You might remember Andrew in his role as an undead stalker during Becca and Mike’s zombie engagement shoot in Golden Gate Park a while back. Well, he’s baaaaaaaaack! And we have the great pleasure of photographing his and Diana’s wedding later this year. When they casually mentioned that they might like to do a Tokyo Vice–style pre-wedding session, we couldn’t believe our ears.
“We’re gonna be in Japan in November!” we exclaimed. “Can you join us there?”
They looked at each other, mouths agape, until squeals of excitement escaped from both of them. Soon we were all squealing. Lily has been friends with them for several years through martial arts so we knew that they’re fun-loving, energetic, and always hungry—in other words, a blast to hang out with!
Our two-day adventure together began in Osaka, Japan’s third-largest city. With our trusty dSLRs and a hefty Pentax medium-format film camera in hand, we burned our mouths on a breakfast of takoyaki (fried balls of octopus) before checking out the action at sprawling Kuromon Market, a covered affair boasting made-to-order street food, impeccable produce and seafood, clothing, and knickknacks. There, our happy couple devoured okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake), taiyaki (fish-shaped cake filled with red bean), yakisoba, Kobe beef on a stick, fresh sashimi, and various types of mochi while shoppers and tourists bustled around them.
Next on our itinerary was Dotonbori Street, famous for its gigantic illuminated billboards and signs featuring animatronic crabs, dragons, and other critters. We thought they (ok, we) were done eating…until we came across a dessert café serving shaved ice. How could we resist?
After a well-deserved nap, we headed to the Floating Garden Observatory, located 170 meters up in Umeda Sky Building via a dizzying elevator and escalator ride. Despite its name, there’s no greenery whatsoever to be found up there. We assuaged our disappointment with breathtaking panoramic views, hair-whipping winds, a stylized love-lock deck, and a gorgeous sunset. When we returned to the base of the building, a German winterfest was inexplicably underway. We took full advantage of the frosty steins of bier, steaming bratwursts, and colorful Christmas lights.
The next day, we made our way to Kyoto, about 15 minutes via shinkansen (bullet train) or 45 minutes via regular train. Arguably the cultural heart of Japan, it’s packed with thousands of well-maintained shrines. Our main stop? Fushimi Inari-Taisha—its stone foxes and a seemingly endless parade of vermillion torii (gates) leading to various mountainside shrines. It was a challenge keeping up with Diana and Andrew as they literally raced up the steep steps to the top of the mountain, but somehow we did. Whew! Here’s a still and animated look at our two days together.