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



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。




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



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