Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kakuun-Tei (Tea House)





The former building of Kakuun-tei was built by the order of His Majesty the Emperor Meiji for Her Majesty Her Empress Shoken in 1900. As the building was burnt down by the war damage, so in the autumn at 1958 the present building was reconstructed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bourgogne Wine at Meiji Jingu



Provenance of the Bourgogne Wine for Consecration at Meiji Jingu
"By gaining the good and rejecting what is wrong, it is our desire that we'll compare favourable with other lands abroad"... poem by Emperor Meiji

The Meiji period was an enlightened period during which a policy of "Japanese Spirit and Western Knowledge" was adopted, to learn from the best of Western culture and civilization while keeping Japan's age-old spirit and revered traditions. Emperor Meiji led the way in promoting modernization by embracing many features of western culture in his personal life, such as shearing his topknot and donning western attire, and in many other aspects of daily living. Among these departures, His Majesty set an example by taking western food and in particular by enjoying wine with it.

The barrels of wine to be consecrated at Meji Jingu have been offered by the celebrated wineries of Bourgogne in France on the initiative of Mr. Yasuhiko Sata, Representative, Hourse of Burgundy in Tokyo, Honorary Citizen of Bourgogne and owner of the Chateau de Chailly Hotel-Golf. Profound gratitude is due to the winemakers who have so generously contributed to this precious gift to be consecrated here to the spirit of world peave and amity, with the earnest prayer that France and Japan will enjoy many more fruitful years and friendship.

(text extracted from the photo for readability)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Statue with many faces



This is located somewhere in Omote sando stations, near the United Nations University.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

United Nations University





The United Nations University (国際連合大学, Kokusai Rengō Daigaku?) (UNU) is an agency of the United Nations established in Tokyo in 1973[1] to "research into the pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations and its agencies".[2] Its creation was set in motion by the Secretary-General U Thant in 1969.[3]

The university motto is "Advancing knowledge for human security, peace, and development."

The United Nations University provides educational opportunities to researchers mainly at the graduate and post-graduate level through an extensive range of fellowship schemes. It operates through a number of research centres around the world, where research fellows or Ph.D. students from other universities can come to do research. It especially targets researchers and students from developing countries. UNU is headed by a Rector, and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It does not receive any funding from the regular UN budget; it relies instead upon voluntary contributions from member states and the return on its investments, which are currently valued at US$350 million. The budget of UNU is approximately US$37 million per annum. UNU relocated its Institute of Advanced Studies to the Minato Mirai 21 development in Yokohama, Japan in March 2004.

(source: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Omote Sando Hills



Omotesando Hills (表参道ヒルズ, Omotesandō hiruzu) was built in 2005, in a series of Tokyo urban developments by Mori Building. It occupies a two hundred and fifty meter stretch of Omotesandō, a famous shopping and (previously) residential road in Aoyama sometimes termed Tokyo's Champs-Élysées. It was designed by Tadao Ando, and contains over 130 shops and 38 apartments.

The construction of Omotesando Hills, built at a cost of $330 million, has been marked by controversy.[1] The building replaced the Bauhaus-inspired Dōjunkai Aoyama Apartments, which had been built in 1927 after the 1923 Kantō earthquake.[2] The destruction of the apartments again raised questions about Japan's interest in preserving historic buildings. A small section of the old apartments is reconstructed in the South-East part of the new complex.[3]

Minoru Mori noted that there had been resistance from local landowners to the use of Ando as architect, saying that they were concerned that his buildings were too fashionable for the area.[4]

Regarding the construction, Ando said, "It's not Tadao Ando as an architect who has decided to rebuild and make shops, it was the owners themselves who wanted it to be new housing and to get some value with shops below. My task was how to do it in the best way.”[5]

(source: Wikipedia)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Children Playing in the Playground



This picture was taken at a park nearby River Sumida. Kawaii!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Say "Cheese"



Three young gorgeous ladies on a Japanese traditional rickshaw. Wow, such a beautiful sight in Tokyo!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sad and Happy



Are you currently sad or happy? Sadness or happiness is inevitable in life. Sometimes, when you feel sad, you feel like the world is gloomy, unfair, etc. You feel very restless. But, when you feel happy, you feel that the world is very nice to you.

Regardless of whether or not you are sad or happy, just remember one thing. Life is short. So, just enjoy it! Regardless of whether or not you are sad or happy, you need a friend. When you are sad, you need a friend to cheer you out. When you are happy, you need a friend to celebrate your happiness. No use of blaming others when you are sad. Don't let your emotion affect your relationship with others.

By the way, you can wear these masks to hide your current feeling. It is a good mask to wear in Halloween Party, too. ^_^

Thursday, November 20, 2008

River Sumida



The Sumida River (隅田川, Sumida-gawa) is a river which flows through Tokyo, Japan. It branches from the Arakawa River at Iwabuchi and flows into Tokyo Bay. Its tributaries include the Kanda and Shakujii rivers.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Asakusa Sensō-ji





Sensō-ji (金龍山浅草寺, Kinryū-zan Sensō-ji?) is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo. It is Tokyo's oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Formerly associated with the Tendai sect, it became independent after World War II. Adjacent to the temple is a Shinto shrine, the Asakusa Shrine.

(source: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nakamise-dōri



Nakamise-dōri is a street on the approach to the temple. It is to have come about in the early 18th century. Neighbors of Sensō-ji were allowed to set up shops on the approach to the temple. In May of 1885 the government of Tokyo ordered all shop owners to leave. In December of that same year the area was reconstructed in Western-style brick. During the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake many of the shops were destroyed. They were rebuilt in 1925 using concrete, but destroyed again during the bombings of World War II.

The length of the street is approximately 250 meters and contains around 89 shops.

(source: Wikipedia)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ramen for 600 yen



This set costs you 600 yen. I think it is a very reasonable price. And the most important things of all, it tastes delicious! Oishii desu ne!

The ramen broth is made from pork. I can feel the chef's hard work in making the broth by tasting the rich soup.

And for the gyoza, it tastes superb! The juicy minced meat melts directly in my mouth after the first chew! Awesome!

I will definitely come back to this shop in Akihabara in future. Value-for-money!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Replica Ramen



This store specializes in Japanese Ramen. The display in front of the shop is NOT real, but it looks like real to me. The 'mock' or replia ramen is made of some acrylic, wax or other chemical substance.

Japan is one of the countries which is famous in this 'food display art' business. Japan began the practice of presenting menu offerings with plastic imitations, and the practice has spread somewhat to neighboring countries and -- of course -- is followed by Japanese eateries around the world. The concept is certainly tied to Japanese dining aesthetics, where items are arranged on the plate with beauty in mind.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Akihabara Electric Town



Akihabara (秋葉原, Akihabara?) ("Field of Autumn Leaves"), also known as Akihabara Electric Town (秋葉原電気街, Akihabara Denki Gai?), is an area of Tokyo, Japan. It is located less than five minutes by rail from Tokyo Station. Its name is frequently shortened to Akiba in Japan. While there is an official locality named Akihabara nearby, part of Taitō-ku, the area known to most people as Akihabara (including the railway station of the same name) is actually Soto-Kanda, a part of Chiyoda-ku.

Akihabara is a major shopping area for electronic, computer, anime, and otaku goods, including new and used items. New items are mostly to be found on the main street, Chūōdōri, with many kinds of used items found in the back streets of Soto Kanda 3-chōme. First-hand parts for PC-building are readily available from a variety of stores. Tools, electrical parts, wires, microsized cameras and similar items are found in the cramped passageways of Soto Kanda 1-chōme (near the station). Foreign tourists tend to visit the big name shops like Laox or other speciality shops near the station, though there is more variety and lower prices at locales a little further away. Akihabara gained some fame through being home to one of the first stores devoted to personal robots and robotics.

(source: Wikipedia)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spectacles Statue


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ema Prayer Plaque





Ema (絵馬, Ema?) are small wooden plaques on which Shinto worshipers write their prayers or wishes. The ema are then left hanging up at the shrine, where the kami (spirits or gods) can read them. They tend to be fairly uniform in size and shape, but many have different pictures painted on them, of animals or other Shinto imagery, and they often have the word gan'i (願意), meaning "wish", written along the side. Stereotypically, the image on the plaque would be of a horse, uma or ma in Japanese (馬); ema means, literally, "horse picture". This name originates from the fact that real horses were once offered by the wealthy in exchange for blessings at shrines.

Beginning in the Edo period, during the peak of the popularity of the kabuki theatre, it became quite common for temples and shrines to be given ema by the Torii school of painters. The Torii held a near-monopoly on the production of signboards and other promotional materials for the kabuki theatres, and would donate large paintings, on wooden boards, of kabuki actors to the shrines. Despite depicting what might be seen as an unusual subject for the religious context, these paintings were well-received, and incorporated with the shrine's other religious icons.

Unlike in most Western traditions, where one prays to revere, praise, and bless God, in Shinto, people tend to ask the kami for a wide variety of things, ranging from world peace to good scores on the next exam. At some of the more central and popular shrines, such as Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, one can find ema in many languages, as tourists leave their own wishes and prayers.


(source: Wikipedia)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Vending Machine



In Japan, with a high population density, limited space, a preference for shopping on foot or by bicycle, low rates of vandalism and petty crime, and a small and decreasing number of working-age people, there seems to be no limit to what is sold by vending machines. While the majority of machines in Japan are stocked with drinks, snacks, and cigarettes, one occasionally finds vending machines selling items such as bottles of liquor, cans of beer, fried food, underwear, iPods, porn magazines and sexual lubricants, and potted plants. [4] Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita, with about one machine for every 23 people. [5]

The first vending machine in Japan was made of wood and sold postage stamps and post cards. About 80 years ago, there were vending machines that sold sweets called "Glico". In 1967, the 100-yen coin was distributed for the first time, and vending machine sales skyrocketed overnight,[citation needed] selling a vast variety of items everywhere.

In Japan, vending machines are known as 自動販売機 (jidō-hanbaiki) from jidō, or "automatic"; hanbai, or "vending"; and ki, or "machine", 自販機 (jihanki) for short.

In 1999, the estimated 5.6 million coin- and card-operated Japanese vending machines generated $53.28 billion in sales. Vending machine goods and services can cost as little as 80 and as much as 3,000 yen.

With the introduction to services such as "Osaifu-Keitai", cell phones can now be used to pay for the items bought from these vending machines more easily.

Scheduled for introduction in 2008, a smart card called taspo will restrict sales of cigarettes from vending machines. An embedded integrated circuit will contain information about the age of the cardholder.

(source: Wikipedia)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mini Golf?



I wonder what they are playing. Looks like a mini golf to me.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lamp Post


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Doraemon



Doraemon (ドラえもん Dora Emon, Doraemon?) is a Japanese children's manga series created by Fujiko F. Fujio (the pen name of Hiroshi Fujimoto) which later became an anime series and Asian franchise. The series is about a robotic cat named Doraemon, who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a schoolboy, Nobita Nobi (野比 のび太, Nobi Nobita?).

In March 2008, Japan's Foreign Ministry appointed Doraemon as the nation's first "anime ambassador."Ministry spokesman explained the novel decision as an attempt to help people in other countries to understand Japanese anime better and to deepen their interest in Japanese culture." The Foreign Ministry action confirms that Doraemon has come to be considered a Japanese cultural icon. In 2002, the anime character was acclaimed as an Asian Hero in a special feature survey conducted by Time Asia magazine.

The series first appeared in December 1969, when it was published simultaneously in six different magazines. In total, 1,344 stories were created in the original series, which are published by Shogakukan under the Tentōmushi (てんとう虫, Tentōmushi?) manga brand, extending to forty-five volumes. The volumes are collected in the Takaoka Central Library in Toyama, Japan, where Fujio was born.

A majority of Doraemon episodes are comedies with moral lessons regarding values such as integrity, perseverance, courage, family and respect for elders. Several noteworthy environmental issues are often visited, including homeless animals, endangered species, deforestation, and pollution. Topics such as dinosaurs, the flat earth theory, wormhole traveling, Gulliver's Travels, and the history of Japan are often covered.

Doraemon was awarded the first Shogakukan Manga Award for children's manga in 1982, and the first Osamu Tezuka Culture Award in 1997.

(source: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Early Autumn @ Ueno Park



I took this picture on 16 Sep 2008 and I could see the red-changing leaves already.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ueno Park



Ueno Park (上野公園, Ueno Kōen?) is a spacious public park located in the Ueno section of Taito, Tokyo, Japan. It occupies the site of the former Kan'ei-ji, a temple closely associated with the Tokugawa shoguns, who had built the temple to guard Edo Castle against the northeast. The temple was destroyed during the Boshin War.

Ueno Park was established through an imperial land grant to the city of Tokyo by Emperor Taishō in 1924. The official name of the park is Ueno Onshi Kōen (上野恩賜公園, Ueno Onshi Kōen?), which can be translated as "Ueno Imperial Gift Park".

A very famous statue of Saigō Takamori walking his dog stands in this park.

Three museums (Tokyo National Museum, The National Science Museum and The National Museum of Western Art) a concert hall, a Toshogu shrine, the Shinobazu Pond with its Benzaiten shrine, and the Ueno Zoo make this area a tourist and recreation area popular with both Japanese and foreigners.

Steam locomotive in front of the National Science Museum.Ueno Park and its surroundings figure prominently in Japanese fiction, including Gan (The Wild Goose) by Mori Ōgai.

Ueno Park is also home to many homeless people.

(source: Wikipedia)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ueno Zoo



The Ueno Zoo (恩賜上野動物園, Onshi Ueno Dōbutsuen?) is a zoo, managed by Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and located in Taito, Tokyo, Japan. It is Japan's oldest and most famous zoo. It was opened on March 20, 1882. Its location, a five-minute walk from the Park Exit of Ueno Station, makes access from Tokyo's public-transportation network convenient. The Ueno Zoo Monorail, the first monorail in the country, connects the eastern and western parts of the grounds.

Ueno Zoo's saddest time came during World War II. The Japanese Army ordered that all "wild and dangerous animals" at the zoo be killed, claiming that bombs could hit the zoo and escaping wild animals would wreak havoc in the streets of Tokyo. Requests by the staff at the zoo for a reprieve, or to evacuate the animals elsewhere, were refused. Ueno Zoo's three elephants at the time, John, Tonky, and Wanly (or Wang Lee) were too clever to eat the poisoned food, and thus were slowly starved to death. The fate of Ueno's animals, particularly the elephants, has often been used in Japan as an example of the evils of war.

The Sumatran tiger, and western lowland gorilla head the list of the zoo's population of 422 species (as of March, 2003). Ueno has most variety of species on exhibition than any other zoo in Japan.

Within the limits in which it operates, the Ueno Zoo attempts to provide the animals an environment similar to the natural habitat. In recent years, the dreary, old-fashioned cages of the past have been replaced with modern habitats, such as the "Gorilla Woods".

Redistribution of the animals among Tokyo's other zoos (including Tama Zoo and Inokashira Nature Park) left Ueno without a lion. However, in response to public demand, Ueno borrowed a female from the Yokohama Municipal Zoo.

The Ueno Zoo is located within Ueno Park, a large urban park that is home to several museums, a small amusement park, and other attractions.

(source: Wikipedia)