Monday, June 30, 2008

day 182 - Shirahama

Sakino-yu Onsen is one of the oldest hot spring resorts in Japan and - sited on a spectacular rocky outcrop - one of the most beautiful. We both enjoyed luxuriating while enjoying the unspoilt view of the Pacific from a naked Japanese perspective (although we had a separating wall, so there was no opportunity for funny-business.) This shot was taken from the top of the Underwater Observatory Tower. You can try zooming in on the Japanese guy, but you won't see much. [hint: use the toolbar!]

'Lyn Swims in June...'
OK, so this is no big deal for you Northern-Hemisphere-types, but it's a novelty for us Antipodean aliens.

'Geta on Shirarahama Beach.'
(Geta courtesy Hotel Shirahamakan. Sand courtesy of Australian coast.)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

day 181 - overnight in a Buddhist monastery

Okuno-in is a cemetery like no other. We walked the 2 km length of this memorial inside a forest of giant cypresses to see just some of the 200 000 tombs and monuments to the spirits of the dead. Not just humans, but everyone from termites to dogs. Some of the saddest were to children, including the unborn. Miniature jizo are often dressed in children's clothes as a tribute.

Konpon Daito.
The Great Stupa is a 3D mandala representing the complexity of Shingon Buddhist teachings. The first structure built here was in 837 CE. This version of the almost 50m stupa was completed in 1937.

Lyn has given me some great birthday surprises before, but this one takes the cake!
She organised a mystery weekend - one day in the beautiful beach resort of Shirahama & the next overnight in Shojoshinin, an astounding 1200 year old Buddhist monastery in Koyasan (Wakayama.) More details during the week...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

day 180 - synchronicity 3

"Megane Megalomaniac" or "Making a Spectacle of Herself."
Otemae, Himeji.
I swear I did not set this up. I was riding my bike downtown and someone must have found the glasses and decided to improve the naked woman. Perfect!

Friday, June 27, 2008

day 179 - synchronicity 2

Intruder in Kiddiland!

Otemae, Himeji

Thursday, June 26, 2008

day 178 - synchronicity

Sometimes you're just in the right place at the right time....

The Rikishi and the Cell Phone.
Umeda, Osaka.

* Happy Birthday to me! Thanks to all for the emails! - rob

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

day 177 - uniformity

Graduation 1

Graduation 2

The Red Line.
Sanyo Chugako

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

day 176 - Difference


Monday, June 23, 2008

day 175 - Uniformity

"Inside Slippers."
Ryokan, Tsuwano

Sunday, June 22, 2008

day 174 - yukata matsuri

Young Lyn & Old Pine, Ko-koen.

Rob, Lyn & Chiaki at Ko-koen.

Sue, Lyn & Rob at Ko-koen.

A group of kids ready for any weather...

Himeji's Yukata (Summer Kimono) Festival today and it rained on our parade. But being warm and humid, we all still had a great time.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

day 173 - torii, torii, torii!

One final look at the amazing Fushimi-Inari-Taisha...

Baby Inari

Votives 4 Sale.

There Are Many Paths to True Enlightenment.

Sugi Framed by Torii.

Giant Mossy Sugi.

Friday, June 20, 2008

day 172 - Fushimi-Inari 2 (but that's another torii...)

The fox was - and is - considered to be the messenger of  Inari, the god of cereals, notably rice. The cylinder in the mouth is the key to the rice granary. So foxes are sacred and able to possess humans (often entering through the finger nails). The foxes are also referred to as Inari and there are countless statues of them, augmented daily by thousands of miniatures which are left as offerings. (See Tsuwano.) 
Walking through the undisturbed sugi and bamboo forest you can easily forget that the hill is surrounded by the city of Kyoto and environs - until you reach the top and see the burbs below... 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

day 172 - Fushimi-Inari (1)

There are supposedly 40,000 shrines to Inari in Japan, but this one, Fushimi-Inari-Taisha is the Mother of All Inari Shrines. First dedicated in the 700s (yes, 1300 years ago), it now consists of 5 distinct large shrines - and countless small ones - scattered over a hill with over 4 km of connecting paths. Most of the time you're walking through thousands of vermillion 
torii which are so close together they form a tunnel...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

day 171 - Kyoto, still

Maiko in the Shadows.
(Gion District)

Fans, Utamaro and Hello Kitty.
(Nijo-jo gift shop)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

day 170 - Shinsenen

All that remains of the great palace is this small garden and its water...

Pigeon Contemplating The Transient Nature of Human Achievements

Kame (turtle) Shrine.

The real thing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

day 169 - Nijo-jo

Pinebark and Stone.

Heron, Nijo-jo.

Nijo Castle (1603), Kyoto.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

day 168 - kyoto station in marble

We went to Kyoto for the weekend. Two shots I especially like are these images of the JR Station roof reflected in its black marble walls.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

day 167 - rokko island (the sequel)

Rokko Island is a totally artificial island constructed from 73-92. It was one of the worst-affected areas in the Hanshin earthquake. Totally reconstructed, it's home for affluent apartments, shops, hotels and conventions centres & a favourite hang-out for the gaijin.

What a cool sculpture. Does anyone know who did it?

You can meet all kinds of interesting people on the monorail!

Friday, June 13, 2008

day 166 - rokko island, kobe

Building blocks.

Monorail, monorail, monorail...

Yet another UFO...
Rokko Island.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

day 165 - random kobe

Mr Middle-Aged Japan. (I think Lyn was attracted to this guy because of his uncanny resemblance to me...)

Nunchucks'R'Us!   (Chinatown)

Hello Kitty guitar!