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The Japanese seem pretty oblivious to their rainy season.  Unlike Californians, who expect the sky to fall down and get very excited at any prediction of rain, the Japanese simply open their colorful umbrellas, and go on about their business.  Raincoats are rarely used. I daily admire the expertise of Kyoto bicyclists as they ride their bikes while holding an umbrella directly overhead that somehow manages to keep them perfectly dry. bike rider Even my husband, who always declines to use an umbrella in the USA, has taken to carrying one here too, as long as it’s blue! There are some distinct pleasures to this time of the year. The Heian Shrine in Kyoto is my husband’s  favorite. These special places deserve repeated visits, because each visit is different depending on the light, the season or the time of day.  So, even though it was raining lightly yesterday afternoon, I easily agreed to visit.  Walking alone through the expansive shrine gardens was an experience in entering a gentle, glistening and peaceful emerald-green world of watery abundance..IMG_4577 IMG_4569 IMG_4552 The famous iris and delicate cherry blossoms of spring have passed on.  The summer’s waterlily blooms were few and far between, but just that small touch of color they provided, from the few flowers that were open, was perfectly satisfying. Less is more, as they say! IMG_4556 The landscape in the garden is large and grand, so it seemed only right to try for some panorama pics to attempt to capture the lush scene that spread before us. The wonder of a Japanese garden is that it’s a deliberately devious design. Most paths curve, so that with each step, a new view unfolds or reveals itself. At the Heian, many paths lead directly over the water, either with walkways or stone steps, which provides just the right touch of excitement.  Note blue umbrella.IMG_4562IMG_4581 IMG_4580In many ways, this rainy day provided a more memorable experience than a full on sunshiney, blue sky day.  So, I say, let it rain.

Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


  • Susan Alexander says:

    Beautiful photos! I love the panorama ones. You’re such a great photographer, and you let us enter into your world and all that you’re experiencing this way. Thank you! xxx

  • Sheri Overall says:

    Beautiful! As my birthday nears I especially appreciated the ancient pine tree carefully propped up to continue on.

  • Eleanor says:

    The gardens are incredible. I live with rain I. Upstate ny. We are becoming Seattle

  • Judi Wallner says:

    Fabulous photos Dianne…such abundant beauty!

  • April Walstad says:

    Thanks for the beautiful visit and your recent highlights and insights of Tokyo and Kyoto. They are refreshing and enervating. Xox. April

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