Posts Tagged ‘ Kyoto ’

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Lantern. Pontocho, Kyoto. 2006.


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.


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


Janitorial Workers. Shibuya Intersection. Tokyo. 2005.


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


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


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


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


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.


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


End-of-September Reprise(s)


Kinosaki, or thereabouts. October 2001.

Here are 5 Front Page favorites from the past few months I want to highlight for the next several days.  Then I plan to get on with our “October Schedule.”  That will include a re-post of an Autumn favorite, an homage to all sorts of Food, ducking into a small Shinto Shrine I happened upon in Kyoto about 6 or 7 weeks ago (one that I’d passed by hundreds of times over the years; one that, to my shame, I never took the time to notice before), a trip to Kodai-ji Temple at night, and, of course, an updated Halloween-in-Japan Extravaganza.

But first, as our teachers used to say, let’s review:

1.  SIGNS.  Upon returning from Japan (business trip) last month I very much updated a post from last year.

2. KYOTO. WHERE THE RIVERS MEET.  The Kamo & the Takano. . .

Han-Eri Stencil for Kimono. Meiji or Taisho Era. A friend's gift. August 2011.

3.  KURAMA.  A pretty, quiet and historic little mountain town, just north of Kyoto.


Inn entrance near Yasaka Shrine. Kyoto. Autumn 2003.

5.  ICHI-GO ICHI-E  ・ 一期一会.  One moment, One meeting.  Savoring what will not come again.

Priests at Kurodani Temple. November 2009.


Additional:  I updated the photo gallery / essay “Shapes & Shadows,” too.

Where the Rivers Meet. . . The Kamo & Takano.

Several rivers flow through Kyoto.  The most famous is the Kamo River (or Kamogawa — “gawa” or “kawa” means river in Japanese).  In English that would be the “Duck River.”  The Kamogawa flows north-to-south through Kyoto.  In the spring, summer and fall restaurants along the Kamogawa’s west bank — mostly from about Ni-jo Street down to Shi-jo Street, and a little below that — put up platforms, “yuka,” for patrons to dine on and watch the river and people down on the riverbanks.  I posted just about that here:  Yuka Season.

This is about where the Kamo and Takano Rivers meet, though.  They meet several city blocks north of Ni-jo street, just above Imadegawa Street.  Check out this map, from a Keihan Line train, you can see where the “Y” where the Kamogawa (flowing from the upper left, meets the Takanogawa, flowing from the upper right, becoming just the Kamogawa after that):

Where the Kamagawa & the Takanogawa Meet.  Kyoto.

Exactly where they meet, that road there, is Imadegawa Street and the Imadegawa bridge that crosses over the Kamagawa.  If you took a right at Imadegawa and followed it to its end you’d wind up at “The Silver Pavilion” (Ginkaku-ji ・銀閣寺).  If you took a right and crossed the bridge you’d go right in front of Shokoku-ji Zen Temple.   And right between the two rivers, there smack in the center of the “Y,” is Shimogamo Shinto Shrine.  So, on Saturday, August 13, before taking an afternoon trip to Kurama, a small and incredibly historical town just north of Kyoto, I went an noodle around an antique book fair at Shimogamo Shrine.  Here are a few photos from the Shimogamo Antique Book Festival (it’s official name):

“Old Book Festival” — Japanese style flag outside of the Shrine.


The used & antique book festival. Shimogamo Shrine. Kyoto.


Bargain hunting. Old book festival. Shimogamo Shrine. Kyoto.


Old maps. Cheap. Shimogamo Shrine. Kyoto.


Friends taking a break, cooling off. Shimogamo Book Fest. Kyoto.


I spent about forty-five minutes at the book festival.  Picked up a few bargains.  Then I walked south out of Shimogamo Shrine and within five minutes was making my way along the bank of the Takanogawa, heading towards its meeting point with the Takano River. . .

Three generations (I asked) of ladies along the Takano. August 13.


Mom and Daughter. Shallows of the Takano. August 13.


Young fellow reading. Takano bank. August 13.


Takano (left) & Kamo (right) Rivers come together. Kyoto. August 13.


“Here’s the ball, Rags! Here’s the ball!” Takanogawa. August 13.


Stepping stones across the Kamogawa/Takanogawa. August 13.


Summer Afternoon Sketching. The Kamogawa. Kyoto. August 13.


River Turtles. Kyoto. August 13.

I used to live near Kyoto.  During college student days.  If I ever live there again, if I ever live in Kyoto, and especially if I have kids, this is a place we’ll go to and enjoy often, on many an afternoon  .   .   .

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Bonus Shot.  I took this later that evening, while standing on the Ni-jo Bridge, looking back up the Kamogawa .  .  .

Sunset on the Kamogawa. August 13, 2011.


AKB 48

This is not my magnum opus   “It’s My Last Night in Japan”  blog piece.  I probably won’t do that one until I’ve been back in the U.S. for several days, irony and time constraints being what they are.

But I felt compelled to post this one.  This was the last little watering hole I hit tonight, a place now familiar to me, “Harumi-ya,” there at the corner of San-jo and 花見小路道, not far back down San-jo from Kawabata dori.  This is the exterior of Harumi-ya:

Harumi-ya. Kyoto. August 2011.

And this is what was on TV there:

The audience in Harumi-ya were mezmerized:

The show is called “Exile 魂” (Exile Tamashii) and, yes, is a sort of Japanese version of “American Idol,” or it’s just an homage and tribute to All Girl Groups, or this one in particular, or something.  So it goes.

Harumi-ya is a Good Place with Good People. . .

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LetsJapan.WordPress.Com: 2010 in Review

= Note:  I’ll get back to regular blogging next week.  I thought this worthy of Front Paging this 1st week of year =

The stats helper monkeys  (<– that’s what they call themselves)  at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s summary of its overall blog health:

Crunchy numbers

Featured imageThis blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2010.  In 2010, there were 70 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 104 posts.  There were 286 pictures uploaded.  That’s about 6 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was June 4th with 507 views. The most popular post that day was ABOUT.

Where did they come from?

Some visitors came searching, mostly for hiroshima, merry christmas in japanese, nengajo, mumbai skyline, and japanese tiger.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


ABOUT May 2009 (first posted)


“Happy New Year” = Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu December 2009 (first posted)


メリークリスマス = Merry Christmas in Japanese November 2009 (first posted)


Things that go “Bump” in Japan: Happy Halloween ハピ ハロウイン! October 2009 (first posted)


Natsukashii ・ 懐かしい。。。 July 2010 (first posted)


A Night in Kyoto 330

Auction 171

Canadians Do Kobe 109


Architecture 556

*   雨 (rain) 345

*   静か (quiet, stillness) 134

Thanks to all who visited in 201o.  I hope you’ll visit again over the coming year and find current and upcoming features here worth sharing.  あけましておめでとうございます。今年もよろしくお願いいたします。

Five (very) Short Vids

Four of these were made in May, 2010, and one in November 2009.  Enjoy – 楽しんで下さい:


1. A scene along the Kamo River at night.  May 30, 2010 (34 sec):


2. The People Machine… that’s what it looks like to me.  Shinagawa Station, Tokyo.  May 2010 (36 sec):


3. Bic Camera, Yurakucho District, Tokyo.  May 2010 (48 sec):


4. Earlier that same day, May 30, along the Kamogawa.  On the San-jo Bridge looking down & around.  A favorite place of mine (1 min 14 sec):


5. Late afternoon, before the crowd comes in, at Rub a Dub Reggae, Kyoto.  November 2009 (1 min 37 sec):

Note:  the Rub a Dub vid featured immediately above is part of this photo & vid essay,  “Reggae a la Kyoto.”


Redstone Science Fiction Meets Kyoto Station (京都駅)

A photo I took in November 2009 is this month’s (Sept 2010)  “cover art” at Redstone Science Fiction:

Kyoto Station as Cover Art for Redstone Science Fiction's Sept 2010 Issue

Redstone Science Fiction:

Redstone Science Fiction publishes quality stories from across the science fiction spectrum. We are interested in everything from post-cyberpunk to new space opera. We want to live forever. Get us off this rock.

We have all been reading Science Fiction and Fantasy since we were children. It has been a key element in our lives.

From writing and submitting our own stories, we’ve learned that there are only a handful of online & print magazines that pay a professional rate for original science fiction stories.

We decided that there needed to be one more….

For more on Kyoto Station (京都駅) and photos of and from it, please see this post of mine from January, which, in fact, features a different view, a different take, on the photo featured above.

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