Saturday, April 30, 2005

kite - 鳶

A wonderful tobi (鳶) flying high in the sky, over the beach of Kamakura (鎌倉)。

Kamakura bay

Panorama from Hase-dera.

A travel companion

The above picture (and the enlarged details on the right) were taken on the Enoden (江ノ電), a couple of stops before the Great Buddha (大仏).
There is no dimensional reference in them, but this wasp was about 5-6 cm long.
Not exactly the right companion to have over your head while being in an over-packed train, isn't it?


Enoden - 江ノ電

The Enoshima Electric Railway (江ノ島電鉄) or "Enoden" (江ノ電) as it is called by the area folk, serves Enoshima, a small island 50 kilometers from Tokyo. Opened in 1910, the 10 km interurban style tramway connects Enoshima with Fujisawa and Kamakura.
Taking this trains brings you back in the past. Although the cars are mostly new, everything along this line seems old. Quite a big difference from the chaotic and hyper-technological JR trains in Tokyo.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Nagoya by night, as seen from the TV tower

The TV Tower. There is an observation deck somewhere in the middle of the tower.

Central Park.

Central park again. The green light is a laser pointing to the top of the tower

Fashion in Nagoya

Interesting outfit, isn't it?

Nagoya Castle - 名古屋城

Nagoya Castle was built in the beginning of the Edo Period for one of the three Tokugawa family branches, the Owari. Consequently, Nagoya developed into an important castle town and ultimately Japan's fourth largest city.

The castle was almost completely destroyed in the air raids of 1945. The current ferro-concrete reconstruction dates from 1959.

The interior of the castle is now a modern museum displaying the castle's history. The castle park becomes a popular hanami spot during the cherry blossom season.

The picture above was taken from the 51st floor of the JR Central Towers.

Golden dolphins - 金シャチホコ

One of the most precious item of 名古屋城 are the Golden Dolphins, or 金シャチホコ.
These were also destroyed in the bombing raid during 2nd World War, but were replaced when the main donjon was rebuilt in 1959. Each weighing 88kg they are plated in 18K gold.

In these days there was the exhibition of these dolphins at the ground level, and it was possible to touch them as well.

オス: male

メス: female

Can you spot the differences?

JR Central Towers

JR Central Towers are located over Nagoya train station. In the 51st floor of the right tower there the Panorama House, a place from where it is possible to have bird's-eye view of Nagoya and affords the views of natural beauty in every direction. Quoting from their web site, "Panorama House is a gallery in the sky, where you can experience the most magnificent panorama in central Japan".

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Nagoya by night, as seen from the JR Central Towers

The main street in front of the station as seen from the Panorama House of the JR Central Towers.

The "pyramid" in front of the station, symbol of the city.

The West side of the city. Seems huge, doesn't it?

The TV tower. The green circle in the upper right corner is the big wheel of the Aichi Expo site.

A new friend

The park surrounding 名古屋城 is incredibly rich of animals and insect, including this wonderful caterpillar.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Drying up the wings on the wind

A pelican-like bird (any suggestion for its real name?) was drying up its wings standing in the pebbly shore of Kanda river (神田川)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Lute player in Ginza

In a nice and warm Saturday afternoon in Ginza, it could happen you see strange people around. I mean, much more strange than usual ^_^
This time it's the turn of this guy, dressed up like a lute player of the late 16th century. He started to sing in a language that could have been any language of old Europe, the only word I was able to recognize was amore, so maybe he was singing in Italian, after all.

The lute is a plucked-string musical instrument. Its construction features a deeply rounded, ovoid body fabricated out of thin strips of wood glued together edgewise. The body is closed by a wooden soundboard or table to which the bridge is glued. The strings are tied around the bridge and stretched along a neck, which is fitted with a number of tied frets, to one or more pegboxes, where they are tuned by adjusting the tension. The strings are stopped or fretted with one hand while plucking with the other. The lute was popular and widely used in Europe from about the 12th century AD until well into the 18th century. After a period of disuse lasting more than a hundred years, interest in it slowly revived during the 20th century.

This is Japan, today

Tradition and modernity hand in hand, walking together towards the future.


Monday, April 11, 2005

Good morning Japan!

This not so small earthquake provoked a lot of problems, here in Japan. In fact, several trains were late, in the morning, up to 10 minutes!

This is an article about the effects, taken from kyodo news:

M6.1 quake jolts Kanto region, no casualties reported

TOKYO, April 11, Kyodo - A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.1 rattled the Kanto region Monday morning but there were no reports of casualties, the Japan Meteorological Agency and police said.

No tsunami tidal wave warning was issued for the 7:22 a.m. quake, which registered an intensity of upper 5 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 in southern Ibaraki and northeastern Chiba prefectures.

The inland Kanto region was struck by a quake with an intensity of upper 5 or stronger for the first time since the current intensity scale was introduced in 1996.

Runways at Narita airport east of Tokyo were closed for about 15 minutes after the quake but no irregularities were found, airport officials said.

Railway services were suspended on part of the JR Sobu, Narita, Togane and Kashima lines.

About 180 passengers of a Choshi-bound Sobu Line train were crammed inside its six cars for about one hour as the train was stopped between Iikura and Yokaichiba stations after the quake. The passengers later left the train and walked alongside the railway toward Yokaichiba Station.

About 30 passengers have been inside a Kashima Line train for more than three hours as the four-car train stopped on a bridge after it departed Sawara Station.

Bullet train services were also suspended briefly on part of Tohoku, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen lines.

In Chiba Prefecture, the quake registered an upper-5 intensity in the towns of Omigawa and Hikata and the cities of Yokaichiba and Asahi. It also recorded an upper 5 in Kamisu, Ibaraki Prefecture.

It measured a lower-5 intensity in the towns of Tako and Nosaka and the city of Sawara, all in Chiba Prefecture.

At the city hall for Yokaichiba, nearly 10 windows were shattered or cracked, city officials said.

A Japan Meteorological Agency official said no aftershocks that might cause major damage are likely to occur.

The focus of the earthquake was 52 kilometers underground in northeastern Chiba Prefecture, the agency said.

Saturday, April 9, 2005

Beauty before pain

It's simply incredible.

Japanese girls can walk in hills shoes against every law of physics and mechanics, known and unknown.
Their movements are not constrained by anatomy, nor by gravity. They just walk.
How they can do this it's a mistery I will never find the solution to.

Beauty before pain! ^_^

Hanami in Ueno Park - 上野公園の花見

Ueno Park is another famous spot for sakura in Tokyo. And today, in fact, thanks also to the beautiful day, it was sooo crowded! A huge, insane number of people were packed in the park, with a voice in the spekers saying "please do not stop for taking picture, please move on", or something like this.

Not everybody was walking, of course. A lot of people were there to do hanami. Basically laying down on a plastic sheet, eat something, drink a lot, and have fun.

Today was probably the best day for the hanami. Thanks to the wind, in fact, the flowers started to fall, covering everyting with a thin but nice veil of petals.

Friday, April 8, 2005

This is Japan, today

This is Japan, today: trafic lights, power supply, lot of open air cables, Sony, and so on.
But in the background you can see the full blooming of the sakura.
Japan, among the other things, is also this. A country technology driven and technology oriented, but still preserving in some way its traditions. Wonderful.

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Cherry blossoms at Chidorigafuchi

The North-Eastern moat of the Imperial Palace known as Chidorigafuchi (千鳥が淵) is one of the most famous cherry-blossom viewing spot in Tokyo. Crowds gather between Kudanshita and Hanzomon stations to contemplate the snow-white blossoms.
Unfortunately I arrived too late and the light was not good enough to take good pictures... but still the view is impressive, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

funny registration bug

Although this is not a picture I took, I'd like to share this funny registration bug (from

Which characters? There are no characters there! ^_^

Monday, April 4, 2005


This is a nice list of the most common types of sushi. The quality of the picture is not particularly good, but at least you have an idea of what you can find and of what you can order in a sushi restaurant. いただきます!

Some useful links:
Tekka Maki
Kappa Maki

Tsukiji - the fish market

The Tokyo Central Wholesale Market (築地の魚市場) handles 2,246 tons a day of marine products, 498 billion yen (1.8 billion yen a day) total in 2003. Some 450 kinds of fish are received; this figure is unparalleled in the world. Marine products sections are set up in three markets: Tsukiji, Ohta and Adachi. Above all Tsukiji Market, handling 89% of the total amount, is one of the biggest markets in the world.

It is said that "Uogashi" or a riverside fish market dates back to the 16th century, the beginning of the Edo period.
Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Tokugawa shogun and builder of Edo as is now Tokyo, invited fishermen from Tsukudajima, Osaka and gave them a privilege for fishing in order to let them supply seafood to Edo Castle. The fishermen purveyed fish to the Castle and sold the remains near the Nihonbashi bridge. It was the origin of Uogashi.

Then, to meet the growing demand for fish with the increase in population, Nihonbashi Uogashi was reformed and developed into a market. The market was lead by wholesale merchants licensed by the Shogunate who bought fish from local ports, sold them to jobbers in the market and thus built up a large fortune, forming their own distributing network.

Vegetables markets handling vegetables gathered in the suburbs of Edo were established in Kanda, Senju and Komagome: the Edo's three big vegetable markets. The markets attained prosperity led by wholesalers and jobbers like fish markets. During the Edo period the market price was determined chiefly by negotiated transactions between sellers and buyers. Public auction was hardly taken place except in vegetable markets. In the Meiji and Taisho eras, the privilege of wholesale merchants were abolished. In 1923 some 20 private markets in Tokyo were destroyed almost completely by the Great Kanto Earthquake.

After the earthquake, Tokyo City as it then was undertook to construct a central wholesale market on the bases of the Central Wholesale Market Law which had been promulgated in the same year. As a result, the three markets of Tsukiji, Kanda and Koto were founded and the growing population then led to a succession of new markets.

I love these delivery trucks!

Tsukiji market is full of these delivery trucks. They run back and forth, without any apparent order. The trafic seems so crazy that the first impression is: "I'm back in Italy!"
But then, little by little, you can start notice that there is something of Japan in it, after all. Yes, they are all running like crazy, but they always try to find the best solution to keep everything wokring. Best solution that not always is "I go first!" It's fascinating just trying to stay still in a corner and watch them moving (although it is almost impossible, there is no free corner there, everything is a working space). It's a kind of dance.

Sunday, April 3, 2005

New pictures of the spider

Today I took some new pictures of the giant 10-m bronze sculpture of a spider made by Louise Bourgeois, in front of the Mori Tower, in Roppongi Hills. This time I was able to take the spider and the Mori Tower.

I like in particular the two pictures below. Thanks to the distorsion effect of the fisheye lens I bought last month, the spider looks much bigger than it actually is.

Interesting, isnt' it?