Potpourri


The Potpourri page contains just what you would expect: a little of this and a bit of that.

There are images of modern architecture in Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama. Shots of modern art
and ancient art. Crowded trains and crowds in shopping areas. There is even a noodle shop.
Japan is a visually interesting place. There are 50 interesting images housed on this page.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection

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Shinkansen_0396


Shinkansen 0396

Getting around Japan is very efficient, due to the system of Shinkansen and slower, local trains.
Above is a 700-series Shinkansen pulling in to Himeji. A two week JR rail pass, if used a lot (I did),
ends up being a very inexpensive method of seeing a lot of places in a short period of time. 700-series
Shinkansen can reach 186 mph (300 km/hr) when used for Nozomi (limited stops at only the largest stations).

Nozomi_9734


Nozomi 9734

A 500-series Nozomi Shinkansen in Kyoto Station. The 500-series trains are capable of speeds
of 199 mph (320 km/hr) and have computer-controlled suspension. Most of my travel in Japan was
on local trains, with longer trips on the Hikari services which stop at more stations, but I did have to try
a trip from Osaka to Tokyo on the 500-series Nozomi just for fun. It is very quick and a very smooth ride.

TransitCrush_0619


Transit Crush 0619

As I mentioned, most travel other than longer trips is via the local commuter trains. Here is an
image that should give you a good idea as to what that is like. This was shot on a local train to
Kamakura during the morning rush. Like the fellow on the right, many people just get in and find
a way to ignore everything around them. The lady in the center, however, is being squished and
she certainly does not look happy about it. I hear that you eventually get used to being a sardine.

TransitCrush_0304


Transit Crush 0304

A sea of people leaving the track area in Osaka.

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Minato Mirai Station 7637

Of course, not every station is crowded like that,
however, this sort of relaxed spaciousness was not
the sort of sight I was used to seeing in Japan.
This is Minato Mirai station in Yokohama.

MinatoMirai_LandmarkTower_7644


Minato Mirai Landmark Tower 7644

Minato Mirai 21 (Harbor Future 21) in Yokohama was
created on reclaimed land. Landmark Tower (left, 972 ft),
Japan’s tallest building, has a 600 room hotel, restaurants,
shops, offices, and the highest observation deck in Japan.

MinatoMirai_7658


Minato Mirai 7658

The Landmark Tower also contains the world’s 2nd fastest elevators (Taipei 101 now has the record).
At 41 feet per second (28mph), they reach the 69th floor Sky Garden observation deck in just 40 seconds.

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Minato Mirai Cosmo World 7646

The Cosmo World amusement park, with its 369 foot
Cosmo Clock Ferris Wheel (also the world’s largest clock).
The 100 meter (330 ft.) wheel rotates once in 15 minutes.

MinatoMirai_IntercontYokohamaGrand_7648


Minato Mirai
Intercontinental Yokohama Grand 7648

The parabolic Intercontinental Yokohama Grand Hotel
sails beside the transformed harbor with six restaurants,
600 rooms, a business center, and spectacular views.

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Minato Mirai Intercontinental Yokohama Grand 7654

Minato Mirai 21 is only about a mile from Yokohama Chinatown.

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Yokohama Chinatown 7674

YokohamaChinatown_7686


Yokohama Chinatown 7686

Yokohama chukagai (Chinatown) is about 150 years old.
The largest Chinatown in Asia (there are more than 200
restaurants and a vast number of shops and other types
of businesses), it was nearly obliterated in the 1923 Kanto
 Earthquake, and many residents went back to China rather
than rebuilding. Today only a few Chinese people live there.

It is an immensely popular shopping district, and it is
usually occupied by a sea of people wandering from
shop to shop, visiting Kanteibyo Temple, or eating.

YokohamaChinatown_Mural_7819


Yokohama Chinatown Mural 7819

A mural depicting the opening of Yokohama’s port in
the mid-19th century after the isolation imposed by the
Tokugawa Shogunate had been lifted. Yokohama is on
Tokyo Bay, and is Japan’s second most populous city.

YokohamaChinatown_SongokuMonkeyKing_7816


Yokohama Chinatown Songoku Monkey King 7816

The Monkey King (Songoku, or Sun Wukong), the main
character in the classic Chinese novel “Journey to the West”.

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Yokohama Chinatown Copper Sculpture 7709

YokohamaChinatown_windowCovers_7677


Yokohama Chinatown Window Covers 7677

On the windows of a trading company are these
beautiful, weathered wooden window covers. The
surprising quality of the artful carvings lent a subtle
beauty to a rather gaudy pink-pillared business box.

At right is a detail shot of the two ladies depicted
in the image above, and below is another window
cover from the side of the building, where it gets
less light and therefore still has its laquer finish.
This was so beautiful, I shot it coming and going.

YokohamaChinatown_windowCovers_7695


Yokohama Chinatown Window Covers 7695

YokohamaChinatown_windowCovers_7690


Yokohama Chinatown Window Covers 7690

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection

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I noticed that in front of a lot of Soba and Udon (noodle) shops they have this statue. This fat and happy raccoon is called Shigaraki Tanuki. He carries a bottle of sake in his left hand, and a magic mallet in his right hand, which is supposed to be able to provide anything desired if it is struck.

He is also the proud owner of what are probably the largest pair of testicles ever seen by mankind. The wild tanuki, (an actual creature called the Raccoon Dog), does have disproportionately large testicles, which may have been the source of the comical depiction, some of which have them shown thrown over their shoulders.

The little book on his right side, under the magic mallet, is his book of promissory notes... apparently our friend Tanuki is putting his drinks on a tab. I saw so many of these guys, that I had to shoot this one, which was outside Osaka Tenmangu.

Tanuki has eight special traits that bring good fortune: a hat to be ready to protect against trouble or bad weather; big eyes to see what’s around him and help make good decisions; a sake bottle which represents virtue; a big tail to provide him with steadiness and strength; enormous testicles symbolizing financial luck; the book of promissory notes which represent trust or confidence; a very big belly symbolizing bold and calm decisiveness; and a friendly smile. What a guy...
 

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Shigaraki Tanuki 9086

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Ueno Park Phoenix 7482

The Hou-ou (Phoenix) is an interesting mythical bird as well as an omen.

It has the head of a Golden Pheasant, neck of a Snake, body of a Mandarin Duck, tail of a Peacock,
legs of a Crane, mouth of a Parrot, and... well, you get the idea. It’s sort of a Rube Goldberg bird.

Introduced to Japan from China in the Asuka period (538-710), it was adopted as a symbol of the
Imperial House (particularly the Empress), and symbolized Fire, the Sun, Justice, Obedience, and Fidelity.
According to legend, the Hou-ou appears very rarely, and then it is only to mark a new era, in this case, the
ending of the war and chaos of the Sengoku era (Warring States period, 1467-1573) and the beginning
of the Edo era (the era of the Tokugawa Shogunate). This is atop a small building just outside of the
Ueno Park Gojo Tenjin Shrine, dedicated to the Shinto Kami Inari (and guarded by foxes).

There are two other images of this Hou-ou on the Assorted Shrines page.
I have also put two of Hidari Jingoro’s famous carvings of Hou-ou
from Nikko Toshogu Shrine Tozai Kairo below on this page.
 

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Saigo Takamori 7618
Ueno Park, Tokyo

Saigo Takamori
The Last True Samurai

Saigo Takamori was one of the most influential Samurai in history, and lived in the late Edo and early Meiji periods. He fought on the side of the Shogun during the Hamaguri Gomon Incident, preventing the rival Choshu clan from seizing the Kyoto Imperial Palace, but he was also arranging an alliance with the Choshu leaders. While he commanded during the first punitive expedition against the Choshu, he remained neutral during the second.

When the Tokugawa Shogun returned power to Emperor Meiji in 1867, he demanded that the Tokugawa clan be stripped of their lands and status, which was a major cause of the Boshin War the next year when Tokugawa supporters tried to seize the Imperial Palace in Kyoto. Tokugawa surrendered in the end, and due to Saigo’s being persistent, they were shown clemency. Later, he resigned his commission and returned to Satsuma when Japan’s leaders refused to go to war with Korea over their continued refusal to recognize the legitimacy of Emperor Meiji as the head of state of the Empire of Japan (and their insulting of Japan’s envoys).

Many samurai followed him to Kagoshima (Satsuma), and he formed a private military academy for them. These samurai eventually dominated Kagoshima government, and the Japanese government feared a rebellion and sent warships to remove weapons (which caused a rebellion). Saigo reluctantly led the rebels. The rebellion was put down in a few months when Saigo’s forces ran out of ammunition, and they were either killed or they committed seppuku.

The government offered one last insult to Saigo by clothing his statue in Ueno Park in a commoner’s kimono instead of the samurai’s kimono or an officer’s uniform.

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Ueno Daibutsu 7506

The bronze face of the Ueno Daibutsu,
destroyed in the 1923 Kanto Earthquake.

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Ueno Daibutsu 7509

UenoPark_Daibutsu


Ueno Park Daibutsu
(Composite will open in a second window)

Available as an XL Composite (3274 x 2320)

Originally built as a plaster statue in 1631 to commemorate the veterans of the war
that unified Japan and established the Tokugawa Shogunate, it was destroyed by an
earthquake in 1647. It was rebuilt as a gold-copper alloy casting by a monk in 1655-1661.

It sat in the open until 1698, when a building was created to house it. In 1841 the Daibutsu and
the building were partially destroyed by fire, and it was recast in bronze in 1843 funded by donation.
In 1855 the head was destroyed in an earthquake, and the same benefactor donated funds to repair it.

In 1875, the development of Ueno Park required the removal of the building housing the Daibutsu, so it
was again sitting in the open. It remained as a major attraction in the new public park that is now Ueno
until the head fell off during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. The head and body were stored
 in Kaneiji, but as no funds were forthcoming to rebuild it, plans for restoration were put on hold.

In WW II, the Daibutsu’s bronze body was melted for the war effort, except for the face.
In 1967, an Indian-style pagoda was built on the site where the Daibutsu once stood,
with a ‘wishing altar’ for people to help fund the rebuilding of the Daibutsu, and for
the 50th anniversary of the Kanto Earthquake, the face was mounted on a wall.

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Botero Ebisu 7267

Fernando Botero
Ebisu Garden Place, Tokyo

These are just a few of the shots I took at the exhibition
of Botero’s sculptures at Ebisu Garden Place. Fernando
Botero is a Colombian artist who tends to use models
with “exaggerated proportions” (he calls them fat).

He has also done some celebrated work in
drawings and paintings depicting the violence in
Colombia caused by the drug cartels, and a series
on Abu Graib Prison that he spent 14 months on.
The 85 paintings and 100 drawings will not be
sold (like the Crug Cartel series, they will
be donated to museums). His work
is visually unusual, and is quite
popular among corporate
clients, drawing prices
in the $ millions.

Here, I have a detail study and detail crop
as well as a full image of “Leda and the Swan”,
and a landscape image which is showing part of
“Reclining Woman with Fruit” and “Botero’s Cat”.

14 of Botero’s sculptures are
displayed and available on the
Photoshelter Japan Potpourri page.

 

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Botero Ebisu 7267c

Botero_Ebisu_7258


Botero Ebisu 7258

“Leda and the Swan”

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Botero Ebisu 7254

“Reclining Woman with Fruit” and “Botero’s Cat”

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Tokyo Ramen 7229

Hungry? Let’s have some noodles...
One of the ubiquitous Tokyo noodle shops.

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Sankeien Tea Cake 7945

... and for dessert, a Tea Cake would be nice.
This image was shot in Sankeien Garden, Yokohama.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection

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Osaka_Shopping_9046


Osaka Shopping 9046

Ready for some shopping?

Above is an old indoor shopping mall in Osaka,
between Osaka Tenmangu Shrine and Shitennoji.
While passing through from temple to shrine, I
saw this scene and well... you know how it is.

The image to the right is of Roppongi Hills,
a high-end modern shopping mall in Tokyo.
Roppogi Hills is a mega-complex with shops,
office space, apartments, restaurants, theaters,
a museum, a hotel, a major TV studio, and parks.
The concept created an integrated development
where people can work, live, shop and play in
one place, eliminating the need to commute.
— Roppongi Hills cost over $4 billion. —

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Roppongi Hills 7306

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Hankyu Ceiling Osaka 8893

At the Umeda Station (the busiest station in western Japan), I got off the Hankyu Railway and was confronted
with this magnificent ceiling. I got off at Umeda Station to go to Osaka Castle, Shitennoji and Osaka Tenmangu.
Needless to say I was not expecting modern architectural artwork in the rail station. I shot it coming and going.

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Hankyu Ceiling Osaka 8892

The Baroque Dome in front of Hankyu’s Main
Department Store in Umeda has been destroyed
in the remodeling of the department store. Originally,
I was only going to post the first and last image in
this set (I took two coming and two going), but
when I was doing the research for this page
I discovered that Hankyu had demolished
this ceiling, so I’ve posted all four shots.

In all of my searching, I can’t find out
what they replaced it with. Probably a
steel suspended acoustic drop ceiling or
a similarly boring and mundane monstrosity.

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Hankyu Ceiling Osaka 9116

Hankyu_Ceiling_Osaka_9115


Hankyu Ceiling Osaka 9115

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Osaka Museum of History NHK 8930

Across the corner of Osaka Castle’s South Outer Moat
is the Osaka History Museum and NHK Television.

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Osaka Museum of History 8936

I just had to go over to take this dramatic low-angle shot.

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Tokyo from Roppongi Hills 7340

This shot of Tokyo in the late afternoon
was taken from behind Roppongi Hills.

Tokyo Tower was built in 1958. Inspired by the Eiffel Tower, it is a lattice painted white and international orange for air safety regulations. Until 2010 it was the tallest artificial structure in Japan (1091 ft.). The Tokyo Sky Tree is taking over much of Tokyo Tower’s work in 2012 (Tokyo Sky Tree is 2080 ft. tall).

At the time of its construction, Tokyo Tower was the tallest freestanding  tower in the world, taking over the Eiffel Tower’s record at a weight 3300 tons less than the Eiffel Tower.

Tokyo Tower is one of the most recognized symbols of Tokyo, just as the Eiffel Tower is for Paris.

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Tokyo Tower 7344

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Ameyayokocho 7621

Ameyayokocho_Character_7429


Ameyayokocho Character 7429

Ameyayokocho is a street market near Ueno Park that evolved out of the black markets that sprang up after WW II.
The name means “sweet food alley”, but it is also a play on the short name for American (Ame), and got its start selling
blue jeans and other black market items. It is now an open shopping bazaar selling things like food, clothing and nearly
 everything in between. It attracts all sorts of people, as you can see from the image above right. Note the look on the little
girl’s face (the right background). Mom is pointing out the funny man, saying “Look at him! You don’t see that every day.”

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Ryozen Ishidoro 9596

A beautiful ishidoro (stone lantern) surrounded by
sakura marking a Honen sacred site in Kyoto. You may
have noticed that I shot a LOT of stone lanterns while in
Japan. This one was special in shape and surroundings.

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Fuji Royal Coffee Mill 9491

Do you know someone who loves coffee
and has two slaves to turn the cranks? If so,
this enormous coffee mill is exactly what the
coffee enthusiast with everything must have.

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Kamakura Fence 1025

I ran into this Takegaki and Takehogaki (Bamboo and
Bamboo Ear) fence while walking between places in
Kamakura. Creative, and obviously hand-made.

At right is a close crop of a Jizo Bosatsu that was carved
into a monolith at the Ofuna Kannon Temple, below the
statue. This was the work of a very talented sculptor.

The Ofuna Kannon Temple preserves the flames of
Hiroshima in a Tower of Atomic flame that has been
continuously burning since the flames were brought
back from Hiroshima in 1945. Jizo alleviates the
suffering of those trapped in hell, which is very
appropriate for this venue, in my opinion.

OfunaJizo_1073


Ofuna Jizo 1073

KairoPanel_Hou-ou_8150clip


Kairo Panel Hou-ou 8150 clip

The Hou-ou (Phoenix) reappears... remember the Rube Goldberg bird?

The head of a Golden Pheasant, neck of a Snake, body of a Mandarin Duck,
tail of a Peacock, legs of a Crane, mouth of a Parrot and shows up to herald the start of a new era?

The one above is a female, and the one below is a male.

These were carved in 1617 for the Tozai Kairo exterior nature panels
at Nikko Toshogu Shrine, and are attributed to Hidari Jingoro.

KairoPanel_Hou-ou_8152clip


Kairo Panel Hou-ou 8152 clip

Hidari Jingoro is a legendary Edo period artist, active between 1596 and 1644. The story says
that he was called Hidari (left) because he learned to sculpt with great dexterity with his left hand
after he lost the right hand in a fight. There are controversies about the historical existence of the
artist, although various studies suggest that he created numerous famous sculptures in temples
and shrines throughout Japan. It is possible that Jingoro is an amalgam of several artists,
but this is a controversy that will very likely have no positive or negative conclusion.

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Nemuri Neko 8216c

This is the Nemuri Neko (sleeping cat) carved above the inside of the Kugurimon (pass-through) at the
end of the Higashi-Kairo (East Corridor), before the Sakashitamon, the gate to the Okusha (inner shrine).

The tale says that Hidari Jingoro loved cats, and spent eight months in seclusion refining his knowledge
and technique in wood scupting. He spent most of the time studying, sculpting and carving wooden cats.
He became so good at it that his cats appeared to be lifelike. The Nemuri Neko is a National Treasure.

ThreeMonkees_8818clip


Three Monkees 8818 clip

Sansaru (or sanzaru, three monkeys), attributed to Hidari Jingoro, carved for the Shinkyo
Sacred Horse Stable at Nikko Toshogu Shrine in 1636, this is one of eight panels telling the
story of the three monkeys, known as Mizaru (who is covering his eyes: See no Evil); Iwazaru
(who is covering his mouth: Speak no Evil); and Kikazaru (covering his ears: Hear no Evil).

The three pages of the Nikko section detail this most exceptional place, the pinnacle
 of Japanese Shrine Architecture. It has some of the most amazing carvings you’ve ever seen.
Nikko One: The Lower Level
Nikko Two: Yomeimon and Kairo
Nikko Three: Upper Level

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
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There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection

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