Month: Last updated Jun 24, 2017

Odd sights in a Japanese Graveyard

These graves are all from the Ushiku Joen, the cemetery around the Ushiku Daibutsu. As far as I know, “One Piece” is a manga about pirates and has nothing to do with volleyball. If anyone has an explanation for this, put it in the comments, please. An English tombstone tells the world that you’re international, even in death. The hollow section are where the ashes go. In case you can’t see them clearly, the white sticks are ski poles. It says: Let’s go for a walk – anytime. I assume this is meant to be an inspirational quote rather than a cynical view of inheritances. 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...

Read More

Chiba Oyako Sandai Summer Festival

I’ve gone to photograph quite a few of Tokyo’s most famous festivals over the last couple of years, and although they were great, there were times when the huge crowds made them less enjoyable, so this year I decided to go and see some of the more minor ones. I find that they’re often quite similar to the bigger, more famous ones, just on a slightly smaller scale, and with much smaller crowds. If you want to get decent photos of an event like the Samba Carnival in Asakusa, you really need to get a spot a couple of hours early, but at events like Chiba’s Oyako Sandai Natsu Matsuri, you can pretty much just show up. In the afternoon, there’s a parade with an awa odori (traditional folk dance), marching bands, and samurai re-enactors. Next is a demonstration of acrobatic tricks that Edo Period fire fighters used to signal wind direction and the progress of a fire. (See this post for more information.) There’s also taiko drumming. And incredibly cheesey enka singers. There are also mikoshi and a big awa odori dance procession in the evening. The festival is held on the third Sunday in August every year in and around Chiba Koen Park. It’s held from 11:00 to 8:00. To get there, take the JR Sobu Line to Chiba Station. It’s seven minutes’ walk from the station....

Read More

Park Rehearsals

A couple of weekends ago, a TV crew from a Singaporean production company asked me if they could interview me for a documentary about love hotels. It was hard to find a good spot, and they finally decided on Yoyogi Park. Unfortunately, during the interview, we were interrupted several times by a didgeridoo player, a tap dancer, and various other people. I had never really noticed how many people there are practicing things in the park before, so I took a walk around and see what other kinds of rehearsals I could find. There were thespians. Ballroom dancers. I have no idea what this thing is, but the music sure was beautiful. If you know, answers in the comments, please. Shamisen players. “Not ‘Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man’  again!” More thespians. Dancers. Pipers. Jugglers. Tight rope walkers. Beginning cyclists. Trombonists. 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...

Read More

Beautiful Walks in the Nara Countryside

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, but I think I have a pretty good excuse – my wife gave birth on Monday night. I’ve been in her hometown in Nara Prefecture, and I have to say, it’s been about the best week of my life. I was staying at her parent’s house, and every morning I’d walk about 25 minutes to the hospital to visit my wife and new son. I can’t describe what a wonderful feeling it was to walk under the blue skies past these amazing old houses and rice fields on the way to spend the day with my wife and new baby. This is the little guy I was going to see, my new son Matthew. 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...

Read More

Anti-yakuza Blimp

It says boryoku tsuihou (ban organized crime). This photo was kindly submitted by “Henry.” 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...

Read More