Weekly Writing Challenge: Haiku Catchoo! – Travel Haikus

This post is part of WordPress’ Weekly Writing Challenge: Haiku Catchoo!

Pin Christmas Ornaments Zazzle Inner Bodhisattva by Seas Reflecting Starlight

Many holiday gifts are available at my Zazzle stores – see coupon codes here!


Travel Haikus

Seek the horizon
Never knowing what’s beyond
Explore a new shore
Adventure awaits
When leaving the familiar
What wonders you’ll find
As your travels grow
You’ll grow as a person too
Expanding your mind
Tourists rush around
Well beaten path tourist spots
Not meeting locals
Travelers stick around
Get to know the real place
See the unique

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Canvas Print Sales:

Full Moon Over Kiyomizu-dera

Up the Great Wall

Colossal Le Shan Buddha

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Review of My Zazzle Mugs

How will you serve your cocoa this season?

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Aloha!  During a recent 40% off mugs sale on Zazzle, I bought a few holiday gifts for my family and friends, with my own photography from my Zazzle store on the mugs.  I was extremely impressed with how beautiful the mugs turned out to be – the quality was even better than I expected.  The photos were all rendered in exquisite high resolution, and were set off nicely by the shimmer of the high gloss finish.

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Holiday Picture Imperfect: Why a Real Camera is Better for Capturing Memories

‘Tis the season for many a Kodak moment, as joyous times are spent with family and friends.  Particularly for people who have to travel hundreds, or even thousands, of miles to see their loved ones for the holidays, this often poses a rare opportunity for group photographs.  Traditionally this has involved film cameras, and later digital cameras, but recently more and more people have foregone the use of real cameras, instead relying merely on photos taken on their phones.  But what are they missing out on?

Photo quality.

Cell phones do not have the same quality of light sensors as cameras, which results in images with less clarity and more grain.  While some people consider the quality to be a trade-off for the ease of phone portability and social media sharing, the photos they produce will not stand the test of time.  Here is a well-illustrated article that compares photos taken by a smart phone and a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera side by side.  It is easy to spot the detail that is lost by the camera-phone, and the difference becomes even more pronounced when displayed in high resolution.  Even phone photos that might seem “good enough” now in 2012 might seem lackluster come time to show the grandkids what life was like “back in the day.”  Just as current generations look back on old family photos and wish they had the clarity of today, future generations may look back on family photos of the 2010s and wonder why they were grainier than photos from the 2000s, just a few years before.

This holiday season I’m capturing the magic with my DSLR camera.  What will you use?

Design: Lantern Floating Festival

This art piece illustrates the Lantern Festival, as it takes place in Hawai’i. The Lantern Festival has its origins in Buddhist ceremonies to honor the deceased. In Japan, the practice came to be associated with the end of Obon, a celebration of ancestors. Once the practice came to Hawai’i, it came to be celebrated on Memorial Day, tying in with the holiday traditions of honoring men and women who died in the armed forces, and is celebrated by people of all backgrounds. The practice is environmentally friendly – all lanterns are gathered after the ceremony and reused.

Lantern Festival

The ceremony is quite moving.  Live musical performances build up the mood.  As the sun sets, the first few lanterns are released, soon followed by thousands of other lanterns.  Each lantern has panels inscribed with the names of loved ones now passed.  Family members carefully approach the water, sometimes with tears welling in their eyes, as they lovingly set the lantern on its journey.  Soon the whole bay is a glow with thousands of shimmering lanterns all swaying gently with the waves and currents as they slowly move out with the tide.  The crowd gazes on, memorized, until the lanterns are little luminous specks in the distance.

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Happy Halloween!

Welcome weary travelers, stop by for a spell,
For this be the magic night o’ Hallows’ Eve.
The ancient Europeans knew this night to be
A closing of the gap between this world and the next
So light thy way with an ol’ jack-o’lantern,
As spirits swirl, and worlds whirl together
Life and death, the cycle repeats
Twirling together as one

Hence tonight if ye want to avoid
The spirits playing a trick on ye,
Leave a comment below
With thy favorite Halloween tradition.

Halloween ARTafterDARK 2012

The Honolulu Museum of Art hosts occasional ARTafterDARK events, such as this year’s Halloween event.

As the sun set over the horizon, things at the Honolulu Museum of Art were just starting to heat up.  Bus loads of museum visitors all lined up outside, everyone decked out in their Halloween finest.  The costumes were many and varied, ranging from couples costumes like Aladdin and Jasmine, to Egyptian Pharaohs, superheroes, magical witches, zombies,

Aromas from appetizing foods wafted through the halls, and music blared from the live performances.  Despite the entrance line going down the block, once inside the museum didn’t seem overly crowded.  Besides, it was easy enough to duck into one of the exhibit halls for a little peace and serenity – as well as for stunning works of art spanning millennia from all over the world.  There is something fun about walking amongst ancient statues as Captain Hook meanders around nearby.  Each person in costume is their own work of art, and events like this are a chance to enjoy the living art as well as the paintings on the wall.