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Blog

Posts about travel, Japan, photography
and random musings (that no one will probably ever read)

Japan Matsuri 2019 - Photos
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Once again the day long Japanese street festival came the London. This year we saw performances of Iwami Kagura, with the Story of Orochi - The Giant Serpent and a unique take on the Shishimai odori ‘Lion Dance’ by Reiwa.

Despite the weather trafalgar square was packed as always but you’ll notice the umbrellas in the last few photos. ☔

Passing my Test and Driving in the Lake District

So I’m sure most of you reading this passed your driving test as soon as you could and find it surprising that someone could live so long without a car in the UK. It took me quite a few years before I decided I’d learn, after all I’d always lived in small cities or places with great public transport and so I’d never really needed a car before. Or at least that’s what I had learnt to think. Private transport is always useful while carrying camera equipment from one venue to the next but I’ve rarely needed my own car and after moving to Japan I lost that need even more (or daren't imagine the cost of parking there!)

So, when I came back to the UK, I started to learn. Even if I did decide to drive in Japan I could easily convert my license to a Japanese one anyway. It’s great that they drive of the right (left) side of the road too!

Long winding roads add to the experience

Long winding roads add to the experience

The sheep that roam the mountains, and sleep on the roads!

The sheep that roam the mountains, and sleep on the roads!

I soon came to regret that I hadn’t learnt to drive when I was younger, it seemed to take a lot longer to learn something I could have quickly picked up otherwise! Many hours and some stressful sessions later, I passed and two weeks later I went to the Lake District, my first time on a motorway and for 265miles north!

I knew it would be a challenge driving through mountain passes but I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much. Yes there was plenty of stalling, hill starts to make any clutch cry and the closest of squeezes past traffic on the narrowest of roads. But for the first time since I’d started learning I actually found driving fun!

Both climbing up and descending in low gears I must have used up so much fuel but the views at every moment were so worth it. Of course I was focusing on the road but when there is no one around for miles but you and the sheep it’s nice to stop and take a look around now and then. Of course the ‘scenic route’ is everywhere is the lake district!

Oh and those sheep… they run away from people but will happily sleep in the middle of the road at night and not even budge for a car!

So, the car came back in one piece, as did I, and now I’m ready for the next adventure! Iceland? 🚗

There’s something about the right location to make a car look pretty special..

There’s something about the right location to make a car look pretty special..

Japan Matsuri 2018 - Photos
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Once again the Japan Matsuri held performances of traditional music and dance on a large stage behind Nelson’s column. We also saw acts from a comedic martial arts act and a ballet performance.

This day long street festival is held every year in Trafalgar square in September and is free to all.

Japan Underground - おとぼけビーバー Otoboke Beaver

Yet another great night at Japan Underground, this time with Otoboke Beaver おとぼけビーバー, an all female quartet from Kyoto. A "Japanese girls knock out / pound cake band" named after a local love hotel!

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Support from BRUJA and 雲雀 Hibari.

Japan Underground - THE TOMBOYS + Glen Matlock & the Kobe Beef

It had been just under a year since the last Japan Underground event, although I had missed three years of shows while I was in Japan!

I've always loved that these events bring a mix of both music lovers and Japanophiles to what many who haven't been might see as an otaku gathering. Japan Underground has always been about bringing Japanese music and exciting live performances to an English audience.

This time we saw THE TOMBOYS; previously an ex-Scandal (スキャンダル) cover band called 'NoName', perform their first show in the UK before the release of their debut album.

Glen Matlock (ex-Sex Pistols) also made a surprise appearance with his 'Kobe Beef' band.

The Picaresque and The Johns also supported.

Nagoya Timelapse - A year in Meieki, at night

While spending a year in Japan, I lived in an area around Nagoya station called Meieki. It's seen as a hub for transport and business in the city, so is always filled with people going from one place to another. I spent quite a few nights outside during rush hour times, trying to capture the busyness and beauty of this great city. I wanted to capture the movement of the crowds in contrast with the stationary people waiting at their meeting points.

Not far from Nagoya station is Sakae, which is full of young people, and streets packed with department stores and bright lights. The home of SKE48, a famous idol group, has a ferris wheel attached to the side of the building. Further down the street is OASIS 21, an elevated platform filled with water! I tried to capture some of these spots, too.

This video is the first part of a longer timelapse I'll create in the future. Sometimes it's surprising how long it can take to capture something that only lasts a few minutes when put together. This video focuses on life at night, so hopefully I'll focus on the bright Nagoyan daylight for the next time!

Nathanael BennettComment
Mori Cafe Live Music Event

The first of the Mori cafe live acoustic event with English conversation sessions. 

Moriya Juku Short Video

I worked with Moriya Juku, a cram school based in Nagoya, to produce a short video containing an interview with a previous student. This small private school has an interesting ethos of 'English with Art' combining beautiful unique Japanese room design with functional teaching suites. I tried to capture elements of this school although being a short video the focus is on Mai who we interviewed. 

Even though this was a simple shoot there were a few things I had to work with. The noise from the weather outside and proximity to the main road had to be reduced from the audio in post. I also made use of various object around the school to work as a slider be it sliding a tissue box on a table or balancing my camera on a wheeled whiteboard!