Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Lantern in Kunitachi

In Kunitachi, near Tokyo I visited a nice jinja, a temple with a nice garden with many cherry trees, but I was there in December and there was no blossoming, but was a sunny and lukewarm day, perfect for walking, biking and take pictures.


The 2013 will be the International Year of Water Cooperation as promoted by the United Nations, this is my work and concept for a comercial advertising for an Italian industry of flexible water pipes. This client is very courageous and intelligent to use images not illustarting their products. This are three images from the calendar with theme Japan: children and adults olding a chawan (cup), we shoot also America, Africa and Europe themed photos. I shoot in my studio with strobes at very low light to achieve shallow focus, using Nikon D3x and 85mm f 1,4. The shoji in the back ground is made using frost film instead of rice paper because more resistant to use as studio prop. Thank you to the nice Japanese family that helped a lot for this shooting.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Snow on my terrace

On the 7th of December snow was falling in Saronno, not much, but is nice to see in the morning, the plant slightly covered with snow and the water for thr birds completely frozen. I boiled some water later and filled the plate for them to drink and bath.


喜多方ラーメン Kitakata ramen and gyoza, a wonderful menu, speciality of Kitakata city, gyoza are more a home cooking dish, are made of weat pasta filled with minced pork meat and onion and herbs. Photo shoot with 85mm. Nikon in natural light from the window of the restaurant and some artificial light (can see the reflection on top of the plate) reason why light is  warmer in the shadows, but is not too bad, I think.

Friday, 7 December 2012


喜多方ラメン Kitakata is the Japanese town famouse for the great ramen, Japanese noodle soup, in this little town of 50.000 people there are more than 100 ramen bars! Turists come to town in all season to taste this great speciality. In the photo is a chashyu ramen, noodle soup covered of slices of prok meat, my favourite. My favourite restaurant in Kitakata is 松 Matsu, means pine tree, a little old restaurant and ramen there are just great! I took this photo with natural light coming from a wimdow with 85mm. lens 1,4.いただきます!Bon apetit!

A hat of snow

A nice and tall hat of snow on this wood lantern and those ishidōrō, stone lanterns in a small jinja in AizuWakamatsu, in the Fukushima prefecture.

Winter in Wakamatsu

Scene from Wakamatsu in Winter: a little jinja in the center of the town. An old little temple surrounded by modern buildings in a little park with ancients stone lanterns and gravestones. A chōzuya, a stone basin for wash the hands and rinse the mouth entering the temple area to purify themself, covered of ice. In the other photo the shimenawa, a festive decotration for the new year, to put over a door in temple and houses, to keep away evil spirits. All photos are taken  with the Nikon 85mm lens, because I love this lens and also because when is so cold is dangerous and bit difficult to change lens outside. The camera was a Kodak, full frame sensor.

Small jinja

This is the main building of a small jinja, temple in  the center of AizuWakamatsu, a very quiet and peacefull little garden, just off the main road of the town. Nikon 85mm. lens at 1,4f .

Little red torii in the snow

Is December and in Kitakata started to snow. In the picture here is AizuWakamatsu in the Fukushima prefecture, a nearby town. The picture was taken in January 2006 in a small temple in the center of the town. The red torii and the small wooden shrine buiding are part of a temple and garden, sit between many tall modern buildings, as the one on the background, that isolate it from the noise of the town traffic and make a nice oasis of tranquillity. Nikon 85mm. lens 1.4f on a cloudy and cold day.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Kimono and obi

This is an old picture of my wife I took in 喜多方、 Kitakata in January 2005, my first Winter trip to Japan. I asked okasan (mother) to dress up my wife with kimono, and so was the firsdt time I saw her wearing kimono. For me is always surprising and fashinating the Japanese color-matching, in this case the light blue obi on a deep brown silk kimono was unespected, the final effect is great, very elegant and sensual. The touch of the deep red of the obijime add elegance to the kimono. Photo shoot in the house using only the natural light coming from the window, it was a sunny  day, the back ground is a traditional Japanese gold screen used for tea ceremony and official ceremony. I used the 105mm. macro lens for the portrait and the 180mm all Nikkor lenses, for the close up of the obi.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The Zero!

The Zero is the famous Japanese airplane of the II World War, at the beginning of the conflict it was the best and fastest fighter plane. Here a perfectly restored Zero in the Yasukuni museum in Tokyo. I read a great book written by a fighter pilot of Japanese air force who survived the war, titled Samurai! (Italian edition) by Saburo Sakai. Really interesting and dramatic true story of his experience during the war and the post war American occupation. The Yasukuni temple in Tokyo is dedicate to all victims of the wars and for this reason haveattached, in his park a museum like this. Unfortunately is criticized by many people because, they claim, celebrate the military who brought Japan into the war and led the nation to catastropy.

White cyclamen

A Winter photo of a white cyclamen, shoot in Kitakata with 105mm. macro lens with natural light. When I'm staing in Japan and outside is too cold or snowing, I stay home and shoot some still life of flower or objects.
I like to photography flowers, focusing on color and shape, not being descriptive, but concentrate on the mood of the monent and sensations.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Teramachi Jinja 喜多方

I can't wait to go back to Kitakata this Winter, to see great landscape, ancient stones lanterns and dog/lion statue covered with snow at the Teramachi Jinja in Kitakata. Walking in the silence, under those old trees gives me a great sense of pace and happiness. Is lovely when the sun comes in the morning after a night of snow, like in this pictures, taken as usual with 85mm. Nikon lens.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Winter grass

A Winter landscape photo with grass in Kitakata. I like the contrast of the yellow grass in late afthernoon light, against the blue sky.

Torii in the snow

Torii are the two red columns with orizontal structure that are the symbolic gate of a temple in Japan, usually are made of wood and somethimes in concrete. This are the gate of the oldest and most important jinja, temple in Kitakata, Teramachi district, that means district of the temple, that is called also tera. In this photo taken at the end of December, there is little snow and a warm late afthernoon sun, perfect for a walk around gardens. This was my first Winter in Japan in 2004.

Pine with snow

A nicely shaped Japanese pine tree, matsu in Japanese, covered with snow, in Kitakata. The Winter is approaching and for this week end the forecast is promising snow all around Japan, possibly even in Tokyo. I took two close up photos of the branches,and later I realize that the images can be edited together overlapping the trunk. I left the shape of the two pictures not to hide the collage. Photo taken with 85mm Nikon lens.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Takizawa Emiko pianist

 In Milano there was a festival of the Japanese province of Ishikawa and among other things, there was a very nice chorus performance of traditional Japanese music, conducted by Asakura Yoshihiro and piano player was Takizawa Emiko (my wife ;-), she played beautifully, brava! Nikon D3x with 85mm. 1.4 at 500 iso, for use only the ambient lights.

Autumn colors

The maple on my terrace is telling me that Autumn is toward the end and leafs are changing color quickly, this short moment the momiji (maple) is at his best. Nikon D3x with 105mm. macro lens,

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Lili flower

A white lili flower photographed in my studio with abundance of yellow. Photo shoot with strobes and Nikon D2Xs with 105mm. f. 2.8. (the reflection is real).

Friday, 9 November 2012

Jizou san

Winter is coming, here and in Japan too. In the Fukushima prefecture has sea and mountains, Aizuwakamatsu area is situated in the center of the  mountainous part of the region, it snow a lot and there are nice ski resorts too. I took this photo of a Jizou san statue close to a hospital in Wakamatsu. This are statue of benevolent Bodhisattva and are ofthen at roadside to protect passers by and people living in the area whom make offering of food or red coat. Photo taken with Nikon D2xs with 85 mm. lens at f 1.4 in natural light.

Saturday, 3 November 2012


This Japanese traditional dish is called shinmai, means new rice, very appreciated for its flavour and white almost transparent colour. In Italy (where I am) we produce very good rices of many quality and also this one called originario, very similar to the Japanese kind. We bought this from a producer not far from Milano, in Gudo Visconti, is very good. The best way to appreciate rice is this, with simple things like mentaiko on top, cod's eggs marinated with salt and chilly pepper that make it a bit spicy, really good. In Japan there are many simple dishes like this and are called gohan no tomo, rice's companion, really appropriated definition. This is not the only course of a meal, the rice acoompany always many other dishes of vegetables, meat, fish and soup, everything of varius colour and taste, in harmony with the season. Photo taken with flash and Nikon D3 with Nikkor 105mm. macro lens, fully opened at f. 3.4 to achieve a great shallow focus.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Master Fujiyasu Masahira

Japanese katana maker master Fujiyasu Masahira show a tsuba he left at the weather to rust, to gain a great texture, later hi will work the metal again. Photographed in Fukushima prefecture in Summer 2007, Nikon 85mm. f1.4, natural light.

A tsuba and two blades

A tsuba and two blade of katana made by master Fujiyasu Masahira, not completely finished, photographed in his laboratory in the Fukushima prefecture, Japan. Photographed in natural light with 60mm. macro and 85mm. 1.4 Nikon lenses.


Katana making, master Fujiyasu Masahira in Fukushima prefecture in different moments of work: finishing a blade, top and starting hammering the metal at very early stages of work. Nikon 85mm. lens on natural light


This is a tsuba, the hilt of a katana, being left hanging ouside for sometime at the weather to gain an interesting texture and later be worked again. Master Fujiyoshi Masahira, Fukushima prefecture photographed in Summer 2007, Nikon 85mm. lens on natural light.

Monday, 24 September 2012


This nice calligraphy and drawing on a scroll is called kakejiku, hanged on a gold painted screen used for the tea ceremony. The vase and the flower composition is called chabana and is a more essential flower arrngement than ikebana, and is especially done for the tea ceremony too, the porcelain round box is for incense, the table is black laquered wood built without any metal in it, no screw or pins. Photographed in Kitakata, Japan, in ambient light coming from the windows, it was summer, so plenty of light and nice and soft, 85mm lens.

Ryokan room

A nice ryokan (hotel with spa) room in AizuWakamatsu, prefecture of Fukushima, a onsen (hot spring) resort on the snow covered mountains, very nice place. Nearby there is Inawashiro, a mountain resort famous to snowborder around the world, for staging the Japanese event of the snowboard world cup. We spent a couple of days there wit all the family, enjoing good food and taking hot bath many times, even in the middle of the night baths are open! I shoot this picture with my 17-35 mm Nikon at 17mm, the camera was the Nikon D2Dx, it was a DX format camera, so the effect of this great lens was a bit lowered. I did not corrected the slight distortion for this blog photo and used ambient light mixing natural light on the shoji (panels covered with rice paper in fron of the windows) and keeping the warm color of the lightbulbs.

Saturday, 22 September 2012


Hiashichuka is a Japanese cold noodle dish, made with ramen (spagetti) covered with finely chopped omelette, ham and cucumber (and sliced tomatoes here missing), deressed with soy sauce and vinegar, toasted sesame seeds. I shoot the picture with natural light, Nikon 105mm. macro lens f 3, fully opened. This will be the last hiashichuka for this year, because the season is coming to the end, so colds dishes will be on hold until next summer, but I love this very much.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Totoro's chopsticks

A nice present from Japan, Totoro's hashi (chopsticks). Totoro is a character created by Japanese film director and manga creator Miyazaki Hayao. Totoro is one of my favourite of his movies.

Rice shochu

This is a Japanese spirit called shochu, is more alchoolic than sake, about 25% or more, is usually made from barley, rice or sweet potato, there are many kind of flawoured shochu, with prunes, cherry or other fruits, is drinked normally added to ginger ale or water.
I took this photo with natural sunlight coming from the window from the background and "helped" with white polyboards, Nikkor 105 mm. macro lens fully open at f 3.

Nō theatre mask

This is an atique mask of Nō theatre, the ancient form of Japanese theatre performed by male actors only using masks and performing woman roles too. The actor can not use facial expression. The peculiarity of Nō masks is that the expression changes with little changes of head angle, a slight movement of the head will show sadness or happiness, this is the grteat difficulty of Nō theatre and the great skill of the actors and even of the masks makers. There are scientific studies about the Nō masks shape in the Western world. I took this picture at Kottoya, an antiquarian shop in Milano of my friend Luca Piattiwith artificial light, as I moved slightly up or dovn few inches, the expression changes, is amazing, so I took the picture with a quiet smiling expression.