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About Artisan Crafts / Hobbyist Premium Member Eternal Bliss Hidden in NatureMale/United States Group :iconthe-royal-club: The-Royal-Club
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Art by Andy Serrano

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Japan May 2015 Photo Shoot



 I am doing a very in-depth photo shoot in Japan.  I will be uploading the most interesting photos here in DeviantArt over a long period of time.  Due to the volume of faves I am receiving each day on my galleries, I will most likely be unable to continue to acknowledge the Faves you give me, so I thank you in advance for any you might give me, but I will always respond to written messages.

I will always treasure and thank the people who purchase my prints whether you purchase a postcard or a full size framed photograph.

Wedding Guest

The Lovely Women

Being male, I have to admit one of the great visual treats was seeing all the lovely women in traditional and modern outfits. They dress up like models, not like slobs as they often do in the USA. You'd never see people dressed in Japan as Americans dress when they go to Walmart. Plus, Japanese women are not shy at showing lots of leg.
Shoes are often fun to observe as well.

Sumo Wrestling

I went to see Sumo wrestlers in their training barn. We had to sit in silence with our legs crossed and not make any sounds for almost two hours.



In my Miyajima hotel, I was served tea at a coffee table while I sat on the floor. My hostess had prepared a map and itinerary which told me what ferries and trains to take to the Kamikaze museum the following day. It easily must have taken her an hour. She had phoned them to find out the hours. She also phoned ahead to make arrangements for saki tasting and dinner reservations.

After getting up  at 5 am  to take photographs in the cool morning light with no people around to muddle the photos, I walked back to my room and was approached several times by deer seeking a handout. The island of Miyajima itself is considered to be a god because it has a special beautiful aura. 

Breakfast was waiting for us in a large room with a view of the ocean. We removed our shoes and put on slippers. The windows went from floor to ceiling. The tables had ample space between them. I'm not exactly sure what we ate. I think it was miso, sushi, tofu, rice, soft boiled egg, fish, boiled veggies and orange juice. 

Three kimono clad hostesses stood in the shadows watching to see if we needed anything or if our tea ran out. It was 7AM and we were the first and only diner there. One of the hostesses rushed to bring me a basket in which to rest my camera so it would not touch the floor. 

They were the same ladies who checked us in the day before. The closest previous experience I had like this was in Mendocino 25 years ago. 

I was given a bathroom kit in a lace bag that contained a hair brush, comb, razor, shaving cream, toothbrush, and toothpaste.

When I returned from dinner, the coffee table had been removed and tatami mats placed on the floor with down comforters.

This is very typical. Whenever I was on a city street holding a map and looking lost, someone would appear and help me out.

No matter which random stranger on the street I would ask for assistance, most of them would go far out of their way to help.

So, besides the Japanese making the USA look like Tijuana by comparison, their hospitality also makes Americans look like barbarians in bearskins.


Interview with Andy




Dress in Yukata in Ryokans
Every Ryokan (like a bed and breakfast) and most hotels, issue you a yakata and sandals to wear. Shoes are not permitted inside your room.

Random Journal Entries

Trapped at volcano with hurricane 

I took two trains, a funicular, a cable car and a nice volunteer who gave me a lift to my hut on Halcone volcano just as they gave it an eruption alert. I need to sleep here tonight and the ground keeps shaking. Lush and green. And cold.

The Cafe restaurant hostess at Hakone saw us looking at dessert menu of cakes. We had just finished tongatsu sandwiches with the crusts cut off. She knew almost no English but using my dictionary, I managed to communicate we might be back before they close. She was very distraught that they might not have any cakes when we return and said she could bake some. 

We took an aimless long walk on the steep slope of this wealthy neighborhood on the volcano. Everything was lush green. Eventually, we met a young French couple. Everyone had umbrellas and sweaters, but she was in hot pants. 

They said they were going to the lake on the next bus so we tagged along. They too had just visited Hiroshima and Miajima. We discussed how the victors write history. 

When we arrived at the lake, we found they cancelled both the ferry and tram due to the hurricane and volcano eruption alert. 

The volcano sounded like a sandblaster the whole time and the hurricane was howling wind and rain. No internet at volcano hut. 

By 3 pm we returned to the cafe where the waitress had saved two cakes and some ice cream. 



We cooked our own food in this restaurant we found in a basement in Shibuya. Went there two nights in a row. The saki was so good it's in a class by itself.

We had dinner and lodging arranged at a Ryokan outside of Nagano in the Snow Monkey Park for 6pm. All the bullet trains were full. The first agent had booked us for a 4pm train. It would be an 80 minute ride. Later, we asked an agent to be "creative" so we watched his computer screen and noticed 3 seats and told him to reserve those. That got us a 2:30 train. (Otherwise, the complicated transfers of local trains and buses could have taken 3 hours.

Snow Monkeys in Mountains

From prior experience we figured out they leave spaces so businessmen can bribe the conductor for first class seats. We Arrived in Nagano at 4pm and found the directions were useless. They said take Bus 3 to the suburb called Nakano. However, there is no Bus 3. It took a bit of running around to find out it's Bus 23 which does not run in late afternoon. Otherwise, the complicated transfers of local trains and buses could have taken 3 hours.

A taxi said he would charge $130 which was steep. I went to their tourist station and the nice lady arranged a taxi for $80. We gave her a box of chocolates. Otherwise, the complicated transfers of local trains and buses could have taken 3 hours.

The taxi dropped us off at the base of a mountain forest that had a large stream. He pointed at the mountain and said "walk." So we hiked up a series of switchbacks with our backpacks. (Good reason not to bring luggage.). Some of the trail was steep.

We arrived as everyone was finishing dinner. They were sitting on the floor dressed in kimonos. Because we were late, we did not have to dress for dinner.

We had local version of sushi, cricket, duck, fried chicken bits, broth, saki, veggies which we cooked in a burner on the table.

Because the ryokan rests on a mountainside, it has many many levels. Outside our window is a hot geyser that spews water about 200 feet into the sky all day and all night perpetually. There is a volcanic smell of sulfur that periodically wafts through.

The monkeys ran around everywhere. See photos.

A New Zealand couple drove us to the train station. It began to rain.


After visiting the snow monkeys in the mountains, we went to Kanazawa on the Sea of Japan to visit their Japanese gardens. They are called the world's biggest and most beautiful and for good reason. They lived up to their reputation. I took a lot of SLR photos. They are moss covered, rock cultivated, tree trimmed, pond filled, cultivated to the tiniest detailed square inch. Also, people were dressed in traditional kimono and geishas too. I will post photos later.

Across the gardens was the restored samurai castle. Let's put it this way, it was like visiting the ancient temples in Egypt.


In Kyoto we found a hotel in a trendy alley where people stroll and single women can ride their bikes in peace at midnight. The alley had shops selling wooden stamps, samurai swords, sushi, Italian food, kimonos, bikes, and crafts.

At night, We strolled and found a Japanese restaurant in a basement where no English was spoken. Using charades, we managed to communicate with the giggly waitress and found we were eating gyosa, fried chicken with no batter, salted pork, cabbage, and many other veggies. We cooked some of it on the portable burner on our table. Saki and beer was in abundance.

“Temple Kyoto”

Music was playing which sounded like the soundtrack from Kill Bill before everyone loses their limbs.

Temple priest played music just for us. They welcome all faiths.

You can only find these treasures by walking and pounding your feet.

Barbara and Andy
“Barbara and Andy” 
My wife and I did almost all our touring and exploring on foot. Maybe we walked 12 or more miles per day. It's the ONLY way to discover Japan.




AndySerrano's Profile Picture
Eternal Bliss Hidden in Nature
Artist | Hobbyist | Artisan Crafts
United States
Current Residence: State of Love in City of the Angels
Favourite genre of music: My wife, Barbara
Operating System: Apple OS X
MP3 player of choice: iPod
Shell of choice: Ghost in the Shell
Wallpaper of choice: I'd prefer a cave over a solid boring wall with wallpaper
Skin of choice: Smooth skin, preferably of a living human woman
Favourite cartoon character: Harley Quinn, Ghost in Shell, Superman, Batman, Sailor Moon
Personal Quote: Do it now because there may be no now a minute from now!


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burningrage8-13 Featured By Owner 7 hours ago  Hobbyist General Artist
IceCream Foryou by KmyGraphic  Thank-you-for-the-favs by KmyGraphic  IceCream Foryou by KmyGraphic  
fleur-de-Lis4444 Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you very much for the fav and the llama! ^^
And a late Happy Birthday :D
AndySerrano Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
You're welcome
milenkadelic Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Happy Birthday! :icongiveroseplz:
AndySerrano Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you very much!
milenkadelic Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're very welcome. :love:
Forestina-Fotos Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Hope you had a fab day! :boogie:
AndySerrano Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you Tara!
SilverZeo Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist
Happy Belated Birthday
AndySerrano Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you!
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