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More pictures

I've been meaning to post these for a while, but then I just plum forgot, so here's a few more pictures behind the cut.

An "access plate" on the street in Tokyo. There's an amusing (to me) story attached to this picture. I took this on the day we went for the long walk in search of the shrine for those numerous Ronin fellows, and we'd walked over many of these. I thought they were so much more fun than the ones we had at home so I stopped suddenly to take a picture. The woman I was walking with said, "Oh good! I'm not the only crazy person who takes pictures of man hole covers!" This started a conversation between us about whether, in this day and age it shouldn't really be person hole covers. We were pondering this when her husband came up behind us and said, "Actually, they're called 'access plates'." "See why I love him?" she asked me. Indeed, I could.

At the shrine of the numerous Ronin it was possible to buy a bundle of smoking incense to put before the gravestones as a sign of respect. With 20-odd people doing this (I didn't, but there were more people than just our group there) the entire place was smoky and odd, and with the diffused silver light through the clouds it all started to look and feel rather unreal. Very interesting.

The prepared bundles of incense, the half-tubes of bamboo used to carry them and the open fire used to set them alight.

Later on in our walk we passed this interesting double decker bicycle parking mechanism. It seemed awfully cool to me. According to my guide book bicycle theft is one of the only common day-to-day crime problems, so I was amused to see that only some of the bicycles were locked up.

Same walk, later on: yes, you're reading that right. If you're still not sure, here's an enlargement:

I don't really know, but it seems to me that this must be surgery of the elective sort, and for some reason it made me feel sad to see it so prominently displayed.

A crow in a tree in the enormous paved area outside of the royal palace in Tokyo. It was a remarkably bleak area of town, in my opinion.

What should greet us on exiting the train station in Kyoto? A statue of Astroboy, of course. Shihan M immediately started jumping around excitedly because apparently whenever they drive anywhere fast in their car she does Astroboy arms and yells out "Astroboy" loudly. This was distressingly cute from someone who could probably kill an attacker before they have time to realize what's happening.

Our last sight in Kyoto was the golden pavillion, once a rich man's house, but after his death a zen temple. This is the famous view over the water.

There's more, and I'll continue posting when I feel like it.


I think I'm in love with the golden pavilion.

and that shrine is so - ghostly.

ASTROBOY! *woohoo*
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February 2010

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