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Autumn in Japan: The Kids That Made My Day

Jen Waltmon

Sydney, Australia

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Artist's Description

From my “Autumn in Japan” series.

I’ve wanted to visit Asia since I was a teenager, and in October of 2010, my wish finally came true. I spent about 10 days in Japan.

My fascination with Asian culture and traditions finally became a reality to me, and the photographer in me went into overdrive. In 10 days, I captured 2,500+ pictures. I hope you enjoy my first (but hopefully not my last) perspective of this beautiful & amazing country.

There’s a bit of a story behind this image, so bear with me as I recount my adventure. About 1/2 way through my trip to Japan, I decided to take the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto for the day. I didn’t know much about what was there, other than the imperial palace. Upon arriving in Kyoto, I bought a map of the city and headed out of the train station. I knew I needed to walk about 2 kilometers before reaching the palace. But, after walking (and taking tons of shots) for about 1.5 hours and not being able to see the palace in the distance, I realized I walked in the wrong direction when I left the train station. So…..I headed back towards the train station, this time with the plan to ask if I just needed to exit on the other side to get to the palace. I found an information/tourist office inside the train station, but…funny this….no one spoke English. I tried my hardest in my best broken Japanese to ask where to catch a bus or train since now I was down about 1.5 hours. But, no one spoke a word of English. Frustrated, I left the tourist office and exited out the other side of the train station. Then, while standing outside the station looking completely lost, camera in one hand and map in the other, a cute little Japanese school girl approached me, asking if I spoke English. Ahhh! The irony! She told me in her best broken English that her school was there practicing their English and asked if she could ask me some questions. After a round of “My favorite food is spaghetti. What is your favorite food?” and “I am from Japan. Where are you from?” she gave me a laminated bookmark with her name on it and I requested a picture. Also featured are 2 shy boys from their class that didn’t want to talk, but were more than happy to show their “coolness” by being in the picture. After meeting them and taking some pictures, I realized that even if I didn’t make it to the Imperial Palace that day, I was part of a much more fulfilling experience – a random connection with some sweet kids in a completely different part of the world.

Captured with my Nikon D90, straight from the camera. Kyoto, Japan, October 2010.

Featured in the “Creative, Talented and Unknown” Group, November 2012.

© jdub photography 2010

Artwork Comments

  • jainiemac
  • Jen Waltmon
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