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Letter of Thanks from PhilI really enjoyed my first trip to Finland during September 4-18, 2005 (Sept. 8-17 in Kuusamo) and savored every hour. The people in Kuusamo were all so nice and it was a great pleasure to meet and see the work of many talented and dedicated photographers from Europe.

They have definitely piqued my interest and opened my eyes to the nature and wildlife in northern Europe and the Arctic region. I've also become much more keenly aware of the seriousness of global warming. People in Finland have told me how the climate has become noticeably warmer over the decades. Such countries near the polar regions are the first to feel and see the detrimental effects of global warming. I really hope we can someday reverse the trend.

I want to thank the people who made my sponsored trip and participation in Kuusamo Nature Photo 2005 possible and very enjoyable. After months of email correspondence with the festival staff, it was great to finally meet all of them face to face. It makes a big difference when you know the face and person behind the name.

I know they worked very hard to pull off a very successful nature photo festival. For all the email correspondence, coordination, and making all the arrangements, I especially want to thank the following:

Lassi Rautiainen, Kuusamo Nature Photo Director
Pekka Pirhonen, Kuusamo Culture Department Manager
Seija Väisänen
Hannele Pappila
Town of Kuusamo
Corporate sponsors

I also want to personally thank the following people:

Pirkko Väätäinen, my interpreter who interpreted my three slide shows into Finnish.
Hannu Hautala and wife Irma, for having us over at his home/office. Despite his fame, Hannu is a very down-to-earth and warm-hearted man. It was a great pleasure to meet him, to see his collection of Japanese photo books, and hearing about his two trips to Japan.
Barbara, for videotaping my slide shows with my video camera and taking some great snapshots of me enjoying myself in Kuusamo. And also for providing transportation to/from the airport.
Tõnu Ling, for taking snapshots of me in Kuusamo and being my first friend in Kuusamo (we met on the plane to Kuusamo).
Koillis sanomat newspaper and reporter Tuomo Pirttimaa for interviewing me in an article they published.

Again, I have to thank Lassi for everything. He was the one who took care of all the details even during our nature trips. Lending sleeping bags, carrying hot drinks in heavy thermos bottles, driving us all over the place, answering all our questions, taking pictures of us, and making sure everyone had an enjoyable time. He turned out to be quite humorous. I can highly recommend him to anyone who needs a very knowledgeable local guide to watch or photograph wildlife in Finland.
See his Web site: Articmedia

Finally, I want to thank all the people and photographers I met at Kuusamo for their pleasant company and friendship. Remember that you have a friend in Japan. If you ever come and visit, let me know.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this permanent online gallery of Finland photos explained in both English and Japanese.

Philbert Ono
Tokyo, Japan

P.S. In case you don't know, "kiitos" means thank you in Finnish.
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JR Kami-Suwa Station
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30-min. delay from Helsinki to Kuusamo... 出発30分の遅れKuusamo, the site of the annual Kuusamo Nature Photo festival I was invited to, is in northeastern Finland near the Russian border (see map). After spending a few days in Helsinki, I took this plane to Kuusamo taking about 70 min. Finnair flies from Helsinki to Kuusamo usually once a day. By car, it's about 800 km.

This day (Sept. 8, 2005), we stood in line at the gate, gave our boarding passes, and boarded a bus that would take us to the plane, a Boeing MD-82.

After standing and waiting for some minutes in the bus, they announced that they had to change one of the tires of the plane, so the flight would be delayed by 30 min. We all went back into the terminal building and waited. Of course, no one complained. We would rather fly in a safe plane. I wonder why they waited until the last minute to inspect the tires? Shouldn't they have inspected the tires the day before??

It's hard to see in this photo, but the left-most rear tire was indeed replaced. It looked new (shiny black) compared to the tire next to it.

ネイチャーフォトの写真まつりの開催地クーサモは、フィンランドの北東にある。ヘルシンキからクーサモへ毎日一便(約70分)が飛んでいるが、この日、飛行機を乗るところになんと左のタイヤの交換が必要という知らがあってターミナルビルへ戻されて30分を待った。勿論、安全が第一で誰も文句を言わなかった。この写真で見づらいが、確かに一番左のタイヤが新品だった(艶があった)。
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Entrance to Ikaho Onsen. Ikaho Spa has two Hawaii connections. One is with Hawaiian Minister to Japan Robert W. Irwin who had a summer house in Ikaho.
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Otsu Exhibition, Nov. 21 - Dec. 4, 2005 at Shiga Kaikan, Otsu, Shiga. Right across from the Shiga Prefectural Office. 滋賀会館For this exhibition, I created my own photographic rendition of the places and scenes mentioned in the song and also photographed all the stone monuments dedicated to the song. I used Photoshop to composite images and to alter the colors into a dreamy condition as the song suggests. I also translated the lyrics into English.

The exhibition was held at Shiga Kaikan, right across from the Shiga Prefectural Office. Shiga Kaikan has two spaces for exhibitions, and I used the smaller space called Bunka Salon Gallery.

Map: http://www.shiga-bunshin.or.jp/shigakaikan/map.html
Address: Kyomachi 3-4-22, Otsu, Shiga Pref.
Phone: 077-525-9995
〒520-0044 大津市京町三丁目 4-22
Web site: http://www.shiga-bunshin.or.jp/shigakaikan/
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Otsu Prince Hotel, the main venue of the 11th Shiga Kenjinkai International Convention held Nov. 12-14, 2007.
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Japan's most famous temple, with the world's oldest wooden buildings (over 1,300 years old), is also the country's first World Heritage Site. Also called Ikaruga-dera, the temple is the headquarters of the Shotoku-shu Buddhist Sect. Path to
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Ikaho is also a sister city of Hawaii island. During Aug. 5-7, 2003, Ikaho hosted the 7th King Kalakaua Merrie Monarch Hawaiian Festival featuring hula performances by numerous Japanese hula groups.
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Convention Hall Omi at Otsu Prince Hotel. 第11回滋賀県人会世界大会のメイン会場。
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Admission charged. The 1,000 yen ticket gets you into the three major sights.
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In the evenings, Hawaii's top hula halau (winner of the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hawaii) performed as the festival's main event. Photo: Flags of Hawaii and Ikaho town (merged with Shibukawa in 2006).
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Title: Lake Biwa Rowing Song - In Pictures and in English Bunka Salon Gallery (also a coffee shop) inside Shiga Kaikan. 「琵琶湖周航の歌」〜写真と英語に〜The title was "Lake Biwa Boating Song - In Pictures and in English." I later changed the song title to "Lake Biwa Rowing Song."

Shiga Kaikan has two spaces for exhibitions, and I used the smaller space called Bunka Salon Gallery.

One entire wall and half of another wall were available for exhibitions free of charge.
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Entrance to convention hall at Otsu Prince Hotel. Every few years, all the Shiga Kenjinkai in Japan and overseas gather for a convention for a few days.
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Nandaimon Gate 南大門
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Town parking lot with a makeshift stage and main venue of the festival. The "Merrie Monarch" refers to King David Kalakaua who reigned over the Hawaiian Kingdom 1874-1891. He promoted hula in Hawaii as well as Japanese immigration to Hawaii.
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My first and very small exhibition to introduce "Lake Biwa Rowing Song" in English. The English lyrics were still unfinished, so only an English translation was presented.I showed three images per verse (6 verses total), plus caption sheets and artist's message, boating map, and composer's biography on the other wall.

All the pictures were printed on A4 inkjet paper. Very low budget exhibition, but it caught the interest of one newspaper reporter. I later changed the song title to "Lake Biwa Rowing Song."

Exhibition Date & Time: Nov. 21 to Dec. 4, 2005, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, closed Mon.

Map: http://www.shiga-bunshin.or.jp/shigakaikan/map.html
Address: Kyomachi 3-4-22, Otsu, Shiga Pref.
Phone: 077-525-9995
〒520-0044 大津市京町三丁目 4-22
Web site: http://www.shiga-bunshin.or.jp/shigakaikan/
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Reception counter. The 11th Shiga Kenjinkai International Convention was held in Shiga for the first time in 16 years. There are currently 71 Shiga Kenjinkai groups in Japan and overseas.
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Horyuji temple, Nandaimon Gate, National Treasure 南大門(国宝)
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Canopy for the spectators fronting the main outdoor stage.
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For each verse (total 6 verses), I showed three photos and a caption sheet with my non-singable English translation of the verse.「琵琶湖周航の歌」をイメージ写真付きで英訳された作詞と英文説明で紹介する写真展です。歌に登場する各地の写真や6番まですべての歌碑も英語で紹介。外国人も知って欲しい名曲です。英語の勉強にも!

2005年11月21日(月)〜12月4日(日) 9:30〜17:00
滋賀県大津市 滋賀会館 文化サロンギャラリー  入場無料
〒520-0044 大津市京町三丁目 4-22
Tel: 077-525-9995
HP: http://www.shiga-bunshin.or.jp/shigakaikan/

アクセス:
JR大津駅びわ湖口(北口)から徒歩5分
京阪浜大津駅からバス7分
名神大津インターからバス5分
京阪島ノ関駅から徒歩3分

1971年に加藤登紀子の大ヒットになったこの「琵琶湖周航の歌」は、昨年までに僕は聞いたことない。昨年の春に長野県諏訪市の御柱祭りを見に行ったときに岡谷市に泊まって近くの諏訪湖で散歩すると歌の作詞家である小口太郎(岡谷出身)の銅像があって「琵琶湖周航の歌」が紹介されて非常に興味深いものと思った。

英語で紹介したいなと思ってこの歌の英語版とイメージ写真をやっと完成しました。そしていつかこの歌を英語で歌ってもらいたい。歌詞を英語にすることはあまり難しくないが、それを歌のメロディに合わせることが大変。まだそこまで完成していない。もっと時間が必要。できあがったら、勿論また発表します。

この文化サロンは、サロン形の喫茶店になっている。
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Main venue at the convention hall. A Shiga Kenjinkai is a group or association of people having ties to Shiga Prefecture who now live outside Shiga.
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Horyuji is one of Japan's most famous temples, with the world's oldest wooden buildings (over 1,300 years old). Japan's first World Heritage Site.
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Main stage where many Japanese hula troupes performed during the day for three days. Free admission.
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Verse 1 photos (Otsu)
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There is at least one Shiga Kenjinkai in all the prefectures in Japan, and around 15 Shiga Kenjinkai overseas. The hall was lined with banners of many Shiga Kenjinkai from Japan and overseas. Ehime, Brazil, Osaka, etc.
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Also called Ikaruga-dera, the temple is the headquarters of the Shotoku-shu Buddhist Sect founded by Shotoku Taishi.
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Tahitian dances were also performed.
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Verse 2 photos (Omi-Maiko)
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Toronto, Nagano, Hakodate, Argentina, and Kochi. Outside Japan, there is a Shiga Kenjinkai in Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, and Alberta), Argentina, USA (Seattle, California, and Hawaii), Hong Kong, Indonesia, UK, France, and Germany.
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西院伽藍
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Hawaiian souvenirs for sale.
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Verse 3 photos (Imazu)
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Kita-Kyushu, Southern California (Nanka), and Hiroshima
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Ikaho is famous for the Stone Steps lined with shops. A section of it also served as a second hula stage during the day.
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Verse 4 photos (Chikubushima)
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Western Canada, Yamaguchi, and Miyagi
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Map of Horyuji. Large complex of buildings. Only two precincts are open to the public.
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Hula on the Stone Steps 石段街
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Verse 5 photos (Hikone)
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Saitama, Kanagawa, France, Matsumae
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Horyuji and World Heritage Site (Japan's first) marker1 comments
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No Photography撮影禁止 - The sign reads "Satsuei kinshi." "Satsuei" means to take photos, and "kinshi" means "prohibited." The "No photo" symbol also makes it clear.

On Japanese warning signs, the three most common words you will see are "kinshi" (禁止), "kiken" (危険), and "chui" (or "go-chui") (注意). They respectively mean "prohibited," "danger," and "beware of."

Place: World PC Expo in Makuhari Messe in Chiba.
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Statue of Ueno Hikoma
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Kami-Suwa Station platform with hot spring foot bath
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Landing in Kuusamo in northeast Finland slightly below the Arctic Circle. I was invited to their 10th Kuusamo Nature Photo festival in September 9-17, 2005 to give slide shows of Japanese photographers. クーサモの上空Lakes everywhere. In fact, about 14% of Kuusamo's land area is covered by lakes (about 166 of them), and 60% is covered by forests. Lakes and forests breed a lot of nature and wildlife. Hence, Kuusamo is one of Finland's prime areas for bird-watching and wildlife safaris. The population is over 18,000, but they receive about 1 million visitors a year for the nature and skiing.

With so much water and trees all around, I think Finland is a very pacifying country. Most people feel at peace whenever they see water or trees. Finland will probably become a popular tourist destination when more people discover it. A great place to kick back and relax.
See Kuusamo on map: Virtual Finland map
Web site: kuusamo.fi

クーサモの14%が湖で6割が森林。こんな水と木の多いところは、やはり癒してくれる環境である。言うまでもなく自然いっぱいの地域。野鳥や野生動物を観察できる最高の地域。
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Hula workshops are also offered during the day at cost. A famous kumu hula teacher from Hawaii teaches the class.
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Verse 6 photos (Chomeiji)
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Sai-in Garan West Precinct 西院伽藍
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Other workshops are held such as ukulele lessons and a lei-making class.
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On the adjacent wall, I showed a map of the rowing route, artist's message in English and Japanese, and an English biography of Taro Oguchi, the songwriter.
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Japanese-English interpreting was provided
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三経院 National Treasure
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In the evenings, the overall winner of the annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hawaii performed on stage. In 2003, it was Hula Halau 'O Kamuela from Oahu. They performed both the ancient hula kahiko dances (pictured here) and modern auana dances in Ikah
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Opening ceremony started at 10:30 am on Nov. 13, 2007.
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Horyuji temple Five-Story Pagoda and Kondo Hall, National Treasures 五重塔 金堂
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The Ikaho hula festival is officially sanctioned by The Merrie Monarch Festival, held in spring in Hilo, Hawaii. It is the most important and prestigious hula competition.
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Otaka Tokio, Chairman of the National Federation of Shiga Kenjinkai, delivers a welcome message. 大高時男
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Hula is also performed by men. These photos were taken during the 7th Ikaho Hawaiian Festival (Aug. 5-7, 2003).
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Dehara Itsuzo, Shiga Prefectural Assembly Chairman
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Five-Story Pagoda and Kondo Hall, National Treasures 五重塔 金堂
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A representative for Mekata Makoto, Chairman of the Shiga Prefecture City Mayors' Association and also the mayor of Otsu.
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They wore a variety of colorful costumes and used various hula instruments such as these frayed bamboo sticks called Pūʻili.
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Natsuhara Satoru, Chairman of the Shiga Prefecture Town Mayors' Association and also the mayor of Taga town.
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Goju-no-To (Five-Story Pagoda), National Treasure, Horyuji 五重塔
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Modern hula dances such as this one is mainly for tourist entertainment.
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The Lieutenant Governor of Shiga (substituting for Governor Kada who was hosting the Emperor and Empress visiting Shiga) bestows awards to people who have long contributed to promoting Shiga.
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Horyuji Goju-no-To (Five-Story Pagoda) National Treasure 五重塔
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Chairman Otaka gives letters of appreciation to Shiga Kenjinkai members for meritorious service. In the afternoon, the keynote speech was given by Donald E. Devaney who talked about historical ties between Shiga and the U.S. (photography was not allowed).
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In an adjacent hall was the "Social Salon" with exhibits by most of Shiga's cities and towns and by various Shiga Kenjinkai. Many tourist pamphlets (mostly in Japanese) were provided.
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You can enter or see inside the buildings, but no photography is allowed inside.
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No Photography撮影禁止 - Another sign that reads (top to bottom) "Satsuei kinshi." "Satsuei" means to take photos, and "kinshi" means prohibited. At this Shinto shrine, you are not allowed to photograph inside the main shrine building housing the altar.

Place: A shrine in Kyoto.
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Statue of Ueno Hikoma
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Hot spring foot bath
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Kuusamo Airport クーサモ空港. クーサモはヘルシンキから飛行機で70分で行ける北東の自然いっぱいの町。2005年9月にクーサモのネィチャーフォトの祭りへ招待されてスライドショーをあげた。The airport is close to town, taking about 10 min. by car.

市街まで車で10分。
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Hikone's exhibit in the Social Salon, featuring red samurai armor from the Ii clan.
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Daikodo Hall and Five-Story Pagoda, National Treasures 五重塔
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Imazu Exhibition, May 16 - June 25, 2006 at Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan, Takashima, Shiga. Photo exhibition poster.
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After the bamboo sticks, the girls used a gourd drum called ipu.
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Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan song museum, in Imazu, Shiga 琵琶湖周航の歌資料館
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National high school soccer tournament award from Yasu. (Yasu High School won the national title in Jan. 2006.)
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Finally, they use feathered gourd rattles called Ulīʻulī.
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Exhibit by Takashima city.
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Title: Lake Biwa Rowing Song - In Pictures and in English 「琵琶湖周航の歌」写真と英語に. Entrance to exhibition room in the song museum, Imazu.
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Pamphlets and CDs (including Lake Biwa Rowing Song in English) from Takashima city. 琵琶湖周航の歌 英語版CDも展示
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Exhibition room on the 2nd floor of the Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan song museum.
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Overseas Shiga Kenjinkai exhibits.
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They are professional hula dancers, some of the best in the world.
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Shiga Kenjinkai from Canada and Mexico.
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The kumu hula is Kamana'o Anson Kauionalani or Kaui for short. He does a solo dance here. The music was performed by a wonderful Hawaiian trio called 'Ale'a.
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Niigata Shiga Kenjinkai exhibit included stuff from Hokuriku region. Web site here.
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Horyuji temple Kondo Main Hall, National Treasure 金堂
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Finale. Also see photos of the 2008 Ikaho Hawaiian Festival here.
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Crowd gathers
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Exhibits by other Shiga cities.
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Kondo Main Hall, National Treasure 金堂
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Exhibition introduction
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Verse 6 song monument photos (Chomeiji)
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Verse 6 photos (Chomeiji)
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Shiga Prefecture exhibited some plastic fish.
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Kondo Main Hall, National Treasure 金堂
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Verse 5 song monument photos (Hikone)
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Biwa masu trout above, and nigorobuna crucian carp (funazushi) on bottom.
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Kondo Main Hall, National Treasure 金堂
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No Tripods三脚使用禁止 - The bold characters read, "Sankyaku shiyō kinshi" meaning tripod use is prohibited. The sign further explains that since tripods hinder the view of other spectators, they are not allowed except in the press photographers' box.

The kanji characters for tripod consists of "san" for three (the 3 horizontal lines make it obvious), and "kyaku" which means legs.

Place: Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine (during the Yabusame Festival), Kamakura, Kanagawa Pref.
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Statue of Ueno Hikoma
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Hot spring foot bathThat's not me in the picture.
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Kuusamo Hall 写真まつりのメイン会場、クーサモ・ホールKuusamo has been holding a nature photo festival annually in September since 1996 at this beautiful hall. They invite a good number of nature photographers (mostly from Europe) to give slide shows and exhibitions. The main venue is Kuusamo Hall, pictured here. They also use other venues in Kuusamo town for photo exhibitions.

Normally, the festival is held for four days centering on one weekend. But for their 10th year in 2005, the festival was held during two consecutive weekends during September 9-18. For this special year, they decided to invite people from as many countries as possible (like ten), including Japan for the first time.

In spring 2005, they contacted me for recommendations on Japanese photographers to be invited to the festival. We tried to invite a well-known Japanese photographer (with me as his guide and interpreter), but he had to pull out at the last minute so I ended up being the only person from Japan to participate in Kuusamo. I gave three slide shows held in this hall on Sept. 9, 10, and 11. Fortunately, it worked out very well.

As you can see, they raised the flags of all the countries represented at the photo festival. I was proud to see the Japanese flag and to be representing Japan even though I'm American.

Kuusamo Nature Photo Web site: kuusamo.fi/naturephoto/english.html
Kuusamo Hall Web site: kuusamo.fi/kuusamotalo/eng/

クーサモ ネイチャーフォトまつりのメイン会場であるクーサモ・ホール。この写真まつりに初めて日の丸も上がった。私はアメリカ人なのに、日本も代表できることで嬉しかった。星条旗も上げて欲しかった。クーサモ・ホールの他にも市街にある展示スペースに写真展が開催された。

今年の春にまつりの実行委員長 (Lassi Rautiainen) からメールが来て、「今年は10年目で、日本人の写真家も招待したいので推薦できる写真家がいないか」と聞かれました。私が一人の有名写真家を推薦したけど、彼が急に都合が悪くなって結局、僕一人で日本の代表として行くことになりました。これも上手くいった。
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Verse 5 photos (Hikone)
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Caffy, official mascot for the Sports Recreation event in 2008.
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Kondo Main Hall, National Treasure 金堂
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Verse 4 song monument photos (Chikubushima)
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Popular Hiko-nyan from Hikone also made an appearance in the Social Salon.
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Kondo Main Hall, National Treasure 金堂
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Verse 4 photos (Chikubushima)
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Hiko-nyan is a helmeted cat, related to the Ii clan.
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Verse 3 song monument photos (Imazu)
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On Nov. 13, there was a symposium called "Shiga and Cultural Exchanges."
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Verse 3 photos (Imazu)
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One panelist was a priest from Enryakuji temple on Mt. Hiei.
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Verse 2 song monument photos (Omi-Maiko)
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Near Hie Shrine is (or was) Capital Tokyu Hotel where the Beatles stayed in 1966.
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The Social Salon was a good place to hang out between meetings and symposiums. It also had mini presentations by several overseas Kenjinkai.
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To Daikōdō Hall
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Verse 2 photos (Omi-Maiko)
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Interesting slide show by the Southern California Shiga Kenjinkai showing their activities.
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Daikōdō Hall, National Treasure. Houses Buddha statues. 大講堂
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Verse 1 song monument photos (Otsu)
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A comedian from Mt. Ibuki in Maibara.
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Horyuji temple, Daikōdō Hall, National Treasure 大講堂
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Verse 1 photos (Otsu)
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Dinner banquet hosted by Shiga Prefecture on Nov. 13, 2007.
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Lantern
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Photos of the song monument and Taro Oguchi statue in Okaya, Nagano, his hometown.
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Governor Kada Yukiko gives a welcome message in both Japanese and English. In Japan, extremely few politicians can do this. Nice that Shiga has a bilingual governor who once studied in the U.S.
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Lantern relief
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No Tripods and Monopods, unless...三脚 一脚 - This sign says "Sankyaku, ikkyaku go-shiyō no kata wa, kyokasho (2,000 yen) ga hitsuyō desu." Since you learned the characters for "tripod" in the preceding image, you should also know the characters for monopod, called "ikkyaku," literally "one leg."

This sign is a warning and a money-making scheme. It says that you cannot use a tripod or monopod in this garden unless you pay 2,000 yen to obtain a permission slip.

Place: Heian Shrine Garden, Kyoto.
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Statue description
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Onbashira rope on train platform
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Inside Kuusamo Hall ホールの中(休憩中)The hall, called Kuusamotalo in Finnish, has a very nice auditorium with comfortable, deluxe chairs equipped with tables. As if symbolizing Finland's vast number of forests, lots of wood is also used in the hall's interior.

Opened in 1996, the hall seats over 500. It is geared for all kinds of events like conferences, concerts, stage performances, and slide shows. This is where all the slide shows were held during the Kuusamo Nature Photo festival.

We could easily project our images either with a slide projector (with remote control) or from our own laptop computer which we could control directly from the podium. The screen is very large and well-suited for slide shows. The hall's sound system is also excellent. Picture taken during a slide show break.

500人以上も入れる大ホールが木がとても奇麗。スライドショーは、自分のノートパソカンで直接上映できたり、またはホールスライド映写機でも使用できる。音響システムも抜群。
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Entrance to Sugamo Jizo-dori shopping street 巣鴨地蔵通り商店街
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Kanpai!
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Chūmon Gate, National Treasure 中門
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Sugamo Jizo-dori shopping street 巣鴨地蔵通り商店街「おばあちゃんの原宿」
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Buffet
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Chūmon Gate, National Treasure 中門
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The clothing shops are geared for elderly women. Sugamo is the fashion capital for elderly women. 「おばあちゃんの原宿」
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Koto entertainment by Maiko, a well-known singer-songwriter from Shiga. 真衣子
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Even the corridor is a National Treasure 西院伽藍の廻廊
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Nakasendo road marker.
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On the morning of Nov. 14, a boat cruise on the Michigan. Narration in both Japanese and English explaining about Lake Biwa's ecology. I was unable to join this cruise, so no photos.
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Chūmon Gate and Kondo Hall
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Most of the clothing items are price low, around 1,000 yen which might be affordable by people living on social security.
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In the afternoon of Nov. 14 was a "Youth Session," or panel discussion by representatives of various Kenjinkai overseas. They discussed about recruiting younger members and facilitating networking among members.
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Corridor and Chūmon Gate 西院伽藍の廻廊
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Hat shop
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Questions from the audience were also taken.
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National Treasure
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Sugamo Jizo-dori shopping street 巣鴨地蔵通り商店街
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Social Salon also served green tea and sweets.
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Mini presentation by the Biwako-no-Kai from Mexico.
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Door prizes were given out in a drawing. There were so many prizes donated by various Kenjinkai that it took almost an hour to give them all out.
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Daiho-zoin Museum. Admission included in the 1,000 yen ticket. 大宝蔵院
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Final dinner on Nov. 14, 2007. Some wore happi coats or a kimono.
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Daiho-zoin Museum 大宝蔵院
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Danger, Keep Out危険 立入禁止 - The kanji characters on the right say "kiken" meaning danger. The big characters on the left say "tachi-iri kinshi" meaning "entry prohibited." Remember the word "kiken" (危険). It is one of the three most common words on warning signs in Japan. Another one is "kinshi" (禁止). If you see it, be aware that something is prohibited.

Place: Ohara beach, Chiba.
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Ueno Hikoma birthplace
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Onbashira rope on train platform
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Kuusamo Hall exhibition space ホール内の展示スペースBesides the big auditorium, Kuusamo Hall has multiple facilities including exhibition spaces and a restaurant. It functions as a performing arts and culture center.

総合的の文化施設で広い展示スペースや会議室も設けている。
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For the first hour (6 pm - 7 pm), we suffered through endless speeches by politicians. (Speeches should not be longer than 20 min. total at any event.)
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Tōdaimon Gate, National Treasure 東大門
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Nagahama Exhibition, July 1 - Aug. 10, 2006 at Biwa Library, Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture. Exhibition poster.
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Lute Plaza, which includes Biwa Library in Nagahama, Shiga. 20-min. bus ride from Nagahama Station.
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Speech by Kunimatsu Yoshitsugu, Chairman of the Shiga Intercultural Association for Globalization.
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Path to Yumenodo Pavilion
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Biwa Library びわ図書館
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Kunimatsu Yoshitsugu, Chairman of the Shiga Intercultural Association for Globalization. He is also the former Shiga governor.
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Path to Yumenodo Pavilion
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Title: Lake Biwa Rowing Song - Sing in English! 「琵琶湖周航の歌」英語で歌おう! Entrance to Biwa Library.
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Kanpai!
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Path to Yumenodo Pavilion
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Photo exhibition in Biwa Library, Nagahama, Shiga Pref.
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Food, finally! All from Shiga. Lots of fish, and funa-zushi too.
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Gate to Yumenodo Pavilion
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Photo exhibition in Biwa Library
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Entertainment started with taiko drumming.
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Ticket gate to Yumenodo. Admission included in the 1,000 yen ticket.
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Photo exhibition panels at Biwa Library
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Governor Kada teaches us how to dance the Goshu Ondo, a native dance of Shiga. She spoke in both Japanese and English again. Also see the video at YouTube.
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Yumenodo Pavilion, National Treasure 夢殿
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Photo exhibition panels
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Almost everyone got up to dance the goshu ondo. It's like a bon dance peculiar to Shiga. Also see the video at YouTube.
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Horyuji temple, Yumenodo Pavilion, National Treasure 夢殿
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Photo exhibition panels at Biwa Library
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Goshu ondo
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絵殿、舎利殿
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Members of the Toronto Shiga Kenjinkai dance goshu ondo.
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絵殿、舎利殿
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Do not Enter立入禁止 - Another "entry prohibited" sign or "tachi-iri kinshi" in red kanji characters. On the right, the characters read, "kankei-sha igai" meaning "unauthorized persons."

Place: Lake Biwa at Otsu, Shiga Pref.
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Ueno Hikoma birthplace
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Dept. store
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Kuusamo Hall exhibition space ホール内の写真展This nice dedicated space held the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

ホール内の一番いい展示スペース。
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Kōgan-ji Temple (高岩寺)
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The photos displayed were almost the same as the Imazu exhibition.
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At the end, we sang Biwako Shuko no Uta (Lake Biwa Rowing Song). The party ended at 9:30 pm.
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Bell tower in East Precinct 東院鐘楼
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Gate to Koganji temple, a famous spot along the shopping street.
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Convention poster. More about the Shiga Kenjinkai here.
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Bell tower in East Precinct 東院鐘楼
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Koganji temple. The temple's popular name is "Togenuki Jizo-son." It sells magic paper called osugata which supposed to remove a thorn or splinter from your skin. Affix it to the thorn and it will be extracted. とげぬき地蔵尊
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東院鐘楼
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Togenuki means thorn-extracting. Koganji temple incense burner
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Signs to other temples
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Koganji temple Hondo hall. This is a Zen temple belonging to the Soto-shu school. The temple was founded in 1596 and moved to Sugamo in 1891.
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Inside Koganji temple Hondo. The temple houses the Togenuki Jizo statue which is not visible to the public.
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Grounds of Koganji temple as seen from the Hondo hall.
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People line up to wash the famous Kannon statue. The line gets longer on weekends.
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People in line for the Arai (Washable) Kannon statue. Anybody can line up and scrub the statue. No charge.
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Arai Kannon statue. Wash the part of the body to cure the corresponding part of your own body. 洗い観音
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Do Not EnterThis sign is similar to the preceding one. The middle column of characters has the word "kōji" (工事) which means construction. So the sign means, "Danger: No entry except for authorized construction workers."

Place: Mikuni-cho, Fukui Pref.
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Ueno Hikoma birthplace
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Kami Suwa Onsen (Spa)
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Kuusamo Hall exhibition space フォトコンの展示Photo contest winners displayed in the hall's lobby.

フォトコン受賞者の作品も展示された。
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They used to have a tawashi brush to wash the statue, but that wore out the statue. So the replacement statue is now washed/rubbed with a towel instead.
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Omi-Hachiman One-Day Exhibition, Oct. 29, 2006 at Shima Kominkan Public Hall, Omi-Hachiman, Shiga. 島公民館文化祭
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Jizo statue
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Opening ceremony for the Culture Festival (Bunka-sai) at this public hall near Chomeiji temple in Omi-Hachiman.
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Jizo statue
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Entrance to my photo exhibition in Shima Kominkan Public Hall during their day-long Bunka-sai Culture Festival.
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