A whole new year

Has begun. I just came back from a Western Europe trip with Kamil. This trip was so boring at times! ;) But it made me realize many things, and it set me up well for the new year. We celebrated new year in a night train from Denmark to Switzerland, but that's not all we saw. We went around the Netherlands, Germany and a tiny bit of France as well. I will post a lot of pictures later, but now I need to pack my bags because I'm going back to Japan tomorrow! o_0

Actually, speaking in terms of photography, I didn't like the trip at all. The weather was extremely dull and gray, and at least 9 out of 10 pictures will turn out to be bland and boring. From the remaining 1 good picture 9 out of 10 will be over- or underexposed due to the crappy exposure on my camera. It's really starting to annoy me that Av or P mode simply cannot produce an adequate exposure in certain situations, like sunset or sunrise or high contrast sceneries. And finally I'm fumanzoku about my 17-85mm lens, because it keeps on flopping out on me and the auto-focus no longer works sometimes.  I guess I'll need to send it back to Canon...

So... 2008. This year cannot possible be better than 2007. This year cannot possible be worse than 2007. I have three goals for this year. The first is to get fit. I need to exercise more and prepare for bicycle trips in the summer. The second is to do racing. Racing cars, racing go-karts, I don't care, but I really feel the need for speed, and it's time I take some active action towards it. It's been a long-time hobby of mine in the virtual world, and I should really investigate if I could do something with it on my weekends in Japan. I think it would be nice to have an interesting hobby besides photography. I'm kind of losing inspiration lately, and without inspiration I cannot see good pictures in my mind. It's still possible to do snapshot-photography and somehow get good pictures, but if the perfect scene does not present itself in my mind the picture will only be average, or a good picture will be made out of luck, not skill.  Cyclographing trips should keep me interested in photography, though. As for my third goal, it has not changed from 2007. Trust yourself and never give up :)

The Europe trip made me realize how much alike European countries are, but with minor differences. Here's some random things I noticed:

  • Germans speak English if they have to
  • German people are nice and friendly to travelers
  • German cities either look like they were made in the middle ages or in the 22nd century after the third world was broke out
  • Denmark is modern and good! Kopenhagen is the city that reminded me the most of Japan of all the cities we've visited
  • Denmark does not use Euro's (yes, we are stupid that we didn't know that before we went there...)
  • Sweden is not that weird
  • French cities are beautiful. They pay a lot of attention to tiny details and decorations in the buildings and streets
  • French people are beautiful. They dress well and they look good
  • French people are assholes. They're arrogant, they refuse to speak English and they are not friendly to travelers at all
  • Switzerland is a bit of France and Germany. The people are nicer than French people, the towns are nicer than German towns.
  • Switzerland is expensive!
  • A lot of shops and restaurants are really closed on holidays and Sundays, unlike Japan. I'm getting too used to Japan...
  • Even combined with Kamil's skills, our combined French skill still sucks. We always confuse it with Japanese.
  • I know more German than I thought (but way less than I need)
  • The world is a small place, and it's quite easy to meet friends again, even if they do live a world apart from you

That's all for now. I need to do some packing! See you soon :)

Posted in Photography , Thoughts , Travel