The colorful wolf

May 14, 2010

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe..

Filed under: Photography,Spirit of Japan,Uncategorized — randy @ 18:03

Holland has mountains!

Today I took the day off and went to see one of the things on my must-see-while-in-Japan list: Huis Ten Bosch. It’s a Dutch-themed theme park where a Dutch town is recreated in life-size. As a Dutch person it seemed ridiculous to me to have a theme park based on Holland, but after today I kind of understand it. Huis Ten Bosch is Holland, but then it isn’t. It’s like Disneyland, but without the fun. With that I mean that the atmosphere being created is very much that of a fairytale and everything looks clean and sweet and nice, but it lacks the attractions that Disneyland has. It’s more of a place to stroll around and take photos. Everything is really beautiful, incredibly beautiful. Compared to the real Holland this place is at least three times as beautiful. Unreal. It’s like they compressed Holland into a tiny little ball and then dropped it between some mountains.

Holland in a bottle

It’s funny: in the center of the park bicycles are not allowed, yet you’re allowed to smoke in cafe’s. The exact opposite of Holland. It’s amazing how clean they keep everything. At one point I saw a horse and wagon walking by. The wagon stopped, the driver got out, grabbed a bucket and held it under the horse, which then proceeded to pee. Now that’s clean.

I also encountered a fellow Dutchman and had my first real-life Dutch conversation in months. The guy showed me around a bit and told me how he ended up in Japan. His hobby was to tinker with bicycles, and he had created various interesting-looking bicycles, including a recumbent bicycle (ligfiets) and a classic-looking one with a huge wheel that you had to climb onto to get in.

Mini Holland

I expected a lot of Japanese silliness and craziness, but it was a surprisingly normal place. Very theme-park-y, but not in an annoying way. I quite enjoyed myself and would go there again if I had a chance. Well, at least 5 years later, I guess.

Tante Annie

Click here to see the rest of the photos.

On a tech note, my DSLR is having some serious problems. The 50D+18-200mm combination has serious trouble focusing unless all the focus points have something to focus on, or else it keeps seeking. The automatic focus point selection is not working, I guess, cause it seems to always select the worst possible point to focus on, like a clear blue sky. It then fails to focus (of course) and keeps on seeking before giving up. I tried fixing this in the menu’s but nothing I do seems to work. Another minor issue is that the light metering seems to suck no matter what setting I put it on. Today in particular I never seemed to get the right exposure. I tried switching to spot metering, center avg etc. but that didn’t make a difference. Or maybe it did, but it only got worse. Most photos I’ve taken today are the result of 2 or 3 of the same shots taken with different exposure. Guh. Oh, and ever since I dropped my camera on the day that I started my trip the shutter button is kinda broken: I have to push it really hard to take a photo. Double guh.

Tomorrow I am cycling to Nagasaki! The place where it all began. Three years ago, a sad sad Randy went to Nagasaki and climbed on his touring bicycle for the first time. He went on a crazy adventure and ended up on the beautiful island of Yoron with his buddy Kamil. And his life would never be the same again..



  1. Yoron was barely beautiful…it was an inhabited rock in the middle of the Pacific! Japanese has a serious romantic idea about Europe!! However I do like what the word Yoron has come to symbolise 🙂 Continue safely with the rest of ur 600KM…

    Comment by Kamil — May 14, 2010 @ 19:28 | Reply

  2. Holland is the most beautiful place in Europe<3<3

    Comment by missartgirl — May 14, 2010 @ 22:13 | Reply

  3. It’s like a living diorama – the picture of the bottle-sized Holland is amazing. And this is one of my favorite things when I travel – to see how the rest of the world interprets my country. Thanks for posting this!

    Comment by Lisa — May 14, 2010 @ 22:21 | Reply

  4. Love the photos. I am a keen user of great photos on my site, too. They really do express mood and emotion.

    Comment by scargirl — May 14, 2010 @ 22:36 | Reply

  5. I love windmills! I want to live in one someday. Love that first shot.

    Comment by melanirae — May 14, 2010 @ 22:37 | Reply

  6. Mini-Holland? Good grief, surely Holland is small enough already. Certainly isn’t big enough to contain all the Dutch, judging by how many of them you bump into all over the rest of the world! 😀

    Comment by misplacedperson — May 14, 2010 @ 22:56 | Reply

  7. That looks spectacular. Leave it to Japan to create something so extraordinary! My grandson has spent some time in Holland. I’m going to send him this article–I think he’ll really enjoy it.

    The Codger

    Comment by thecodger — May 14, 2010 @ 23:05 | Reply

  8. Manual focusing makes for better pictures anyway. If your shutter isn’t working correctly, try setting the timer so that you don’t risk a blur when you take the pic and it allows you to steady the shot.

    Comment by Raul Alanis — May 14, 2010 @ 23:09 | Reply

  9. Wow, that’s really cool. I never knew they had such places. It looks like a movie set or something. I would love to go to something like this.

    Comment by Breland Kent (Wild Focus) — May 15, 2010 @ 0:31 | Reply

  10. Your first photo is beautiful. I just bought my fist DSLR, a Nikon D5000, a few months ago. Have fun on your cycling trip and take more photos!

    Comment by idlechameleon — May 15, 2010 @ 0:42 | Reply

  11. I enjoy seeing how the rest of the world interprets my country (Russia) too. Two of my favorite comments that I often get when I tell people I am originally from there:

    1. Oh! Maybe you’ve met my uncle’s daughter-in-law’s ex-boyfriend’s sister’s hair dresser? She lives in Russia!

    2. So I bet you’re pretty used to the cold, huh?

    Comment by interpretartistmama — May 15, 2010 @ 1:15 | Reply

  12. The pictures turned out really good even with all of your camera problems. Nice post, I wish I were able to be a little more adventurous.

    Comment by GraceKay — May 15, 2010 @ 3:46 | Reply

  13. Truly, nice photos I wish my pictures on blog were as clear but I am just using a point and shoot digital. Thanks for sharing this I never knew this existed in Japan. Just like the goal of my site is to show a not over know site of Nice,France

    Comment by D Light — May 15, 2010 @ 7:29 | Reply

  14. Great article and fantastic photos ! I have been to Holland and loved these pics ! You are a very good photographer and story teller, keep it up !

    Comment by Sondra Padalecki — May 15, 2010 @ 8:54 | Reply

  15. LOL! Japan is the only place enamored with Holland. Have you been to Holland, Michigan where they have a real Dutch windmill that was brought from Holland and re-constructed, surrounded by 150,000 tulips. The mill is operated by a woman who sent to Holland to study and be certified as an official, Dutch miller. See photo and info here: — “A beautiful oasis on the edge of downtown Holland, Windmill Island features a 248 year old working Dutch windmill “De Zwaan” (meaning graceful bird). The windmill, which reaches 125 feet from the ground to the top of the blades, towers over 36 acres of manicured gardens, dikes, canals and picnic areas.”

    Comment by Michelle UluOla — May 15, 2010 @ 10:35 | Reply

  16. I saw the your picassa album. It is really neat and clean indeed.

    If I have to experience Holland, is it good to come here to go to Holland itself?

    Comment by Rohit — May 15, 2010 @ 11:09 | Reply

  17. I wonder how the driver knew that the horse needed the bucket at that moment?

    Comment by middleagedplague — May 15, 2010 @ 11:30 | Reply

  18. Thanks for all the comments! I’m guessing they pavlovtrained the horse to pee only when the bucket is underneath. I wonder if that’s possible :S

    Comment by rheide — May 15, 2010 @ 13:30 | Reply

  19. I will go there… One day. 🙂

    Comment by Bugg — May 15, 2010 @ 17:32 | Reply

  20. lmao@ like Disneyland but without the fun! I have never really quite grasped the meaning of these “tiny countries” would one not just like to visit the real one? lol….

    Comment by Songbird — May 15, 2010 @ 17:41 | Reply

  21. It’s weird because Japan is dead crazy but at the same time they can also be ultra-conservative! I think your miniature Holland kinda proves that – really good post!

    Comment by scarletsculturegarden — May 15, 2010 @ 18:58 | Reply

  22. What nice pictures. So colourful. What a clean & tidy place. Love them, specially flower pictures.

    Comment by Vivi — May 15, 2010 @ 19:56 | Reply

  23. Beautiful photographs and thanks for sharing!

    Comment by jhsketch — May 16, 2010 @ 1:25 | Reply

  24. Beautiful!

    Comment by Morom3t3 — May 16, 2010 @ 1:30 | Reply

  25. Wow! its really amazing. First impression I thought the photo really taken from Holland but actually taken from Japan. Its really wonderful to see another duplicate world. Everything looks very impressive. First of all I thought its really another parallel universes but exactly it is. Perhaps, what you captured and shared with us is considered another proof that the duplicate world doest really exist and yes really belief it does really exist. Hope can visit this place in near future.

    Comment by Augustine Towonsing — May 16, 2010 @ 3:29 | Reply

  26. Funny that they don’t allow bike riding but allow smoking in the cafes. From what I hear, it can’t really be Holland without biking, now, can it?

    Comment by florb63 — May 16, 2010 @ 14:56 | Reply

  27. For what the real Holland looks like in winter, windmills, skating and all, I hope you’ll enjoy:

    Comment by ian in hamburg — May 16, 2010 @ 16:34 | Reply

  28. that is very beautiful

    Comment by computerwatch — May 16, 2010 @ 17:21 | Reply

  29. Only a Hollander would call somewhere else three times as beautiful as their own country.

    I love it here in Holland. Nowhere else has such a big sky. 😀

    Comment by Arjuna — May 16, 2010 @ 20:08 | Reply

  30. Only in Japan would they have a Holland themed park, while everywhere else has a china-town (the orient goes everywhere and everywhere else goes to the orient it would seem.)

    Comment by William Webster — May 16, 2010 @ 22:48 | Reply

  31. Well, they had a Chinese restaurant in the park 😛 and a French restaurant. And a Japanese restaurant. But no Dutch restaurant… Although they did have steak house that had chicken steak, salmon steak, hamburger steak but no real steak that they called ‘Dutch steak house’. So much for Dutch food culture..

    Comment by rheide — May 16, 2010 @ 23:13 | Reply

  32. This is a really funny attraction for Japan to have! I’ve been to Japan and have to say that I’d rather see some more of the country than a man-made Holland! I guess for Japanese tourists, it’s a good insight however. I’d like to visit to see how realistic it is… I also believe that there is a model English city somewhere in the USA – I guess it’s the same idea behind it. Good luck with your cycle adventure, what a great way to explore!

    Comment by Katie Silcox — May 17, 2010 @ 1:44 | Reply

  33. This is a really funny attraction for Japan to have! I’ve been to Japan and have to say that I’d rather see some more of the country than a man-made Holland! I guess for Japanese tourists, it’s a good insight however. I’d like to visit to see how realistic it is… I also believe that there is a model English city somewhere in the USA – I guess it’s the same idea behind it. Good luck with your cycle adventure, what a great way to explore!

    Comment by Katie Silcox — May 17, 2010 @ 1:44 | Reply

  34. This blog is very good. Thanks for this. I will bookmark this page.

    Comment by unforgiven — May 17, 2010 @ 2:41 | Reply

  35. I am the first time on this site and am really enthusiastic about and so many good articles.
    I think it’s just very good.

    Comment by kenny — May 17, 2010 @ 5:01 | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: