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Archive for January 2010


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kiyomizu4Third and last stop of my guided bus tour, Kiyomizu-dera was by far the favorite among the Japanese with whom I was traveling with. It is more tourist-friendly and prettier photo-wise, but all in all I thought that both Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji offer a more unique experience. Kiyomizu-dera reminded me of Asakusa in the sense of a religious location turned into a tourist attraction. Link to a quick 8-picture slideshow.


Written by rti9

January 14, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Posted in japan

Gold and Silver

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gbirdsbirdThis post begins a series of photos taken from a short cultural trip to Kyoto and Nara that was programmed thanks to my aunt Masako who kindly hosted the worst guest ever (me) for a month.

I rented a room at a cheap but very comfortable hotel at Kyoto. To get there, I traveled by night bus which is cheap and bearable, but avoid holidays (maybe weekends too). The trip is long and if the bus is packed, you won’t be able to move much, especially if you are at the window seat.

Arriving at the station, I quickly stored my luggage at a coin locker, ate a sandwich at the nearest convenience store, and started to look for guided tours. You can’t waste time here. Analyze your options as quick as you can and make a choice. I bought a ticket for a half day tour that took me to Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji, and Kiyomizu Temple. The two photos above are of the ornaments found on top of Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji. I have an inverted version of the one on the right in case someone wanted to see a bit more detailed view.


Wikipedia entries to Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji. According to the latter, this is why Ginkaku-ji isn’t covered in silver: “During the Ōnin War, construction was halted. Despite Yoshimasa’s intention to cover the structure with a distinctive silver-foil overlay, this work was delayed for so long that the plans were never realized before Yoshimasa’s death. The present appearance of the structure is understood to be the same as when Yoshimasa himself last saw it. This “unfinished” appearance illustrates one of the aspects of ‘wabi-sabi’ quality.”

You can’t enter neither of the temples. Both are historic monuments. Ginkaku-ji was under restoration process as can be seen in the photo to the left.

The surroundings of both zen buddhist temples are probably what impressed me the most. Looking at my pictures of the gardens, ponds, etc. individually does not make justice to the real deal. It must have been an amazing experience living in a place like this.

Written by rti9

January 13, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Posted in japan

Meiji Jingu Shrine

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japaneseweddingOne of the many weddings that were taking place at Meiji Jingu. From Wikipedia: “Built in commemoration of Emperor Meiji in 1920, this is Tokyo’s grandest shrine. Like all of Japan’s major shrines, it’s large in scale but simple in structure, entered via a winding path and through a giant torii gate. On summer weekends you have a very good chance of catching a Japanese wedding in progress here; the shrine is also packed on New Year’s Eve when people come here to celebrate the new year.” Packed with tourists, the people marrying here must feel like movie stars.

chrisanthemumChrysanthemums are the emblem of the Japanese royal family. You can see them at the imperial seal and at the country’s highest order.

thecrowThe shrine is very near Takeshita Dori, a crowded street filled with fashion-related stores. Right in the middle of the clash between the old and the new, a crow was calling more attention from the pedestrians than the colorful youth. I wonder if he is always there.

Written by rti9

January 12, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Posted in japan

Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl

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Casablanca poster seen on Yawara’s second opening. “Ame ni Kissu no Hanataba o” (雨にキッスの花束を) translates to Bouquet of Kisses in the Rain. Sung by Imai Miki (今井美樹), this is one of my all-time favorite opening songs.

From ANN: “Distributed in Japan as Ranma 1/2’s sister show, Yawara was significantly more popular in Japan. Despite being more popular in Japan, it was not licensed in North America until over a decade later.

Another interesting fact, now from Wikipedia: “Yawara! was very popular in Japan, so when real life Japanese teenager Ryoko Tamura won a silver medal for judo at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, she was seen as a real-life ‘Yawara’ (her age, stature, and ability all being strikingly similar to those of the fictional character) and promptly nicknamed “Yawara-chan”. She was still known by this name eight years later, indicating perhaps the enduring popular recognition of the series as well as that of Ryoko Tamura herself.

Gone with the Wind… mural (?) seen on Yawara’s first opening.

Written by rti9

January 10, 2010 at 12:47 am

Posted in anime, posters in anime


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A long time ago, I wrote about Gerotan, a peculiar character that appeared in Cromartie High School and Sexy Commando Gaiden: Sugoiyo! Masaru-san. While watching Animation Runner Kuromi 2 today, I had no memory of him making a quick appearance on this anime. Lucky for me since I finally discovered his origin.

According to the image above, Gerotan was created by Sakurai Hiroaki (桜井弘明). He worked as assistant director in Sexy Commando, key animator in Kuromi 2, and he was Cromartie’s director. His wikipedia page says that Gerotan had his own web animation which debuted in 2002 (sources needed though).

Written by rti9

January 9, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Posted in anime

Yoyogi Park

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autumninyoyogi2 Yoyogi Park is located at Shibuya, one of the busiest shopping districts in Japan right beside Shinjuku. Great place to relax. Strolling around I got to see many interesting things like a lonely trumpet player, an enthusiastic dance group rehearsal, and a fun drama group practicing in front of a camera.

autumninyoyogiThe park is very charming during autumn.

dogpark1One thing that called my attention was the enormous amount of dogs. Yoyogi park must be one of the favorite spots for dog owners because there is a huge area reserved for them. There, you are allowed to set them free from their leashes. A few more photos here, here, and here.

Written by rti9

January 8, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Posted in japan

Tsukiji Market

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Located at Ginza, near one of the most expensive shopping streets of the world, the Tsukiji Fish Market is probably overlooked by many tourists. If you plan on traveling to Tokyo, don’t commit that mistake. Very aware of the potential as a major visiting spot, visitors are free to roam most of the market and take pictures as long as you don’t interfere with the business being done there. Very clean and very organized, everyone at the market seems to be busy all the time.

While strolling around, I noticed a large gathering of people on a corner. Curious about the crowd, I noticed that they didn’t work at the market. They were all gathered in lines, waiting their turn to enter some of the several sushi restaurants situated inside or nearby the market. Fresh sushi straight from the ocean doesn’t come cheap, but it’s worth it (at least once in your lifetime).

Written by rti9

January 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Posted in japan