Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Mikoshi (also know as omikoshi when the honorific “o” is added) or Portable shrines are used on shrine’s festivals to take the god of the local shrine around the neighborhood. The size varies from the small ones, about 50kg, carried by the childrens on the early days of the festivals, to the very large ones, of over one ton, used by the very old shrines.
The shrine festival and the omikoshi parade are one of the most looked forward festivals on neighborhoods. Everybody dress up on “happy coats” decorated with the neighbordhood emblem, organizers are happy to lend them if you register in advance to carry the mikoshi.
The Omikoshi is paraded around the neighborhood, bouncing it in coordination to the music and participants cheers, a different cheer is used in each area of japan. I personally prefer to join the smaller shrines festivals where you can actually participate as oppose to the most famous and bigger shrines where is difficult to join the action.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Nezu shrine in Bunkyo Tokyo, celebrates the Azalea festival in late April early May.
Dates change every year to go with the blooming of the Azaleas; weekends are extremely busy during the festival as the shrine receives a very large number of visitors.
Nezu shrine is said to have been established over 1900 years ago. Tsunayoshi Tokugawa built the structures standing today in 1705, accordingly the main hall, the worship hall, the offering hall and the bronze lanterns have been designated as important cultural properties, being the oldest original constructions in Tokyo.
The Roumon (tower gate), the karamon, the west gate and the wall are also designated important cultural properties.
At the same premises, at the west, the Otome inari and the komagome inari are dedicated to the godess of rice inari, with their colorful tori gates.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Lazona is a popular shopping mall in Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture. The mall opened in 2006 and is located next to the Kawasaki station west exit.
The name is a combination of the words, Lazo (lasso) and Zona (region), the roof was designed by the Spanish architect Ricardo Biofill the plaza is very distinctive as it gives the impression of ground floor despite being a second level.
The large number of stores at Lazona, currently over 280, is with no doubt one of the reasons of the popularity, additionally one of the two IMAX theaters in Japan is located there (the other is located in Saitama, a no so short trip from Tokyo).
The place is always full of customers, especially on weekends.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Japan celebrated the children’s day last May 5th. This day is to celebrate only the boys as girls are celebrated on doll’s day.
Similar to doll’s day, families with boys decorate the house with a Japanese warrior helmet, and lately with the full Japanese warrior armor. Additionally Koi nobori flags are raised on that week, symbols of a strong and healthy boys. The three Koi (carp) represent the Father, the mother and the boy.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Japan is celebrating the “golden week”, a very long holiday weekend. Most of people take extra days off at work to make it a weeklong holiday.
Most of the people in Tokyo goes out of town to visit their hometown, congesting the already busy highways. I personally avoid going out on this holiday as I have bad memories of being trapped in traffic for hours and hours.
As the weather has been good everyday during the holiday, sunny and warm, I headed to the pond at a nerby park to cool off the heat and relax.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
One of the most impressive buildings is the Main entrance hall and lobby of the famous Imperial hotel. Constructed in 1923, the hotel was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright one of the greatest architect of the twentieth century.
Inside the reconstructed lobby, there is the table used to sign the Treaty of Portsmouth an a cafeteria with live music
The Miyasu Court district from the Kyoto prefecture (1886), wax figures recreate a court scene of that era.
The cabinet library, formerly at Chiyoda ku Tokyo (1911), This library was used as the central library of the Meiji government.
The Bank of Kawasaki formely at Nihonbashi Tokyo (1927). The building was part of the old center of Japan.
The Shinohashi bridge, formely at Koto ku Tokyo, over Sumida River (1912). During the kanto earthquake in 1923, many lives were saved when the other bridges were destroyed and this bridge was used as scape route.
Main gate of the Kanazawa prision formely at Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture (1907).
The St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, formely at Chukyoku in Kyoto (1890). The cathedral was built commemorate the missionary, it is used now to perform wedding ceremonies.
Kurehaza theater, an “Important Cultural Property” formerly at Nishihonmachi ikeda, Osaka prefecture (1892), the theater is currently used for performances.
Summer house of Lafcadio Hearn, formely at Jounokoshi, Yaizu, Shizuoka prefecture (1868), and the Kinotocho barber shop (1910), formely at Bunkyo ku tokyo.
The Ujiyama Post office “Important Cultural Property”, formerly at Ise Mie prefecture (1909), the post office is still in operation and you can send postcards from this place.
The Machinary hall, Formerly at Oimachi, Shinagawa in Tokyo (1872). At this building there is also the Ring Spinning frame “Important Cultural Property” (1983), the last machine used in the cotton spinning process.
Between the buildings from overseas, the most outstanding are the Japanese evangelical church, formerly in Seattle, Washington (1907), and the Japanese Immigrants’ assembly hall from Hilo, Hawaii (1889), both used by the Japanese immigrants of the era.
Mused Gymnasium for martial Arts, Fourth national High school. Originally at Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture (1917).