Monday, December 31, 2007

A Tokyo location, a department store, two samurai, a fortification and a place to relax

6 new entries added for two weeks:


Sanada Masayuki

Sanada Nobuyuki


Yomiuri Land

Images from Wednesday Oct 24, part 2

Sorry it has take so long to get this batch of images up. The last few weeks were very busy at work and I’m beat when I get home. Add to that the writing work that I have to do, last minute holiday planning (not gift buying got that done some time ago), getting things done after returning from seeing family and I hope you can understand time has been limited.

In any case here we are.

As we could not take pictures inside the Ghibli Museum all of the shots here are from the outside of the museum.

This shot taken from the roof of the museum gives you a good idea of the multi level nature of the building. By the way the design of the building is influenced by Mediterranean villages.

The roof of the building is designed to look like an abandoned garden in a ruined city. Go down a path and you will find this block, about a meter square. Fans of Ghibli animation will recognize it as from Castle in the Sky.

Also on the roof, and from Castle in the Sky, is this robot. This sculpture is quite large intended to be as tall as the ones in the feature film it comes from.

The entire complex is filled with whimsical examples of craftsmanship. This water fountain is only one of them. It also worked quite well. Another feature is that everything is made to be accessible to small children, this means that adults have to adjust a little.

This outdoor circular stairway is how we got to the roof. There is another circular stairway inside, however Steven and I were too large for it so Cindy went up alone and got separated from us. After spending some time wandering about we found each other again and continued exploring together.

This photo is taken from ground level looking into the courtyard that is next to the bottom of the entrance stairway and below some of the exhibit floors and the restaurant.

This is the restaurant seen from the courtyard. We did not have time to order anything as the museum was closing by the time we reached this part of the building.

If you have a chance go see this museum, if you are going to Japan from another country you can buy tickets ahead of time.

Hopefully I’ll have new images up soon, all depending on how my writing goes today and tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sorry folks

No real postings this week.

The end of the term is usually chaotic for academic libraries. This year was more so.

I've been beat each night when I get home so I have not even written the three entries for the Anime Companion Supplement. This will be the first time since Anime Companion 2 came out that I have missed a week's posting. I'll do at least 6 on the 29th or 30 to make up for it.

Same with the image postings. I may be able to do some work on prepping postings when I am at my folk's, however no postings from there as they are not online.

Be back in a few days.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lemon fresh, a match and a samurai

This week a famous and early erotic OVA series, a use for matches and a famous general are added.

Cream Lemon

matchi uri no shôjo (match selling girls)

Sanada Yukimura

I've got plenty of errands to do today but hope to have the Ghibli Museum images up tonight.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Images from Wednesday Oct 24, part 1

This time I will be splitting the images into two groups. The first from Oct 24th before we arrived at the Ghibli Museum, the second batch will probably go up Friday or Saturday will be from the museum. For the report on what we did that day see: Wednesday the 24th The Ghibli Museum

This first shot is of a window in the ryokan we were staying in that looked over a small garden. This window was opaque to let in light but prevented one from looking in. If I remember correctly this one was in the toilet.

This is the hall outside our room, the sliding door to the room is on the right. Again it is made with opaque glass to preserve privacy. The ryokan was fully booked with people who came at all hours and yet it was rather quiet.

During our morning walk Steven found this small shrine to Inari on a narrow street of restaurants. The greenery in the vases was fresh and the area swept of leaves.

Another street nearby had these great traditional shop signs. The one on the left is for a restaurant.

Another street had these small statues of tanuki inside the lamp posts. Each one was different, this one seems to be in the form of Shoki the demon queller. Nearby there was a shrine called Chingo-do the origin of which was associated with tanuki.

Check back in a few days for the second part of the images from Oct 24.

Monday, December 10, 2007

battles, a princess and a nunnery

I've been reading the first volume of Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan manga from Del Rey. An interesting tale with very interesting art. As my Anime Companion Supplement entries are often driven by whim I am adding three historical entries related to that manga.

Ôsaka no Jin (Battle of Ôsaka Castle)

Sen Hime (Princess Sen)


If you have not considered this manga I recommend it as a fun read. Not for kids tho' it gets bloody at times, after all a story with samurai and ninja is not light stuff.

As for more photos I plan to get some up tonight or tomorrow. Today I have errands to get done.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Image posting will be slower

I'm going to cut back on posting pictures to every few days. I'm having trouble keeping up a quick pace of posting and some people are having trouble checking regularly due to other commitments on their time.

Keep checking back.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Images from Tuesday the 23.

Click here for my description of Tuesday the 23rd: The Kabuki-za, The Ginza, Takarazuka Theater, Imperial Palace, Masakado's Mound, Nihonbashi.

Our early morning walk produced some interesting shots.

This one is a famous theater for traditional comedy. The next day we would not have been able to get this shot as scaffoldings were being set up around the front.

After a short subway ride and walk we were at another famous theater, the Kabukiza. We did not make it to a performance, however I do recommend their gift shop.

The Kabukiza is in the Ginza and nothing symbolizes the Ginza like the Wako Department store. One of Steven’s comments was that the area had not changed much since he last saw in in 1973.

Being a writer on anime I can’t resist pointing out that this area gets trashed in the Lupin III anime feature The Dragon of Doom as a result of a fight between Goemon and a group of ninja.

After the Ginza and the Takarazuka Theater gift shop we wandered over to the outside of the Imperial Palace grounds. This impressive gate, built in the early 17th century, was an inner gate and to reach it you have to cross a bridge, enter another fortified gate and make a right angle turn. Impressive defenses from when this was part of the shogun’s castle.

This is one of the buildings inside the Imperial Palace grounds, you would have to go through gates and cross bridges to reach it.

The masakado-zuka, where tradition says the head of Taira no Masakado is buried. You can read about him and the masakado-zuka in my book The Anime Companion 2.

Both of these images were taken at the Nihonbashi bridge around sundown. Even though the bridge today is under a freeway that follows the course of the river it is still an impressive piece of early 20th century architecture.

Well that’s it for today. I’m lucky I got something up as I’m tired. However I did not want to skip another day, I may do that tomorrow tho’.

Monday, December 3, 2007

These images are from Monday Oct 22

For a description of the day click here..

On our morning walk we found this small shrine dedicated to entertainment on Rokku Broadway, a street famous for entertainment.

There are six statues each symbolizing a form of entertainment. I recognized the 5th one on the right front as Enoken and assumed the other were modeled on famous people. Apparently most were however I could not find information on the specific individuals other than the first one.

The six forms of entertainment are:

utaigami = song modeled on Shiyouji Tarou

kanadegami = playing music

hanashigami = storytelling

odokegami = daidogei (street entertainment)

engigami = performance modeled on Enoken (Kenichi Enomoto)

odorigami = dance (largely hidden behind the torii pillar).

After we got back to the ryokan we met up with Ono Masahiro who had been such a major help with the kanji in my third book The Anime Companion 2. He had offered to be our guide for the day showing us some of the shops in the Jimbocho neighborhood of Kanda. This area is famous for having over 140 bookshops in one neighborhood. Ono-san was the best dressed member of our motly crew of explorers and had done a great job of researching where we were going.

One of the shops we visited was Subunso which had a great selection of books in European languages at great prices.

This photo is on one of the levels of the store and shows shelves of books and sets, often encyclopedias, neatly stacked on the floor. There were even sets stacked along the wall of the stairway.

Steven has a great interest in the supernatural tales found in folklore and there was one shop that had a great window display of books illustrating such tales. This image was taken by him from the street.

After walking quite a bit Ono-san and I had to stop and rest. Jimbocho is a neighborhood I want to visit again and explore more of the streets and shops.

Not many photos today, however there will be more tomorrow so check back then.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Another day used up plus sweets.

Today I got up and added the usual three new entries for the Anime Companion Supplement . Then I went into Berkeley to meet up with friends... Well I ended up using the whole day and most of my energy so no pictures tonight as I still have not done the research I planned to.

Tomorrow I stay home, except for a grocery run, and will get pictures uploaded.

What did I upload for the supplement?

Three entries related to traditional sweets.

kashiya (traditional confectionary)

monaka (stuffed wafer cake)

wagashi (traditional confections)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Again no images

Folks. I'm taking another break tonight. There is some research I need to do for the captions and frankly don't have the energy after a productive but tiring day at work.

Expect me to be back tomorrow with more pictures, this time from the 22nd .

Friday, November 30, 2007

Images from Day Four, Sunday Oct 21

For a description of the day click here.

Starting with the flea market at Hanazono jinja. Cindy is checking out many of the interesting small items this woman had. I'm looking at an old photo album of early, mainly silent, Japanese movie stars. Alas no images of Bando Tsumasaburo, one of my favorite early actors.

During the photo session at the shrine Steven and Cindy both spent a great deal of time taking pictures of this small inari shrine. The main gate, at the end of this row of red torii included a very large wooden phallus.

Eventually they started running out of things to photograph and I suggested we head to Golden Gai, a place neither knew much about but which was my major interest for the day. This picture is of the first street and sign you reach as you head there from the shrine.

As I mentioned in the description linked above we lucked out in that we happened to be there on the day of the twice a year Golden Gai flea market. This fellow made the best coffee I had in Tokyo, and all the coffee was great. Each cup was brewed individually. His shirt says “Toast, Butter, Crumbs”.

This view shows the narrow two story buildings that compose this neighborhood of bars and the larger modern buildings surrounding it.

Cindy getting her picture taken while she is taking a picture of plants and both of them are being photographed by Yusuke Komiyama on the far right, and of course all three are caught by Steven who took this shot.

Another street scene, there were potted plants everywhere, not just here but in almost every part of Tokyo we were in.

Cindy looking at a set of small dolls she bought for her daughter. That’s me in the red Zeta Gundam t-shirt in the background.

This is one of the streets on the way to the station after we left Golden Gai. While the streets often had large numbers of people it ever felt crowded as people kept moving and if they needed to stop stepped off to the side. The fashions were incredibly diverse, forget what people say about the Japanese being conformists.

We headed to Shibuya but it was getting dark so we looked for a nonsmoking place for dinner. We ended up a few blocks to the North West of the station in a place that had great noodle dishes and tempura. Here Steven is digging into his udon while enjoying the late 50s rock and roll they were playing.

Well that's enough for today. I put these together rather quickly so please forgive typos etc.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Images from the Third Day

Images from Saturday the 20th. For greater detail check this link for a description of the day.

Our morning walk again brought us back to Kappabashi dori.

This image of the Nimi store is of the main building across the street from the one I posted yesterday. Who could resist going back to photograph that chef's head on the buiding. Not Steven.

After the morning walk we headed to Akihabara. That famous electronics district transformed into a shopping mecca for anime, manga and video game fans. This shot is of an older part of the area that shows it's electronic shop splendor.

On the edge of Akihabara is the Kanda River. We saw tour boats and other traffic while taking photos of the older stone concrete structures near here. The long building to the left is actually under the railroad tracks, right under they form the roof.

Another view of Akihabara, each of these tall buildings is full of shops sell all manner of delightful objects. This area was actually much bigger than I expected.

While waiting for Adolfo we headed to a nearby shrine, Kanda Jinja, if you ever go to Akihabara or the Kanda bookstore area take time to walk to this beautiful shrine.

Back in Akihabara, after meeting up with and walking around with Adolfo, he and I took a rest while Steven took this shot. What is interesting is that you see so few people in this picture, there were people everywhere at that time.

OK all for today, check back tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No images tonight

Sorry folks.

I'm beat so there will be no imagestonight as I'll take a break.

However I'll take my laptop to the coffee shop tomorrow morning and work on new entries before I have to head to work.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Images from the second day

Images for October 19.

We started each morning with a walk in the neighborhood so Steven and Cindy could take pictures. The previous day started this way as did this one.

One of the secrets of Tokyo's transportation is the bicycles. They were everywhere on the sidewalks and the pedestrians simply made room for them. It helped that the cyclers kept a polite pace slightly faster than the pedestrians rather than dashing around.

Nimi is a very large restaurant supply store, actually series of stores on Kappabashi dori a street where you can get everything you need to stock a restaurant from kitchen supplies to signs to plastic food models even antiques to make the place look rustic and old. Check out the coffee cup shaped fire escapes.

Japan has a relatively low rate of unemployment. One reason may be large numbers of small businesses like this barbershop are found in every neighborhood, often with the family home upstairs. Makes for an easy commute for the owners.

Steven often spent time photographing temples and various things near them. This image taken at Tokyo Honganji is an example of a major temple in close proximity to a very active neighborhood. The large apartment complex in the background is where the earlier photo of bikes was taken.

After our morning walk we headed to Nakano Station to meet Steve Bennett. As we got there early we headed to the arcade for some food. We each had various noodle dishes, the food was cheap, tasty and the staff friendly.

After we hooked up with Steve he showed us his old haunts from when he was a kid. This stationary store owner remembered him as soon as he walked into the door. I picked up a nice compass to help navigate, it was useful after dark.

This old poster of Space Battleship Yamato has been over the door of the stationers for 30 years, some of the tape must be from about as long. The colors are faded but the crew looks as young and brave as when this anime was a new show on Japanese TV.

Small Inari shrines like this one were common in many areas. This one is next to a parking complex in Steve's old neighborhood. Shortly before this photo was taken a man was praying at this shrine. Such prayers were a common sight everywhere we went.

This is part of Arai Yakushi temple. During the fire bombings in 1945 Steve's grandmother took refuge here with his mother. They survived in this island of greenery while the entire neighborhood burned, except for the temple and their house. When Steve was a child he often visited this temple with his mother.

Three suspicious fellows. From the right: Steven Bennett, Senno Knife and me.

Looks like I had success today, I'll try to get another batch of images up tomorrow.