old city 旧市街


Please click here to view video 4 of 16: Old City, from 2009 summer trip.


little sophia 小さなソフィア


Click here to watch my video #3 from Isntabul, Sophia Mosques.


mosques 寺院


Click here to watch my video #2 from Isntabulmosques.


video ビデオ


Some of my photo and video clips from the summer trip are now available in HD video format.

Click here to view the first part of video.



bottles 瓶


Two friends from Canada spent few days at our place enjoying the sightseeing in NYC. Last night was a welcome party, total of 11 people, 8 bottles of wine, and other beverage.


id 学生証


It's been 21 years since my last student ID.



No blog entries past few days. I've been working on a video from my summer trip so my father can enjoy them on DVD and TV. Coming soon, HD video on my website.


postcard 葉書


A postcard from Frankfurt arrived NYC in 4 days.
A postcard from Marrakech arrived NYC in 2 weeks.

That’s about a right comparison in the speed of life between New York, Frankfurt, and Marrakech.



diet ダイエット


7/12: 170 lb 77 kg
8/07: 161 lb 73 kg
8/17: 166 lb 75.5 kg fat 22%

I lost 9 lb or 4 kg while traveling. 3 weeks of carrying heavy camera bag, walking around cities, and taking photos in 125 degree F or 52 degree C. Then most of weight came back within one week of returning to NYC.


view of train 列車の見える窓


Had a nice breakfast at friend’s place with a nice view of “1” train/subway.


Marrakech マラケシ


Found Marrakesh in Manhattan.

Click here for photo from real



pigeons 鳩


At 55th Street, NYC.

Pigeons dislike SUV.



falling leaves 落ち葉


Automated drip water irrigation system was installed prior to my 3 weeks trip.
Someone shut off the water valve for my garden.
Big trees were not happy to be on the roof top in 90+ degree weather without water...


wall 壁


At 53rd Street between 5th Ave and Madison, NYC

Traveling to Berlin, I found that there were no more Berlin Walls.
Then I found a piece of Berlin Wall only a few blocks from where I live, right here in Manhattan.



beacon theater ビーコン劇場


Steely Dan at the Beacon Theater on Broadway. Reminded me early 80’s...

Beacon Theater. Very nicely restored theater.

今日はブロードウェイーにあるビーコン劇場でSteely Danを観に、80年代の記憶が...


dinner 夕食


Had a very nice dinner party on the roof top with bunch of friends.


room 部屋


Went to see new
Harry Potter movie in IMAX 3D at Lincoln.

Good movie but couldn’t find a party room in the restroom.


back to NYC 帰ってきて


It was my 6th visits to the Frankfurt international airport in three weeks. Familiar view of security check point, airline lounge, nice place but enough for a while. Lufthansa must be happy seeing me again, gave me a free upgrade so my returning flight was a comfortable one, watched “X-Man”, “StarTrek”, “Dragon Ball”, and even slept some before arriving JFK.

After 7 hours of flight, a usual drama above JFK. “Hello, this is your captain speaking, JFK air control told us too much traffic back up and suggested heading to Newark before running out the fuel”. German lady next to me was not happy to hear this but I told her this happens all the time in NY especially in evening when all flights from Europe arrives at same time, and our plane has higher priority being an international carrier just crossed Atlantic, large plane 747 and full capacity, and running out the fuel so they will accommodate.

Two minutes later, “this is your captain speaking again, we have a clearance from the traffic control, flight attendants, prepare for the landing”.

It is nice to be back. Nice to sleep on my own bed. Nice to see our garden. And nice to finally unpack all gears.

But I already miss Marrakech, Sahara, and Istanbul...

For some photo from the flight, please click here.








tatami mat 畳

This is my last and somewhat a long blog entry from 2009 summer trip. Please enjoy the scenery from Frankfurt.



I’ve noticed this sign as I arrived Frankfurt 3 weeks ago.

Novel Flu? It was initially a “pig flu” then US pork industry worried the impact for pork meat sales and CDC renamed as “swine flu” but European Commission was pressured by Euro pork industry to rename “swine” to “novel”. The origin of word “novel” is Latin “novellus” or means “new” but publishing industry may now complain.


Novel Flu?
豚インフルはアメリカの豚肉業界が “pig” だと豚肉の売り上げ減少につながるとCDC、アメリカ中央伝染病予防局に “swine” と名前を変えるよう要求、のちにヨーロッパの農家が swine でもまだ、豚肉を食べて感染すると勘違いすると “novel” に改名を要求。Novelとはラテン語の語源で「新しい」と言う意味だが、novelでは今度は出版業界から文句だでるのでは?


Talking about pig, this and next two photos are from a store in Frankfurt.




And this was a window display at some drug store...
I don’t read German very well but I think it’s talking about some American Indian pain killer.



I decided to try Mac in Frankfurt on Tuesday since it looked somewhat classic from outside (no I’m not serious here).



Expensive BigMac! 1 Euro = 1.45 US Dollar so this is US$ 4.70 just for a BicMac.



Wait, what is Satz 19.00%? Using iPhone Ger/Eng dictionary, I knew it but looked up “satz” and it obviously meant salt. Nice, they print out salt content for the meal you ordered but what about saturated fat, carb, and other good/bad things?
Wait, what is MWST? VAT or Value Added Tax. VAT goes up to 19% here but somewhat hidden. Every price shown at store already includes consumption tax and only the receipt shows detailed break down between original cost of goods and added tax.

え〜 このSatz 19.00%って? 見当はついてるけど確認の意味も含めてiPhoneのドイツ語辞書アプリで引くと塩、なるほど、注文した食事の塩分をレシートに表示か。でも塩分だけで脂肪分とか他に身体に良い、悪い物の表示はない訳?
え〜 このMWSTって?これは消費税、ドイツでは消費税は19%近く! でも店頭価格は既に課税後で実際の価格と消費税の内容はレシートを見て初めて気づく。


I would be able to enjoy good Japanese meal in NYC soon but my body needed some rice so I decided to try this Japanese restaurant in Frankfurt.

I realized this was a very authentic Japanese sushi restaurant, not one of those fancy cafe where kids rolling pre-made sushi even he/she don’t know a difference between maguro and toro. As I walked in, sushi chef inside the counter was screaming at a waiter, “you stupid brain dead, did you lose the order again!?”. Ahhhh, aggressive and stubborn old Japanese man making a real sushi. The place reminded me Yasuda in NYC, Izumi in Kirkland, and Sushi Gin in Azabu-Juban.




Ordered Jo-Chirashi, and it was good considering the location. Especially a sushi rice (vinegar rice) was done property.

上ちらし、 フランクフルトと考慮すると、なかなかの味。しゃりもちゃんと出来てたし。


But I was not brave enough to try “okinawa” soup shop.



Dinner was more traditional German.



Next, few photos showing gadgets that made my trip possible.



iPhone 3GS, roamed via Vodephone, TurkTel, and Morocco Tel, worked everywhere as GSM phone, and had 3G signal in Germany and some part of Istanbul.

The best part was using this as WiFi terminal whenever I see a free WiFi signal, downloading my email. Some useful applications including German / English dictionary, French / English dictionary, and limited but functioning Turkish / English dictionary. Another application is currency exchange rate app which will periodically update the rates. RSS reader was used to catch up with my favorite blog sites, Podcast to listen to NPR (American National Public Radio), and watch NBC news time to time.

まずは、iPhone 3GS。これはドイツはもちろん3Gで、トルコ、モロッコもGSMで繋がった。トルコの一部は3G



iPhone is great but can’t beat Nokia N95 when traveling around the world. Nokia phone has the best signal reception, voice quality, battery life, and this N95 is SIM free, equipped with T-Mobile pre-pay SIM including 3G data, and have a beta build from my friend at Nokia, rare Japanese enabled version.

I used this phone to send / receive email from / to my dad who learned to use Japanese mobile phone few years ago and now can type very well using his phone. He is 80 y.o.. Impressive and amazing ability to lean new technology in 80’s. I know where my talent is coming from.

I traveled around the Europe 23 years ago. Back then, I needed to make a collect call once a while to talk to my parents, making sure they know I was doing well. Traveling is not the same since world is now connected via SMS and mobile mail.





This is a voice recorder by Olympus. It takes very high bit MP3, uncompressed PCM, and Lossless WMA. I used this to record the background noise or ambient sound in cities like Istanbul, bazaar, mosques, street, street car, market at Marrakech.

These audio files will be added to my photo slide show in future.




One of my key device, MacBook Pro 15” and two ruggedized 500GB external drives with firewire 800, storage and backup for all my photos.
I was able to provide a real time blog update using them. Review, rate, sort, edit, and upload my photos to my server in US and update my blog and website as I was traveling.

一番重要な機材の一つ、アップルのMacBook Pro15インチと全ての写真が入っている2つの外付けドライブ、ファイヤーワイヤー800搭載で各500ギガバイト


Sidekick camera, Canon G10. I like this leather case making it looks somewhat a retro camera but this is a 14 mega pix RAW file, fully manual or fully automatic camera.



And the most important equipments, main camera Canon 5D Mark II with Canon L lenses:
16-35 mm F2.8L
24-70mm F2.8L
70-200mm F2.8L
50mm F1.4
1.4x extender
and more camera equipments which made all photos possible. Canon Ds-1 Mark III is still my favorite camera. It has a larger view finder making frame look natural, extremely long battery life, secondary SD card slot beside CF slot, and just feels right. But 5D is smaller to carry, good for trip, have higher ISO to shoot in extremely dark situation without using flash, and less expensive if stolen, still takes a great photo.

そしてこれらのたくさんの写真を可能にしてくれた、大切なメインのカメラ、キャノン5D Mark IIとキャノンのLレンズ。キャノンDs-1 Mark IIIが一番お気に入りのカメラ。Mark IIIはファインダーが大きく被写体が自然に見え、電池の寿命が以上に長く、CFメモリーカード以外にもう1つSDのスロットが余分に付いていて、なんと言ってもしっかり造られたカメラ。だけと5Dは小型で旅に向いているし、高いISOをサポート、暗い場所でもフラッシュ無しの撮影が可能、またもし盗まれても少し安めだし、すばらしい絵を撮ってくれる。


23 years ago, I was in Frankfurt for a different journey.

I didn’t have much money but Eurail pass, backpack, and full of energy. Carrying everything in one bag for two months, traveling 13 different countries, sleeping on trains, sleeping at train stations, seeing new things, visiting foreign cities and making new friends. I kept thinking one Japanese phrase while backpacking around European cities:

“Life. You just need a half of tatami mat size space to sit down, and one full mat size space to sleep”.

Looking stars at Sahara dune reminded me that phrase.






Thank you for traveling with me past three weeks. Hope you have enjoyed the journey as much as I have. More photo to shoot, more place to visit, more people to meet.

Kaz Senju



path 道程


I woke up thinking I'm still in the Riad in Marrakech, realized few seconds later that I'm in Frankfurt, appreciated the lower temperature but somewhat disappointed that the hotel room looked could be anywhere in US, Japan, or Germany...

2009 summer trip blog took a different style than my usual blog.  It's been my usual way communicating through my photo, but they were my telegram to friends and family saying I'm doing well while traveling, and my thank you notes to new friends whom I met during this trip.

A friend in NYC who has a great blog told me about his rule for the blog, have a consistency.  I've decided to use only black and white and square photo (460x460) since making square photo is harder in my mind.  Square may reduce the movement and must pay attention to the proportion within.   B&W may reduce the richness but emphasizes the contrast and shape.  My partner told me that I should minimize the writing and rely on the photo to communicate in this blog so my usual blog has very little explanation.  I'm trying to learn photography, not writing a book so the single picture should tell everything.  This helps me to "think" before I take a photo, "think" again when I edit them, and think one last time when I supplement a comment.

Many people made comments about my photo from Sahara Dune and Marrakech.  Those photos look different from the world we live.

I was 14 years old when a good friend of mine, from my elementary and currently lives in Nagano / Japan, spent one summer staying with American family in US and gave me an intro to living in a foreign place or different world.  His story made me realize we can extend our world.

Two buddies from Japan, one from Kurashiki / Japan and another from Nara / Japan and we've known each other since age of 6, made an identical comment about photos from this trip.  "Information overload, having a digestive challenge going through so many photos from foreign worlds".  My friends in US often give me a similar comment when they view photos from typical sites in Japan.  Sand people in Sahara dune will never imagine taking a bullet train on 300kh/h to commute everyday.

Everyone lives in an unique world.

A friend who lives in London and originally from Istanbul gave me a complement to my photos from Istanbul, "bring me back the old memories of my life in Istanbul thru the lens of a very talented and emotional artist who felt the same joy and excitement as any Istanbul lover like me would do".

One more day left for this trip and I'm glad to know I'm on the right path.

Click here to view photo from Zeil street and old city of Frankfurt, Germany












toilet トイレ


Arrived Frankfurt airport 6:00 am.

German toilet does more than flush.  It has a big on/off switch so you can stop the water, have an exact amount of water, have a complete control of your situation.  The toilet at Frankfurt airport Lufthansa VIP lounge is also equipped with a mechanical rotating toilet seat that swipe the seat after each use to sterilize itself.  Most toilet in Japan and our apartment in NYC have "Washlet", a gadget that cleans you with a single click of bottom.  Some toilet in Marrakech were squat style, reminded me a historical "pre-washlet" era in Japan.  Toilet in Sahara was, no, there was no toilet.  Sand dune takes care everything.   

To answer a question from my friend from Nara, Japan.  Building in Marrakech are made with large mud block from their red sand, stone, and lime.  Roman built with stone.  Japanese used to build with wood and paper.  German builds with a precision.  American builds with a dream.  Sahara sand people set up their tent with a respect to the nature.  Houses are build with most common material available in that place.

Near Sahara, there were lots of ruin.  As they were build with mud, it simply returns to dust when human stop its habitation.  Even the nice Riad I was staying in Marrakech had walls buckling.  Owners told me they need to re-plaster and repaint every year.   Each night before sleep, I swipe the bed sheets and find some plaster or paint peel on the sheets.  This is not disgusting.  It's a cycle of life.  It is also an amazing technology that outside temperature is 52 degree C (125F) and inside of room is 28 C without A/C.

German, Japanese, we do a good job being anal-retentive and control our living situation.  I feel home when I see the toilet tile in perfect alignment, an mathematic order of universe, and quality in craftsmanship.  In the dune, camel piss and shit as they carry you along which I didn't mind.

Click here for misc. photos from the planes flying above Istanbul, Mediterranean sea, and Frankfurt.







lost 迷子


Relaxing last day in Marrakech, uploading photos at my favorite Cafe des Espice, same waitress, they know me by now.  The strange scenes in Marrakech started to look familiar and comfortable after one week of staying here.   I started to head back to Riad and then got completely lost.  By the time I realized, I was on the north end of wall, not west.

Getting lost is ok.  You will never find something unexpected.  Guide book is ok but you find more local phenomena when lost in a city.  The best way to learn new city is by getting lost.

At the end, I safely returned to Riad, packed, said good-bye to Ross and David, took a cab to the Marrakech station, then 3 hours train ride to Casablanca followed by 4 hours flight to Frankfurt.

Click here to view more photo from Marrakech

最後のマラケシでの一日をのんびり、お気に入りのカフェ スパイスで食事を取りながら、写真をアップロード、同じウエイトレスの女の子、自分もここで顔見知りになる。一週間の滞在でこの異国の地、マラケシも何となくなじんできたし。そう思うや、旅館への帰り道、迷子に。間違った道にいる事に気づいた時には西側ではなく、街の北側に。





Riad 民宿


A trip to Sahara was very nice but it was great returning to my Riad (bed & breakfast or inn) in Marrakech Medina (old part of walled city).

Ross and David at
Riad Arahanta are great hosts, they make me feel at home after my 48 hours adventure to the dune. I took a nice long shower, emptied my camera bag, and try to get all sand out from my belongings. I cleaned all camera equipments but I can feel the zoom and focusing rings have some sand in there... They may need to be send to Canon for an extensive clean up after this trip.

Ross and David took me to a nice restaurant next to Koutoubia Mosque, shared a bottle of Morocco white wine, a great treat in this “dry” country especially after long trip to the desert.

They are originally from Scotland, started this Riad few years ago. They love this hot weather compared to a rainy and soggy weather back in Scotland. There are many people from Europe doing the same, I can see at least four old buildings being converted into a nice Riad in this block alone. If you come to Morocco, skip Casablanca and head directly to Marrakech. If you stay in Marrakech, skip four/five star western style big chain hotels in new city but stay within Medina and stay with smaller Riad. Similar recommendations are true in many major cities including Kyoto. Stay in smaller “ryokan” (inn) and get to know the hosts so you have a chance to get to know the area, people, and these inns and B&B will become your home in a strange land.

Marrakesh is the city of “red”. Every building is red and street is colorful but some black and white photos are created showing different scenes from Marrakech, a place I strangely feel “home” after one week of staying at Riad Arahanta.

Click here to view black & white photo from Marrakech


時間の砂漠への探検の後、リアッド アラハンタの宿主ロスとデイビットはこの民宿を我が家のごとく感じさせてくれる。早速シャワーを浴び、カメラバッグを開けて、なかにある砂を振るい出すが、服からなんから、全て砂だらけ。カメラ機材を掃除したが、ズームやピントの部分がじゃりじゃり音がする... たぶんキャノンへ送って分解清掃が必要か...



マラケシは「赤の街」と呼ばれる。ここでは全ての建築物が赤色、また通りや市場は色鮮やかだが、あえて白黒の写真を造ってみた。1週間この旅館、Riad Arahantaに泊まってこの異国の地が自然と自分の故郷に思えて来る。


sahara サハラ砂漠


One of Tuaregs people at the dune told me “you like dune? Come back here with your family, and if you like, live here”. Not sure this was a tourism copy line, or he was serious. But life in the desert is tough.

I was the only one slept in the tent. All others decide to sleep outside under the star. I didn’t try to be a wise one explaining there would be a sand storm as temperature and air pressure change, and being outside will accelerates dehydration, make you even more tired. I could tell there will be a storm based on the way tent was set up, and by seeing how the sand / dune formation were but I thought keeping those warnings to myself and let others enjoy their trip. In the middle of the night, the storm was bad and all of the camper were rushing inside... I was one of few sleeping with a flash light handy, and pointing people where the space were to sleep, then got outside to make sure there were no one left, all sandals were under the carpet and matt so they won’t blow away. After checking everything is fine, I went back to sleep.

You have to respect the nature.

Sand people knows that.

I remember Tuaregs telling me “if you like dune, come back and live here”.

They can move to a big city like Casablanca or Marrakech. They know the outside world, they have a cell phone and satellite TV. It seems that it is their choice to live in the dune even the life is tough. Tourism may be the only job they have. But many of them seem to enjoy living there. If young one doesn’t like, the force of nature will kick them out from the dune.

I don’t think I can live in the dune. Too much sand gets into a sensitive camera equipment. But that may be why the pictures from dunes look so precious. Life is precious and I realized that even more when in the dune.

For more photo from Sahara, please
click here.







自分は砂漠には住めないと思う。カメラや精密機材に砂が入るのは... でもそんな環境だから砂漠の写真は価値があるのかもしれない。「生きる」って事は貴重な事とよく思うけど、それを砂漠はより感じさせる


more... つづきは

Looking for blog entries from the last month and see more photo from 2009 Summer Trip?
Please click
here or “Jul 2009” on the upper right menu for the monthly archive.

バックナンバーはここをクリック、または右上のメニューの”Jul 2009”をクリックしてください。