Sep 30, 2011

Almost home, but with a detour to a bakery

 Still at the shrine for the victims of the execution and torture grounds, I noticed that someone has given this Buddhist statue new clothes.
 This is also a Buddhist statue on the shrine grounds.
 Sendai, as is most of Japan, is full of pleasant little streams like this. They are part of the drainage system or the extensive system that brings water to the rice paddies. Some of the streams, particularly in central Japan, are 1500 years.
 This is a cake shop that I pass when going to Miyagi Gakuin U on  the bus. It has been open for more than 50 years and I have wanted to try the cakes. I bought a couple and, when I ate them after returning home, I did not think that they were special, in fact they were too sweet for me which may be why it has lasted so long - many Japanese like things that are extremely sweet.
 Walking along the main road, I was passed by a policeman on a bicycle. The numbers on the left are the prices of different kinds of gas in yen per liter.
Here is another picture of the policeman. I think that one of the many reasons for the low rate of crime in Japan is that the police patrol on bicycles as well as cars and motorcycles.

Sep 28, 2011

Still walking

 This old house is apparently still in use. I am serious thinking about using it as the subject for a drawing. If I ever get the time. The new semester has started and I am very busy so it will probably be a while.
 I have almost reached the Kita Sendai train and subway station, and since I was on a road that I do not usually use, I discovered that the wall beside the last of the row of temples had collapsed during the tremors.
 This young lady is walking up the stairs into the temple grounds. I have never been inside so I can not guess whether she is actually going to the temple or just taking a shortcut through the temple grounds. I just check the Goggle satellite photos of the area and I would guess that she is taking a short cut into the housing area on the other side of the temple. It appears that you can walk through and out the other side.
 This area has a lot of old houses. I find them very picturesque and hope to do drawings of many of them, once I retire next year and have some freer time.
 This is, I believe, the tallest apartment tower in Sendai. Before Miyagi U opened, while I was working on the setup committee, they wanted to buy the penthouse as the living quarters for the university president, but it was not available. Instead they bought two side by side apartments in a building nearer the campus, and then knocked a hole through a wall to make it one large apartment. After the first president, the new presidents took office, they all had their own accommodations so the two apartment complex went unused. Finally, it was sold at a very cheap price. I would have loved to have purchased it, but did not consider it considering the mortgage on my present apartment.
I was back on the main road and stopped briefly at the the shrine to the souls of the victims of the torture and execution ground that was located in this area. I almost always stop unless I am in a hurry. There is something about the place, the aura of all those who suffered or died here, that make it special.

Sep 26, 2011

Walking along 'temple row'

 Here work is being started on a building to replace one destroyed in the quakes. On the hill behind the site the grave stones are visible. One thing to remember is that there are no bodies up there. People are cremated in Japan and the stones only serve as a visual reminder and most are for families, not individuals.
 A very nice traditional style entrance to a private home.
 The stairs lead up to the main gate of a temple. You can just see the roof of the gate at the top of the stairs.
 These stairs lead up to a group of private houses on the hillside. I think that they may well be the only access to these buildings.
 The red structure is a torii and marks the entrance to a Shinto shrine.
This dilapidated old building looks like it has been hear since before WW2.

Sep 25, 2011

Sendai Temple zone

 This is a better view of the shrine that I showed yesterday
 I was walking along a road that went to and then followed the base of a line of low hills that used to mark the northern edge of Sendai. At that time the hills were in the countryside so they were a good place to build temples. Now, there is a row of them along the ridge line. In the following I will only show the entrances. After I officially retire from teaching university classes next March I plan to start visiting all of the temples and shrines in Sendai, taking pictures and making drawings. This is the first of the temples in the hills.
 This was the entrance to a regular house. I think the owner has a very nice artistic sense.
 This is where the road turns to parallel the ridge line.At this point rather than a temple, there is a Shinto shrine on the hill. This is the entrance
Two people walking up to the shrine. You can see that the entrance collapsed in the quakes and has not been repaired.
This is just to the east and is the entrance to a temple. You can see the main gate at the top of the hill.

Sep 24, 2011

Walking home from Sendai

 I decided to walk home and to take one of the side roads rather than the main road. One of the first things I was this old store. In front of it is an old woman pulling a two wheel cart. At one time such carts were very common. There are fewer of them now, but you still see them occasionally. I was not sure what the other two women are doing. One of them was taking a straw hat off the top of the cart. There is also a man looking at the displayed goods. Finally there is a woman in the traditional clothing with a cloth tied around her head. She seems to be from the store, probably the owner or the wife of the owner.
Architecturally the area is quite mixed. There are many tall apartment buildings but there are also many one an two story one-family homes.
Bicycles are a common sight, particularly on the side roads. In Sendai people thing that it is rude to ring the handlebar bell when they come up behind you, as they did when I lived in Nagoya. This means that you frequently do not know that they are there and they try to squeeze by you, often dangerously. I have been hit by the handlebars a number of times. Also a number of bikes have missed me, but hit a wall or a fence. Recently the police have been stopping cyclists and giving tickets for things like no lights at night, driving while intoxicated, not obey the traffic laws, and driving dangerously
This building was constructed in the old style and looks like it might be fairly old, but well kept up.
I found a Shinto shrine. The torii is on the right and the shrine building is on the left. When I looked at the signs in the middle of the picture, I realize that there was also a Buddhist temple here and the driveway on the left was the entrance. Turning slightly to my left, I could see the temple's hall and the two statues protecting the entrance.

Sep 22, 2011

A traffic jam in Sendai, with a pretty cool taxi stuck in the crosswalk.
At art class I bought a cup of coffee and even it had "Nihon Ganbarou" (Hang in there Japan) on one side and ...
on the other side, within a red circle on a white background, reminding us of the Japanese flag, it says "Higashi Nihon ganbarou" (Hang in there East Japan). The man is one of the other students.
A pigeon waiting for a shop to open. Notice the cardboard box which a delivery man left outside. It can be expected to still be there when the shop opens.
This is an authorized ad board for the election of members to the city council. There are 19 members and these authorized boards are about the only place you see ads. The problem is the sound trucks that drive around town.
The building in the middle with the long horizontal traditional looking roof is a funeral parlor.

Sep 21, 2011

Various places

 This is the main entrance from the road into Futatkashira Shrine, the largest Shinto shrine in the area. Notice that they have repaired the stone lanterns. Both of them were in pieces on the ground that last time I showed this entrance. Also, see the car? This is a two lane road.
 I walked by the area where they had held the festival and found that it was completely cleaned with no evidence that anything had happened.
 I really like these orange flowers. They are quite pretty and last for a long time.
 This is what they look like individually.
 On my way to Yaotome Station, I noticed that they had finished repairing the sidewalk. The green sandbags will be there until plants start to grown.
I took the subway downtown and found that there was something happening in the pedestrian walk separating the sides of Josenji Road. I never did figure out what it was, but later I heard someone say they thought there had been a wedding there.

Sep 20, 2011

Walking home from the ByPass Road

 This is the road that passes over the bridge near my home, but it is almost at its northern end where it intersects the ByPass Road. One thing I do not like about walking on this road is the fact that there is no sidewalk.
 This old twisted pine tree in very interesting. I just wish that it had a better backdrop so the shape could be clearly seen.
 One of the buildings that was badly damaged by the quakes is now being replaced. This area is on high ground and about 10 kilometers from where the tsunami stopped, so all the damage was from the earthquakes, particularly the biggest aftershock.
 Ever since I started walking in the area, I worried about what would happen to this wall during an earthquake. Surprisingly, nothing at all happened. Although buildings nearby collapsed this wall stood with no damage.
 This is a new house that was finished this year. It is very small but completely fills the plot of land that it is on. Apparently it is some sort of demonstration house. The signs on the two sides both say the same thing, "Small house".
At the intersection where Suisen Dori (Daffodil Road, the pedestrian walkway) intersects the road, they are tearing down a four or five story building. However, the old gate next door survived the quakes with only minor damage and is still in use.

Sep 19, 2011

Walking along the Sendai ByPass road

This building contains a kind of shop for which I have no name. It has comic books, internet (connections only or actual computers?), billiards, and darts. The banners in the front say that breakfast is free and lunch is 500 yen.
With the internet, cell phones, and what all, relay towers like this are quite common.
There are some fairly high cliffs along this section of the ByPass road, built up at the top and bottom, but covered with greenery.
Yellow Hat is a large chain that sells automobile tires and has facilities for doing repairs and maintenance as well.
Nothing special here, just this strange little house at the end of a narrow road that parallels the ByPass.
No longer on the ByPass, but on a side road that parallels it, I found this rather neat looking apartment building.