Solo | Backpacking | Japan

Day 4 – Kyoto

Lost my only Jacket, well almost

I stayed till late in Shijo Dori last night. I just did not want to leave that serene setup. As a result, I was returned quite late for sleeping. Anyways I only had one shrine (Kodaiji) to see today, so I decided to start a bit late. I started at 8:30 from my hostel. All shrines on east hill are near to Shijo Dori or Gion area and can be easily walked. A fifteen minutes walk from Shijo Dori towards Kodaiji takes me to Gion district. Gion-shijo station is nearest station to Himashiyama district. I already had a bus pass for the day but I preferred to walk (as always). Kodaiji was the only shrine left in my list from eastern hills area.

I was having a leisure walk along along narrow lanes of Higashiyama and enjoying heritage of Kyoto. Narrow lanes and wooden shops/houses had an old world charm. Actually this charm makes Kyoto much better than Tokyo for me. Anyways I was not too inclined to spend much days in Tokyo, as seeing high rise building was not on my list.

My brunch for the day was rice dumplings again. Lady who was selling dumpling knew very little English but good enough to confirm that there was no pork (non veg) in dumplings. Five dumplings at and I was good to survive for another long day. I dropped my jacket in front of of stall and moved ahead. After a fifteen I realized I have lost my jacket. Terribly disappointed I headed back to her in hope that she must have secured it if it fell near her shop. Thankfully I got my jacket back. It fell right in front of her stall while I was keeping my camera inside my sling bag. Luckily she noticed it and kept it on her shop.

A Japanese lady selling dumplings, who saved my jacket

I had borrowed the jacket from my friend Abhishek. So loosing his jacket would have been a double loss for me. Anyways I decided to wear the jacket from now on even if it is sunny. Loosing anything is the last thing I wanted on this trip. I was carrying very limited and only daily use stuff.

अँधा क्या चाहे ? दो ऑंखें (What does a blind man want? two eyes)

I was clicking some random fancy faces in crowd and cherry trees. Out of nowhere, I saw a lady dressed as a Geisha (Geisha (芸者 ?) are traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostesses and whose skills include performing various arts such as classical music, dance, games and conversation). I noticed a professional photographer walking along with her and an assistant holding a few props. My first guess was they were shooting for some magazine perhaps or advertisement!

Its okay, I am tourist, and that gets me a license to click anyone ;)

I clicked a few shots of Maiko on road without being discrete. They did not feel annoyed. I think models are used to of this. I followed them in a small shrine like establishment where the lady dressed in black was directing and clicking. I also clicked a few images without interrupting anyone. Looking at the various props her assistant it was pretty clear they were going to shoot at few more locations. I wanted to join them. How to talk them into allowing me to tag along? Okay, I approached the assistant and tried talking to him.

Me: Hi, I am from Singapore. A travel photographer. Looks like this is a professional shoot?
He: puzzled, confused… $%^*%$) No English…, No English…

Bam!!! he doesn’t understand a single word (of English). Seeing me talking to her assistant, lady photographer approached me. By now I think she also guessed I wanted to click her model

Me: Hi, I am from Singapore. A travel photographer. Looks like this is a professional shoot?
She: Yeah, it is. I run a photography company.
Me: (Great she can understand English)
That’s great to know. I like the way you have being directing this shoot. You are very experienced (ladies like appreciation, isn’t it?)
She: Yeah, I have been doing it for few years now.
Me: Do you mind if I tag along for a while? I will not intrude your shoot. Would you like to have some chocolates from Singapore? (And here I give all of them three energy bars. Who doesn’t like chocolates?)
All of them takes chocolates.
She: (talks to her model in Japanese, I don’t understand a word) Yeah sure you can join us.
Me: That’s so cool. let me help you (and I take small aluminum platform she was carrying)
She: Its okay I can carry it (laughs)
Me: I am your second assistant for the day (Everyone laughs)

This was how I joined the team as assistant photographer for the shoot. What an uneventful day I was having just before I met these guys. Shoot lasted for more than one hour and I got lot of opportunity to shoot the model at various places and with different props. All photos shot in natural light. Only a silver reflector was used. As it was a bright day but not too sunny, natural light was bit diffused and good enough for portraits. I was on cloud nine after the shoot. Here are some of the shots I managed to click before shoot ended.

Maiko’s ozashiki hana kago, is a silken hand bag with box. One of our prop.

My favorite shot!

Along sakura lined trees

Another angle

My team for the day. Thanks to the lovely lady who allowed me to tag along.

Note, to my photographer friends, you may observe each photograph has a different color grading. This is purely intentional and that’s just how I like it!

Bidding good bye to all of them, I made my way along the narrow lanes crossing small shrines of Higashiyama.

Great Opportunity !
Great Joining !
Great Cost !
Great Pics !
Thanks Paaji :)

really beautiful photographs, lovely
enjoyed every single pic.
Thats great to know Black Pearl :)

Paaji , Unfortunately i didnt click picture of dumplings first time I had themm... but they looked like this... Rice balls with soy sauce.

They have a very bland taste. Neither salty nor sweet. Taste of soy sauce dominates actually.

Wonderful Ankur Bhai !

Faad Traveller Bhaiya ...
Narration, Pics Sab 100/100 Bhai
Thanks Gaurav bhai... :)
tere comments bina naam ke bhi guess kar sakta hun mai... typical desi UP wale :D


Active Member
Great Ankur !

I have always admired the mysterious charismatic charm of the land of Rising Sun, and definitely would love to visit the place someday :)

So cool for you to have been there and sharing the travel here :)

Cool candid travel shots buddy ! Read through the entire travel posts and loved it !