Nov 30, 2012

 On my way to art class, the sky along the river was beautiful. I wanted to stop and paint it.
 After class was over and we had all gone out to lunch together, we found that there was some kind of event going on in the pedestrian way in the the middle of Josenji Dori.
 We crossed at the traffic lights and started down the length of the walk. It was line with stalls where people were sell stuff. It is hard to describe what it was. There was lots of art work and jewelry and some cloth items, scarfs and things like that. There were also some things best described as knickknacks.
 This walk was has a stature in every block.
 It is hard to see, but it you look carefully you can see a drawing of a samurai warrior in the sand. The artist was doing live performances, using his hands as brushes.
There were also some groups who appeared to be preparing to perform traditional Japanese dances.

Nov 29, 2012

 A walking back home from downtown Sendai, I found a new store that sells artist objects made from glass and also has glass blowing lessons.
 Almost next door, a drainage ditch had all of a sudden become something to stop and look at. The tree in the foreground is a persimmon and is covered with fruit. The only problem is that you can not reach it.
 This is all that remains of a large building that contained a supermarket, a game center, a bowling alley, and some restaurants. It was badly damaged during the quakes. I am very curious about what the land will be used for in the future.
 This reminds me of London during WWII. However, it is the remains of an earthquake damaged apartment building that had a Kawai Musical Instruments store on the first floor.
 This pedestrian bridge was very colorful.
It looked very nice on the day I took the pictures, but it is very old and I am not sure that I would want to use it, even though it is apparently safe.

Nov 28, 2012

 They were surveying the side of our river. Supposedly they are going to repair the riverbanks that were damaged by the earthquake.
 This house looks fine on the outside but it was severely damaged on the inside. The owner told us that he is going to have to tear it down and completely replace it. The concrete foundation shifted during the quake. This is the house where the wall between the levee and the house collapsed. The owner has already spent around US$100,000 to rebuild the wall. Now he has to spend even more to rebuild the house.

Both the work along the river bank and the work on this house will continue for a long time, so I will periodically be posting pictures so you can see how these things are done in Japan.
 This is my good friend David, an Australian poet, who taught here in Japan for a while. Twice he was here for a year of teaching. Now he comes back for a visit once a year or so. While he was here, a group of friends got together at the Ha'penny Bridge, an Irish bar, and had a small party for him.
 Once the surveying was finished, they brought in a power shovel and started clearing the vegetation from the area they are going to work on.
 I was out walking an went passed a Suzuki dealer that had a lot full of new motorbikes.
This is the main road into Sendai. The trees are ginko and the leaves and nuts are starting to fall.

Nov 27, 2012


 After the trinket shop I showed yesterday, I went a little further and found shops selling food of various kinds.
 This shop was selling women's accessories. I think they were handmade.
 It was getting late in the day and the sun lit up the clouds.
 This is an ice cream shop that had some very strange flavors - burdock + cookie, carrot + orange, corn + cake, camomile tea, rose + milk along with some more traditional varieties.
 This little character was just standing there, with no apparent connection to anything else.
This is a sign for a beauty shop, when you can get your hair done. Somehow I do not think that I would be inclined to go there, if I were a woman.

Nov 26, 2012

An art show in Sendai

 As I left my apartment, I noticed that they were hard at work on repairing the earthquake damage to the river bank. I will be glad when they finish this because about half of our little park is off-limits because of the construction.
 This was art class day and, after class as we usually do, most of us went out for lunch. It was noon time and the place was crowded so we sat at the counter that is mainly used at night. All around the counter is a continuous grill made from large, thick sheets of metal. At night they do teppanyaki, the food is fried on the grill in front of you. The food here is quite good and very inexpensive so we often eat here.
 After we ate, we went next door to an art exhibit. I did not think most of it was very good, but this was impressive. It is a room-size ikebana.
 Here is another picture from a different angle. It looked very Christmasy - all the red and green.

 Outside in the arcade, they were selling some handicrafts. Most of it looked very commercial so I did not stop to browse.
A little further on, there was a new shop. The last time I came by here the place was still under construction and you could not see anything. I think that it sells women's accessories of some kind. Again it did not look like anything I would be interested in, so I did not enter. However, I did stop and enjoy the outside.

Nov 25, 2012


 This is in a park downtown. It is a kokeshi. Usually they are made of wood and are no more than a foot high. Most of them are made by craftsmen on lathes and then painted with a face and a kimono. They are very popular and many people decorate their homes with them.
 This is Nanakita Park on a holiday. At this time of year groups, most often college friends but also others, go to a park or along a river and have a party. It is called imonikai, imo means potato, ni means boil, and kai means party. They start a fire and boil a big pot of potatoes, meat and vegetables. Often this is accompanied by meat grilled over the same fire. Along with this, the party goers will consume a large amount of beer, sake or other alcohol. There will be casual sports and music, too.
 It smelled so good that I was tempted to go over and start taking to people in the hopes that someone would invite me to join them. Notice that in both of these pictures there are baby carriages. It is quite common for the young families to bring the children with them.
 At the other end of the park, the flowers were still blooming.
 This is an area that they dug up to repair the underground pipes. They have rebuilt the foundation around the outside of the building and have planted new trees.
As I started for home, I found a group of students using the shade from a bridge to shelter their imonikai.

Nov 23, 2012


 Maybe these tracks in the concrete were left by one of the foxes, which may go out wandering when no one is around.
 Behind the 13-level pagoda and the stature you can see the plastic sheets surrounding the oldest of the buildings in the compound, currently undergoing repairs and reconstruction.
 The statue in more detail.
 A small building near the gate. As we were leaving, I noticed the carvings up under the eaves.
 We left Ryuhoji and returned to the main street where we entered a restaurant. It was very small, only three tables, but it has a very good reputation. The main item on the menu is katsu, pork covered in breadcrumbs and deep fat fried. It was delicious. The decor was rather old fashion and it looked like there has been no remodeling for years. The feel of the place was enhanced by this radio.
Our guest, who bought the meal for us (thank you, again) leaving the restaurant. The large picture illustrates the primary dish on the menu, katsu with a large pile of thinly sliced cabbage, Both are eaten with a soy sauce and sesame based sauce.

Nov 22, 2012


 Up under the eaves of the pagoda I notice a colorful but unidentifiable animal of some sort.
 Another Buddhist statue with fresh flowers but again I do not know who it represents.
 This is the little Shinto shrine that is next to the main hall.  The statues of two foxes in front of the torii, two in this case, plus the fact that the torii are red implies that this is one of the Inari Shrines. Inari is the Shinto god (kami) of fertility, rice, agriculture, foxes, industry, and worldly success. Apparently about one third of the shrines in Japan are dedicated to Inari.
 Some one has place a container of rice wine, sake, between the legs of this fox.
 This is the beginning of a small construction project. I know this because of the bamboo poles at the four corners of the space and right in the middle (very hard to see) a shorter pole with folded white paper hanging from it. This shows that the Shinto ceremony to bless the site has been completed. This was done even though this is a Buddhist temple.
This is a strong storage house where the temple keeps it valuables, mostly art work, I would imagine. This storage buildings have thick walls, strong windows and doors, and would be very hard to break into without making a huge amount of noise for a long time.

Nov 21, 2012


 If you remember, we were escorting a guest, the father of an Australian friend, and he had little experience in Japan. We stopped here in front of the bell tower and were talking about Buddhism and temples.  The idea of Shinto shrines came up since we had just visited one. We told him that shrines and temples were often collocated. He found this a bit surprising, Christianity's relationship to other religions. We suggested that he turn around and look at the red objects in the distance.
 A closer look revealed, a Shinto shrine on the raised area next to the main hall of the temple.
 This is the entrance to the main hall.
 This is a view of the pagoda from the back.
 You can see that the structure of the roof is similar to that of most temples.
We walked toward the Shinto shrine to let our guest get a better look at it, and of course, to see if for ourselves. When we got close enough, we saw a crow having lunch on the offering of rice that had been placed in front of the shrine, probably by the Buddhist priests who run the temple.