Homemade kuromame, a traditional new-years dish. Not that many pictures to choose from in January; I was somewhat preoccupied with other things at the time.
If January had few pictures, February was an embarrassment of riches. We five glorious winter days in Hokkaido in northernmost Japan with beautiful scenery and wonderful weather. Most of my favourite images from last year were taken during this trip. Blog post part 1, part 2 and part 3.
"Evil Scientists For a Better Tomorrow". Our student Baris posing with two of our robots and a bit of creative lighting.
Cherry blossom season, and we take out a colleague's renovated old Corvette for a few pictures under the trees. The major trick was to find a moment without throngs of people around.
In June another trip, to Helsinki in Finland and Stockholm in Sweden to visit friends; and to my parents to celebrate Midsummer. A couple of bikes parked in an alley in the Old Town of Stockholm.
Tsuyu is the heavy rain period just before the real summer heat hits. Here a squall taken outside the Osaka Daimaru department store with my new Yashica.
August is Obon and fireworks. Here's the Yodogawa fireworks seen over the rooftops south of the river.
September was busy. We took an overnight trip to Aomori to visit a friend of Ritsuko. The weather didn't really cooperate, giving the trip a rather calm, subdued atmosphere. Here a hotel guest is catching a breath of air.
Kobe Harborland area. Kobe is a place we come back to over and over again, whenever we feel like a change of scenery, or want some Indian food, or visit Ikea on Port Island. The city feels completely different from Osaka; despite being fairly large it comes off as a small, cozy town.
November, and another trip, this time a daytrip to Kanazawa. This is restaurant Ōtsuka, an instant favorite of mine. People come there to eat a bite, have coffee or beer and lounge in the worn, dingy dining room with a manga volume or a newspaper. This is one case where the wide format of the Viogtländer really works for me; a square-format image would not have conveyed the atmosphere in the same way.
Short trips like this one to Kanazawa or to Aomori are great: you don't need to take time off work; they don't cost very much; since the time is short you can pack the days full to the brim and yet not be exhausted; and with just a day or two you never risk growing bored with your destination. It all means you can take a chance with a less famous or off-beat destination and not worry that you'll waste precious vacation days on a dud.