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Japanese Firefighters Ceremony

5 Jan

Every year in January there are 出初式 (Japanese New Years Firefighters Ceremonies) around Japan.

Every January 6th, the 「東京消防出初式」 (“Tokyo Fire Department’s New Year Ceremony“) is held. Today is 2016 January 5th, so it will be held tomorrow.

I have been to this (and a few other Japanese Firefighter Ceremonies). Click here to see my post (with photos) about it.

The 「横浜消防出初式」 (“Yokohama Fire Department’s New Year Ceremony“) is on the second Sunday of January every year…so it will be held on January 10th this year.

If you’re unable to attend one of those festivals this month, there is a similar one in the Asakusa area of Tokyo in May every year.
It’s not as grand as the New Year’s ceremonies. And it’s actually a memorial ceremony for fallen firefighters.
It’s called the 江戸消防慰霊祭 (Edo Firefighters Memorial Ceremony).

I watched this ceremony a couple times. Click here to see photos I took of it almost six years ago. (There are also photos of the Tokyo Sky Tree under construction in that post because it’s near where the ceremony is held, and it was being being at that time).

Here are some videos of last year’s 「横浜消防出初式」 (“Yokohama Fire Department’s New Year Ceremony“):

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Kamakura at night

1 Dec

Yesterday we drove to 鎌倉 (Kamakura, Japan). We have been there many times but it had been awhile since we went there by car.

I drove there because we wanted to see the autumn illumination (light-up) at the famous, beautiful 長谷寺 (Hase-dera Temple).
At certain times of the year, the temple is lit up and it looks even more spectacular than usual.

During our drive there and back, we could see Tokyo Tower, a beautiful sunset over Tokyo Bay and a clear view of Mt. Fuji.

So many beautiful scenes! Here are some of our photos:

Night Zoo

11 Aug

One week in August, Ueno Zoo in Tokyo has a “Night Zoo” event. We went to it yesterday. We’ve been to it before too (click here to see my post about it in 2011).

Before we went to the zoo, we stopped for lunch at 東京駅 (Tokyo Station):

An 「駅弁」 (Train station “bento”) shop. Have you ever had a Japanese “bento”?

You can watch them preparing the bento meals.

The 「銀の鈴」 (“Silver Bell”) in Tokyo Station…a popular meeting spot.

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「チキンラーメン」 (“Chicken Ramen”)

The one on the left says 「有休とります」 (“I’m gonna take a holiday”) to give your boss or co-workers. The other says 「ごめんね」 (“I’m sorry”) to give someone as an apology.

The Ultraman Shop’s “manager”.

The less-photographed entrance of 東京駅 (Tokyo Station).

Break time

The popular Japanese cartoon character “Doraemon” in the small children’s mini-amusement park outside Ueno Zoo.

I have many memories of taking my kids to this 「こども遊園地」 (Kids’ Amusement Park) when they were little.

The entrance to Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. We went to the zoo in the afternoon and stayed until the end of the “Night Zoo” event.

We could see the pandas eating, rather than sleeping – as they usually are.

パンダ (Panda)

シンシン (メス) … (“Shin-Shin” the female panda).

リーリー (オス) …. (“Ri-Ri” the male panda).

The polar bear was a highlight for us because it was feeding time when we happened to go to that exhibit…and also, Ueno Zoo has added a new viewing area where we could watch him swim!

Huge ゾウガメ (Giant Tortoise)

コビトカバ (Pygmy Hippo)

Sleeping seals.

The sun was setting and “Night Zoo” began.

 

Narita

16 Feb

The city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture, Japan is usually associated with the international airport that is there.

People not so familiar with Japan may think that Japan’s “Narita International Airport is in Tokyo…but Narita is a part of Chiba, which is near Tokyo.

(There is an international airport in Tokyo…it’s “Haneda International Airport“.)

The airport isn’t the only reason to go to Narita City though.
成田山新勝寺 (Narita-san-Shinsho-ji) is a beautiful famous temple that has many wonderful festivals and events.
The area near the temple has many traditional Japanese shops and restaurants.

Narita is known for ウナギ (freshwater eel). There are a number of restaurants there that serve it…it’s delicious! If you visit Narita, you should try it!

Anyways, it had been awhile since we’ve visited Narita…so we went there yesterday. Here are some photos I took:

Japanese children’s cartoon character “Baikin-man”.

It says that Narita is “a traditional Japanese hospitality town”.

These are “Daruma”…a traditional Japanese ornament most commonly seen at New Year’s time.

 

A 「たこやき」 (Grilled octopus dumplings) stand.

 

The entrance to 「成田山新勝寺」 (“Narita-san-Shinsho-ji”) temple.

 

A lion guard at the entrance to 「成田山新勝寺」 (“Narita-san-Shinsho-ji”) .

 

A 「招き猫」 (Maneki-Neko lucky cat).

 

The 7-Eleven store there has a brown sign to keep with the style of the area.

KISS Treasure Palace & rock photo exhibit

14 Jan

Last month there was a “KISS 秘宝館” (“KISS Treasure Palace“) temporarily in Osaka, Japan before the upcoming KISS Japan Tour 2015.

I wondered why it was only in Osaka. But my friend told me that it’s scheduled to be in Tokyo too.

The “KISS 秘宝館” (KISS Treasure Palace)

The “KISS 秘宝館” (“KISS Treasure Palace“) will be in Tokyo, Japan from Wednesday, February 4th – Sunday, February 8th; open until 5:30PM each day.

The address is:
有楽町朝日ギャラリー
東京都千代田区有楽町2-5-1 有楽町マリオン11階
(Yurakucho Asahi Gallery
Yurakucho, Tokyo 2-5-1 Yurakucho-Marion 11F
)

Admission is free.

And…

there is also an exhibit of rock photographs  in Tokyo by Koh Hasebe of Japan’s “Music Life rock magazine.

KISS on the cover of Japan’s “Music Life” magazine.

This exhibit is also free.

It’s from now until Wednesday, February 11th (a Japanese holiday).

The location is:
“B-Gallery” on the 6th Floor of the “Beams Store”
3-32-6 Shinjuku, Tokyo

A photo of KISS in Japan taken in the late ’70s by photographer Koh Hasebe .

The photographer, Koh Hasebe (l), and original Music Life Editor-in-Chief Kaoruko Togo.

 

Imperial Palace inner grounds

10 Dec

If you have ever visited the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, you most likely have only seen the outer grounds.
That is the area that is normally open to the public. There are only a few days each year that the general public are permitted to enter the inner grounds (and on those days, you must line up and go through a baggage search and pass a metal detector).

Last weekend was one of the rare occasions that the Imperial Palace inner grounds were open to the public.
People were allowed in to view (and photograph) the beautiful autumn colors in the royal gardens.

Last Sunday, my wife and I went there. Here are some of the photographs I took of the inner grounds:

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The staff quarters.

 

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This foundation is the remnants of the original castle from centuries ago. The roof of the famous Nippon-Budokan can be seen in the distance.

 

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The Imperial music hall.

 

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One of the original guards’ quarters

 

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From there, we walked to the 100 year old Tokyo Station for dinner.

 

Autumn Sky Tree

5 Nov

Last weekend we went to the Tokyo Sky Tree.

(We didn’t go inside the tower. I have done that before).

The Sky Tree is illuminated at night in various colors every evening.
When we went it was lit up orange for the start of autumn.

We did go in the adjacent 「空町」 (“Sola-machi“) (lit. “Sky City“) shopping center.

Drinks in a traditional Japanese candy store.

Retro Japanese toys.

Japan’s “Hello Kitty” meets American rock band “KISS”.

From there, we walked to the nearby neighborhood of Asakusa.

「みくじ 百円」 (“Fortunes, ¥100”)