Jun 30, 2014

A stele and offering

 I've shown this stele at least a couple of times. The shimenawa is getting a bit old but today there was something different about it. The usual vase of green leaves was there, but something brownish was on the flat area at the bottom.
When I went up close and looked, I discovered that it was four monkey masks all nested together. If you don't see the monkey face, the nose is at the bottom, the eye is in the red area in the middle, and the ear is the triangle at the top. The object on the left is a small well-aged wooden tray. I have no idea why people left them.

Jun 29, 2014


 This round building is the museum that holds the exhibits I have been showing for the last few days. If you look closely enough, you can see a man sitting on a bench beside the wall. He is sitting there smoking. Then entire inside of the building is no-smoking and this is the designated smoking ares. In the winter when I see someone out there in the snow, I feel a little sorry for them, but not really very much.
This is my exercise classroom. There are only seven people enrolled, plus the teacher, of course. The class is once a week (three times a month actually) and an hour long. The black objects in front of the chairs are adjustable platforms. We each use a different height which was determined by the extensive medical tests we had at the beginning of the class. I use a platform that is 10 centimeters tall. The teacher's is 25. The other students use varying heights: 10, 12.5, and 15 cm. We step on and off them at a rate of 80 steps a minute. During the hour, we do two or three 10 minute segments. During the rest of the time we do mostly stretching exercises and some coordination exercises with our hands. Some days we also do slow jogging, short steps at 120 a minute. At home I do 20 minutes a day on the platform and also walk a lot. When I get a little stronger, I will start doing slow jogging in my living room.

Jun 28, 2014

More from the Matsuguchi museum

 These are ink and brush paintings that Mr Matsuguchi did.
 These are the name stamps that he used to 'sign' his work.
Here are two more of his works and an envelop that he used to send some paintings to someone.

Jun 27, 2014

Mr. Matsuguchi

 This is the new children's center at Mirikaroden and a sculpture near the entrance.
 Inside the main building and withing the library is a small museum. It contains things that are related to a Mr. Matsuguchi. Sorry, but I do not know the pronunciation of his first name. He was a leading scholar and did much to raise the intellectual level of the the town.
This exhibit shows the desk he worked at and some other things from his study.

Jun 26, 2014

Around Mirikaroden

 They are building a new building on the grounds. There are currently two current buildings: a large swimming pool and gym; and a building containing classroom, a large hall, and the town library. The new building is going to be a children's center. The smoke in the back ground is where they are burning off the weeds that were removed from either a garden or a rice paddy. There are both in that area and I could not really see what was on fire.
 This is the new children's center. It is a round building attached to a square wing that does not appear in this picture.
This is the main pedestrian entrance. It is about half way done the narrow road in the first picture, the one that goes straight ahead. Later I will have my exercise class on the second floor at this end of the part you can see.

Jun 25, 2014

More walking

 This is a rather overgrown park. The reddish pillars in the background support a frame for wisteria. This one was probably quite nice when they were in blossom.
 Another well tended garden in front of a home. I particularly liked the effect of the rusted gate.
This is a daycare center and kindergarten. I've shown it a few times in the past. The reason I am showing it again is that yesterday when passing by on the bus, I say four police cars and about ten police officers standing around outside. They were talking to the staff and taking notes. I was never able to find out what happened but it must have been something fairly serious for that many police to respond.

Jun 24, 2014

Ever onward

 This is outside the farmer's cooperative headquarters. They sell vegetables right from the farm. Most of the vegetables were picked this morning.
 I'm not sure what this large open space is but there are some old buildings lining the back edge, maybe a small two-story factory and the owner's home.
Everywhere in Japan, you will find little pedestrian ways like this. They are short cuts to the other side of the block. The large blue sign is an advertizement for a politician. What candidates can do in the area of ads is severely limited by law and one thing they can do is put signs on private property, or I guess legally the owner of the property puts up the sign, but we all know where the truth is.

Jun 23, 2014

Still strolling

 This shrine is directly behind the stele with the damage wall in yesterday's post. Since I was walking with a goal, Milikaroden, the culture center, I decided not to stop and kept walking after taking the picture.
 A little further on I can to this very nice gate into a private home.
A well-kept garden beside the road. This sort of garden costs the owner a lot of money. Usually twice a year they have to hire professional gardeners who come and trim all the plants and do whatever else needs to be done to keep the plants healthy.

Jun 22, 2014

Out for another walk

 This is a typical street scene in the built up area near my apartment. The yellow sign says that this is an exit.
 I've shown this stele before but this time the concrete block wall has been damaged. It looks like it was probably hit by a car or truck. I'm glad the stele and the post in front of it were not damaged.
Getting a little way away from the newish area where I live, the houses get more traditional and many of them are quite large.

Jun 21, 2014

More at the Botanical Garden

 This little indoor waterfall was stunning.
 There were many orchids in a room of their own.
This flowering tree was truly beautiful.

Jun 20, 2014

Fukuoka Botanical Garden

 My art class took a field trip to the Fukuoka Botanical Garden. It was raining so we stayed in the indoor sections. This room was for various types of cactus.
 This was the main walkway to the exit. There were many flowers but I think there were probably more a week or so earlier.
Here are some of the other students getting set up to start painting. They are doing either watercolors or oils.

Jun 18, 2014

Ground golf

 My wife and I have joined a neighborhood ground golf club. We play every Monday and Thursday morning, if it is not raining. The course is eight holes, two 50 meters, two 35 meters, two 20 meters and two 15 meters. We play three rounds or 24 holes. Par is 24 for a round or 72 for the three rounds. There is no competition and you just play for your own score. Everybody calls it practice so we all root for each other.
 The ball is made of some sort of hard plastic and the club I use belongs to the club and was paid for by the town. The club is a bit away from me in this picture so it looks shorter than it is, about a meter. The clubs and balls are designed so that they do not rise in the air when you hit them but more or less run along the ground.
 This is a hole. Actually there is no 'hole' but a round wire frame. The flag pole reaches the ground so that it will block the ball if you can hit it. There are three vertical wire supports that block ball and cause all sorts of trouble.
 This is the tee for hole number one. The ball is placed on the round raised thing at the right end. The blue string is a marker that shows where the tee should be placed. Lots of people use this field for various activities so everyone pounds markers down into the ground so they lay out their sport accurately. We use blue strings for tees and red strings for holes.
This is the administrative equipment. On the left in front of the box is a bag containing sticks with numbers on them. You draw a number and your name  (written on a piece of wood) is placed on the appropriate slot on the white paper. The box top on the right contains the yet unused names and the numbered sticks that have already been drawn. Once everyone has done this, the groups are consolidated into teams of three or four, even five sometimes. The group at the top of the paper starts at hole one, the group in the middle at three, and those at the bottom at five.
This is a team of three playing. The man on the left is lining up a shot toward the hole which is off to the left. This field is a double soccer field and we have half of it reserved for our games. The tree covered hill in the immediate background is the tomb of a noble from a thousand or so years ago.

Ground golf is just the right amount of exercise and we enjoy the group, usually one or two more men than women. One of the men is also in my art class and two others are in my GO club, so it is really a group of friends. While we play another group from a different neighborhood plays on the other half of the ground.

Jun 17, 2014

Odds and ends

 I was near the culture center where I take lessons and I discovered this field of corn. It is one of the largest that I have seen in Japan. Usually corn is grow in small lots. I believe that up in Hokkaido they have large fields of corn, but not in any of the areas where I have lived.
This is the view out the front door of my apartment. The man next door raises bonsai and beyond that is a garden at the main entrance to his home.

Jun 16, 2014

Along the river

 This is a little shaded rest area. It appears that this may be a gathering place for students when and if the can get away from school.
 It looks like they are getting ready to put in the new bridge. Considering the population in this area, it is currently a long way between bridges. I don't think that the traffic is too bad but it must be pretty crowded during rush hours, so this will probably relieve some of that pressure.
 A long section of the path is just that, a dirt path along the river. It is very nice to walk on and being beside the river makes it quite pleasant.
Scattered around rural and semi-rural Japan there must be millions of picturesque outbuildings like this.

Jun 15, 2014

Strange signs and beautiful pathways

 This house has a little paved area under a plastic roof that is only big enough for a motorcycle, even our little K-cars would not fit inside. The signs are funny. The blue sign says that this is a no parking area and your car will be towed away at your expense. The red sign says that this is a restricted military area and that only authorized personnel may enter. It adds that deadly force may be used to enforce the restrictions. I wonder where they got the signs and wonder even more if they understand what they say. People in Japan think that English is fashionable but seldom bother to figure out what the words say.
 This is a walk with garden that leads to the front door of a private home, actually more than one home, that are well separated from the road. It would be a nice place to live.
This is a park that runs along the Naka River which is off just a little way to the right.

Jun 14, 2014

A private shrine

 In an area that was otherwise all large apartment buildings, this old house was still standing strong.
 I found what I at first thought was a garage, but when I reached it, I realized that it was entrance to a housing area behind it. Inside I could see a torii and a small shrine but not being sure whether or not it was private property I did not go in.
The sign says that this is a seafood restaurant, but the display looks more like it came from a farm.

Jun 13, 2014

Two roadside shrines

 One of the things that I have noticed since moving to Fukuoka is that there are a lot of buildings with strange shapes and strange colors. The sign on this rather garish building says that it is a prep school, a place where students study for exams to the next higher level of schooling.
 Beside the sidewalk, I found this little shrine. I could not see what was in it because of the cloth covering the object. However, it is obviously frequented because someone left the fresh flowers.
A little farther along, I found this larger and better constructed shrine. It was too dark inside to see anything other than the offerings box and a couple of vases of flowers.