Saturday, April 29, 2006
So... I am off today to Shikoku (the smallest of Japan's four main islands). First a ferry trip and them driving for 5 days. So I will see you all soon and share lots of photos and memories. I hope you are also planning some fun and relaxation at this time of year.
PS Bring on the blue skies!
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Monday, April 24, 2006
Sunday, April 23, 2006
I bought the following button in Hiroshima. It was pretty expensive but I fell in love with it. What do you think?
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Note : a Japanese man told me Japanese people and foreign people have different ears. He said that insect noises are just that, noise to us, but the sounds of lovely nature to Japanese. I didn't agree with him but I laughed just the same. He went on to explain how Japanese are at one with nature.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Beautiful in pink. This flower was in my favourite place to visit for cherry blossom, the gardens of the Heian Jingu (shrine) in Kyoto. Who would have known that such an amazing garden would be tucked away from sight?
For Mum. Such little secret delights wherever you search. Keep your eyes open and you never know what you will spot. This pretty little flower was growing amongst the moss at Ginkakuji (the Silver Pavilion).
Himeji castle was originally built around 1346 and is considered perhaps the oldest, most famous castle in Japan. I have seen a lot of castles in my time here but this one was definitely the most impressive. Lots of other castles were destroyed by fire or actually dismantled, most of Himeji castle is still original. None of the concrete you see at other castles. You can walk through the inside of the building and again, that is impressive. The size of the wood beams supporting the structure is unbelievable.
I advise everyone to visit if you get the chance. It is about an hour by train from Osaka. Just be careful that you catch the special rapid service or it will take you a lot lot longer (we know what this is like!).
There are holes or windows throughout the castle compound. They are for defensive purposes. Shooting arrows or pouring boiling oil on your enemy. They are really quite interesting and kind of pretty. This lot reminded me of a childhood program, Play School. On the show, they asked the audience to choose a window for the daily story. The round, triangle, rectangle or square window? I always chose the round window!
I thought this lantern was interesting. Notice the main part is actually made of wood. Inside that part is where you light a candle. Lucky the lantern is only lit twice a year.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
In 1598, Toyotomi Hideyoshi organised a cherry blossom viewing party. He was the Daimyo of Japan at that time. In the years leading up to 1598, he had done a lot of work at daigo-ji ad he came to love the cherry filled gardens. He died at the end of 1598.
The parade we saw was a reenactment of the parade 400 years ago. It was fantastic even though we had to fight and jostle for our front row spots. We had waited over 1.5 hours for those key positions.
We headed off to the world heritage site of Daigo-ji for a famous cherry blossom parade (more about that later). Anywhere there is a parade or festival, you can sample some of the delights of the area. This guy is making a kind of biscuit with nutty beans. They were actually delicious!
Friday, April 14, 2006
Omikuji is to be found at every shrine and temple throughout Japan. I think it is found at both - definitely at shrines! I would have to say that 99% of these fortunes are in Japanese, in the tourist capitals of Kyoto and Nara you can occasionally find English omikuji. You will notice in the first photo that you can also find Korean and Chinese translations. The process is, pay your money, read the fortune and tie it to a provided frame or any available tree. They are quite pretty when found in abundance. I was lucky in Nara to get a good fortune!
Click on he photo and you may actually be able to read my fortune!
I LOVE this sign. It was placed at the beginning of a pond crossing. To cross the pond, you had to leap from one large stone to the next. What fun. Wished my Dad had been there actually. Oh and I was careful of my footing sufficiently and didn't fall in. Lucky!
Hmmm. A new found delicious treat. I think it is essentially a fish cake of some kind and at Miyajima, you can buy many different kinds including Ass parabacon. I actually bought this kind and thought it had just the right amount of ass in it. Incidentally, the sign behind isn't advertising a single octopus but octopus flavour!
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
That has to be the longest I have ever gone without blogging. That is unless I left Japan.
I had my aunt come and visit for 2 weeks and we have been crazy busy (I have taken about 700 film photos!)
We looked around Yamaguchi, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Himeji.
Back to school tomorrow. Time to relax and sort out my head.
proper blogging soon - I promise.