Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Miss Mr. Milk Man

Milk, Kyoto sightseeing
This is by the entrance of a house and a box for bottles of milk is set up on a wall.

Milk used to be delivered to houses every morning in Japan. But now I hardly see persons who deliver bottles of milk and milk stores. Because there are tons of 24/7 shops selling daily foods, including milk, at every corner in Japan.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A glimpse of a garden: Ginakuji Temple

Ginkakuji Temple, Kyoto sightseeing

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Living picture in Tokonoma: Koto-in Daitokuji

Koto-in Daitokuji Complex, Kyoto sightseeing
Koto-in Daitokuji Complex, Kyoto sightseeing
In Tokonoma, a alcove in a guest room, are usually decorated some picture or calligraphy for welcoming guests. But in this is decorated the scenery outside, limited by the paper sliding door.
Location by Google Map

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Conversion: Tofukuji Temple

Tofukuji Temple, Kyoto sightseeing
These stones are parts of a Zen garden and were used at the footings of pillars of a big washing room in this temple.

The conversion gives the stones new lives.
Location by Google Map

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Japanese flower arrangement: Gion

Flower arrangement, Kyoto sightseeing
These are flowers decorated in a traditional house in Kyoto.

By the way, the three points of beauties in Japanese flower arrangement are the following:

1. Harmony
The flower arrangement value the harmony highly. The harmony with a flower and the other, flowers and the season, the flowers and the other accessories or furniture in a house. The beauty of combination is valued more than that of a flower itself.

2. Imperfection
Imperfection doesn't mean the flaw and negative, but means just one of the main elements of the beauties. Perfect beauty does not go well with other things because the perfect thing make the beauty in its own. So the flower arrangement prefers imperfection to perfection.

3. Asymmetry
Symmetry feels perfection and artificial, so is hard to go well with other things, just like perfection. Asymmetry feels, on the other hand, imperfection and natural, and easy to be harmony with the other.

Have a nice weekend:-)
Location by Google Map

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Friday, January 26, 2007

man-stairs: Chion-in Temple

Chion-in, Kyoto sightseeing
Perhaps you happen to see the same scenery. This is also famous for a shooting place of "The Last Samurai" starred by Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe.

The steep stairs is called Otoko-zaka, man-stairs. By the stairs is another path, Onna-zaka, woman-slope.

Both are the approaches to the main building. The man-stairs is steep and the woman's is gentle.

I suppose that it is better to use the woman's approach when it snows since the man's is dangerous.
Location by Google Map

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

An old viewfinder: Saihoji Temple

Saihoji Temple, Kyoto sightseeing
This round window is close to a garden with the rich natural surroundings and was made some hundred years ago. The window is attached to a small waiting room. People in those days used to enjoy the scenery while waiting for a tea ceremony. Perhaps people in Japan in those days love something of a camera??

Location by Google Map

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

macha, green powdered tea, ice cream

macha ice cream, Kyoto sigthseeing
I confess that I am sweet-lover, especially magical touches of Pierre Marcolini's chocolate and Hironobu Tsujiguchi's cakes in Tokyo. And green powdered tea ice cream, Macha ice cream, fabulously attracts me in Kyoto. The ice cream is not so sweet and has slightly elegant aroma of green tea.

If you are also sweet-lover and happen to go to Kyoto, the ice cream is a must-eat:-)

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A garden with a pond: Tenryuji Temple

Tenryuji Temple, Kyoto sightseeing
We can see a garden from the opening of a wooden building.

The garden is consisted of pond, stones and some vegetation. The stones express the waterfall and carp going up the fall, though it is hard to find the fall and fish by this photo....

By the way, Japanese gardens tend to have less straight lines and geometric patterns and more curves than the gardens in Europe. The main three reasons are the following:

First, many Japanese gardens re-create the natural scenery found in Japanese classic tales and Chinese myths. The vistas are re-created by the natural elements and then the gardens have more curves.

Second, some of the gardens are designed to take the natural surroundings into the gardens themselves. The gardens are not closed in terms of designing, but open to the outer. So some vegetation are put in the gardens to join the inner to the outer of the gardens softly.

Third, the designers don't tend to control the nature but take advantage of it into the gardens, thinking about the dramatic change of the season. They decided the location of the elements in the gardens and carefully chose the materials to make these elements look "as they are". The "as they are" is eventually based on the idea that the nature does not hurt us and that it give us a great blessing. That the rich forest and water give us many gifts to live with.

The gardens are, in this way, consisted of the natural things with curves. But only a line or flat surface exists. This is the surface of a pond. Ponds are usually located at the center of the Japanese gardens. The flat mirror, the pond, unites the whole garden and it can join the garden to the architecture, mainly composed of many lines.
Location by Google Map

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Japanese sword, Nihon-Tou

Sword, Kyoto sightseeing
Sword, Kyoto sightseeing

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Frost as flowers

frost, Kyoto sightseing
The sunlight in the morning is melting away the frost on the thin branches and makes the branches shine.

The breathing of the earth at night bring the frost on the branches and the sunlight in the morning make them look like flowers.

By the way, when a tea ceremony is hold in a tea house, one of two piece(s) of flower is/are decorated at the alcove, Tokonoma. But when snow falls, some tea masters don't decorate any flower at it. (It snows in Kyoto twice or three in a year.) Why? Because snow covers all the surface outside and shines beautifully. So there are no need to put the flowers inside the house any more. The tea spirit prefer the simple beauty to the excessive one.
Location by Google Map

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Another bamboo fence: at Sento Gosho

bamboo fence, Kyoto sightseeing
bamboo fence, Kyoto sightseeing
This is another bamboo fence and rather simple. Thin branches from the joints are left a little and are used as a design pattern.
Location by Google Map

Friday, January 19, 2007

Bamboo fence: Katsura Imperial Villa

Katsura Imperial Villa, Kyoto sightseeing
Katsura Imperial Villa, Kyoto sightseeing
Bamboo fence surrounds Katsura Imperial Villa, one of the most elegant architecture in Japan, and beyond the fence is the Villa.

Thick bamboos make up the main frames and between the frames are a pile of the thin ones arranged neatly. The zoomed-in photo shows that two layers of thin bamboos are skillfully weaved to block the view of the inside. When looking the photo carefully, we also find that the thin branch on the outer layer are carefully arranged in size and bamboo's joints.

We can look at the inner layer between the branches of outer layer. The thin bamboos of the inner wave with regularity.

This Villa was elaborately made up in every minute.
Location by Google Map

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Flowing water never turns to ice: at Ohara Sanzen-in

Ohara Sanzen-in, Kyoto sightseeing
Ohara Sanzen-in, Kyoto sightseeing
These are shot at the same place in summer and winter. The water for washing hands is falling down all the year because it may be spring water.
Location by Google Map

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Patterned steps: Kinkakuji Temple

Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto sightseeing
These are steps in a temple and are patterned with dots and x-marks to keep people from slipping on them with snow or ice in winter.
Location by Google Map

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A path to a traditional shop

a shop in Kyoto, Kyoto sightseeing
Location by Google Map

Monday, January 15, 2007

Vom Wesen des Rhythmus

Murouji Temple, Kyoto sightseeing
This stairs are easy to go up because they has a human-friendly rhythm, unlike the artificial ones in modern architecture. Plus, the edges of these stones turned to be round, tinted by millions of walkers. And, the stairs go well with the natural surroundings.

The passage of the time made the stairs one of the natural elements with the natural rhythm....

at Murouji Temple, in Nara
Location by Google Map

Sunday, January 14, 2007

As time passes...

Yakushiji Temple, Nara sightseeing
This photo is in the site of Yakushiji Temple in Nara, near Kyoto.

Looking at both of the towers carefully, you will find that the left is old and that the right is new. The left was built over 1200 years ago, and the new was rebulit about 25 years ago.

Plus, the left, the old one, is shorter than the right, the new one. Because the height of the new tower is original and the gravity have been making the old tower shrinking as more than 1200 years have passed.

The difference of height between them show the difference of the passing time between them.
Location by Google Map

Saturday, January 13, 2007

One of offerings to the gods in shrine: Sake, Japanese alcohol

Japanes sake, Kyoto sightseeing
Gods in shrine love Japanese alcohol, Sake, like Bacchus, because it is made of rice and a symbol of rich harvest. Sake, as well as other Japanese produce, is offered to a building for gods in shrine to thank them the abundant crop.

By the way, a barrel of sake contains 72 liters, 19 USG, of sake. I think many barrels in the photo would be quite enough to satisfy gods in the shrine...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Many kinds of good luck charms

good luck charms, Kyoto sightseeing
A shrine sells many kinds of good luck charms, which are for good luck, child good health, safe driving, taking a job, passing the exam... The shrines are rather shrewd and caltulating.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

a sand object: at Eikando Temple

Eikando Temple, Kyoto sightseeing
This is a sand object in a small garden of a temple in Kyoto. I don't know what it means. Bonzes maintain the object as a daily training. They make the object for mental concentration.
Location by Google Map

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A simple garden

Sento Gosho, Kyoto sightseeing
I wish I could sit on the veranda like this, reading some book, on a sunny day...
Location by Google Map

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Japanese bell

Eikando, kyoto sightseeing
This is a Japanese bell in a temple. This is mainly used to give a signal to bonzes for daily events, like breakfast, cleaning, training... The sound is lower and deeper than the bell in church.
Location by Google Map

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ema: wooden board for people's wishes

Ema, Japanese traditional custum, Kyoto sightseeing
Ema, Japanese traditional custum, Kyoto sightseeing
These wooden small boards are called Ema, which means "horse's picture". People write down their wishes on the board and hang them.

In those days people used to offer real horses to shrines to pray for special wishes. But people substituted wooden boards with horses' pictures since they was not able to afford to offer the real.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Year's dish, Osechi Ryori

Osechi Ryori, Kyoto sightseeing
This is our dish in a New Year Day, Osechi-Ryori, consisting of vegetables, beans, eggs, kelp, fish and meat. The chicken soup in the photo, Ozoni, is also for a new year day and is consisted of some vegetable, including red carrot, and chicken. Close to the chopstick is a red dish covered with urushi lacquer and we enjoy drinking Japanese sake with it, saying each other "a happy new year."

This cuisine and soup, like miso soup, are rather different from the regions in Japan.

PS. Here is a detailed and informative explanation of Japanese New Year in Spanish, Cultura Japonesa

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Tofu board

Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto sightseeing
This is a corner of veranda in a building of a temple. The old and traditional wooden house have the veranda, called engawa, around the house.

A square board is set at the very corner of the veranda. The board is called tofu-board because tofu is usually cut in a square. By the way, tofu means bean curd, very healthy food, and is a popular ingredient of miso soup.
Location by Google Map

Friday, January 05, 2007

Golden Pavilion

Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto sightseeing
This is Golden Pavilion and one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Kyoto. Its walls and pillars are covered with gold leaf. Why was it covered with gold? This pavilion was made for the ruler in those days and for showing the power of the ruler to the people.

By the way, the pavilion broke down by fire about 55 years ago since a young man set fire on it. The building today was rebuilt after the breakdown. Why did the man set fire? The answer is in a great novel, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima....
Location by Google Map

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A garden covered with snow

Daitokuji Temple, Kyoto sightseeing
This is another face of a garden. The snow makes the garden the other one.
Location by Google Map

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Buddhist status

This is a small Buddhist status, originally restored in Horyuji Temple in Nara. But now this is exhibited at a museum in Tokyo.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Shimekazari: one of New Year's decorations

Shimekazari, one of New Year's decorations, is put at the side or top of the entrance to welcome gods in new year season. It consists of propitious decorations, like a orange, kelp, a prawn, fern, folding fan and so on.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The theme day, "My best photograph from last year"

The theme day, "My best photograph from last year": Smile and happiness comes up!!

A happy new year from Kyoto, Japan!!

I wish you a lot of happiness and joy in 2007!

By the way, one Japanese saying is that laugh and happiness comes up.

52 Daily Photo sites are participating in the 1st January theme, "My best photograph from last year", please use the links to below to visit them.

Due to time zone differences and other factors, the theme photo may not be displayed until later if you are viewing early in the day.

Porto (Portugal) -Albuquerque, NM (USA) -St. Paul, (USA) Kate -Greenville,SC (USA) -Stayton, OR (USA) -Szentes (Hungary) -Hyde (UK) -London (UK) -Dubai (UAE) -Buenos Aires (Argentina) -Shanghai (China) -Nelson (New Zealand) -Twin Cities, MN (USA) -Joplin MO (USA) -Stavanger (Norway) -Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) -Not Strictly Seattle, WA (USA) -Jakarta (Indonesia) -Auckland (New Zealand) -Sharon, CT (USA) -Evry (France) -(Aust) John -Newcastle upon Tyne (England) -Paris (France) -Bandung (Indonesia) -Brussels (Belgium) -Minneapolis MN (USA) -Aliso Viejo, CA (USA) -Seattle, WA (USA) -Budapest (Hungary) -Singapore by Zannnie (Singapore) -Tenerife (Spain) -Santa Clara, CA (USA) -Houston, TX (USA) -Sydney by Nathalie (Aust) -San Diego, CA (USA) -Vancouver, BC (Canada) -Singapore by KeropokMan (Singapore) -East Lansing, MI (USA) -Sydney by Sally (Australia) -Tucson, AZ (USA) -Nottingham (UK) -Sequim, by Norma -Hong Kong -Vantaa, Finland -Kyoto (Japan) -Tokyo (Japan) -Chattanooga -Santiago (Chile) -erlin (Germany) -Trondheim (Norway) -Delta, CO (USA) -

Location by Google Map