Month: Last updated Jun 24, 2017

Graffiti Birdman

Graffiti on a building in Osaka’s youthful Ame-mura district. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

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Compact Amusement Park

Japan is, of course, famous for its efficient use of space, but it never ceases to amaze me how much entertainment the tiny Tokyo Dome City Attractions (formerly Korakuen)  manages to crowd into such a tiny plot of land. It’s got a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, drop tower, water ride, and much, much more. Admission is free. They have an English website at: http://www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/e/attractions/ Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

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Setsubun, the Bean Throwing Festival

Japan has a lot of odd festivals. There are memorial services for worn-out pins, penis festivals, and ceremonial fish cuttings, but for pure “Idontgetitness,” I’d have to say that Setsubun is the grand champion. People walk around their houses shouting “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi” (Devils out! Good luck in) and throw beans, which are meant to scare the devils. I understand how a long time ago pins and needles were valuable possessions and a person might want to say goodbye to some sewing equipment they had used for a long time, or that it’s okay to continue with a penis festival because it now serves to promote awareness of STDS, but I just can’t imagine otherwise rational human beings throwing beans and shouting at imaginary devils. Anyway, the festival is pretty interesting to see, and is held on February 3 every year (unfortunately, this year it’s on a Tuesday). There are events at many of the major temples in Tokyo, but the most interesting one is probably Zozoji in Minato Ward, because a lot of celebrities come to throw beans to the people. This photo is of the festivities as Asakusa’s Sensoji, which gets only the most minor celebrities. For more information, check out: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/entertainment/festivals.html (English) http://matsuri.enjoytokyo.jp/setsubun/event.html (Much better, but in Japanese only) Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter...

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Falconry Demonstration at Hamarikyu Teien Gardens

The Hamarikyu Teien is one of Tokyo’s nicer parks, and has traditional Japanese street performers and displays of falconry every day. Every year at New Year’s, however, they have a bigger demonstration of falconry that is much bigger than the daily demonstration. Unless I’m mistaken, this is an owl rather than a hawk. The birds wear these hoods to keep them from getting overstimulated and getting nervous. Traditional falconry outfit. The members of the falconry club seemed like real bird lovers. They paid great attention to their hawks, and obviously took very good care of them. That’s why it was so surprising when, at the end of the demonstration, they released a pigeon and let a hawk take it down. The pigeon was not killed, but it did seem unnecessarily cruel. I quite enjoyed it up until this point, but I’m not sure I’d go again. There’s more information about Takagiri, the Japanese art of falconry here. The group that puts on the demonstrations, the Suwa Falconry Preservation Society has a homepage at: http://www.falconers-hermitage.com/index.html The demonstration is held on the first weekend in January every year. Check the Japan Times Festival page for more information. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click...

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Jizo Statue in Okuno-in Cemetery

Jizo statue in Okunoin cemetary on Wakayama prefecture’s Mt. Koya Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

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