Jul 19, 2011

Josenji Dori

 I was on my way to my first art class at the downtown NHK Bunka Center, walking along Josenji Dori. It was still early, about 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning, so there were few people. In an hour or so, after the stores start opening, there will be many more pedestrians.
 A few years ago, the fixed the intersections along here so that all the traffic stops once during each cycle of the traffic lights. At this time pedestrians can walk in any way they choose. The intersections have become one huge zebra crossing.
 As I mentioned in a previous post, there is a lot of art work along this road. This is a sculpture that is set in the corner of a building. The traffic cones and barrier are covering some as yet unrepaired damage from the earthquakes.
 This a major road that intersects Josenji Dori. On the corner there is a large apartment building. You can see the blankets hanging over the balcony rail in one of the apartments. The next building to the left is a hotel. The first floor seems to be empty now, but it used to contain a convenience store, which was only there for two or three years. Before that it contained an Irish Pub that served Guinness beer. My group of friends used it as a place to meet, even when we were planning to go somewhere else. One of the reasons that we liked it was that it was spacious and they let us move the chairs around so that everyone could sit. A second reason was that they had a kitchen and the food was pretty good. A third reason, and a very important one, was that you paid by the drink, rather than the usual Japanese practice of getting one bill when leaving that covers everyone in the group. This is more or less okay for Japanese, who come and go as a group. However, it means that everyone has to share the bill equally, no matter how much you ate or drank. It also means that everyone has to leave together. Since this place, the Shamrock, closed we have found the Ha'penny Bridge, which also serves real Guinness beer, but it is smaller and the food is not as good. One last reason for liking the Shamrock was that the young woman who managed it and the other young women who worked there were very friendly and even spoke a little English. I met one of them last December when my wife and I and a group of friends when to a second party. She came over and chatted when we went in and then came outside with us when we left.
 This sign says Ganbaro Sendai Miyagi. Ganbaro is a bit difficult to translate because of the broad meaning and the many contexts in which it is used, however, I think that "give it the old college try" comes relatively close to being correct.
These five people are from my art class. The teacher is on the extreme left and the other four are fellow students. Notice the sign board in the middle and then look at the next picture.
 The writing on the sign board says Watch out for the sign board. There is something very surrealistic about this.
We walked across the street to the MediaTech building, where some other students of the teacher were having an art show. The picture shows our teacher, Wakamatsu Sensei, posing with three of his pictures.

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