The missing Kyoto photos are retrieved! All things told there weren't that many good photos on the iffy card, mostly blurry geisha photos (geisha ghosts?) and some lamentably blurry night shots - one of the great problems of my D50 screen and chimping is that slightly blurry photos tend to be missed and only visible upon more detailed examination.
I have been awake since 0330 local time which is annoying as I was asleep 2300 local time and up for lord knows how long before that, jet lag is a real pain and I don't remember ever suffering from it to this extent beforehand. Anyways, some thoughts on travelling around Japan:
- Get used to train stations: where to look for times and what to look for (rapid, limited rapid express etc.); always note which exit you use and entrance you want, they may not be one in the same and orientation is easier if you've done the route before; get familiar with the ticket machines as you'll either be ticketing, SUICA'ing or PASMO'ing and they all involve adjustment machines at some point
- Improve your train sleeping: this is a necessity if you are jetlagged or have a full schedule as you'll be able to hit the town at night and still have energy for the important parts during the day, even an half an hours nap can improve things; just make sure you're the last stop or have people around you who can wake you up if you get overzealous with the napping
- Learn your landmarks: if you're like me and can't read Japanese fluently then navigation can be tricky so instead of recognising stores / pubs, go for colours or tall buildings or quirky objects outside, there are plenty of all three kicking about and makes exploring a hell of a lot simpler
- Be prepared to be scrutinised: if you're European or American then you will naturally stand out in most areas of Japan, Tokyo not so much but other areas you will be glanced at more often than not, a friendly smile and a nod is usually all it takes to make everyone feel at ease; there will also be a natural radius around you on trains and local transport, you can mitigate this by plonking yourself in between two current passengers but otherwise there is a general reluctance to sit next to you if it can be at all helped.
- Don't expect high technology everywhere: Tokyo is privileged in its use of wireless internet, modern transport methods and so forth but other areas of Japan can be just as rural and disconnected as your home country - downloading TV to your mobile phone is a nicety, not provided as standard
- Get good shoes: or tough feet (general life advice but especially relevant)
I know have a plethora of bits of paper (receipts, ticket stubs, reservation tickets, leaflets etc.) and photos to organise. Last count for photos was just a hair under 700 and unlike my last trip there are very few duplicates and the overall quality of the photos has surprised even me - helped of course by the stellar weather that held for all but a single day. One thing I do regret is not taking my lens hood for my 18-200, with the 18-55 there's little need for one but looking through some of the photos there was definitely a need for one (and me holding the lens cap in conspicuous positions was not a good interim solution) - here was me thinking lens hoods were just for camera pimping.
Other random thoughts include my choice of clothing - definitely took too many warmer tops although I was expecting the weather to be 6-8 degrees less than it was, unseasonable warmth indeed. No matter how much you cram into a backpack, it can always hold more with judicious application of body weight and zip moulding. Do not trust hotel bedside clocks - their alarms oscillate between weedy and useless to sonic sleep destroyers. Hotel wake up calls are surprisingly sinister at 6am.