A lot of the music I listen to on repeat is loud and poppy, especially since I started listening to Kpop on a regular basis. It makes me feel good when walking around listening to music; I can block out all the annoying sounds of the public and listen to cheerful and energetic music instead!
But the weather recently has been more sombre, seeing it’s started going into Autumn, so I’ve been listening to more slow, chilled out music that fits with the atmosphere a bit better. The band that I’m really enjoying is Hyukoh, a Korean indie 4-piece band. I know, another Korean band, but hear me out.
It’s been almost a year since Ben and I went to Japan, and I’ve finally looked at the photos I took while we were there. There were a lot of terrible ones, but I managed to take some that I liked enough to post here. We went to Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya and Tokyo in the 2 weeks we were there and ony barely scratched the surface of all those places.
We saw a lot of impressive buildings and monuments.
Osaka has Osaka Castle, standing proud and tall with all its golden detailing. There we learned all about the different struggles the different Shoguns had to control Osaka. We had a lot of fun discussing how the different political powers were all as terrible as each other. There was a school group that cheerfully said hello to all the tourists (including us) as they barrelled around the exhibits.
Fushimi Inari has an abundance of fox sculptures, big and small, as the Kitsune is the guarding spirit of the shrines in Fushimi. They all looked different, and I couldn’t help but stop to examine as many as I could.
In Tokyo we saw the statue of Kusunoki Masashige, a samurai who was known for his great leadership skills and for fighting for the Emperor. The statue was very big and imposing, with so many details that I wanted to try and take photos of.
Most of my photos focussed on the small details that caught my attention, rather than picturesque views. I’ve always been drawn to seemingly random aspects of places, and I always try and capture this curiosity in photos, but a lot of the time I’m not that successful.
Fushimi Inari was full of these little details. Throughout the walk up the mountain there were small shrines off the main path, with buildings covered in moss and worn from the elements, slowly going back to nature. We also found a number of graves which were incredibly interesting; some were very old and dilapidated, but others were very well kept, with offerings of food and alcohol, and strands of bright origami cranes hanging off them. That area was so quiet and peaceful and I could have just looked at the different graves for ages.
I also took seemingly random photos at Osaka Castle when things caught my eye.
The castle was full of gold detailing, from the murals and protective decorations, to gilded caps on the ends of structural parts of the castle. The gardens surrounding the castle were also very impressive, with gorgeous massive trees and orchards full of crows, as well as historical monuments dotted about that made me wish I could read Japanese so I could find out what they were for. There was also a shrine nearby that I ended up taking lots of random photos of. The wooden plaques were something you could buy and write a wish or message on, and there were stands full of them with messages in all different languages.
One thing that I often try (and fail) to do is get candid photos of people as I’m walking along. Most of the time they are blurry or someone gets in the way, or just generally bad photos, but I found two (two!) that I liked.
This kid and his Dad were both ridiculously cute together. The kid didn’t seem very sure about the situation as his Dad got him to stand with the weird ice cream mascot things, but once he worked out what was going on he went all out in posing for the photo.
This lady was at Fushimi Inari. There was a Japanese couple getting their wedding photos taken in their traditional outfits at the shrine, and I think this lady was with their party. There were a few ladies wearing kimono walking around Fushimi that we saw on the way to the shrine, so she may not have known the couple. All I know is that she looked beautiful with her ridiculously detailed kimono and intricate obi that I felt very shabby in my boring travel outfit.
Looking at these photos has made me want to go back. The photos of the shrines reminds me of how quiet and peaceful they were, and there is so much we didn’t get to see on our trip that Ben and I both feel that we need to go back. It took us 6 years (at least) to get organised enough to go this time, but it definitely won’t take us that long to go again. Maybe by then I’ll be better at taking photos.
In ‘Learning to Drive’, Wendy (Patricia Clarkson), a self-absorbed New York book critic, is shocked to reality by the sudden end of her marriage. Always dependent on her husband for driving, she must now learn to take the wheel on her own. Her instructor Darwan (Ben Kingsley) is a Sikh Indian who watches with alarm as his pupil falls apart at the seams. He himself is contemplating an arranged marriage with a woman he has never met. As these two lives intersect, both will change in unpredictable ways.
There are times where, sometimes for no reason at all, my anxiety spikes and it feels like my skin is a size too small and I just want to peel it off to get some sort of relief. Obviously that is not possible, so instead I end up trying to lessen the feeling by blaring some music and singing along. I feel bad for me neighbours when this happens.
Sometimes I play happy poppy songs to cheer myself up; sometimes it’s shouty angry songs. But other times the only thing I want to listen to is a sad song on repeat to sing along to while trying not to cry (and most of the time failing at that). Forever by Tiger JK falls very squarely into that last category.
‘Dear White People’ is a movie that follows the stories of four black students at an Ivy League college where controversy breaks out over a popular but offensive black-face party thrown by white students. I had seen the trailer for it a fair while ago, but it took a long time for the film to actually be released, and then it wasn’t being shown anywhere near me, so I unfortunately never got to see it until just now.