Black & White, and reflective all over . . .

Going through old and recent Japan photos lately.  This “gallery” has no theme, other than these are black and white photos that I’m fond of, or which remind me of places or times (usually both) that I’m fond of.  Enjoy.

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Priests at Kurodani Temple. Kyoto. 2005.

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Fence. Near Okazaki-Marutamachi. Kyoto. 2009.

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Hang On. Subway handles. Osaka. 2003.

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Rice Paddies. Between Kyoto and Kameoka. 2004.

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Fushimi Inari. 2003.

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Old Pine Limb Support. Near Kiyomizudera. Kyoto. 2008.

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Kura (old storehouse). Between Maruyama & Ninenzaka. Kyoto. 2003.

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From the Sagano (train) Line. Heading west from Kyoto. 2004.

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B o n u s  .  .  .

In May of 2002 I and someone I used to know were walking down Kawabata-dori in Kyoto looking for a Korean barbeque place the proprietress of our inn had told us about.  We had just crossed Shi-jo — which, to our left, lead to the heart of the Gion District and to our right crossed over the Kamo River — and were walking down the sidewalk alongside side of the large, almost daunting, Minamiza Kabuki Theater when we looked up and saw a sort of blue-green light coming from the corner window of the top floor of a nondescript office building, which stood next to the kabuki theater.  It looked like a bar.  We walked on past and, sure enough, there was the restaurant we were looking for.  We went in an were immediately disappointed:  it was a huge, industrial-size, bright, cacophonous, jam-packed place.  It was not the intimate little spot we were hoping to find.  We walked right out again and back up in the direction from which we came.

As we passed back in front of the office building we glanced at the sign showing the various businesses and their corresponding floors housed there.  The bar we had spotted was called “Motown.”  We decided to check it out.  We rode the elevator up to the fourth, fifth?, floor and went it.  There may have been one or two people at the bar.  Otherwise, we were the only ones there.  The bartender was young and greeted us warmly.  The place interior was painted black, but not morosely so, more in a Gatsby-esque way.  Some Motown song, I forget what, was playing.  From the entrance you could see past the bar on your left and out the long, continuous window that faced west, looking out towards and across the Kamo River, and wrapped around the right side, giving you a view north, upriver, too.  And just outside the side window, but not obstructing the river view, was the hipped and gabled tile roof of the Minamiza Theater.  We decided to hang out there a while, have another drink, enjoy the view of Old Kyoto, watch the people below, have listen to The Temptations, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Smokey Robinson, and the like (you know, the way people do in Kyoto).

We ordered a couple very dirty vodka martinis and sat on tall stools that looked out the wrap-around part of the windows, looking down at the cars and pedestrians at the intersection of Kawabata and Shi-jo, and just past, up and down the Kamo River, and just past that, into Kyoto-proper the yuka restaurant decks that lined the west side of the river.

We visited Motown several times over the next couple years.  The photo below is from 2003 and shows the reflection of the Theater in the window that we first looked out a year before.  Motown’s not there anymore.  At least it wasn’t there last year, in august 2011, and I haven’t seen that strange but inviting light there over recent years and recent visits to Kyoto.  But I always look.

View & Reflection from Motown. Kyoto. 2003.

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  1. I suspect you must know the old riddle echoed in your title. It doesn’t do as well in print, of course, but as we told it: “What’s black and white and re(a)d all over?” A newspaper, of course! My goodness – who tells newspaper jokes these days?

    I really enjoyed these photos, especially the first four, which seem almost architectural despite their subject matter. And the story about Motown tickles me. When I was working in Liberia, the favorite restaurant/bar in Monrovia was the California. I still remember the last meal I ate there, just a day before I left the country (never imagining I’d be back), and the song that was playing. It only took seven years to see the country again.

      • letsjapan
      • October 21st, 2012

      Oh, yes, I certainly embedded that joke (to the extent it is a joke) into the title on purpose. Thanks for the nod to Motown and I’m glad it conjured-up memories for you, too. In a moment I’ll click on that song — your link — and am sure will smile when I do. Heh, “California.”

      Cheers,

      R.

  2. Reblogged this on filmcamera999.

  3. Someone you used to know?

    You’re not the only one thus inspired…

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