Odds and Ends

The Japan blog posts were running long. Here are some items that need to be added.

All the train stations have restaurants, food shops, and vending machines, for food, water, and soda. I loved the colors and funny names including “Polar Sweat,”  which seemed to be a type of bottled water.  Those machines not just in the stations, either. They’re ubiquitous.

That’s a one-hundred-year-old beam with recessed lighting in the ceiling of the living room of Hiro’s studio in Nara.

Great Buddha

My pictures didn’t capture the image properly, so this is from a postcard I bought at the Todaji Temple gift shop where all the proceeds go to support the temple. (The Buddha’s supposedly ferocious guardians encourage giggles rather than terror.)

This banquet facility near Hiro’s studio had the best of many worlds – at the edge of the park, next to the river, and hard by the main shopping action in Nara. I didn’t have the guts to see whether it was real copper.

On a serious note, there were few signs of abject poverty, but in Kyoto a handful of homeless people were sleeping or sitting on benches or on the lawns. They mostly congregated along the river and on the grounds of the emperor’s palace. At one point I spotted a pile of abandoned belongings – broken umbrella, torn jeans, a dirty hat.

On a lighter note, the use of language revealed the serious cultural divide. Kathryn said she heard someone say, “Fuji-san is being shy today,” meaning fog had enveloped Mount Fuji. And when the concierge was giving directions, she said, ‘You go through the door – oh, but the door is hiding.” It was around a corner. I had to restrain myself from laughing at the image of a door peeking out from behind a wall.

To end on a happy, happy note. Friday November 3 was a holiday in Japan to encourage cultural awareness. Families visited museums and parks, some dressed in traditional garb. The line for the National Museum was never less than thirty minutes with people standing three and four deep. These tykes showed so much patiences as their  family took multiple photographs, which allowed me to snap this one.

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