Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jiyu Gakuen Myonichikan

Jiyugakuen Myonichikan “The house of tomorrow” is the original building complex of Jiyu Gakuen girls’ school in Toshima, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most renowned architects of U.S.. Lloyd Wright fascinated with Japan, set up residence in the country for six years, to supervise the construction of the Imperial Hotel. Busy with this project, he accepted the request to design the school only after hearing the founders’ educational philosophy of free education in at-home atmosphere.
In the 90s after a long battle with the government to save the aging building, the government rewrote its regulations so the building could be used after obtaining the “Important Cultural Property” designation.
Built of wood and plaster, the complex consists of four buildings: the main building at the center, west and east buildings at the sides forming a U-shape, and the Auditorium across the street.

The Lounge Hall in the main building has a big window facing the courtyard. The window frame and crosspieces have a very characteristic Lloyd Wright design. The mural on left wall of the hall discovered after the restoration was painted to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the school, and it is unknown when it was concealed under a thick layer of mortar.

At the back of the main hall, there is the dinning hall, with a beautiful V-shaped pendant light.
A small room between the Lounge and the dinning halls is dedicated to Lloyd Wright, with a display of his most famous designs.

There is a classroom In each of the East and West hall, it is now used for receptions and seminars.

The building was renovated hoping that it will be used for the next 100 years, with its beautiful design I am sure that it surely deserves it.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sponsored illumination at Yurakucho

Yurakucho station in chiyoda ku, has decorated his central plaza for the season. A major renovation is ongoing in the area around the plaza; two new buildings, a flashy new entrance to the subway station, the only thing missing is perhaps a face-lift to the JR station.

Although the sponsorship is made obvious by the sponsor big billboard facing the plaza, nevertheless the illumination gives a festive mood to the area.

The station is next to Ginza, Tokyo station, and the Tokyo International Forum, if you visit any of this spots; take time to stopover the Yurakucho station to appreciate the illumination.

View Yurakucho Station in a larger map

Friday, December 9, 2011

Shinbashi SL Square Illumination

Shinbashi station has decorated the Steam Locomotive (SL), on display at the fittingly named SL square, with a futuristic themed illumination.

The square usually has a nostalgic elegance due to the old locomotive, and by night takes a more futuristic air with the new illumination.

The square is definitively livelier with the illumination and I hope the area office workers, consequently will take the seasonal good feeling, back home with them.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Shibuya Station and center-gai

Shibuya station, never a dull place to visit, has this year opted for a very austere Christmas decoration. Almost no existent if you exclude the decoration on the archs at the entrance of Center gai. 

At the same time, a more natural decoration is provided by the autumn colors, in the trees lining the streets around the station.

A pleasently surprise was the number of people on the streets, minimum by shibuya standards, undoubtedly due to an unexpected morning rain.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tokyo Sky tree update

The Tokyo sky tree reached its full height of 634.0 meters, and is currently on the last stage of the construction, it is scheduled for completion on December 2011, and with the gran opening for spring of 2012.

The four tower cranes used at the top during the construction have been dismantled and a small crane is still being used on top of the first observatory.

Some members of the media have been allowed to ascend to the first observatory, and the view is breathtaking. I cannot wait until next year for the opening.

View Tokyo Sky tree in a larger map

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chrysanthemums festival at Yushima Tenjin

Yushimateijin celebrates the chrysanthemum flower festival every year, around November. The temple grounds fill up with the autumn flower aroma as a large number of arrangements of this flower are on display.

Displays are in two varieties: flower arrangements and theme arrangements.
Flower arrangements are displays based on varieties of the flower.

Theme arrangements have a scene created or decorated with the flower; artisans paint a scene with the chrisantemum flower..

Every year there is a display of mannequins with Kimonos made of the flower. This year the theme of the display is “Gou” a trendy sengoku period soap opera based on the life of the Oeyo, wife of the second Tokugawa Shogun and mother of the third one.

Additionally, many families visit the temple to celebrate the Shichi-go-san, or celebratory temple visit for girls of seven, five, and three years old of age.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chouryu temple in Moriya city.

Chouryuji is an ancient temple in Moriya city Ibaraki Prefecture, founded in 1590. The general Asano Nagamasa stayed at the temple during the conquest of the Odawara castle by Toyotomi Hidayoshi. The general consequently issued a decree, forbidding the soldiers from looting the temple, and thus protecting it.

The temple approach and the esplanade in front of the main hall are lined with ancient cedar trees that gave the temple great range of colors during the autumn.

The temple also has dramatically aged wooden gate and bell tower that give testimony of the temple long history.

The temple is a short walk from the Moriya station on the tsukuba express and is definitely worth of a visit if you are around the area.