Thursday, July 31, 2003

Going out for a drink...

Ginza is a nice place to go out for a drink. Lots of nice 居酒屋 (Izakaya, Japanese-style pubs) in which you can enjoy some food but - more important of all - some 酒 (sake).

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Yukata -浴衣 ゆかた

The yukata is a japanese summer kimono worn by both men and women. The name yukata comes from the word "yu" (bath, 浴) and "katabira" (under clothing).
Thousands of years ago, Court Nobles wore linen "yukatabira" which were draped loosely after taking a bath. It gradually became worn by japanese warriors and then by the general public when the sophisticated japanese public bath became popular.
Today, the traditional japanese yukata is widely used for everything from festivals, ryokan, summer daily wear to simple night attire.
The girl here, for example, was going to see the 隅田川花火大会.

Sumida river fireworks festival - 隅田川花火大会

Sumidagawa Hanabi taikai (隅田川花火大会) is th most traditinal Hanabi taikai in Tokyo. But it use under 5 inches shell only for safety.

In this case, I took the picture from the terrace of the parents of a friend of a friend of mine, in Kanda. Not the best place to see the fireworks, but for sure one a good dinner ^_^

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Himeji Castle - 姫路城

This Himeji Castle (姫路城), otherwise called 白鷺城 (Shirasagijou, i.e. White Heron Castle), is situated in Himeji City of Hyogo prefecture about 50 km west of Osaka. It is about 370 years since Himeji Castle was constructed in its present shape. This is the only excellent castle which architecturally represents Japanese culture and, at the same time, has handed down its original design at the time of construction.

Looking up at Himeji Castle, not a few people might think about this unique Japanese architectural beauty that was not influenced either by Chinese or Western culture, despite the remains of the age of civil wars.

This is a panoramic view from the top of the castle:

Himeji Castle is also known because Miyamoto Musashi, probably the most famous swordsman in Japan, was confined in by the famous Zen prelate Takuan in order to cure Musashi's violent temper, for three years, with appropriate books to train his mind.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003


The entrance of a temple in Kobe.

January 17th, 1995, at 5:46

The picture here is a statue with a clock who stopped to run during the big kansay earthquake of 1995

January 17th, 1995, at 5:46 in the morning when everybody was still in bed, from this moment, Kansai area turned into a burning hell. In just half a minute, the monster had broken down everything in the city. Houses, buildings, factories, schools, shops, roads, and railroads, everything in the city was gone. All you could see was a red sky filled with fire, and smoke coming out from the buildings. The monster's name was an M 7.2 earthquake. This tragedy had happened so quickly and unconsciously that no one could realize what had happened and thought this must be a dream at first. But this was not any dream. This reality made more than 6,000 dead people and 300,000 homeless people. People were crying and did not know what to do.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Shibuya - unusual view

This is Shibuya, an area mostly known as a place for young people to meet and hang out. See also these pages for more information about this area and about its most famous gathering point, hachiko.
Anyhow, this evening we climbed up to the top floor of a hotel nearby the station, and... surprise! On the top of the railway station there is a small soccer field!

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Fashion in Harajuku

Military outfit for these 2 girls...


Today I went to Kawaguchi-city, in Saitama-prefecture, to help my friend Naoko to teach go to a group of children (6-10 yo more or less). It was really funny to be called マックス先生 (max-sensei)!.
It was difficult, my Japanese is still too poor to have any useful conversation, but it was a nice experience.

Monday, July 7, 2003

Tokyo from the boat

Tokyo from the boat in the Sumidagawa-river.

Asahi beer

This unusual and striking building designed by interior designer turned architect Philippe Starck, is one of Tokyo's most notable modern landmarks. It has earned itself several unflattering nicknames among those who disdain its flashy self-important style but it is sure to please devotees of Starck's sleek and elegant style. Completed in 1989, it serves as a symbol of the Asahi Beer company at a location where Asahi has been making beer for over a century.


even the production of traditional sweet is automatized. This is the front window of a shop in Asakusa, near the Senso-ji (浅草寺)

Sunday, July 6, 2003


Tanabata is the special night when "Orihime" (織女)and "Hikoboshi" (牽牛) date on the Milky Way once a year (Vega and Altair). Orihime, a daughter of the Lord, was a weaver. The Lord was worrying about his daughter who had devoted herself to weaving threads into cloths all day long. One day, he met a young diligent cowboy whose name was Hikoboshi. Since he was very impressed with Hikoboshi, he introduced Hikoboshi to Orihime as a fiance. 

Hikoboshi and Orihime fell in love each other at a glance and from that day, both of them date every day leaving their job alone. That behavior made the Lord angry and he pull them apart on the each side of the Milky Way. Since then, Orihime had been crying for Hikoboshi every day. The Lord felt sorry for crushed daughter with grief, finally he allowed them to cross the Milky Way to meet each other only once a year on the seventh of July. When it rained, magpies kindly helped them to cross the flooded river.

They say that the origin of Tanabata legend is China and present story had been formed in 6th Century. Then the story had been transferred to Japan Heian era (794-1185), with the customs and spread over common people via aristocrats. After that, Chinese customs had been mixed with Japanese faith and local event and formed present style. Therefore, festival style varies from area to area. For example, some districts do the events in August based on the lunar calendar.
On that night, in general, each house places the bamboo grass under the eaves and decorates it with paper dolls etc. Then each family member writes his/her own wish on a strip of paper in his/her own way.

The pictures above have been taken near Ueno, on the way to Asakusa.


Kappa is a River Imp or Sprite (Shinto), with the body of a boy and the head of a frog, and a dish on its head. Kappa also called Kawatarou 河太郎, Kawako 河伯 or Kawaranbe 河ランベ, Gatarou がたろう or Enkou 猿猴
Kappa is one of many Japanese Suijin (水神 - Water Deity) of Shinto mythology. Suijin are found in lakes, ponds, springs, wells, and irrigation waterways. They are often depicted as a snake, a dragon, an eel, a fish, a turtle, or a kappa.

Saturday, July 5, 2003

Senso-ji (浅草寺)

The Senso-ji (浅草寺) in Asakusa (浅草) is one of the bigget temple of Japan.

Near the Senso-ji (浅草寺 )

The streets near the Senso-ji (浅草寺)in Asakusa (浅草)are full of shops and people.

Friday, July 4, 2003

Giant spider in Roppongi Hills

This giant 10-m bronze sculpture of a spider in front of the Mori Tower, in Roppongi Hills, was made by Louise Bourgeois. It symbolizes the role of Roppongi Hills as a place where people gather from across the globe to weave new webs of information and interaction.

Thursday, July 3, 2003

My first 囲碁会 in Tokyo

The atmosphere is quite different from the one I was used to, back in Pisa, but the sensation of a live game is always the same.