09 summer trip

as time goes by


My first blog entery about 2009 summer trip goes back 7/15/09. It's been a long and fruitful three months since I've started posting my photos and videos from my
2009 Summer trip but this is the last one from my adventure to Germany, Turkey, and Morocco for now.

I am ending my summer trip blog with tihs photo from Marrakech. A
photo gallery in Marrakech, Morocco.

My experience with cameras started when I was 3 years old. Being a gadget geek even though I was only 3 years old, I was able to disassemble my father's very expensive Nikon camera with a screw driver. Of course I did not know how to put things back together and dad was not very happy. I've been fascinated with devices that freeze light ever since. My encounter with 100 year old French stereoscope device and original surviving glass negatives in Morocco another starting point for my adventure with camera and the scene those magic devices create.

As has happened a few times before, YouTude decided to disable my video since some music from a movie is being used in my video. I respect copyright but believe this is within fair use so I've posted the video on my own server which has a much slower streaming speed than the worldwide YouTube servers, and does not have fancy control menu bar.

Please click
here, then wait 30 sec before the video starts.

If you are interested viewing all photos from my summer trip as a slide show, please click
here for the menu.







souk 旧市街


Please click here to view full HD video/photo from Marrakech, Morocco.


Dune 砂漠


Please click here to view full HD video/photo, camel ride in Sahara Dunes, Morocco.


camel ラクダの旅


Please click here to view full HD video/photo, camel ride in Sahara Dunes, Morocco.


to sahara サハラ砂漠へ


Please click here to view full HD video/photo, trip from Marrakech to Sahara Dunes, Morocco.


jemaa el fna ジェマエルフナ広場


Please click here to view full HD video/photo from Marrakech, Morocco.


marrakech express マラケシ特急


It's been more than two weeks since my last blog entry.

Well, I've been busy doing my school photo projects and YouTube kept removing a sound track from my video series #10, claiming the copyright violation. I think it is a fair use... Here is the newest video, hosted on my own server.

here to view video 10 Marrakech Express.

It takes 20 sec. to buffer the video so please wait after you lick the link above.

最後のブログから2週間以上経ちますが、大学の写真のプロジェクトが忙しいうえに、YouTubeが10番目のビデオの音楽を著作権違反と何回もサウンドトラックを外して来てその対処に時間がかかりました。個人使用で著作権違反とは思いませんが... しょうがないので、自分のサーバーにFlashを使ってのせてみました



telephone call from istanbul イスタンブールからの電話


Please click here to view full HD video from Istanbul.


wall 壁


Please click here to view full HD video from Istanbul.


day and night 昼と夜


Please click here to view full HD video from Istanbul.


new city


Please click here to view full HD video from Istanbul.


tunel 新市街のテュネル


Click here for the full HD video showing Tunel, ferry from the bridge, and street of Istanbul.


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.



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.



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


tuaregs 砂漠の人


There were 14 of us on the bus from Marrakech to Zagora across the High Atlas mountain for a day trip to Sahara desert, experiencing the other side of Morocco. There were 7 college students from Indiana. They are attending a summer school in Spain studying Spanish (language). Also a Catalan couple from Barcelona, Iranian and Swidish couple who live in Spain, two Japanese girls from Italy, and myself. So the common language was English but also we tried in Italian, Spanish, and Japanese to communicate.

Leaving Marrakech around 7 am, first one hour was exiting from the city, uninteresting sight. Then the scenery completely changed into a 4000m or 12000 ft high mountain range.

As crossing the High Atlas mountain pass, there were so many small village on the cliff. Some are abandoned old village, some are still inhabited. Often I couldn’t tell it is an old ruin or inhabited village...

The bus made few stops including fortified village and kasbah at Alt Benhaddou and Dades Valley. Each stop includes Berber dressed in their traditional cloth, trying to sell souvenir, long line for toilet (some are old style Arabic squat style and you need to give some $ to get a toilet paper from attendant), another long line for people trying to buy a bottled water. I had 1 litter bottle every 3 hours to keep my body from not dehydrating in this hot and dry land.

12 hours on the bus, more oasis and ruin passed by the view, and we finally arrived the rendezvous point with our next part of adventure, a camel ride to the dune.

Here, we all got on this big animal, big animal would raise itself but more like trying to shake you off. I have never done a camel ride but this animal is big and tall. You are basically 8 feet off the ground, trying to hand onto a camel, trying to hold onto your bag, and trying to take a photo at same time.

Initially butt hurts but our body (and camel will force us to) find a right spot where it is less painful and being able to enjoy the view. After 45 minutes camel swinging us back and forth, the scene changed from waste land to more like dune.

We arrived our tent in one hour camel ride and were being greeted by nomadic Berber people, Tuaregs, or sand people. They gave us a Berber whisky (tea), followed by very simple but tasteful dinner, Chicken Tagine. After that, we all hang around the dune, sing, and watch stars.

It is amazing to sit on the dune. There is no sound at all expect occasional ring tone. Yes 21st century Tuaregs are equipped with Toyota or Mitsubishi 4x4 and Nokia cellphone.

Otherwise, no sound, no light, just a sand dune, moon, and us.

For more photo from the scene along the trip, please
click here.
Additional photo from camel ride




バスはいくつかの場所に立ち寄り、城壁に囲まれた街、Alt Benhaddouやダデスバレーへ。停まる度に原住民のかっこうをした人がおみやげ品を売りに来て、トイレの長い列(アラブのトイレは和式に似てる、しかもトイレットペーパーが無いことが度々、ティシューを売るおじさんがそこにいるので要チップ)、ペットボトルの水を買うまた長い列。この乾燥した暑い所、3時間に1リッターの割合で給水。




一時間のラクダの後、テントに到着、ここで原住民のツアレグス、ノーバディック バーバー、もしくは「砂の民」が歓迎してくれる。ここでバーバーウイスキー(お茶)をいただき簡素ではあるが、とっても美味しい鶏のタジンの夕食。食事の後は砂漠に寝そべり、歌い、踊り、星を眺める

砂漠、感激!砂漠ではまったく音がしない。時々携帯が鳴る以外... 21世紀の砂の民はトヨタや三菱の四駆とノキアの携帯で装備。




photo 写真


You may not noticed reading my blog and photo from July 27th to July 29th but it is very hard to take a good photo in Morocco.

Islam does not say “do not take a photo”, it says “do not create and worship idol”. But people dislike being photographed here. So I have to ask each time I point my camera to people. Sometime they ask me a change ($) for being photographed. Often they decline being photographed.

So I can imagine it must be a huge challenge to have a photo gallery in Morocco or being a professional photographer.

I was lost in Medina and accidentally found this lovely photo gallery:

Maison de la Photographie
46 Rue Ahal Fes Marrakech
tel: (+212)5-24-38-57-21

I was exhausted walking 4 hours, carrying my heavy camera bag, and photographing this city in 52 degree C (that is around 125 degree F?) hot weather. Seeing my camera bag, Patrick, the owner of gallery offered me a ice tea, and gave me a private tour.

They have few thousands photos from 1890, scene of Marrakech from early 20th century in this country where people dislike being photographed. Their collection includes hundreds of original French 3D photo in glass, more than 100 years old but still crystal clear.

Fujifilm just announced their 3D digital camera, about 100 years behind from this original equipment.

This gallery is a non-profit by volunteer and donations. Please make your stop when you visit Marrakech.

More photo from the gallery
here. 写真のつづきはこちら









jemaa el fna マラケシの広場


Jemaa El Fna, a center of Marrakech Medina.

Please enjoy more photo here.

Jemaa El Fna ジェマーエルフナ、マラケシの街の中心の広場


souk マラケシの市場


Amazing place, Marrakesh! It kept pre-industrialization city in northern Africa as it was 500 years ago, full of energy, and yet reasonably safe place to walk around. Walking around “souk” or stores, you hear shop keepers trying to sell crap in every languages. “hello my friend”, “japon”, “ohayo”, “china”, “hashishi”, “taima taima” (marijuana in Japanese, who told them this word?)...

Click here for more photo 写真のつづきはこちらへ


marrakech マラケシ


Safely arrived Casablanca around midnight, took a cab from the airport to the city, and checked-in the hotel. I hate to say but I dislike Casablanca. It is nothing like the movie. So I quickly left the city took a train to my destination, Marrakech. It is the old capital of Morocco, and preserved 500+ old walled city.

Enjoy the photo of city view here.

カサブランカの空港に真夜中に無事到着、タクシーで市街地へ、ホテルにチェックイン、カサブランカの街には魅力を感じない... 映画のカサブランカの印象はどこにも無い... 翌朝さっそく列車で目的地のマラケシへ



berlin walk ベルリンの散歩


Gentleman wears hat when crossing.

here for misc. photos from Berlin. ベルリンの街の写真はこちらへ



Berlin was rainy, couldn’t take lots of photo, cold, but had a good time here.
Just spent 6 hours at Frankfurt Lufthansa First Class Lounge, reviewing, sorting, selecting, editing, and posting my photo from Berlin. I may not be able to upload large photo from my next destination, Morocco, but stay tuned for more photo.


berlin wall ベルリンの壁


A symbol of cold war between “east” and “west”, Berlin Wall.

Most of Berlin Wall were gone...

It should be preserved so people remember...

Some limited remaining Berlin Wall photo here. 写真の続きはこちらへ




berlin ベルリン


It was raining most of my Berlin visit, those are rare sunny moment at Brandenburg.

More photo from my sightseeing
here. 観光名所の写真はこちらへ


train 列車


Took ICE (Inter City Express) from Frankfurt to Berlin, running top speed of 300 km/h, connecting two cities in just about 4 hours, very relaxing way to travel in Europe.

More photo from train and Berlin Hfb (main) station
here. 列車とベルリン中央駅の写真はこちらへ


day and night 昼と夜


My five days of Istanbul visit went so fast!

... Make a mental note to myself, my next visit should be minimum of two weeks.

Istanbul is a busy and exciting city with so many things happening. Here is more photo from
daily life in Istanbul.

Once sun goes down and air cools off, you see even more people enjoying the city on the water.

Here is a
night view of the great city of Istanbul.

Con (pronounce as Jon), a host at the Eklektik Guest House, is a world traveler. He has been so many place all over the world. I invited him to NYC but he said “I’ve been NYC three times and I liked it but I like trying new and visiting different place rather than going back to the same place I’ve been”.

I agree him about trying new place but I must return to Istanbul.






泊まっていたEklektik ゲストハウスのオーナー、Con (CだけとJohnと同じような発音)は世界中を旅行している。ニューヨークへ来るときは声をかけてと言うと「ニューヨークには3回行ったことがある、好きだけど他の新しい、まだ訪れた事のない街がいっぱいある」と


mosques 寺院


Monday and Tuesday were “mosque” day. I spent two days walking around “old city” or “Sultanahmet” where dozen huge mosques creates an unique skyline.

It is hard to capture the scale of
Haghia Sophia... Its interior has so much details that you lose your focus. I spent three hours in here, using 200mm telephoto lens to describe the detailed craftsmanship, and layers of history. My neck hurt after doing this.

Also another humangas mosque,
Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque.

Keep my comment short, please enjoy the photo.


ハジアソフィア、この建物のスケールを写真に撮るのは難しい... あまりにも細かな内装を眺めていると、目がくらくらする。200ミリの望遠を使って約3時間その建物のいくつもの重なった歴史と詳細を撮ってみた。




non smoke 禁煙


Last Saturday was the day for Turkey to implement a new “non-smoking” law. Seeing many bars with Hookah (water pipe), I thought smoking is a part of national identity of Turkey but that may no longer be the case. I was told that the law changes often here in Turkey. Politicians do one thing, then lose their vote, reverse the legislation later.

I heard bout a proposed law today. Every Turkey citizen must serve 12 months in military. It used to be 15 months but again politician got pressure from caring parents and the service requirement was reduced. I was also told if you go to university, then student used to pay some amount of money to avoid military service.

Talking about military service, I realized Japan is one of the few countries in Asia that does not have a draft. Korea, China (selective), Taiwan, Singapore, Thai (selective), many other regions around Japan have some type of draft.

Just as Turkish law, many things can change. I respect people who are in the military voluntary but I’m glad that I was not drafted and I hope Japanese constitution article 9 will remain as is.

Article 9 of the Japanese constitution prohibits the state from engaging in a foreign war of aggression and only allows for a self defense force.

photos of wall in Istanbul, Turkey 色々な壁の写真





Turkish "i" トルコ語のi


At Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul

Sunday and Istiklal Caddesi was full of energy.

I spent all afternoon taking photos on the street, took a break and tried hamams or Turkish sauna (some special meaning in Japanese below), then went back to Istiklal Caddesi, had a dinner and talked some tourist from UK. He speaks English, French, German, and some Turkish. We were talking about Turkish language and he pointed out
Turkish “i” with out “.”, looks more like “1”. Yes I remember Turkish “i”. I used to work on international software development and back in 1998, we broke Turkish “i” while updating the character code page. I received a bug report and nasty email from Turkish manager about breaking their important character “i” right around final RC (release candidate). I don’t remember a full detail of how we broke it and how we fixed it but that was the only code change we’ve done in favor of Turkish version of Windows98. Sudden flashback from 11 years ago.

Those people on the street are too young to know what Windows98 was like.

And special note for a woman who is carrying a bag from
Strand, a famous bookstore in NYC.

Link to my photo
Istanbul Sunday イスタンブールの日曜日






red room 赤い部屋


Istanbul, Turkey.

Eklektik is a very cute guest house in a very convenient location, only 3 min walking distance to Istiklal Caddesi. My room is guess what, a “Red Room” next to a terrace with a views over the Bosphorus, a bay and Asia side of Istanbul on the top floor.

From there, you can take the TUNEL (a cable car though tunnel) down to Karakoy, then take a streetcar to the old city.

Friday, I took a nap, walked around Iskiklal Caddesi (caddis means street or avenue) but uneventful as I was exhausted from one cross Atlantic flight follow by 4 hours flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul.

Saturday was more productive day. I took a streetcar to Laleli, walked near Istanbul University along the Aqueduct of Valens toward to Faith Mosque. U-turn from there then,
Beyazit Mosque and walk to Kapah Carsi or Grand Bazaar.

Mosques. I am not religious but the space was very spiritual. Mosque dome is a repeated mathematical pattern and you can feel the order in its design.

But The Grand Bazaar, on the other hand is very dynamic and noisy. I was expecting more smelly dirty market but Grand Bazaar is an modern and amazing place. You can easily spend hours just wondering around here.

Istanbul presents so many dualities. Asia and Europe. Old and New. Quiet and Noisy. Traditional and Contemporary...

Links to my photo page
Istanbul イスタンブール
Iskiklal Caddesi イスティクラル通り
Beyazit Mosque ベヤジット寺院
Grand Bazaar グランドバザール









istanbul イスタンブール


At Istiklal Caddes in Istanbul

As I headed to the security check point at the Frankfurt airport, officer was twisting her head watching x-ray view of my bags. One tripod, 6 lenses, 3 camera, 2 external HDD, one notebook, and few other camera parts. Looks like I have enough metal objects to scare them. I was kindly asked to follow another officer to a separate room where they opened and went through everything in my bags. Then I was told “you are very well organized packing your equipment”.

Coming from German, this is a complement...

My flight was full of kids. Looks like a summer homecoming for many Turkish immigrants who’s kids were born in Germany, and visiting their foreign mother land first time in their life. I share the excitement of them as plane touch down, and everyone cheers.

Istanbul. Amazing place! More to come...






frankfurt フランクフルト


At Zeil street in Frankfurt

After 8 hours on Lufthansa 747, I’ve arrived Frankfurt, a hub for my summer trip.

It’s been 23 years since the last time I was in Europe and many things have changed for me. In that 20+ years, some of countries have a new border, new name, new currency, or even new country. But Europe is still full of history, an interesting mixture of old and new especially in Frankfurt.




1.754TB テラバイト


Two bags I’m taking with me to Europe and Africa trip.

Not many cloth, lots of lenses, and lots of storage capacities:

500GB (computer)
1TB (external drive)
94 GB (CF and SD cards for camera)
160 GB (phones & iPod)

TOTAL = 1.754 Terra Byte of storage capacity.

Hope that’s enough to photograph Frankfurt, Istanbul, Berlin, and Morocco for next three weeks.