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Monday, September 30, 2013

Kasadera Kannon Temple

笠覆寺

Kasadera Kannon, aka Ryufukuji, is a short walk from Moto Kasadera Station on the Meitetsu main line to Toyohashi.

Kasadera Kannon Temple, Nagoya


Kasadera Kannon is a Shingon sect temple dedicated to the Eleven-faced Kannon (juichimen kanzeon) and was founded by a priest named Zenko.

The noticeboard outside reads Kasadera Temple is one of four temples in the Owari (western Aichi) area dedicated to Kannon.

Kasadera has a lively Setsubun festival on February 3 and hosts a monthly flea market on the 18th of the month.

Kasadera Kannon Temple, Nagoya, Aichi


The temple and indeed the whole area have something of a run down feel, accentuated by the partial closure of the Miharashi-dai Museum, behind Kasadera.

A notice reads that the reconstructed Yayoi Period dwelling contained within the museum could collapse at any time. The excavated area of Yayoi remains, which is now a park, contains a couple of cherry trees dedicated to the memory of former local residents and celebrity centenarians Ginsan & Kinsan.

Kasadera Kannon Temple, Nagoya


Kasadera Kannon Temple
Minami-ku
Nagoya
475-0051
Tel: 052 821 1367

To get to Kasadera, take a Meitetsu Line local train from Nagoya Meitetsu Station, Kanayama or Horita to Moto Kasadera Station or a subway to Tsurusato on the Sakura-dori Line.

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Japan News This Week 29 September 2013

今週の日本

Japan News.
A Way of Life Moves With a Market

New York Times

Stop lending money to the yakuza, FSA tells Mizuho

The Japan Times

Japan ex-rail chiefs cleared of fatal 2005 crash

BBC

Oliver Stone on Okinawa - The Untold Story オリバー・ストーンと沖縄という秘話 Japanese translation available

Japan Focus

Future of Japan depends on stopping Fukushima leaks, PM tells workers

The Guardian

Japan slow to contain Fukushima leak, says former US regulator

Christian Science Monitor

Nine Japanese Auto Parts Makers Plead Guilty To Price Fixing

NPR

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Statistics

Percentage of elderly (65 years old and older) in Japan:

1964: 6.3%
2012: 24.1%
2020: 29.1%*

Source: Asahi Shinbun, Etc.


© JapanVisitor

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Iwamotocho Horse-Watering Plaza

In slick, clean modern Tokyo it is very easy to forget that a little over a century ago the city had no subways or railway or sealed roads - let alone cars - and that what has become the hum and beep - and fumes - of traffic was once the clip-clop, whinny - and droppings - of horses.

Iwamotocho Horse-Watering Plaza, near Akihabara, Tokyo.


Iwamotocho Horse-Watering Plaza (Iwamotocho Uma no Mizunomi Hiroba) lies between the manga, cosplay and electronics mecca of Akihabara and the traditional doll and toy town of Asakusabashi (also renowned for its reasonably-priced and conveniently located tourist accommodation, hotels, and hostels. Note the minibus at the right of the picture: a free shuttle bus for one of Asakusabashi's most popular budget hotels).

Explanatory plaque at Iwamotocho Horse-Watering Plaza, Tokyo.

The plot - now just grass - has a plaque about its horse-watering history, erected by the Chiyoda ward council, translated as follows:

"Iwamotocho Horse-Watering Plaza

This was a place for watering horses drawing loads (rice, vegetables, seafood, building materials, etc.) from the Boso Peninsula and the north-eastern regions, and provided a resting spot for travellers. As such, it served an important role.

Chiyoda Ward Office"

Iwamotocho Horse-Watering Plaza is a now very silent and deserted, but refreshingly green, reminder to this long-gone aspect of Tokyo life.

© JapanVisitor.com

Inside Track Japan For Kindle: a selection of the most popular of the JapanVisitor Blog posts through the years

Friday, September 27, 2013

Autumn in Japan Ginkgo & Persimmon

Japan! I'm returning to the country in October and looking forward to immersing myself within the beauty of Japan's Autumn season.

Gingko tree in Japan


Here in the United States I am frequently asked, "Have you seen the cherry blossoms?" I have, and they are a beautiful, meditative sight, well-worth the viewing, an important rite of Spring. However, I must speak up for Autumn, which is equally as lovely. Think of falling yellow ginko leaves in the golden sunlight. Picture these leaves scattered over the sidewalks and streets, decorating the humble brick and stone.

Gingko Leaves


I can imagine the persimmon trees in the countryside, where they line streets, garden paths, and hills covered with orchards. Sometimes they seem to appear in the middle of nowhere. The rich orange fruit freely and graciously colors the landscape. Yes, it is quite picturesque.

Persimmon tree in Japan


Autumn always seems a little quieter than Spring, and the weather is pleasant. If you enjoy shopping, let me remind you it's 2014 calendar time in Japan. Choose several to give as gifts! And don't miss out on Autumn in Japan!

Autumn in Japan - persimmon tree

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Karasawa Waterfall

唐沢の滝

Not far from Kiso Fukushima in Nagano Prefecture on the Nakasendo is the lovely Karasawa Waterfall (karasawa-no-taki).

Karasawa Waterfall, Kiso, Nagano


The 100m tall Karasawa Falls are at the base of the 1335m Jizo Pass for the hike over the mountain on the old Hida Kaido trail, which was used to transport herbs, medicines and salt over the mountains.

Karasawa Waterfall, Kiso, Nagano, Japan


The best way to access Karasawa Waterfall is to take a taxi from Kiso Fukushima Station - the fare will be around 3,500 yen. The nearest bus stop Watarai on Route 361 is still a fair distance away, about 4km or an hour on foot. Walk past the Nihongi-no-yu onsen (Tel: 0264 27 6150; closed Thursdays) from the bus stop.

Karasawa Waterfall, Kiso, Nagano, Japan

See the difference between May above and November below when the leaves begin to change color.

Karasawa Waterfall in autumn.

© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art

北九州市立美術館

The Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art was designed by Kyushu-born architect Arata Isozaki and the park-like grounds offer views over Kitakyushu and a number of sculptures.

Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Kyushu


The Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art has a collection of over 6,000 artworks, both Japanese and Western, including wood block prints by Hokusai and Utagawa as well as works by western artists Bonnard, Bourdelle, Degas, Monet, Renoir and Rodin.

There is a annex of the museum in Riverwalk Kitakyushu.

Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art
21-1 Nishi sayagatani-machi
Tobata-ku
Kitakyushi-shi
Fukuoka, 804-0024
Tel: 093 882 7777

Hours: Open 9.30am-5.30pm. Closed on Mondays

There is a 150 yen entrance fee to the permanent exhibition for adults. Prices for special exhibitions vary.

The Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art is a 15 minute walk from JR Tobata Station or by Nishitetsu Bus from Kokura or Yahata.

Arata Isozaki's other works in Japan include the Art Tower in Mito, the Kyoto Concert Hall and the Nara Centennial Hall.

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Kiso Fukushima Station

木曽福島駅

Kiso Fukushima is a JR station serving the pleasant town of Kiso Fukushima in Nagano Prefecture.

Kiso Fukushima is on the Chuo Main Line from Nagoya to Shiojiri via Ena and Nakatsugawa. Eventually the Chuo Line continues on to Tokyo via Kofu and Mitaka.

Shinano Express trains stop here and thus Kiso Fukushima is a good place to change for hikers using local trains heading north to Yabuhara and Narai on the Nakasendo highway.

Get off at Yabuhara to walk over the Toge Pass to Narai on the historic Nakasendo Highway.

Kiso Fukushima Station, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

The Kiso Fukushima Tourist Information Center is directly opposite the station. Local Ontake buses and taxis pull up directly outside. There are a couple of shops selling local souvenirs plus snacks and drinks next to the Tourist Office.

Kiso Fukushima Station, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ryokan Yu Saiki Oita

旅館裕

Saiki, the small port town on the Bando River in southern Oita has none of the major chain hotels, and the few business hotels there are are clustered near the JR station in the far north of the town.

Ryokan Yu Saiki Oita Japan


I wanted somewhere to stay at the far south end of the town, near the castle, and where I would be starting my walk the next day. There is a large, fancy hotel there, but it was way above my price range, but then I found Yu Ryokan, right next to said hotel (the Hotel New Saiki), and near a branch of the river.

When I made my reservation by phone the landlady apologized several times for the fact that her establishment was very old, so when I went looking for it I was looking for something run down and so almost missed it. It is old when using the yardstick of the average age of buildings in Tokyo being a mere 18 years, but in reality is quite new.

Cherry blossom Saiki Oita


The tatami room was a decent size, and my futon was already laid out for me. In the room was a kettle and a TV, outside in the hallway a fridge and a microwave.

I paid 3,200 yen, sudomari, room only. There is a family restaurant and a convenience store nearby.

Ryokan Yu Saiki Oita
876-0844 大分県
佐伯市向島2丁目18-21
Tel: 0972 23 8471

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Japan News This Week 22 September 2013

今週の日本

Japan News.
Japan Celebrates New Home Run King

New York Times

Crimes linked to quasi-legal drugs triple in first half

The Japan Times

Caroline Kennedy looks set to take up Japan post

BBC

Future of Japan depends on stopping Fukushima leaks, PM tells workers

The Guardian

5.3 earthquake hits Fukushima, near nuclear plant (+video)

Christian Science Monitor

Hiroshi Yamauchi, Who Helped Drive Nintendo to Dominance, Dies at 85

New York Times

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Statistics

Percentage of tenured foreign faculty at the following schools:

MIT: 14%
ETH Zurich: 60%
North Carolina State: 31%
Oxford University: 41%
Tokyo University: 6%*
Japanese National Universities (all): 3.2%

*Note: This may include non-full time staff.

Source: Asahi Shinbun, Etc.

Percentage of Support for Prime Minister Abe's Proposed Raise in the Consumption Tax According to polls conducted by the below newspapers:

Sankei Shinbun: 17%
Mainichi Shinbun: 21%
Kyodo: 22.5%

Source: Communist Party of Japan.

© JapanVisitor

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Nanachan September

ナナちゃん

Nanachan is a 7m (23ft) tall icon of Nagoya. People meet here, bands perform here and sellers sell here. To get a taste of youthful fashion and the latest styles in Nagoya and central Japan head to the Nanachan statue east of the Sakura-dori (Main Exit) of Nagoya Station.

Nanachan, Nagoya Station, September


To see what Nanachan has looked like this year check out this Nanachan tribute site.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Business Hotel Kyugetsu

ビジネスホテル久月

Business Hotel Kyugetsu is located on the main road in the small coastal town of Tsukumi, Oita, 15 minutes by car from Usuki and 30 minutes from Saiki. It is a five minute walk from the Tsukumi JR station. Free parking.

Business Hotel Kyugetsu, Oita Prefecture


The room was fairly standard for a budget business hotel, with ensuite bathroom, TV, kettle, etc. Internet was by wi-fi, but my laptop didn't have wi-fi so the manager let me use a lan cable in the lobby.

When I stayed mid week I was the only guest, possibly due to a major chain of buiness hotel opening up in the town recently, but for me the much lower price at Kyugetsu outweighed the convenience and reassurance of a chain. I paid 3,600yen for the small room.

Business Hotel Kyugetsu
3825-92 Tsukumiura
Tsukumi-shi, Oita
879-2413
Tel: 080 6618 1235

© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Izumo no Okuni Founder of Kabuki

出雲の阿国

Kabuki has its roots in the dances performed by Izumo no Okuni, a shrine maiden or miko from Izumo Taisha in Shimane Prefecture, on the river banks and dry river beds near Shijo in Kyoto in the early 17th century.

Statue of Izumo no Okuni Founder of Kabuki, Kyoto


Izumo no Okuni's sensational and sensuous dances on the Kamo River attracted a growing audience from the townsfolk, who came to see Okuni's vivid portrayals of prostitutes and samurai.

Okuni formed an all-female troupe drawn from the city's underclass of prostitutes and general misfits and the performances slowly grew in sophistication over the years.

Kamo River, Kyoto


Backed by a man named Ujisato Sanzaburo, who may or may not have been her lover, Okuni developed her art before mysteriously disappearing from the pages of history.

Later restrictions by the Tokugawa regime meant that women were barred from acting in kabuki to be replaced by young men and boys and then by older men, a tradition that has endured until the present.

Okuni's statue stands on the banks of the Kamo River near the present-day Minamiza kabuki theater and was erected in 2002 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Okuni's first songs and dances.

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kitakyushu Industrial Technology Aggregation & Preservation Center

The Kitakyushu Industrial Technology Aggregation & Preservation Center, aka KIGS, opened in 2007 in Yahata, Kitakyushu.

Kitakyushu Industrial Technology Aggregation & Preservation Center


The Kitakyushu Industrial Technology Aggregation & Preservation Center is a modernist building between the Higashida Blast Furnace and the Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History and Human History.

The permanent exhibition is located in the Timeline Gallery and includes a mural of technological innovation since 1850 with a plasma display providing details in four languages.

Kitakyushu Industrial Technology Aggregation & Preservation Center


There is another Exhibition Gallery which hosts temporary exhibits on the theme of innovation, when I was there a couple of years ago there was one on the history of cameras. Other spaces include a library of materials on technical innovation and design, a lecture hall, workshops, an outdoor event space and a visitor lounge.

Kitakyushu Industrial Technology Aggregation & Preservation Center
2-2-11 Higashida
Yahatahigashi-ku
Kitakyushu, 805-0071
Tel: 093 663 5411

KIGS is open 9am-7pm weekdays, 9am-5pm on Sat, Sun, and National Holidays. Closed on Mondays. Entrance is free but there is often a charge for the temporary exhibitions.

To get to KIGS catch a JR Kagoshima Line train to Space World Station, then walk for five minutes.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 16 Tsukumi to Saiki

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 16, Thursday 21st March, 2013 Tsukumi to Saiki

Another beautiful day!... some clouds, but the sky is mostly deep blue. My route today will be east along the north coast of the peninsular that juts out towards Shikoku, then south along the coast to Saiki, the last big town in Oita before entering Miyazaki.

Down here in Kyushu its cherry blossom season, several weeks before my home area up on Honshu. The hillsides are mottled with color..., white, pink, orange.... These are yamazakura, the wild mountain cherry trees that were originally the subject of o-hanami.

In the earliest times the Japanese followed the Chinese tradition of viewing plum blossoms, but later switched to cherry. The cherry trees that now dominate Japanese towns are a modern species, mostly planted since the Meiji period and especially after World War II. Their white blooms are much shorter-lived than the older species. I much prefer the yamazakura.

Yamazakura in Kyushu


It is a very indented coastline, and I pass through many fishing villages. In Kamiura I come across my first big surprise, a meotoiwa.... a “husband and wife rocks”.... a pair of large rocks protruding from the sea joined by a shimenawa rope. The larger rock represents the husband, the smaller the wife. The most famous meotoiwa is on the coast near Ise, but I have seen four or five examples at other places.

Meotoiwa Kamiura Kyushu


It's a day of tunnels and Ebisu. The tunnels are short, often cutting through the headlands that jut out into the sea and separate each cove and bay. Almost every settlement has a small hokora, roadside shrine, to Ebisu, the patron kami of fisherman. Most of the hokora contain a wooden statue of Ebisu with a Sea Bream under his arm.

The main road passes through the middle of another cement factory, though this time much smaller than the complex in Tsukumi. On the other side I pass a tiny old lady riding a mobility cart.... both carts and little old ladies are very common in rural Japan..... She calls me over and hands me a few candies. Always a nice gesture.

I arrive in Saiki at the late afternoon. The station is here at the northern end of the town and I stop in at the Tourist Information Office. The gentleman running the place is very friendly and helpful and gives me a guide-map. The old part of town is further south on the bank of the Bando River, below where the ruins of the castle stand. On the way there I pass along "The Street of History and Literature", an old road running down to the castle gate.

A few stone walls, a temple or two, and an old house that was in former times the home of a writer I have never heard of. The castle is on top of the hill, and at the base is a reconstructed main gate and a museum, and the obligatory cherry trees.

It's actually quite busy. I was hoping to leave my pack down below while I walked up to the castle, but there is nowhere obvious to stash it. I sit and take a rest while having a drink and I watch a little old man limbering up and then start jogging up the hill. Walk up, look around, and walk back down he jogged up and down the hill four times. The view from the ruins was pretty impressive, down over the town and to the big island offshore. According to the old illustration of the castle reproduced on the signboard a good half of what is now Saiki used to be the sea.

Most Japanese coastal towns and cities have extended themselves seawards. Back down at the bottom it is a short walk into the town to today’s temple, number 30, Dainichiji. Pleasant enough, and I chat with the priest for a while before another short walk to where my minshuku for the night is.

Jake Davies

A Walk Around Kyushu 15

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Japan News This Week 15 September 2013

今週の日本

Japan News.
At 20-0, a Japanese Pitcher Is Set for a Major Move

New York Times

Japan on high alert year after Senkaku nationalization

The Japan Times

Japan media: Euphoria over Olympics

BBC

Japan considers stationing workers on disputed islands

The Guardian

Can Mount Fuji survive tourists?

Christian Science Monitor

Deference to a Revered Record in Japan Is Going, Going ...

New York Times

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Statistics

Percentage of tenured female faculty at the following schools:

Harvard University: 22%
Williams College: 41%
Colgate University: 45%
Waseda University: 14% (2010)
Tokyo University: 15.6% (2008)
Osaka University of Education: 18% (2007)

Source: Asahi Shinbun, Etc.

© JapanVisitor

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mojiko Station

門司港駅

Mojiko Station in Mojiko, Kitakyushu, is one of the few remaining large scale stations made of wood in Japan.

Mojiko Station, Moji Port, Kyushu, Japan

Mojiko Station was constructed in a Neo Renaissance style in 1914 and the station's design is said to be based on the old Termini Station in Rome, though this is disputed.

Mojiko Station is located on the JR Kagoshima Main Line from Kagoshima to Mojiko.

Inside Mojiko Station is the local Tourist Information Office, which is open from 10am-6pm.

Mojiko Station
1-5-31 Nishikaigan, Moji-ku, Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka
Tel: 093 321 6110.

 © JapanVisitor.com

Friday, September 13, 2013

Going to the Doctor in Tokyo

東京で医者に行く

 Previous posts on this blog have pointed out some unpleasant aspects of medical care in Japan, but, as with everything, time and place are everything. I have the unpleasant habit of plucking my nosehairs - and at my desk! (sorry coworkers) - which is no doubt less pleasant to watch than the sight of the unruly nosehairs themselves.

Japanese health insurance card.

Anyway, the habit triggered a rebellion from my longsuffering nose two days ago, when some of the pores of plucked hairs became infected, right around the inside of my left nostril. The whole tip of my nose has become red, inflamed and bulbous - in a word, comical.

I went to the local drugstore in search of a cure, but because it was inside my nose, I was told that it was the doctor's domain, not theirs.

A quick internet search revealed an eye, nose and throat specialist very nearby the office. I rang them up and was told just to turn up: they didn't do reservations. So I walked over there, filled out a simple form, handed over my health insurance card (pictured above) to the friendly receptionist and waited five minutes.

I was then ushered into the spacious, spotlessly clean, high-tech clinic, where the genial doctor awaited, was promptly sat down, had a few pictures taken of the inside of my nose, was immediately shown them on the seat-side screen, and had my diagnosis confirmed: an infected nosehair pore.

I was out less than four minutes after I had entered, waited two minutes to get my prescription, went for a 15-second walk straight across the small street to the pharmacy, and walked out with my tube of antibacterial cream in less than three minutes.

The whole thing had taken less than 25 minutes and cost less than 1,500  yen. Everyone was amiable, attentive, efficient, knowledgeable - in a word, professional - and I was reassured, confident, satisfied - in a word, happy.

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Shiroyama Park Takayama

城山公園

Shiroyama Park in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture is the former site of Takayama Castle.

Shiroyama Castle, Takayama


Kanamori Nagachika (1524-1608), an ally of Ieyasu Tokugawa, constructed Takayama Castle and the surrounding town of Takayama from 1588 onwards and his equestrian statue stands in the park, in recognition of his founding of the town.

Little now remains of the original Takayama Castle except for its stone walls, Hakuunsui spring and Otemon Gate.

Remains of Ohtemon Gate, Takayama


The 24 hectares of ground became a public park in 1873, which is famous for its cherry trees in season. Shiroyama Park is the largest public park in Takayama.

Hakuunsui Spring, Shiroyama Park Takayama, Gifu

Shorenji Temple is just to the north west of the hill on which Takayama Castle once stood.

Shiroyama Park Takayama Gifu Japan

© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Danjiri Festival Kishiwada 2013

岸和田だんじり祭

The famous Danjiri Matsuri held in Kishiwada, south of Osaka takes places this Sunday.

Danjiri Festival Kishiwada
Wu Chung Tang
35 large floats will be pulled around the streets in a race with one or two collisions almost guaranteed. The floats are ridden members of Kishiwa's "carpenter" community, known as daiku-gata, who seek to impress with their balance and "dance" routines.

The action begins at 6am on Sunday, 15th September.

The Danjiri Festival dates back to 1703 when the Daimyo of Kishiwada, Okabe Nagayasu, prayed for a good harvest at Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Shrine.

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hie Shrine Akasaka

日枝神社

Hie Shrine Akasaka Tokyo
Hie Shrine near the National Diet Building in Akasaka, Tokyo, plays host to one of the city's three great Edo festivals - the Sanno Matsuri which is held annually on June 15.

Hie Shrine's chronology is somewhat vague but it was founded sometime in the 14th-15 centuries.

Originally located within the grounds of Edo Castle by Tokugawa Ieyasu, as the guardian shrine of the fortress, Hie Shrine was moved and eventually re-located in Akasaka by Tokugawa Ietsuna, Ieyasu's great grandson in 1659.

Fire has ravaged the original buildings, which received their most recent pounding in World War II. The present structures now date from 1958.

Monkey King, Hie Shrine Akasaka, Tokyo
Hie Shrine remains a popular place for Tokyoites, who come here in droves with their children for the Shichi-go-san festivities in the autumn.

Hie Shrine has some interesting statues including its monkey gods: a king and a queen with child, mirroring the activities of mere mortals during Shichi-go-san.

Oyamakui-no-kami (aka Hie-no-kami) is the main Shinto kami associated with Hie Shrine, the god of Mount Hie in Shiga prefecture.

Hie Shrine
2 Chome-2-10-5 Nagatacho
Chiyoda
Tokyo 100-0014
Tel: 03 3581 2471

The nearest subway stations to Hie Shrine are Akasakamitsuke Station on the Ginza and Marunouchi lines, Kokkaigijidomae Station on the Marunouchi and Chiyoda lines, Akasaka Station on the Chiyoda Line and Nagatacho Station on the Yurakucho, Hanzomon and Namboku lines.

Monkey Queen, Hie Shrine Akasaka, Tokyo
© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, September 09, 2013

Tokyo To Host 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo has won the IOC vote held in Buenos Aires to host the 2020 Olympics Games, edging out its competitors: Istanbul and Madrid.

Tokyo Japan To Host 2020 Olympic Games


Tokyo last hosted the Olympics in 1964 in a very different age of rapid economic growth and national recovery from the destruction of World War II.

The Shinkansen bullet train and One Cup sake are two lasting legacies from 1964, what will the 2020 Olympics leave behind as cultural icons?

The ongoing melt-down in Fukushima was not enough to sway the IOC delegates in their vote but it is to be hoped that sustainability, safety and green technology are some of key guiding concepts of the massive construction projects that will now begin in Japan's capital - not just more mega-expensive white elephants churned up by the "Concrete State."

Tokyo To Host 2020 Olympic Games
The centerpiece of Tokyo's Olympic Games will be the redevelopment of the National Stadium (built for the 1964 Games) in Sendagaya by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.

The fact Hadid is a woman working in a nation where less than 20% of all graduates from Japan's top university is a step in the right direction.

The last big sporting event held in Japan (and Korea), the 2002 World Cup was a huge success, as the country loosened up a little and embraced the world, before sliding back into another decade of economic stagnation, isolation, poor relations with its nearest neighbors and increasingly a shift to the right.

Let's hope the 2020 Olympics have a re-energizing effect on the country and that people will be legally allowed to dance in nightclubs after midnight to celebrate and enjoy the Olympic spirit.

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Japan News This Week 8 September 2013

今週の日本

Tokyo wins vote to host 2020 Olympics

BBC News
Japan News.
Errors Cast Doubt on Japan’s Cleanup of Nuclear Accident Site

New York Times

Miyazaki vows he won’t be idle in retirement

The Japan Times

Olympics: Tokyo's safe pitch with one major flaw

BBC

Japan earmarks £300m+ for Fukushima cleanup

The Guardian

Kyoko Okutani helps women start businesses, skirting Japan's gender gap

Christian Science Monitor

Deference to a Revered Record in Japan Is Going, Going ...

New York Times

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Statistics

The most popular areas to live in metropolitan Tokyo are:

1. Kichijoji
2. Jiyugaoka
3. Yokohama
4. Ebisu
5. Hiro

Source: Asahi Shinbun Globe

Percentage of female undergraduates at the following schools:

Harvard University: 49.1%
Williams College: 51.2%
Colgate University: 52.9%
West Point (US Military Academy): 17%
University of California, Berkeley: 52.8%
Cambridge University (United Kingdom): 46%
Grandes Ecoles (France): 29%
Kyoto University: 24.3%
Tokyo University: 18.8%

Source: Asahi Shinbun, Etc.

© JapanVisitor

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Saturday, September 07, 2013

St Louis Cafe Okazaki

セントルイス

The St. Louis Cafe/Restaurant is a pleasant place to lunch in the new Okazaki city library, located north of Okazaki Castle.

St Louis Cafe Okazaki, Aichi


Choose from a choice of set lunch menus or a la carte washed down with some fine wines and imported beers. St Louis also offers a delicious Morning Set before you start the day's reading as well as a selection of delicious cakes.

As well as the St Louis Cafe, the Libra International Community Center contains the Okazaki city library, the Osamu Uchida Jazz Collection and a museum dedicated to the history of Okazaki - the Okazaki Mukashi-kan.

St Louis Cafe Okazaki, Aichi


St Louis
Tel: 0564 64 0343
Hours: Daily 9am-9pm

The nearest stations to the Libra International Community Center are Higashi Okazaki on the Meitetsu Line from Nagoya and Toyohashi or Okazaki Koen-mae. The latter station has only local services and express trains do not stop here. Naka-Okazaki Station next to Okazaki Koen-mae is on the Aichi Loop Line to Toyota.

Libra International Community Center (LICC)
444-0059 岡崎市康生通西4丁目71
Tel: 0564 23 3148

© JapanVisitor.com

Friday, September 06, 2013

Kyoto City Bus 205

京都市バス#205

Kyoto city bus #205 runs between Kujyo bus depot (Kujo-shako-mae) in the south of Kyoto and Kitaoji Bus Terminal in the north.

Kyoto City Bus 205, Kitano Hakubaicho, Kyoto.


Bus #205 passes Kyoto Station, Shijo Kawaramachi, Sanjo Kawaramachi, Kyoto Shiyakusho, Kawaramachi Marutamachi, Kawaramachi Imadegawa, Shimogamo Shrine, Rakuhoku High School and Kitaoji Bus Terminal. This #205 passes through the eastern half of Kyoto.

Kyoto City Bus 205, Japan

The Kitaoji Bus Terminal-yuki #205 bus service begins at 5.30am daily and the last bus is 10.15pm.

Another #205 bus service begins in south Kyoto at Toji-michi and travels to Kinkakuji on the west side of Kyoto via Kyoto Station, Kyoto Aquarium, Nishioji Shichijo, Nishioji Gojo, Nishioji Shijo, Kitano-Hakubaicho, Kinkakuji and on to Kitaoji Bus Terminal.

Kyoto City Bus 205


The Kinkakuji-yuki #205 bus service begins at 5.31am daily and the last bus is 10.17pm.

Kyoto City Bus 205, Kyoto, Japan


Find out more about buses in Kyoto.

Kyoto City Bus 205.

Kyoto City Bus 205 at Kyoto Station.




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