Oct/Nov 2009

My friend Paul from The Netherlands came to visit me, and brought his girlfriend with him. I showed them around Tōkyō and pointed out some places where they could go by themselves. They made a day trip to Nikko and a shinkansen trip to Mt. Osore and Mt. Zao in the Tohoku region, and later they went to see Kyoto. I also showed them around the Fuji lakes, Kamakura, and the Kiso valley (see some of the other pages in this post). As Paul also owns a nice Canon camera with several good lenses, I didn't bother brining my own, so most of the pics here are actually Paul's. See Paul's Picasa web albums here.

Rock-n-Rollers often meet at the entrance of Yoyogi park on Saturdays. They just hang around, comb their hair, and once in a while they try to dance a little.

Sake barrels at the Meiji-Jingu shrine. Breweries donate barrels to shrines to assure a prosperous year. Shrines use the sake during certain festivals, as this "spirit" supposedly connects man with the gods. Although many shrines just get a few barrels from a local brewery, the Meiji-Jingu accepts offers from all over the country, and shows off its complete collection. For a detailed explanation, see The Japan Times Online.

In the weeks before the 7-5-3 festival (Nov. 15th) many children aged 7, 5 or 3 years are dressed up and visit famous shrines together with their proud (grand)parents to pray for their future.

On every "good" day you will be able to see many wedding ceremonies at the Meiji-Jingu.
Note on the meaning of "good":
Japan mixes Buddhist aand Shintō beliefs in its religion, and even Christianity is mixed in from time to time. Generally speaking, a wedding is a Shintō thing, because the Shintō religion focuses on life. Weddings are therefore performed at shrines. Death is a Buddhist thing, because Shintō doesn't consider an afterlife, but Buddhism does. People are therefore burried at temples. However, one Buddhist influence on the marriage is the choice of the day. Buddhism has created a cycle of 6 days, where some days are "good" days and others are "bad" days. Through interference with some other cycle, there are 4 days a year which are said to be exceptionally good days for a marriage or other celebration. Don't ask me why anyone would believe such a thing... it's religion after all.

Skyline of Tōkyō by night (From Odaiba)

Rainbow Bridge

I saw this funny hotel some time when I walked around Meguro after I had visited the Institute for Nature Study, which was a bit disappointing (but ok, who expects nature in Tokyo?).

This is the Arco Tower (arukotawa-) in the back. I thought it is a pretty typical Tōkyō cityscape.

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