Friday, September 15
And as a tribute to my friend who joined me to Nikko for the tour of the Shrines and Temples, I need to post some of the best pictures from that trip. I hope you can also find some fun in the last picture, even though the term "money laundry" would have been more fun. :) I have also understood that most countries have only one embassy per foreign country, so I was quite amazed to see where France decided to place their embassy (Nikko). I guess this is where they stashed away Francois Miterrand and where they intend to place Jacques Chirac at the end of his reign...
My last Sunday in Tokyo this time was spent in Kappabashi, looking for an "otemai" (wooden water cup) for the Macha (green tea) ritual. I found everything else but an otemai, so I decided to upload some pictures for the guide of others who are interested in visiting Asakusa and Kappabashi, the map is taken from the public road and the stores depict a good knife store as well as a rather new and discounted plate and mug store. I recommend a visit to them both.
Thursday, September 7
Auditing a vendor can have certain advantages, this time we went to Hongkong and Guangdong in China. Not far from Shenzhen I realised I had been in these parts before; in 2004 I went to a small (for Chinese standards) town called Zhuhai in the same area. Anyway, the weather was hot and terribly humid, the food good, the language impossible but the company great. And getting out of China is almost harder than getting in, believe it or not when you have all the papers in order and still get the wrong VISA from the Chinese embassy in Tokyo who claim the invitation SIGNED by the Chinese government was not correct.
Saturday, September 2
Sunday, August 27
Sunday was spent in the Ueno Science Museum where they featured Antartica, apart from the standard exhibition. The standard exhibition consists of the evolution of man (Darwinism, sorry all religious people who think otherwise), how all mammals and animals connects together, how man conquered space and also an interactive exhibition of physics for children, where they can play with the laws of physics and have fun. The drawbacks of the museum are twofold, one is the entrance fee (1300 yen!) and the second is the lack of English explanations. If you have time enough you can rent a considerably cheap audio guide, and then spend the day in the museum, but if you want the rapid version you have to make do with almost zero (maru) explanations. A bit tedious, considering they boost to be Japan's leading Science Museum. The architecture picture is from Ginza, I just had to show it.
In the scenic park of Koishikawa Kurakoen I spent little more than one hour. It was relaxing to walk around and I stumbled onto a photoshoot with two Kimono/Yukata clad females and a bunch of guys with cameras. The park is really nice and I understand why they chose this place as their backdrop. There was also a cool bridge that was called "full moon bridge", the bridge is a half moon but the reflection in the water makes it a full circle.
It was time to see the Imperial Garden. A beautiful lamp post and the Ninomaru Garden are two of my memories. The main lookout post is where the old tower burned down in a great fire (Meireki) in 1657 if I remember correctly. I lost the informative leaflet, unfortunately.
Taken at the Edo-Tokyo Museum it displays a model of the old Tokyo, when it was still Edo. The interesting part of this museum is that it is a walkaround place where you really feel like you are a part of the history. The look-into booths they have, displaying real homes in the past, both in the 17th century as well as during the WWII (1940s), are really "alive" and gives you good insight into common people's lives in past ages.
Sunday, August 20
Yay, what a weather! Checked out the Shukkeien garden in Hiroshima before leaving for Onomichi and its lovely seaside. Mount Senkoiji-san is not so high, ~170m, but you have to climb the bare stone to get to the top, and ropeways are for sissies... :-) Btw, did you know you have to buy an Entrance Ticket (140 yen ~ 10 SEK) if you want to leave a Shinkansen station in between switching trains... Cheap firm, almost like SJ.
Saturday, August 19
...renders you somewhat warm. But what a sight! When I got down I realized the tourist agency mentioned the way up was closed (could have fooled me!) due to landslides after the latest typhoon (Thursday). :-) 2.4 km of stairs and steep terrain takes the energy out of an office rat, tonite is time for Okii Okonomiyake Hiroshima-style...
Friday, August 18
Tokyo was too quiet and sunny, so now I am heading to the southeastern Honshu and Hiroshima, where 24 hrs ago a typhoon created 'gale' strength winds.. A bit shaky weather system can be expected... This weekend will be spent in Hiroshima where the US dropped the first A-bomb (Genbaku) on August 6th, 1945. 200,000 casualities reported.
Tuesday, August 15
Upper left a business building, upper right a personal home in the forest (look above the yellow house to the left) and to the left a building that seemed a hotel. The name of the last read "Elsa Kamakura". A lot of interesting buildings, too bad it was dawning already when I left the beach.
Sunday, August 13
If you are looking for any type of knife or other (medieval) weapon (except guns), this is the place for you. Located not far from the Great Buddha of Hase in Daibutsu, I could not stop myself from taking a picture of one of the 3 walls covered in arms of all kinds.
Great Buddha of Hase is nothing else but a great (13m) bronze statue of Buddha. It has stood here since 1252, it survived a tidal wave in 1498 that swept away the temple surrounding the statue, and in 1923 the great earthquake shook and ruined the foundations of the buddha, yet the body of the buddha remained intact. Restorations have been made on the face and body (latest 1960), necessary as the statue is standing outside all around the year.
Saturday, August 12
Wednesday, August 9
Here is the missing photo: Right in the heart of Tokyo you find Odaiba, the green island with the protective past. The fortresses were once used to protect from invaders from the Sea, but are in these days green, lush and pretty.
Monday, August 7
Saturday, August 5
Sunday, July 30
Friday, July 28
After some trouble with roaming the mobile network in Kyoto, here are some picture from Kyoto and the Kiyumizudera temple in the Hills of Kyoto. Featured on The Last Samurai, this temple is beautifully situated and it is built on high poles, engineered in an elaborate way.
Friday, July 21
Thursday, July 20
Sunday, July 16
... in Kamakura, temple-dense town south of Yokohama. A green tea session was held in the bambooo forest of Hokokuji, and Jomyoji and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Templates were also visited before the stomach decided it was time for lunch. A shirt was also bought before heading back to Tokyo, having walked for most of the day and feeling rather sore in the feet. Beautiful weather in Kamakura, overcast in Tokyo.
Friday, July 14
Friday was spent in a town to the north of Tokyo called Ueda. The town is 50 km short of Nagano, and its known for the hot springs with high sulphur content. These springs are quite pleasant to relax in, and the hotel Hanaya had a lovely garden with fishes in the small pond (depicted). A nice dinner followed in the hotel before we headed to downtown Ueda for a beer at some local bars. Saturday was spent in Nagano, host of the 1998 Summer Olympics, visiting the Zenkoji temple yard and seeing some of the 1998 Olympics Arenas.
Sunday, July 9
Saturday, July 8
Ryokucha ochakai is the Japanese name for the ceremony. I could have gotten the spelling wrong, but I wrote it from the way I heard it. The ceremony involves 168 steps, but the version I took part in was shortened to roughly 40 to save time. Beautiful pot, apparently the original ones are fed with charcoal, but this version was electric and that is more likely better for the air in the room.