Archive for 28 May, 2012

POTW: 28 May Mist and bridge over a river

I was recently reminded of this image. It’s actually an ugly bridge painted in a dreadful pastel green. It’s typical of modern Japan in architectural utilitarian style. A building needs walls and water proofing, and so it gets plain painted concrete. People need to get from one side of the river to the other, so a thoroughfare that can withstand typhoons is constructed, and here it is… This image, and others like it, are available on my PhotoShelter portfolio.

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POTW: 21 May Solar Eclipse

OF COURSE! This Photo of the Week is of the annular (solar) eclipse that swept across the Kansai, Tokai, and Tokyo regions of Japan starting from about 6.30am, the ring of fire seen at 7.30, and ending when everyone lost interest (mostly 5mins later). We almost missed the event because of the threat of cloud and rain, hence the drama in the shot. This is the first solar eclipse seen from Nagoya City (in central Japan) in 932 years. Wikipedia, being very American centric, has (so far) cursory information on the annular eclipse that occurred on the 21st May: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_May_20,_2012 More photos are of course at the PhotoShelter portfolio.

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POTW 14th May: Kyoto store

This Photo of the Week is a simple one, but I really like it. A guy in a traditional store in Gion Kyoto adding more items to display. It’s more in the tourist area than the Geisha area, but it’s still Gion. Many shop keepers in Japan choose to wear these kinds if clothes, so I don’t regard it a costume for the benefit of tourists. This image, and more like it, are available at my agent’s website Asia Photo Connection / Henry Westheim.

A store keeper replenishing his snack displays in Gion, Kyoto.

A store keeper replenishing his snack displays in Gion, Kyoto.

 

 

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POTW: 7th May Tado Horse Festival

This Photo of the Week is from the Tado Horse Festival. I’ve written about this before, but the summary is that the event is hundreds of years old, and if the horse gets over a mound of earth atop a hill then there will be a good rice harvest later in the year. Following the festival the local farmers can begin to plant their rice. And there’s always a catch, the horse, rider, and the hill all have to be appropriately inebriated with sake. More details can be found in previous posts, and this time I provide more info than what is on Wikipedia/Tado_Festival. See the Tado Horse Festival gallery for more images.

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The Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival

Aka: Yosakoi Yume Matsuri. I’m not sure what Yosakoi means, it’s perhaps a local Nagoya word. It’s a mini version of the Nagoya Dance Festival (‘domatsuri’) held in September each year. The only thing that makes this stand out is that one of the dance teams wore a kimono costume that featured a waratah (pictured below), an Australian flower, and so I thought I should blog this, more to the benefit of the Japan-Australia blog (hi John).

Participants in the Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival (Yosakoi Yume Matsuri) at Nagoya Port.

Participants in the Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival (Yosakoi Yume Matsuri) at Nagoya Port.

Participants in the Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival (Yosakoi Yume Matsuri) at Nagoya Port.

Participants in the Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival (Yosakoi Yume Matsuri) at Nagoya Port.

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Tado Horse Festival

The basics:

A drunken rider takes a drunken horse up a drunken hill. If they make it up and over a mound, then this heralds a good rice harvest later in the year. After the event the local farmers can begin planting their rice. About 120,000 people annually go to see this event, which dates back hundreds of years (I don’t know how many, I’m afraid). Local animal rights groups complain about the event and the stress it causes to the horses, and the participation of school-aged teenagers as well. The event has changed some features, including lowering the height of the mound / obstacle on top of the hill, and reducing the amount of alcohol the horses (and riders) are given. I’m not sure of the details, but it seems that this year the main change was the quantity of alcohol, but the mound seems be about the same as usual (though last years was low). Images will be added to this Tado Horse Festival portfolio in the coming days.

The mound atop the hill is broken to make it easier for the horse to get over.

A horse running up to the mound. The horse gets about a 100 meter run up.

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Yoro

Yoro is a great day hiking destination especially in the intermediate seasons like spring and autumn. It’s located in the mountains where it’s nice and cool. To get there, one must take the Kintetsu train (from Nagoya), and change at Kintetsu Kuwana. Then take the yellow train of the Yoro Tetsudo company, which is probably on the same platform, but different track to the train you get off of. Then check with the station guard and maps on how to get to Yoro Park. Find your way to and through the car parks and follow the crowd.

Hiking paths at Yoro are unfortunately asphalted, and so there’s no chance of getting lost or falling down an abandoned gold mine, but you need to watch out for the occasional car. However, there are some short sections that a treacherous for those adventuring in high heels, but thankfully the wilderness sections short. The main attraction of Yoro is the water fall and its water. The water fall is nice to reach, but nothing special to photograph. Local legend is that the water can make you look and feel younger (Wikipedia). The local water is sold sugared, fizzed, and bottled, or just still.

Photos should soon be available on the Asia Photo Connection website.

Local water sold at a popular day hike destination in central Japan, Yoro Park, Mie.

Local water sold at a popular day hike destination in central Japan, Yoro Park, Mie.

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