Jan 31, 2014

It is actually a large park

 I walked farther away from the road and saw what looked like an observatory on a hill. Also it became obvious that the park was very large and what I saw in yesterday's pictures was merely the entrance to the main park.
  This map shows the area around the park. You can see that there is a lot of water in the area.
All of a sudden I left a wooded area and found myself walking along the shore of a large lake.

Jan 30, 2014

A nice little park

 This little stream was very pleasant.
 I think I may come back here in the spring and do some pictures.
Most of the larger Japanese parks have at least one large sculpture.

Jan 29, 2014

Walking in Kasuga Town

 I love the name of this beauty parlor. Neutral by FLEAR Hair Resort Spa
 A large housing area that is shield from the main road by a double line of trees.
My goal for the day was a large park that contains the biggest lake in the area.

Jan 28, 2014

Around town

 This is a restaurant that we sometimes eat at. I has a 'vegetable Viking', about 25 different vegetable dishes with chicken in a few and three kinds of rice, plus cake, ice cream, and coffee. It is all you can eat and very inexpensive, around 600 yen (US$6.00).
 I love the name of this store Harmy Hormy. I have no idea what it means. They sell a variety of fashion goods, dishes, clothing, toys, nicknacks, and stuff like that.
This is apparently a pet shop that sells only birds.

Jan 27, 2014

More from the neighborhood

 A lot of the older buildings are quite interesting. Most of this type of place are still being used as work or storage areas. I particularly like the part of the building on the left.
 Spiderman hanging out at a local company.
 This large stone is in front of a private home. It has the name of a god engraved on the surface.
As you can see, this was taken in December at a kindergarten named Buddy. I took quite a few pictures during December so I am about a month behind on posting them. Sorry.

Jan 26, 2014

Another stroll around the neighborhood

 This stone represents a local Shinto god, I think. In any case, someone places flowers here and put the shimenawa around it. Some of the foundation extends out into the public property of the street but most of the base seems to be on private property.
 This is a very nice home. The silver object on the roof is a solar water heater. The energy from the sun is used to preheat the water so that it takes less energy that the family has to pay for.
The strips of colored tape are to keep the birds away.

Jan 25, 2014

The last legs of the walk

 This is one way to extend your property so that you can use every bit of your land.
 The work on improving the river is still progressing but getting near completion.
 This little doll was tied to the tree. At first I thought that it might be a doll that someone lost and then, once I got up close, I saw that it was on private property where it could not be easily reached, so it probably is a 'decoration' by the owner.
This is one end of Antoku Koen, a park named after the Emperor Antoku. It is hard to see but there is a baseball team practicing on the field.

Jan 24, 2014

More interesting structures

 This little Shinto shrine contains a well worn stone wrapped in cloth. I would love to know what it represents, obviously a local god but there must also be a story behind it, one would thing.
 This building was a bit strange. It was only about three meters wide. I had a choice here and chose the road less taken, the one on the left. It turned out that there was nothing special and it just returned to the main road after a few hundred meters. It must be the original road through the area that would have been replaced by the larger road on the right.
Except for the fact that I have stopped drinking, this seems like a good idea.

Jan 23, 2014

Some houses

I really enjoy looking at Japanese houses. There is a wide range of styles going from very traditional to very modern. Of course, I would like living in one but I can not afford to on my pension. The following pictures so some of  the interesting houses I passed while walking.

Jan 22, 2014

Going back down hill

 I had to go back down hill again, because the road ended. As I passed the golf club, or whatever it is, I noticed something that is very typical of Buddhist countries. This large boulder, more than 1.5 meters tall, had a smaller stone resting on it. Buddhists in particular, but I think people in general in Buddhist countries, place rocks on top of rocks to symbolize stupas, pagodas, which represent Buddha's grave.
 This is a common sight in Japan. The map shows the areas that have been designated as evacuation areas. In the even to a large earthquake or other disaster, people go to one of these areas, knowing that there will be assistance and emergency supplies on hand.
This appeared to be a private home. I suspect that the gardeners cost more they my yearly income now that I am retired and living on a pension.

Jan 21, 2014

Still looking for an entrance

 As I walked down the road looking for an entrance to the temple, I noticed that there was a beautiful view in the other direction.
 This was the best picture I could get of the temple buildings. Since there was no entrance gate, it seemed clear that they did not want the general public to enter the grounds, so I gave up and decided to leave.
I went down the hill again by the same route I had taken on the way up, but was soon able to turn off onto a different road that led into this housing area.

Jan 20, 2014

Trying to see the temple

 The end of the temple building that was visible from the road was nicely landscaped, but not at all templish in looks, but this is not unusual because some sects, including this one, do not have the normal Buddhist structures but often have something that is more residential looking.
 I walk down the road a little further trying to find an entrance, but the road dropped away steeply and there was no entrance.
As you can see, there was no way to get in from this side. The driveway appeared to be the only entrance.

Jan 19, 2014

Approaching the temple

 The walk on the uphill road was quite pleasant. The slope was not steep and the view was nice.
 I came upon a driveway with a sign on a post indicating that it was the temple, however, I did not see an entrance, only the parking lot.
Up the hill behind the temple were some temporary looking buildings that did not seem to be connected, in any direct way other than physically, with the temple. I was able to figure out that this was a Nichinrenshu temple, a branch of Buddhism that is quite different from the mainstream.

Jan 18, 2014

Go West, young man, Go West

 I crossed the main north/south road and headed directly toward the hills to the west.
 There are little bamboo groves as you get into areas with fewer houses. Bamboo is still used for a lot of things, both large pieces and small. It is very strong.
I started up a road into the hills and the first interesting thing I found was the 'Nakagawa Golf Arena'. I know that was the name because it is on both signs. I am not sure what a golf arena is but I can see from the Google map that they do have a golf course.

Jan 16, 2014

Walking to see a temple

 Leaving my apartment I started down the main road, walking west. As I passed the hospital that I go to, I noticed how much of the street side of the building is covered by vines.
 This little building is a restaurant that serves noodles. For some reason that is beyond me, these restaurants are often decorated in this rather garish fashion.
About 20 minutes after leaving home, I had already passed our bank and was now at the farthest point on the road passed which I had not been. The reason I had come this far before was to go to the store on the left. It is a huge hardware store and we had come here to buy some things when we were first setting up our apartment.

Jan 15, 2014

With my wife

 These two colorful buildings are apparently apartment buildings. I was very surprised as the number of windows.
 Just a few meters off the main road we found this mikan tree.
 The mikan were ready to eat but as is usual here no one had taken any and most of them will probably end up rotting on the ground. Hopefully, the owner will come out in time to pick them.
 Next to the wall we found this strange little plant with pale yellow flowers.
Behind the mikan tree there was a garden and at the far end there was a nice little gazebo. Someone was taking care of the garden so I expect the mikans will be picked and eaten. Notice the basketball net in the distance.