Posts Tagged ‘ Kyoto ’

A Few You May Have Missed, Part 2.

Some months ago I worked-up a  sort of “Few Posts You May Have Missed” post and promised (perhaps threatened) to do another installment.  This is that.  Before highlighting and linking to those few posts I want to note that I’m finalizing plans for a SMALL GROUP TRIP TO KYOTO THIS AUTUMN.  It’s 90% set and you can see the general itinerary here (or simply look at the top right-hand corner of this page), but I’m going fine-tune it over the coming days and reposting.  Please be on the lookout for that.


A recent post that somewhat came-and-went without much notice was mine on Hotels.  I posted it on this front page back in late April and it didn’t receive much attention.  Several comments, but worth another look.  I think that, all in all, it wasn’t too bad an effort.  Pretty interesting and offbeat, in its way.

Sign in front of a Ueno (Tokyo) hotel.  2008.

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I posted the front pager ノート July a year ago. ノート is “note”, which is Japanese for “notebook.”  I always pick up one of these little things as soon as a get to Japan to make, well, notes in.    Somewhat more personal — for you, who are inclined to do a little spying, to read over the shoulder of a stranger, out there — from the page just below, from an October/November 2003 notebook (that cost me ¥120, about $1.11 in 2003, now at $1.31 with the Dollar’s fall since then) showing some direct quotes from a couple of exhibits at the Museum of Oriental Ceramics in Osaka, those notebooks show more personal goings-on in my day to day activities from years past.  At the end of the day, I’ve got little to hide .

Bad handwriting. But I was standing and balancing this small thing as I wrote.

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Autumn (秋), a front page post from late September last year.  As the temperatures (in mid-June) go from merely sweltering to blast-furnace hot, it may be worth while to recall a cooler season, and to remember that, eventually, it will come again.

Eastern Kyoto.  Near the Municipal Zoo.  November 2009.


Kurodani-dera (黒谷寺) again – a reprise & update.

Back in November 2009  I posted a piece here on Kurodani Temple (or Kurodani-dera), which is situated in the quiet Okazaki, Sakyo Ward of Kyoto (Kyoto’s east side).  One of these days — though not today — I’m going to work-up and offer a comprehensive article on Kurodani-dera, its history and such.  For now, suffice to say that Kurodani-dera (formally known as “Konkai-Komyoji-dera“) was founded in 1175 and is one of eight head temples for the Japanese Jodo Sect of Buddhism.

Kurodani-dera, November 2009.

For the past 8 or 9 years, whenever I’m in Kyoto (1-3 times per year), I try to make it over to Kurodani-dera.  If at all possible I visit in the early morning when the priests can often be heard chanting their morning “Namu Amida Butsu” chant.  Very beautiful.

As mordant as it may sound, I also enjoy walking up the hillside behind the temple-proper into the ancient cemetery:  very peaceful and offers some pretty views of Kyoto, down and to one’s left.  In fact, last week when I guided a group of Samford University MBA students to Tokyo and Kyoto (and Nara and Yamazaki and into Osaka one night), we took a 20 minute detour into Kurodani, the cemetery and caught that view, for example:

Looking Southwest into Central Kyoto from above Kurodani-dera. May 29, 2010.

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A few weeks ago,  during the second week of May, in fact, I received word from the Birmingham Museum of Art that one of my photographs, from Kurodani-dera in fact, had finally been installed at the Museum as the centerpiece image of the BMA’s new “Meditation Station.”  (no Press Release, yet.  Maybe they won’t do one.  So it goes.)  This had been in the works since last summer, but I didn’t want to tell many people as I didn’t want to be wearing egg on my face if the project/installation ended up not working out.   Here’s one of many photos  — this one just a snapshot, really —  I’ve taken of this favorite-of-mine stone Buddha (I’ve come to regard him as a friend I visit whenever I’m in town), quite dissimilar to the one now being used, on exhibition, at the BMA as it’s taken from a completely different angle:

At Kurodani-dera. November 2009.

I think the earliest photo I have from Kurodani-dera goes back to either 2001, certainly 2002.  I’d have to check.

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So, a week ago today I find myself back at Kurodani-dera, this time with a dozen people in tow.  They all seemed to enjoy it.  For the first time I had my photo taken near the image of my Amida Butsu friend.  This is that photo.  I’m embarrassed to say that I can’t remember who took it, either Michael or Deena.  But thank you to whomever snapped it.

At Kurodani-dera. Last Saturday, May 29.

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Update:  3 photos just found (May ’11) from Summer ’04 . . .

Kurodani-dera 黒谷寺. 2004.


Kurodani-dera 黒谷寺. 2004.


Kurodani-dera 黒谷寺.  Detail.  2004.


Kurodani Main Gate. 2003.

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Featured Gallery: Shapes & Shadows

One of several Virtual Galleries here at (please click on the link): Shapes & Shadows.  Earlier today – 2 May 2010 – I added another photo to it, one I took several years ago in Kyoto.  It’s not quite what it may appear to be at first glance.  Nothing particularly tricky to it; it may require a double-take, though.  Please enjoy the entire Gallery, too.

Gion Festival. Kyoto. 2003.


Tag – this theme’s “it” for a while.

Earlier today LetsJapan.Wordpress.Com updated its appearance.  Those new to this site won’t know the difference.  For those who’ve visited over the past 10 months, since this site’s/blog’s launch, will notice right away that this “Monochrome” format (that’s what it’s called:  Monochrome), with its clean gray-black borders, really helps the photography stand out a whole lot better than the all-white site.

=  Note to those who found there way here via a Tag:  Feel free to use the site Search Engine (bottom right-hand side) and enter the term/tag/post/info you’re looking for.  One or more posts/stories/galleries, etc. should pop up for you. =

Also quite different (than just 24 hours ago):  the top of the page has very few tabs.  Now each photo gallery is clickable through the drop-down tab (GALLERIES) at the page top, as are the stories, via the STORIES drop-down tab.

Finally, I ought to note that a couple of weeks ago I made a Facebook page for LetsJapan.Wordpress.Com to keep Facebook aficionados updated on posts and featured galleries and stories here.  I’ve also started posting a few Facebook-only comments, features and photos on the LetsJapan.Wordpress.Com Facebook page.

A photo apropos to nothing in this post.  I took in in Kyoto this past November and, well, I like it.

Finally, I’m “tagging” this post with many of my photo gallery and story themes and post topics (below and in prior pages) in hopes that this or that random googler will stumble upon this site and what it has to — and will — offer.

Hope you enjoy . . .

A Few Favorite Posts You May Have Missed…


In order to see older Home Page posts (from, say, a couple of months ago, or last summer) one would have to go to the bottom of this page, click on the “Older Entries” tab to the bottom and left, then scroll down that previous “Home Page,” then repeat the process again and again.  A hassle of sorts.  So in order to bring some of those older pages to you, I’m posting their links right here.

After Work:  いざかや、ガード下、赤提灯(from early last September) discusses my favorite kinds of little, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and watering holes.  These are some of the best kinds of places to eat and while away time with friends no matter where in the world one is.

Izakaya in Kyoto, “Pontocho.”


Dear, Beautiful Kyoto (from early last August).  A little homage to a place that’s wafted into and out of my life (or my life has drifted into and out of Kyoto) since the fall of 1984.

Near Kyoto University, looking East towards Shinnyo-do Temple. 2009.


And here’s one about “kotowaza” (wise sayings/proverbs):  Spring Trips / C’est la Soul Sonic Boogie.   And here are Five Favorite Post from 2011.


One more:  this one’s just a couple months old, but it surprisingly didn’t get as many “hits” and looks and so forth that I thought it would, and deserved:  “Regain, Chibi Maruko-chan and (in retrospect) Simpler Times.”   If you don’t check out the Regain and other vids (one of them below), you’re really missing out.


I’ll do this again from time to time, bring forward former, fun posts.  Enjoy.




Over the past several months, since I began self-publishing some of my short stories, I’ve received some encouraging responses from both long time friends and  (former)  strangers.  Some have commented at the end of the stories, some of my “Facebook Friends” have written complimentary things through that conduit and a few people have just sent nice emails.  Thank you.  Currently, several more stories are “in the works”.  I plan on beginning to post those over coming weeks.  And still more are “in development”, as they say.  Stay tuned.

Anyway, I thought I’d pause and run through the list (see atop this Front Page) and give a line or two synopsis of each story, for those who either haven’t even thought to check them out, or for anyone who wants to know what they’re all about before diving into any of them.

Along the Sea of Japan


Estuko,my short epic.  A love triangle/quadrangle that plays out over the course of a year, from rural Japan to Deep South America, and eventually reverberates though almost two decades.  Obligation: a conversation between me and a Japanese Teacher-of-English about the word “Obligation” (or, “Duty”), its use on a nationally broadcast radio program the night before, and how an otherwise culturally pitch-perfect American expat mortified listeners throughout Japan (or made them die laughing, whichever may be the case).  Sparkle of Your China (actually, this story’s named “Delegation”, but I like linking via “Sparkle of Your China”) —  A small group of “local delegates” from Alabama learn some of the business, cultural and political ropes over the course of several days in Northern China.  Canadians Do Kobe, wherein my Cunuck friend, Lois, and one of her friends from “back home” enjoy Kobe.  The story ends with a couple of twists, and pretty much fails to answer the question:  “How do you apologize to someone for something you dare not discuss with or admit to them?”  If that sounds confusing, just read it and you’ll understand.  India Brain Gametells of my serial misadventures in an attempt to meet a prominent neuroscientist on behalf of a client.  From masala chai on the side of the road, to armed guards, to botched translations (entirely my fault, of course, as I’m on their “home turf”), to Hindware.

In the small town of Iwai-cho, an hour or so outside of Kyoto.


A Night in Kyoto—  I and someone I used to know savor a low-key night on the town.  We eat, drink, argue, laugh and love against the backdrop of beautiful and ever-quirky Kyoto.  Enlightenment,  wherein I’m invited to meditate with several of “the guys” at my neighborhood Temple.

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Please feel free to stop by my Photo Galleries, too, also accessible by just clicking the gallery link atop this page.  As a an invitation and for your information, I should also mention that if you go to the bottom of this page you’ll see where you can click a tab for “Older Entries”, which go back to this previous autumn, summer and late spring of ’09, when I started-up this whole thing.  Enjoy.

Kinosaki Onsen.  Autumn 2001.

どうぞごゆっくり . . .

Small Group Trip to Kyoto (April ’10)

This will be a brief post.  Just wanting to make a couple of announcements regarding our Spring ’10 trip(s).

* Our week-long trip to Kyoto is still on and I thank all who’ve signed-up, tentatively signed-up and/or who’ve expressed interest.  We’re going to have a blast.

* I’ve extended the deposit deadline a month, to NOVEMBER 16.   Please see the link atop this Front Page for trip details, itinerary, etc.

* I’ve made a command decision and nixed the more ambitious, 2-week, traveling all over the Kansai area of Japan trip . . .  for this year.  This was the one that included Kyoto, Himeji, Kinosaki, etc.  There was definitely interest, but we’ll put that off till next fall or the next spring, o.k.?

UPDATE: Please see new gallery:  “Fushimi Inari”, either by clicking this link, or at the top of this Home Page.

"Torii Tunnel" at Fushimi Inari.  2008.

"Torii Tunnel" at Fushimi Inari. 2008.


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at:

Stone Buddha at Kurodani Temple, Okazaki District, Kyoto.  2007.

Stone Buddha at Kurodani Temple, Okazaki District, Kyoto. 2007.


Wedding Photos.  Niomon Street.  Kyoto.  2007.

Wedding Photos. Niomon Street. Kyoto. 2007.