Posts Tagged ‘ Kurodani dera ’

Two Views from the Westin Miyako, Kyoto

The two photos below were snapped with a little “smartphone.”  The first on July 31 and the one below it on August 3, 2011.  They were both taken from my little balcony, attached to my room at the Westin Miyako Hotel in Kyoto.  I’ve posted them, or versions of them, before, last year near the times I took them.  I offer them again because they’re somewhat peaceful and calm-making, I think.

Looking towards Nanzen-ji Temple, Kyoto. 31 July 2011.

Looking east, towards Nanzen-ji Temple, Kyoto. 31 July 2011.

I took this in the afternoon, after arriving at the hotel.  The sun’s behind where the camera’s pointing, beginning to go down in the west.  You can see large main gate (yes, that’s a “gate” — the Sanmon, completed in 1628) of Nanzen-ji Temple on the left.

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Looking north towards Okazaki District. Kyoto, 3 August 11.

I took this in the morning.  The sun’s to my right.  The green roof on the left, towards the foreground, is the International Community House.  Lots of memories there.  In the background, against the last green hills, you can see several of Kurodani-dera’s buildings (Kurodani Temple).

I hope you like these photos. . .

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15 random shots, and 2 short vids, from Japan over the years . . .

I was just going through some old photos.  I hope you like these.  Every picture’s got a story, you know.  A few of these go back, way back for me, to 1984 during my first living experience in Japan as a college exchange student at Kansai Gaidai, a foreign language university in Hirakata-shi, about halfway between Osaka and Kyoto.

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Harvesting Rice. Tsuda (my little town near Hirakata, where I went to school). 1984. I lived with a "homestay family." Mom, Dad and Three Sisters. We stay in touch. Got an email from Yuko, one of my sisters, just last week. She was a just a kid way back then.

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Graffit on the big rock that tops Katanosan (Mount Katano). Katano, 1984. My little town, Tsuda, abutted Katano, which was home to Mt. Katano. It was more of a big hill than a mountain and a rigorous 30 minute hike would get you to the top. I hiked this many times, often with my friend Lori, from Mystic, Connecticutt, who lived nearby.

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The Maruyama River floods as typhoon sweeps through Central Japan. 1990. I took this pic in September 1990 when I was living in the community of Nii, town of Asago, in South Central Japan. My house was right near the river, but, fortunately, it didn't quite get to it. Twenty-one people were killed in this typhoon.

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Senjokaku Hall. Miyajima Island (just of the coast from Hiroshima). 2008. Just a few moments before, or after, I can't remember, I took this pic I made a short vid. You can watch that at the bottom of this post.

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Himeji Castle, Himeji. 2008. When I lived in Asago in 1990-91, I was only 90 or so minutes from Himeji, by way of the Bantan Line. I've visited Himeji Castle many times. This time, in May 2008, as guide for a group of history students from UAB.

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In 1986 and the first half of 1987, I worked for JVC Disc America Company in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I left to go to law school. In 1991, while I was again living in Japan I visited Kamakura, not too far from Tokyo, and met my former JVC boss, Mr. Hiramatsu, and Mr. Mochida, one of the Senior Engineers. We spent the day together, just whiling away the time. Wonderful gentlemen. And we visited the Great Buddha of Kamakura. I snapped this picture then.

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Lantern. Pontocho, Kyoto. 2006.

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Kinosaki Morning: A mom and baby. 2001. Kinosaki's a Hyogo Prefecture hot springs town up on the Sea of Japan. I used to go there quite often when I lived in Hyogo-ken back in 1990-91. This trip, in late September 2001, was with my then-spouse.

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Kinkakuji, "The Golden Pavilion." A slightly different view. 2008.

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Janitorial Workers. Shibuya Intersection. Tokyo. 2005.

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Old house in Higashi-Ikoma (near Nara). 2003.

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Shoes off before entering. Kurodani Temple. Kyoto. 2010.

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On the Eizan Line, nearing Kurama (30 minutes north of Kyoto). 2009.

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Girls on school field trip, Kiyomizu-dera. Kyoto, 2008.

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From our window. Hotel New Otania, Osaka. 2002. Osaka Castle, far left.

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A couple of very short vids I took in 2008.  I had been hired as “guide” for a Japan History Class trip for the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) for this May trip.

At Gembaku Domu (Atomic Bomb Dome), Hiroshima.  2008.

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Senjokoku (1,000 Mat Hall) & its 5-story pagoda, Miyajima Island.  2008.

“Saturday Morning in Okazaki”

Hanafusa Siphon Coffee. Marutamachi-Shirakawa. August 13.

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I place this photo essay back atop letsjapan.wordpress.com on August 1, 2014, almost three (3) years after first posting it on August 2011. In the mean time I’ve published Dancing Over Kyoto (in 2013), but it was August 2012 that an occurrence in Kyoto hit me and rocked others’ worlds. But I won’t speak of that here. I’d rather celebrate a Saturday Morning in Okazaki. . .

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I woke up at Three Sisters Inn this morning with sunlight barreling in from the crest of Higashiyama through my east-facing window.  I answered some emails, made a remark and post or two on Facebook and Twitter, then went out for a stroll.  I lit out, not from Three Sisters Inn Annex, but from the main building, just a block away.  When I stay at Three Sisters I’ve always, to date, stayed at the Annex.  But unfortunately a pipe burst yesterday morning at the Annex so I’m over here at the main building, which is comparable (but the curfew, alas, is 11:00 p.m., not 11:30 p.m. like at the Annex).  Yes, curfew.  The sisters must get their sleep, bless them.

At any rate, my walking route was simple and familiar to me:  up the street from the inn (turning left as I walk out the front door) about two or so minutes to the entrance to Kurodani Dera, stroll around Kurodani, leave out the narrow, back side alleyway and walk to Marutamachi Street.  Take a left and continue east towards Okazaki Shrine.  After stopping by Okazaki Shrine, continue on to Hanfusa for a cup of (siphon) coffee.  Then wind my way back to Three Sisters.

It’s Obon season across Japan, which means in part that families return to their ancestors’ grave sites and give them a cleaning, both real and symbolic (of the respect and veneration still paid to the departed), and place some flowers and other whatnots around the headstone.  This is what was going on this morning at Kurodani Dera’s cemetery.  At Okazaki Shrine some new rabbit figures have been installed.  Part of ancient Okazaki Shrine’s lore and lineage is steeped in being a (Shinto) shrine bringing blessings of easy and happy childbirth to those who come and ask for the blessings of the resident spirits.  Thus the rabbits.  2011 also happens to be the Year of the Rabbit, which makes Okazaki an even more auspicious place to visit.  As I’m a Year-of-the-Rabbit person myself, I took some particular delight in stopping by Okazaki Shrine.

Photos:

Between Three Sisters Inn and the Kurodani entrance. August 13.

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Facing west on the edge of Kurodani. August 13.

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26 Seconds of Cicadas (Semi・セミ) while looking up at Kurodani’s Main Gate (Daimon・大門).

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A long-time friend. August 13.

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Washing an ancestor’s grave site. Kurodani Dera. August 13.

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Okazaki Shrine Digs Rabbits. August 13.

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Have I mentioned that Okazaki Shrine Digs Rabbits? August 13.

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Hanafusa Coffee on Marutamachi Street. August 13.

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Man at bus stop. Woman and child. Marutamachi Street. August 13.

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toMAre. Okazaki. August 13.

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That’s all for now.  It’s about 10:35 and I’ve got a couple places to go.

Now at the Birmingham Museum of Art

version of this photograph was installed today in the Japan Gallery of the Birmingham (Alabama) Museum of Art, as part of the BMA’s “Meditation Station” (2nd Floor, Japan Gallery).   This was shot at a favorite spot of mine in Kyoto, Kurodani Temple, in the Okazaki district.  It’s my first “Museum Piece,” so I’m happy with that –

Kurodani-dera. Kyoto. 2005.

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The Birmingham Museum of Art.

Kurodani Dera

As with other posts I’m putting up in a hurry while here in Japan, I’ll later do an entire gallery and more fulsome write-up on Kurodani Dera, one of Kyoto’s lesser-known temples (at least to non-Kyotoites).  Kurodani was founded in 1175, but was all-but-destroyed during the Onin Wars of the late 1500s, then almost 500 years later, fire in 1934.  It was rebuilt every time.  One of the older buildings that survived the 1934 fire was the pagoda built in 1633 which sits atop the hill on Kurodani’s right, atop the extensive and ancient cemetery.  Right now, during November, Kurodani’s back quarters and beautiful (though small by many Kyoto temple standards) garden are open to the public.  The temple’s situated in the Okazaki District of Kyoto’s “Eastern Mountain” area, and is one of my favorites.  I would note that this blog’s “feature photo” at the top of all pages (taken several years ago) as well as the “Kyoto Sunset” photo (taken a couple of days ago) that appears at the end of the “Long Day” post (just below this one) were both taken at Kurodani Dera.

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Kurodani. From the garden looking Southwest. Nov 09.

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Kurodani. Inside the priests' quarters courtyard. Nov 09.

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Kurodani. A man facing west on the Main Hall portico. Nov 09.

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Priests at Kurodani following special ceremony. Nov 09.

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Kurodani priest. Nov 09.

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At one of Kurodani's two garden tea houses. Nov 09.

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