Disclaimer: I’m in no way, shape, or form a professional photographer, and I would never claim to be. I’d be hesitant to even call myself an amateur photographer, since I don’t have any real equipment and haven’t taken any photography classes since high school. But I love, love, love taking pictures, especially when I’m traveling. I feel like it helps me look for things that I might not notice otherwise and engage in the experience a little more, and it’s always nice to have memories to look back on. But the problem is, we travel to our favorite places frequently, and there’s only so many times you can take a picture of the same landmark or scene before it just feels kind of pointless. So, when I was initially thinking about this blog, I wondered if there was any way that I could use it to spark some creativity when taking pictures and have some fun trying something new. I was inspired by my favorite little green-haired rapscallion, Yotsuba, and wanted to try using her daily adventures as a launching point for my own travels, by literally bringing her along with me and trying to picture my surroundings and experiences as she might. I got a little Yotsuba figurine off of Amazon and packed it with me, with the intention of trying seeing the world through her eyes. *Spoiler alert* It ended up being a lot of fun, and I did find myself looking at the same well-worn scenes with a new purpose and intent (and taking pictures of a doll in popular tourists spots didn’t end up being quite as embarrassing as I was expecting it to be…or maybe I just have absolutely no shame ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) I look forwards to continuing this little project during future travels as well!
So, I’m a Seattle girl born and raised, and proud of it! I currently live in Oregon, but my family still lives in the 206 so I have lots of opportunities to go home. I love my city. The smell of the Sound, seagulls flying overhead, being surrounded on all sides by water and mountains – this is ‘home’ to me. And when I go home, I sometimes like to play tourist. There’s no shame in my game, folks. Some ‘tourist’ places are great and feel like old friends – I feel a sense of civic pride when I see the Space Needle and I don’t care who might turn up their nose as it as being too ‘touristy’ or ‘cliched’. Recently, my husband and I went to Seattle for several days. I was armed with my new Yotsuba figurine, and a new project to keep me occupied. And we did a lot the first couple of days! And then I got sick with a killer cold and completely lost my voice, as well as any energy to do anything at all.
Above: dramatic reenactment of the voice-losing
Then my husband got a cold as well. And then it was time to go home. Oh well. They can’t all be winners.
But before we were K.O’d by nasty summer colds, I had a lot of fun playing around with shots and trying to set up little scenes in my head with the surroundings and Yotsuba. In retrospect, I can think of some things that it didn’t, at the time, occur to me to photograph and I wish that I had. I also wish that I had been able to use our last couple of days more effectively and gone out to see more. Oh well – I can just save the things missed to be documented in a future post!
Without further ado, here’s my first Yotsuba travel post:
Yotsuba & Seattle
University Village: A outdoor shopping area in north Seattle by the University of Washington. It’s not far from where my parents live and has a lot to look at, so we often go there for dinner and shopping while visiting. It has a playground for kids and a bunch of interesting public art and fountains, so it’s fun to walk around.
Blue C Sushi: Local chain of conveyor belt sushi restaurants. A fun place to eat. I’ve been told by a friend that it’s not a place to go to get traditional sushi, and that the raw fish isn’t great; however, they do have a lot of tasty veggie sushi options, so it’s a good choice for me and my vegetarian husband.
The Confectionery: Very cute candy store in University Village. I’m a sucker for any sort of pick-and-mix candy setup. They have the best window displays that change with the seasons/holidays.
Woodland Park Zoo: Seattle’s beautiful zoo. I’m going to get serious here for a second – I know that zoos are a hot-button issue right now, with many people believing that animals should only be ‘in the wild’, and I wrestled a bit with posting these photos because of that. My own personal feelings are that zoos should never exist solely to entertain, but should focus on education, raising awareness and funds for the betterment of wildlife, keeping threatened species afloat through smart breeding, and creating opportunities for research that can improve the lives of animals both in captivity and the wild. Ultimately, I view them in a pragmatic light – while, yes, ‘the wild’ would be the ideal place for animals to reside and should be the ultimate goal for species preservation, unfortunately due to climate change, habitat destruction, and poaching, ‘the wild’ isn’t necessarily a safe place for animals to be at this point and we’re seeing examples of this all too often these days; until things improve, I do think that the Woodland Park Zoo and other AZA-accredited institutions can be instrumental in raising awareness, resources and knowledge to fight this. And I also think that the knowledge that things can always be made better is vital, as well. I’ve been going to this zoo my whole life, and it’s inspiring to see how it’s been learning and improving to better care for its animals. I’m only saying this here because the decision to support this particular organization is one that I’ve thought a lot about over the years and haven’t taken lightly; I also respect those that feel that wildlife conservation can be better achieved through other methods. To each their own! If you’re down to visit, it’s a very nice zoo, with the animals grouped together geographically in separate areas that provides an immersive experience. You can easily spend a day learning something new and imagining that you’re visiting far-off places.
Woodland Park Rose Garden: Beautiful rose garden right next to the zoo. I’m no green thumb and have been known to kill multiple cacti which is supposedly difficult to do, but even so, it’s lovely to walk through and see (and smell!) all the pretty flowers. It also has a gazebo, several fountains, and some interesting trees. According to their website, the garden is pesticide-free and the flowers are fed as a treat to some of the zoo animals, which is charming as hell. It’s free to visit, too. Just generally a nice place.
Pike Place Market: A Seattle mainstay! I used to work right by the market; it’s one of my favorite places and have I’ve explored it quite thoroughly. This trip, however, we only had a quick moment to stop. I had to get a picture with the iconic sign, though! I’d definitely recommend the market to anybody visiting Seattle. There are tons of amazing food, flowers, arts and crafts, and crafts available to buy, as well restaurants, public art, performance art and places of historical significance to visit. Also located within the market is the Gum Wall, which is equal parts awesome and disgusting! I was bummed that we didn’t have more time to poke around this trip, but have no fear – I’ll definitely be revisiting it in more detail at some point in the future.
Olympic Sculpture Park: I’d never been here before! The Olympic Sculpture Garden is a part of the Seattle Art Museum located by Belltown and the waterfront. It’s free to visit, and contains several very impressive sculptures to look at; from the park you can also enjoy beautiful views overlooking the Sound (too bad it was so cloudy and overcast the day we visited, no Olympics for us). The two pieces of art featured here are The Eagle by Alexander Calder and Echo by Jaume Plensa, and they are both magnificent.
Belltown P-Patch/Belltown Cottage Park: These two parks are immediately adjacent to each other. I’m honestly not sure how you would delineate between the two, so for the purposes of this post, I’m including them together. This is a flourishing community garden and a trio of cottages left over from the early 1900s. Between the p-patch and the cottage park, you stroll past beautiful flowers, outdoor art, and mosaics. The juxtaposition of this lush garden and quaint little cottages smack-dab in the middle of urban Belltown is quite interesting!
…the fun stopped.
I hope you enjoyed my first little travel tour, courtesy of Yotsuba. It was a lot of fun to put together and I look forwards to trying this again at some point!
All of the art featured above (and Yotsuba) belong to their rightful copyright holders. I don’t claim any ownership over any of the art shown above. With that said, I did take these pictures myself – please don’t use them without permission. Thank you!