Dec 31, 2013

More neighborhood

 They are still doing major construction on the rivers. Most of the work is simply removing all the sand that accumulated during last year's flood, but they are also, in places, repairing or adding new banking.
 This is at one of the local parks, It is actually a stele that commemorates the founding of the park.
I met this little guy in the garden next to someone's home. I wonder if he was bringing or stealing plants.

Dec 30, 2013

More sights

 This is a typical Japanese house. Notice all the roofs. Even new house will often be divided  up like this.
 This pile of boulders filled the space that is normally occupied by a house. I assume that they belong to a landscaping company.
This torii had a little shrine behind it but it all appeared to be on private property so I did not go in.

Dec 29, 2013

A strange house and a park

 Continuing on my walk, I discovered this strange house across the river. Look at the shape of the roof. Also looking down from above, you could see that the corners are not 90 degrees, so the whole building has an odd shape. One of these days I will walk on the other side of the river and try to find out if this is a home or something commercial.
 A little farther on, I found a small park with a fairly old wisteria. Parks are an important part of my walks. They frequently have public toilets.
I decided to have a short rest. I used the facilities, bought a drink from a machine nearby and sat on the bench under the wisteria. While I was sitting there this truck came in carrying some scaffolding. I was not able to figure out what they were going to work on, but in the end I decided that they must be doing something to the little public toilet building.

Dec 28, 2013

Dead End

 I ran into a minor problem. The sign on the left says in essence that the road ends. I walked up a bit farther and found that the sign was correct. There was a fence completely block any passage.
 After retreating and taking a road much farther away from the river, I found that, after the next bridge, there was another road along the riverside. This picture shows a branch stream entering the river.
A few more paces and I could see up the branch stream. Not too many years ago, this area was farmland or just empty. Then people started building houses and commuting into Fukuoka. Now the area is getting more and more people; the town, machi, population just topped 50,000 for the first time. We are now getting an interesting mix of high rise apartment buildings and one and two story family dwellings.

Dec 27, 2013

Auto repair shop

 I love the name of this auto repair shop, Brains.
 Across the street from the shop, the damaged cars are on display. I am not sure whether this is an ad or a warning.
Walking passed the shop, I found this care on top of an old refrigeration unit.

Dec 26, 2013

Starting another walk

 This beautiful white crane was looking for lunch.
 This building belongs to a large company that makes small items of various kinds. This building, according to a TV program I saw about the company, has a babysitting facility on the first floor where working mothers can leave their kids during their shift. The upper floors have rooms that the employees can use for clubs and other meetings.
This is the main building of the same company. The factory area extends off to the left. According to the TV program, there is a large cafeteria inside where employees can eat and it is completely free, one of the benefits of working there.

Dec 25, 2013

Happy Merry Christmas

There are frequent arguments about which is correct 'Merry Christmas' as most Americans say or 'Happy Christmas' as many of my British friends say. Our local cake shop solved the problem nicely in the picture below - Happy Merry Christmas.

 This is the outside decoration at the cake shop. You can see Happy Merry Christmas written on the window.
 This Christmas tree is in the train station,
and this one in Mirikaroden.

Dec 24, 2013

Still at Mirikaroden

 We bought some lunch and, while we were sitting there eating it, a group of people came out and demonstrated taichi, the exercise that is very popular in China and quite popular here. My wife and I did it for almost a year one time but my schedule changed and we had to stop.
 We went in side the building and found an exhibit on weaving. They were making obi, the belt that is used with kimonos.
 There was also an exhibit of flower arrangements.
 Part of this exhibit was things that looked like bonsai but which were actually chrysanthemums.
Here is another of the chrysanthemum bonsai.

Dec 23, 2013

At Mirikaroden again

Returning to our starting point again, we discovered that there was an open market in the paved area in front of the building. This place was selling pottery on the left and clothing on the right.
 This crowded area is selling food.
These flowers were truly beautiful.

Dec 22, 2013

More farmers' market

 The inside of the market. I was surprised that they were still selling ice creams and frozen things. The prices were very low and a lot of the people in our group bought vegetables.
 These are high quality kaki, persimmons, which are really good at this time of year.
The guides called as back to the bus so that we could return to our starting point more or less on time.

Dec 21, 2013

At the farmers' market

 I am not sure what this torso was supposed to represent, especially considering the lack of legs.
 Behind the market was a river, the Nakagawa (the Naka River), which eventually passes near my apartment. On the opposite side of the water, there was what looked like a nice park and picnic grounds, but I did not have time to go across and explore.
Turning around from my previous spot, I could see the market. The name on the sign is kawasemi no sato, home of the kawasemi, a bird that is very common locally.

Dec 20, 2013

The shrine and a store

 Near the entrance to the shrine I found this group of statues, each on its own pedestal.
 Piled in rows behind a statue of Kannon were old grave stones which probably came from a graveyard down int the valley. This is typically Japanese, this is a Shinto shrine, but this statue and the gravestones are all Buddhist.
On the way home we shopped at a little farmer's market. Across the street from the parking lot was a stone mason. There are many of these little shops where craftsmen make stone objects for gardens, graveyards, temples, shrines, etc. Notice the very nice little pagoda on the left.

Dec 19, 2013

Still at the shrine

 The road that goes up and then down the slope will be under water in a couple of years. The red and white tower-like structure on the right is in the concrete processes plant that I showed before.
 The ground around the shrine buildings was covered with small rounded stones, probably taken from a river or beach. The shoe in the upper right corner gives a good idea of the size of the stones.
This wooden structure covers a stone structure with stone doors. The doors were closed so we could not seen what was inside. I would expect that, if I opened the doors, I would find a mirror or a small statue.

Dec 18, 2013

Beating a dead stele

 The writing that used to be inside the rectangle has worn off so I have not idea exactly what this is. However, the top is worn in a very strange way. It does not appear to be simply from the weather.
 I was wondering about this as I turned around and found this behind me. From the condition of these poles, it was obvious that they were what had caused the damage to the top of the stele. Apparently there is some rite here where the person uses one of these poles to beat the stele. When I turned back to study the stele again, I could see that there was also damage to the sides. The guide that I asked did not know what rite this was but said that they would try to find out.
This is the view along the fronts of the buildings.

Dec 17, 2013

The shrine

 On the way home, we stopped at the shrine that have been moved from the valley to the hill to avoid the flooding. Most of it was completely new.
 I don't know whether they moved this rock, too, or if the engraving was already on it, but I do know that the gold paint is new.
These are grave stones. In Japan people are cremated so there is no body in a grave. The memorial is said to hold the spirits of the family members who are enshrined there. Again this is new or at least the paint in the engravings is new.

Dec 16, 2013

The trail

 The trail is almost invisible and is hardly ever used except by people looking at the old marker stones. The guides told us that they had come here the day before and cleared out the part of the trail that we would be using.
 However, someone has done some work here in the past. This tree stump was covered with little vives.
There was another stone that appeared to be a marker but there was no trace of any carved words or symbols so we were not sure.