Tag Archives: shrine

Wisteria Festival

2 May

Last weekend, we went to a 藤祭り (Wisteria Festival) in Tokyo.
藤 (Wisteria) is a type of flower that is purple and blooms around this time of year.

Here are some photos that I took:

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We also saw the new Tokyo Sky Duck bus.
Here’s a photo that I took of it:2013-04-28 16.17.05

The Tokyo Sky Duck is a new bus service that just started in Tokyo last March.
It gives passengers a tour of Tokyo both by street…and then by river cruise because it’s both a bus and a boat!

Here is a video of the Tokyo Sky Duck bus getting into the river:

Setsubun

3 Feb

Today is February 3rd … in Japan, it’s a holiday called 節分 (Setsubun).

On this day, fathers wear a demon mask and the children throw beans at him and shout 「鬼は外!福は内!」 (“Demon (bad luck) go out! Good fortune come in!”) until he runs away.

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Then everyone eats the number of beans corresponding to their age (one bean for each year of their age).

Also, there is a special sushi people eat on this day.

And, at major temples in Japan, there is a ceremony in which celebrities who were born in the current Chinese zodiac year throw beans at the crowd.

We went to the famous 浅草寺 (Sensouji Temple) in 浅草 (Asakusa, Tokyo) and caught some beans that were thrown by famous people there.  The celebrity that I was most looking forward to seeing was 「アニマル浜口)」 (“Animal” Hamaguchi)!

Animal Hamaguchi was a professional wrestler in Japan and then he became the trainer / coach of his daughter, Kyoko, who was a female wrestler that represented Japan at the Olympics and other games.

Animal Hamaguchi is well-known for his loud, animated and humorous support and cheering of his daughter!
I like him!

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The charismatic “Animal” Hamaguchi throwing beans at the crowd.

Rainy day in Nezu

23 May

It was forecast to rain today but my wife and I decided to go to 根津神社 (Nezu Shrine).

I’ve written posts about this shrine before when we’ve gone there on sunny days and during festivals.

When we left our house the weather was sunny and warm. It was hard to believe that the TV weatherman said it would rain in the afternoon.

At lunchtime the weather was still nice, so we stopped at a convenience store and bought some beer and sandwiches and ate lunch in a park not far from the shrine.

After lunch we headed to 根津神社 (Nezu Shrine) as the sky was turning dark and the temperature began to drop.
It was a good thing that we brought our umbrellas because it began to rain hard as we were leaving the shrine.

Here are the photos that I took:

These turtles were cute…but our turtle is cuter! 😉

I think this bird was a type of 「白鷺」 (Egret).

The torii at the entrance to 根津神社 (Nezu Shrine).

Japanese lamp.

Sign says 「根津神社」 ("Nezu Shrine")

A row of over 150 "torii".

Click here to see my post with a video I took while walking through these.

Tokyo is the perfect hybrid

7 Dec

What is your image of Tokyo?
Ultra-modern and high-tech with robots, computerized bath-tubs and toilet seats, skyscrapers, and neon?
Or ancient with centuries-old temples and shrines in quiet old-fashioned neighborhoods with small restaurants and food booths selling very traditional Japanese food and snacks?

Either way, you’d be correct. Tokyo is a perfect hybrid of both the modern and the traditional, sometimes side-by-side.

I love both aspects of this city. The skyline with the skyscrapers and neon lights looks beautiful…and so are the ancient 下町 (traditional, downtown areas).

Last Sunday my wife and I went to a 下町 (traditional, downtown area).
Here are some photos I took:

A parrot outside of a pet store.

This pagoda is about 400 years old.

 

Have you ever visited Tokyo? How do you think it compares with other cities? I think it’s the most beautiful city.

根津神社

10 May

Just like Mothers Day last year, my wife and I went out and our kids made a Mother Day dinner for my wife.

This year they made pasta, salad and dessert. It was delicious.

While they were making dinner, my wife and I went to 上野 (Ueno) and 根津神社 (Nezu Jinja Shrine).

We’ve been there many times. In fact, here’s a post I wrote with photos of Nezu Shrine, and here’s another with videos.

At 御徒町 (Okachimachi, Tokyo), there was a 神輿祭り (Mikoshi portable shrine festival) going on:

(I have carried a Mikoshi shrine in festivals a few times.
The most recent was at the famous 「深川八幡祭り」 (Fukagawa Hachiman Festival).
I wrote a post about with with a slideshow and a number of videos…click here to see it.)

At 根津神社 (Nezu Shrine):

Over 150 "Torii"

Before this tree was cut down it had broke through both the side and top of the wall.

"Tokyo Sky Tree" can be seen between these buildings in the distance.

父の日

21 Jun

今日は父の日 (Today is Father’s Day).

Just as they did on 母の日 (Mother’s Day), my kids told my wife and I we should go out on a “date” and they’d cook dinner today. (Click here to read my post for last Mother’s Day).

So my wife and I went to 上野 (Ueno, Tokyo).

We walked around for a bit and stopped at a coffee shop for a coffee and talked for a while.
Then we stopped at a store and bought some things our daughters needed for school.

When our daughters called and told that dinner would be ready soon, we headed home.

Dinner was wonderful! As it’s 父の日 (Father’s Day), my kids made one of my favorites: 「豚キムチ」 (Pork and Kimuchi on rice) and a fruit salad for dessert!
美味しかった! (It was delicious!)

After dinner, they gave me Father’s Day presents! One daughter gave me a ケータイ・ストラップ (cell-phone strap) that she made by hand! It’s very nice! And it’s black—my kids know my taste!
The other two gave me a notebook / pen set for my 日本語 (Japanese language) studies! Great!

It was an excellent day!

(When my wife and I went to 上野 (Ueno) today, we passed by 下谷神社 (Shitaya Shrine). Here are a few pictures I took of the 「鳥居」 (Torii Gate) in front of the shrine):

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Japanese Robin Hood

29 Mar

I’m sure you know the story of Robin Hood. The English thief who stole from the rich and gave to the poor.

Did you know that there are two “Japanese Robin Hoods“?

One of them was a 忍者 (ninja) who lived in the 16th century named 石川五右衛門 (Ishikawa Goemon).
Like Robin Hood, he stole from the rich and gave to the poor.
He’s most famous though for being executed by getting boiled alive in a large iron pot. Because of this, Japanese old-style iron baths over a flame are called 「五右衛門風呂」 (“Goemon Bath“).

The other “Japanese Robin Hood” lived in the 19th century. His name was 次郎吉 (Jiroukichi)…but he is most often known by his nickname: 「鼠小僧」 (“Nezumi-kozou“…or “Rat urchin“).
As with Ishikawa Goemon, he is sometimes called a “Japanese Robin Hood” because he stole gold from homes of wealthy (samurai) and gave to the poor.

He was apprehended by authorities twice. The first time he was given a penitentiary tattoo, and the second time he was decapitated.

His grave is in Tokyo…and it is popular with students taking school entrance exams because 鼠小僧 (“Nezumi-kozou“) was such a successful thief (he burglarized hundreds of samurai homes) and, like Robin Hood, he was extremely popular with common people that the students hope some of his good luck might be passed to them.

Visitors to the grave of 鼠小僧 (“Nezumi-kozou“) will often shave off a bit of the grave stone for luck.

「鼠小僧之墓」 "Nezumi-kozou's grave"

「鼠小僧之墓」 "Nezumi-kozou's grave"

The sign says you can shave this rock in front of Nezumi-kozou's grave (for luck).

The sign says you can shave this rock in front of Nezumi-kozou's grave (for luck).

Nezumi-kozou's gravestone (people used to shave it for luck...so  the other rock was added in front of this gravestone for shaving).

Nezumi-kozou's gravestone (people used to shave it for luck...so the other rock was added in front of this gravestone for shaving).

This cemetary also does pet funerals. This is a pet grave marker.

This cemetary also does pet funerals. This is a pet grave marker.

From there, we walked around the town. The grave of 鼠小僧 (“Nezumi-kozou“) is not far from the 国技館 (Sumo Arena).

桜&提灯 (Cherry Blossoms and paper lantern)

桜&提灯 (Cherry Blossoms and paper lantern)

「ライオン堂」...a store where Sumo wrestlers shop for their XXL clothing.

「ライオン堂」...a store where Sumo wrestlers shop for their XXL clothing.

A poster advertising a Sumo wrestler's upcoming retirement ceremony.

A poster advertising a Sumo wrestler's upcoming retirement ceremony.

We had a picnic lunch in a Japanese garden near the 国技館 (Sumo Arena):

The Sumo Arena is visible outside the Japanese garden.

The Sumo Arena is visible outside the Japanese garden.

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A スズメ (Sparrow) was sitting on the bench next to us.

A スズメ (Sparrow) was sitting on the bench next to us.