kenji

Kenj If you visit Google today in Japan you’ll see they are honouring Kenji Miyazawa. He was a famous Japanese author. He wrote amazing  stories for children and poetry. He was also born and raised in Iwate. The very place I live in Japan. Happy birthday Kenji.

An Engaging Anouncement

It’s funny that I forgot to write about this on my blog. Considering how long I’ve had this site, you’d think I’d remember to do something as simple as letting you all know that I’ve asked the love of my life, Akira, to Marry me.  Yes, we’re officially engaged.

You see, last year, I went to this really expensive work party at a local ryokan called “Saito.” A ryokan is a traditional Japanese hotel. Saito was famous for it’s multi course meals and using Maesawa Beef , one of the most expensive and delicious meats in Japan. After I came back from the party, I told Akira about the food, and she instantly wanted to go and try it. I promised her that I would take her at some point, but I wasn’t committal about it. That is, until about three weeks ago.

I asked her if she had and free time during the weekend and I made the plans. She got really exciting about going.  What she didn’t know is that I was going to pop the question to her. On Saturday night, after we checked in, we went the baths to freshen up. When she came back to the room, that is what I asked her if she would marry me. I became the luckiest guy in the world when she answered, “Yes.”  I think that made the Maesawa steaks just a little more delicious.

So there you have it. Marriage plans are forthcoming. Stay tuned for details, and thanks for reading this blog, depsite the lack of update. I promise you that more is on the way.

Akira at Saito

Akira in a Japanese Ryokan (by jasohill)


Rainbow of Peace, originally uploaded by jasohill.

Hi everyone. I do apologize for the lack of blog updates. I’ve busy here in Japan and I realized that is has become so much like home for me that I don’t blog about it any longer. Well, I do intend to keep you updated on what is going on here a little more than I have been lately. To start off, I wanted to share with you a little milestone that occurred today.

You may remember my photo, “Rainbow of Peace.” I took it during my trip to Nagasaki in 2006. At the time I never thought it would be my most popular photo. I stood over the ground zero point at the memorial area and tried to get as many colors in the photo as I could. Once I got that photo on flickr, it took off and quickly became my most popular photo on flickr.

Well today, over two and a half years after I took it, “Rainbow of Peace” has surpassed the 15000 mark. I never though I would have a photo do that well. It’s certainly not my only successful photo on flickr, but it was the first to make me realize that I can take pictures that make people smile. It was the catalyst that lead to where I am today. On the road to a career as a pro.

I just wanted to thank everyone who helped make this photo the success it is today. I couldn’t get back to all of you, but I appreciate all the kind words you wrote for me and the photo.

Invasion of the moths

  This week Iwate just turned into a strange horror film. I could see the signs a couple of months ago, but I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. You see, Iwate has always had a ton of moths in July and August. They range from really small to as big as your entire face (wing span included.) I’ve never minded them before, and I actually found some of them to be quite beautiful, but something was a little different this year.

   It all started when I headed out to the grocery store to pick up some, well,  groceries. I parked my car and headed toward the main doors. Then I looked up.  The entire wall was covered end to end with moths. I had never seen anything like this before. Big ones, little ones. Blue ones, green ones.  Some laying eggs, others swarming. I could not believe my eyes.  I ran into the store, and saw that many of them had found their way inside as well. Many of the clerks were swooshing them with brooms.  But the clerks were outnumbered.  I found the entire spectacle almost funny. I just assumed it was a cyle year for moths and that was the end of it, grabbed my groceries and went home.  Then things got personal.

    Yesterday I had some laundrry drying outside. I folded up all my shirts and put them in my shirt drawer. This morning I went to grab one of the shirt, and when I unfolded it I was greeted with the most shocking thing I’d seen in a while. I huge moth, half crushed, but still moving, was smearing yellow eggs all over the shirt and spewing some sort of webbing around the eggs. Now, I’m a big nature fan, but I’m don’t like it when nature takes it road show to my bedroom.  Basically, I freaked, threw the shirt away and my stomach has been upset all morning.  All this of course lead me to write this blog post. 

    As Steven Colbert might put it. I am placing the moths on notice. They’ve crossed a line.

Ringing in the New Year

Windy Iwate Mountain, originally uploaded by jasohill.

You’ll probably notice some changes around here. I’ve upgraded the website to WordPress 2.32 and have decided to go with a new theme based around the K2 interface. I’ve also chosen a new theme for the blog. I will still be focusing on Japan of course, but I will be working more of my photography into the stories as well. I’m going to move this blog more towards a photoblog of Japan.

To start this off I present you the first picture of Iwate Mountain I took this year. As you can see, it’s fairly windy up near the top, where the snow is being blasted off the side of the mountain. I went on a twenty minute drive to find the best shot for this. The entire time, I was worried the winds were going to die down. Lucky for me, they actually got stronger. This is why they don’t recommend you climb this sucker in the winter.

Week of Crushing Immobility(Part 2)

As you might recalled from my last post, I twisted my ankle while playing a volleyball game at school. I begged and pleaded with the staff to let me walk it off, but given the size of the swelling, they insisted I make a trip to the doctor, and prevented me from walking on it. This is the continuation of that post. Please enjoy.

Continue reading ‘Week of Crushing Immobility(Part 2)’

Exploring Iwate – Part 1-

Takizawa Morning, originally uploaded by jasohill.

If you were to live in my area of Japan, you might just see this on a particularly clear morning. In this picture, Mt. Iwate stands guard over the small town of Takizawa, south of where I live, and north of Morioka. You usually can’t see the mountain as it’s covered in clouds.