Most viewed
2. Hitozato ひと里1013 views
Koenji Awa Odori Dance 高円寺阿波おどり1010 viewsMore pictures here.
Asashoryu and Tochiazuma996 viewsAfter offering water, Tochiazuma shares a laugh with the yokozuna.
As a theme park, the Koka-no-Sato Ninjutsu-mura or Koka Ninja Village offers a good tourist sampling of ninja in a hidden village of former ninja houses transplanted to this "village." Entrance to Koka Ninja Village, tucked away in a hidden, lus995 viewsEntrance to Koka Ninja Village, tucked away in a hidden, lush forest. Quite far from the nearest train station (Koka Station on the Kusatsu Line). You can call them from the train station to be picked up.
Baton-twirling club, Tsukiji Hongwanji, Tokyo 千代田女学院 バトン部989 views千代田女学院
Nihon Sankei - Miyajima987 views日本三景 宮島 - Miyajima in Hiroshima Pref. is also one of the Scenic Trio of Japan (Nihon Sankei). It is an island in the Seto Inland Sea famous for Itsukushima Shrine which seems to float on the ocean. It is symbolized by a large, orange torii in the sea, Japan's most famous torii.
Another view from the top of the bridge in the good old days. They don't bloom like this anymore...986 views
4. Sakura Kazashite 桜かざして986 viewsDancer 舞子 (Maiko)
Video of our group photo exhibition at Kyoto International Community House during Nov. 16-20, 2011. Seven artists exhibited: Micah Gampel, Peter Macintosh, Motoyasu "Musashi" Matsutani. We talk about our work in this 25-min. vid.986 views
1. Kagurazakari 神楽ざかり984 views
3. Edo no Nigiwai (Liveliness of Edo)983 viewsAfter this dance was a 20-min. intermission.
Inside Kanayama Shrine978 viewsKanayama Shrine is dedicated to a pair of gods named Kanayama Hikonokami and Kanayama Himenokami 金山比古神(かなやまひこのかみ)   金山比売神(かなやまひめのかみ. According to legend, when the main Shinto god named Izanami gave birth to the God of Fire, her lower abdomen got burned. These two Kanayama gods helped to heal her birth wound. Thus, these two gods came to be known as the gods of childbirth and healing of the lower abdomen. They later came to be worshipped as fertility gods, protector of sexually-transmitted diseases (AIDS, etc.), and successful marriage. They are also the gods of bellows, so blacksmiths (who use bellows to fan the fire) also worship this shrine.
This is a staircase concealed as a shelf.978 views
The usual penis souvenirs on sale.975 views
Kanayama Shrine (right next to Wakamiya Hachimangu)974 viewsKanayama Shrine is dedicated to a pair of gods named Kanayama Hikonokami and Kanayama Himenokami 金山比古神(かなやまひこのかみ)   金山比売神(かなやまひめのかみ. According to legend, when the main Shinto god named Izanami gave birth to the God of Fire, her lower abdomen got burned. These two Kanayama gods helped to heal her birth wound. Thus, these two gods came to be known as the gods of childbirth and healing of the lower abdomen. They later came to be worshipped as fertility gods, protector of sexually-transmitted diseases (AIDS, etc.), and successful marriage. They are also the gods of the bellows, so blacksmiths (who use bellows to fan the fire) also worship this shrine.

Kanayama Shrine is a small shrine within the grounds of the larger Wakamiya Hachimangu Shrine. The Kanayama Shrine was completely rebuilt and reborn in 1999 into a completely unorthodox building which you see here. Modeled after a blacksmith's workshop, it is now a black, eight-sided building with steel paneling. Notice the penis monument on the lower right.
Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography974 views
Former Olympic champion Yasuhiro Yamashita972 viewsKata performance before the final match.
Blacksmith's tool972 views
Nebuta are giant, wire-frame, paper lanterns shaped in various legendary and macho characters.971 viewsThe Aomori Nebuta Matsuri is held in Aomori City in Aomori Prefecture during Aug. 2-7. Nebuta are giant, wire-frame, paper lanterns shaped in various legendary and macho characters such as samurai warriors, demons, and gods. They are fantastic works of art dramatically illuminated from the inside. The floats are paraded along the main streets of the city near Aomori Station every night of the festival.

From August 2 to 6, the Nebuta parade is held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. On the 2nd and 3rd, the parade is geared for the many children who participate by pulling the floats. About 15 large Nebuta floats and some small Nebuta floats for the children are paraded.

The festival's peak period is from the 4th to the 6th when over 20 large Nebuta floats make their rounds. Be sure to see the festival on one of these three nights.

On the 7th, the last day, the parade is in the afternoon from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Later in the evening, the Nebuta floats are put on boats to be highlighted by a fireworks display.

The festival is designated by the government as an Important Intangible Folk Culture Asset and not to be missed if you have the chance. It's well worth the trip up north.
1967 Buick Riviera looking like a manta ray.966 views1 comments
Meoto-Iwa Wedded Rocks off the coast of Futami-cho, Ise city, Mie Prefecture. 夫婦岩965 views
Many foreigners also join in the fun. The giant phallus was originally about 1 meter long and paraded by itself by 4-5 people with no portable shrine shelter.964 views
Elizabeth mikoshi carried by she-males963 views
Also see the video at YouTube.960 views
Kanayama Shrine altar958 viewsFlanked by penis statues on the left and right.
Inside Kanayama Shrine957 views
The old Kanayama Shrine953 viewsPicture was taken in the 1980s.
Various entertainment is staged within Tagata Shrine up until the procession starts at 2 pm.953 views
Oiran Dochu Procession951 views花の吉原おいらん道中
Weapons used in battle951 views
Ariwara no Narihira (825-880) comes to east Japan948 views在原業平 東下り
Taiko drummers in front of Wakamiya Hachimangu945 views
Kanamara mikoshi かなまら神輿944 viewsThere are three portable shrines (called mikoshi). The Kanamara mikoshi (the original portable shrine), Kanamara-bune mikoshi (shaped like a boat), and Elizabeth mikoshi (pink giant). All three are carried during a procession around town. The Elizabeth mikoshi is carried by she-males. ("New half" in Japanese. Go ahead and laugh if you want.)
Geiko and maiko in front of Pontocho Kaburenjo theater943 views
Wakamiya Hachimangu Shrine942 views
Six times a year in Japan, a lowrider car show is held in major cities. The Japan Tour starts and ends in Makuhari Messe in Makuhari, Chiba where these photos were taken on Nov. 23, 2008.940 views
The metallic flake paint job on this car was great.936 views
Ninja swords are short and straight with no curvature.936 views
Breaking the sake barrel933 views
Tokyo Apache Dance Team do their stuff during time outs. They are the cheerleaders who appear on Saturday games.933 views
Sadly, the Tokyo Jidai Matsuri no longer held. It used to be held annually on Nov. 3 (Culture Day) in Asakusa, Tokyo.932 viewsthe Tokyo Jidai Matsuri (Festival of Historical Periods) is a parade tracing the history of Tokyo with over 1,600 people dressed in the respective period's costume. This is the lead float playing music. It took about an hour for the parade to reach Kaminarimon Gate.

Lead Float: Edo festival music played by children. Kodomo Edo-bayashi yatai
先導 子供江戸囃子屋台

Cutie/Sexy. GRES Uniao amadores929 views
Some female haneto taking a break after the festival.927 views
Musashimaru right after I shook his hand.926 views
The daimyo lord is carried in a palanquin for the Hakone Daimyo Gyoretsu Procession. 大名駕籠925 views
Another mikoshi with a wooden penis. For a good harvest.924 views
The giant phallus is called "O-owasegata." It is an offering, and not a deity nor object of worship. Tagata Shrine Honen Festival. A total of 60 men take turns carrying the giant phallus portable shrine. 大男茎形924 views
Honda Civic923 views
Train line map and fares in English at Tokyo Station as of 2007.919 views
The short prayer ceremony ends.918 views
Not exactly a work of art, but...916 views
Costume Player914 viewsA vampiress.
See more photos of cosplayers here.
Front view. A new giant, wooden phallus is carved every year since newly-made objects are considered to have more purity and vitality.911 views
Lots of people pose with the giant penis. Amid hordes of amateur photographers904 views
Giving offerings inside Kanayama Shrine903 views
Court ladies called uneme. Their kimono have a blue wave design. 釆女898 views釆女
Women spectators touch the penis for good fortune and to become fertile perhaps?898 views
3. 梅にも春 Ume nimo Haru895 views
Meiji Era postmarks. When you want to know how old your postcard is, the first and obvious thing to do is check the postmark if there is one. A postage stamp or written date in the message are also a great help.895 viewsBecause Japan bases its years on the Emperor's reign (besides using the Western world's Gregorian calendar), the year of the postmark could refer to the Meiji Era (1868-1912), Taisho Era (1912-1926), Showa Era (1926-1989), or the current Heisei Era (1989-present). So if you see "1" as the year, it could be Year 1 of any of these eras (1868, 1912, 1926, or 1989). (See the year conversion table.)

So how do you determine which era the year refers to? In normal Japanese documents, you would see an initial before the year to indicate the era. For example H.1 for Heisei Year 1 (1989). Unfortunately, none of the postmarks provide an initial for the era. But it is not so hard to determine the era.

Look at the postmark images above. The left postmark is in Japanese with the numbers "36-9-12." The first number indicates the year, followed by the month and day. Above the date are the kanji characters for "Yokohama." Below the date is the time the postcard was accepted at the post office (6:20 pm).

Fortunately, right next to this postmark is the English version. The date is September 12, 1903. This matches Year 36 for the Meiji Era in the Japanese postmark. (See the year conversion table.) In case the English postmark were not provided, we could still determine the era. If you look at the year coversion table, you will find that only the Meiji and Showa Eras have a Year 36. Showa 36 is 1961. And if you look at the card and the postage stamp, it is obvious that it is not as recent as 1961, so it must be Meiji 36 (1903).

Now look at the right postmark. This postmark is also in English with the words "Yokohama Japan" in English. The date is "25.2.08." If the postmark has the location name in English, the date's format is day-month-Gregorian year, different from the Japanese postmark. So it is February 25, 1908.

Other tidbits about Japanese postmarks:

- In the early years until 1879, postmarks were used to indicate the date of collection and the date of receipt from out of town. Stamp cancellation marks were also separate from postmarks. They could be a series of dotted lines or text like "Postage Paid" (in Japanese). Some postmarks were square in shape. Each postal district had their own postmark system and style.

- In November 1879, the Communications Office issued official recommendations for postmarks. In September 1888, the name of the local area was included in the postmark. By 1909, postmarks became standardized nationwide.

- Up to September 1912, postcards and letters had two postmarks (except for special mail). One was imprinted when the postcard was mailed (canceling the stamp), and another was imprinted when the postcard was received.

- Until 1911, postmarks were imprinted by hand (at a rate of 100 pieces per minute). Automatic postmarking machines were introduced in this year. At the end of 1919, the latest postmarking machines were imported from America and used in Tokyo.

- Stamp collecting is a major hobby in Japan. All the stamps that have ever been issued are documented in a number of comprehensive Japanese stamp catalogs issued every year. You can identify the issue date of any stamp by referring to the stamp catalog.
Elaborate oiran wig weighing about 7 kg or 15 pounds.889 views
Another phallus near Kanayama Shrine888 viewsIt was pretty lonely, with no one paying attention to it.
Oiran Dochu procession, Ichiyo Sakura Festuval, Tokyo888 views
Tekomai geisha886 views
Shin-Yoshiwara prostitutes. They are sitting behind the "cage" which fronted the street for all to see (and choose) within the licensed quarters. Shin-Yoshiwara was a famous red-light district of Tokyo. Note that they are not geisha.885 viewsGeisha were not prostitutes. This photo was taken during 1907-1911. The woman in the far back was the brothel's matron who supervised this live display and everything else. In 1912 when Emperor Meiji died, this live display of women was later replaced by framed photographs of each woman hung near the brothel's entrance. In 1958, prostitution was outlawed in Japan, and Yoshiwara was history.
Show car with floor mirror. Note that this show does not feature female attendants, models, or "companions."878 views
Kanayama Shrine altar875 views
There he goes, not exactly walking on water. Just dragging himself across with the rope. This is only for anime-like amusement. This is not how the ninja did it.871 views
The 2nd CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show was held during a cold winter of Feb. 9-13, 2011.870 views
Costume gals. Even these girls walked on the fire.866 views

Flower arrangement. She's about to put the flower into the vase made of bamboo. On her lap, there's a pair of scissors used for flower arrangement. Her purple kimono has a design showing wisteria flowers. The season must have been spring.866 viewsThe card was printed in color so it's not that old.1 comments
Mud Brings Happiness, at Warabi Hadaka Matsuri in Yotsukaido, Chiba.864 views
Gift shop sells shuriken. Also see the Koka Ninja House. Koka Ninja Village Web site here.864 views
Statue of an ama woman diver sitting on a rock on the Onjuku Station train platform. These women dived deep in the ocean (without scuba gear) from small boats to harvest shellfish and other seafood.863 views
Entrance to the Peace Park860 views
Fushimi Turret. This view of the turret can only be had when you cross the bridge. I never knew what it really looked like until this day. 伏見櫓859 views
One of many daruma shops in the town.859 views
Free amazake (sweet sake). It's a white, creamy liquid served with small dried fish with wiggly tails. Sort of reminds you of something...858 viewsSperm!
Back of a Maiko, Kyoto857 viewsThe maiko is an apprentice geisha (or geiko). She can be easily identified by the long length of her kimono sleeves and the long length of her obi sash on her back.
See more photos of Kyoto geisha here.
I love the design of this boat. 千秋・太郎号のフィックス艇857 views
She walks in a very slow and stylized way, her feet taking figure-8 steps. She needs the man's shoulder to steady herself.855 views1 comments
Kumu hula Sonny Ching beats the ipu gourd drum, a traditional Hawaiian instrument. This must be a first, a kumu hula performing on the sumo ring in Japan.855 views
Final match of the day with Yokozuna Asashoryu854 views
Keiji Suzuki vs. Hiroaki Takahashi853 views
Also see the video at YouTube. Honen-sai Festival, Tagata Shrine Honen Festival.853 views
Canon models (EOS 30D demo)851 viewsThis Canon ministage was surrounded by EOS 30D cameras which we could use to shoot these female models on the ministage. They let us print out a picture (A4 size) and take it home.
Rumi848 views
Conch shell847 views
I can't see... That's what he said: "Mienai" The kids nearby were screaming with laughter.846 views
Japanese Beauty. I would call this a representative example of a "Nihon Bijin" or Japanese Beauty photograph. She's posed formally, dressed in a kimono, and looking serene and attractive. She might bJe a geisha. Hand-colored, and undivided b842 viewsI bought it for 1,200 yen.1 comments
Oiran Dochu Procession in front of Kaminarimon Gate, Asakusa.841 views花の吉原おいらん道中
Map of Kajo Koen Park. 霞城公園839 views
The final cut by stablemaster Musashigawa Oyakata.838 views
Otsu Matsuri is one of Shiga's major festivals featuring thirteen ornate floats displayed and paraded around central Otsu over two days before Sports Day, a national holiday around Oct. 10.838 views
Dance836 views
Inside Kumano Shrine. Notice the wooden penises on lower left.835 views
Sugamo Jizo-dori shopping street 巣鴨地蔵通り商店街834 views
Suzuki Motorcycles832 views
Mt. Momokubari is where Tokugawa Ieyasu first set up his base camp for the Battle of Sekigahara. It is next to busy Route 21. A short distance east of Sekigahara Station. The former Sekigahara battlefield has numerous monuments.832 viewsSekigahara saw one of Japan's most pivotal battles on Oct. 21, 1600 (Sept. 15 of Keicho 5) between Tokugawa Ieyasu's Eastern Forces and Toyotomi Hideyoshi loyalist Ishida Mitsunari's Western Forces. Ieyasu's victory in the Battle of Sekigahara sealed Japan's historical fate for the next 250 years. The former battlefield is dotted with monuments indicating the positions of various warlords during the battle.
White sands at Omi-Maiko, Lake Biwa.830 views
Belly dancer at Yushima Tenjin Plum Blossom Festival. Tokyo.830 views
Hula and cherry blossoms828 views
Sake828 views
New Status Symbol at Warabi Hadaka Matsuri in Yotsukaido, Chiba.827 views
Musashimaru and Dejima827 views
Actress Riho Makise throwing setsubun beans at Narita-san826 views
Friends after all824 viewsKyokushuzan chats with fellow Mongolian Asashoryu.
On Nijubashi Bridge heading for the Seimon Gate. 正門824 views
Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit smoking area824 views
My Miss Photogenic821 views
Inside one of the galleries.821 views
Japan fans. The sign says, "Downward slope ahead, walk slowly." It's only about 10:30 am, so it's a good time to walk around the Imperial Palace and the East Gardens. Although no flowers are in bloom, you might see autumn leaves.820 viewsFor more info about the Imperial Family and visiting the palace, see the Imperial Household Agency's Web site.
Shichi-go-san819 views七五三 - "Shichi-go-san" literally means seven-five-three. This is a Shinto-based, coming-of-age day on Nov. 15 for 7-year-old girls, 5-year-old boys, and 3-year-old girls. Although this is not a national holiday (like Coming-of-Age Day for adults in Jan.), many parents dress up their coming-of-age children in kimono and visit Shinto shrines for prayers around Nov. 15 (usually the closest weekend). It is also a busy time for portrait studios because many parents also dress formally and go to have family and child portraits taken before going to the shrine.

Place: A temporary photo studio in a local department store.
Lively Colors of Kagurazaka(神楽坂華の彩)817 viewsThe final number, called Lively Colors of Kagurazaka (Kagurazaka Hana no Irodori) actually consisted of seven dances. This was the first one performed by three geisha. (ひと里)
Gozensai ceremony before the start of the procession.816 views
YOKOSUKA, Japan (Sept. 25, 2008) The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) arrives at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. George Washington and Carrier Air Wing 5 will be operating from Fleet Activities Yokosuka.815 viewsYOKOSUKA, Japan (Sept. 25, 2008) The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) arrives at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. George Washington and Carrier Air Wing 5 will be operating from Fleet Activities Yokosuka as the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier. U.S. Navy photo Kuji Kawabe (Released)
Sword hidden in the floor.815 views
Mausoleum of Tokugawa Shoguns 徳川将軍家墓所814 viewsAfter Tokugawa Ieyasu started to rule the Kanto region, he designated Zojoji as the family temple of the Tokugawa clan. The Mausoleum has the tombs of six Tokugawa Shoguns (the 2nd shogun Hidetada, 6th shogun Ienobu, 7th shogun Ietsugu, 9th shogun Ieshige, 12th shogun Ieyoshi, and 14th shogun Iemochi), Imperial Princess Kazunomiya (wife of Shogun Iemochi), and wives and children of shoguns. A total of 38 people are buried here.
Hula dancing at a phallus festival?? (Click photo to learn why.)813 viewsBecause hula can also be considered as a sexually-suggestive dance. The way they sway the hips, etc., can be sexy enough to stir up your loins...
Another wall door that leads to the basement tunnel.809 views
Imperial Palace Nijubashi Bridge. It is one of Tokyo's symbols. Behind the bridge, you can see Fushimi Turret. This picture was taken on a different day and not while we were crossing the bridge.807 views
About the song and rowing route... この歌について(日本語解説)805 views(日本語はこの下にあります。Japanese follows the English below.)

Shiga Prefecture's most famous and beloved song is called Biwako Shuko no Uta (琵琶湖周航の歌) or "Lake Biwa Rowing Song." I have rendered this song into both pictures and English, according to my own imagination and interpretation.

First composed in 1917 by a bunch of college students from Kyoto, the song has been recorded by many famous Japanese singers and groups. In 1971, it became a major nationwide hit with singer Tokiko Kato's rendition. Today, the song remains a favorite among choir groups in Japan, and a choir singing contest is held for the song every June (since 1997) in Imazu, the birthplace of the song in the northwestern corner of Lake Biwa.

Shiga Prefecture also has stone monuments dedicated to each of the six verses. There's even a museum (Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan) in Imazu dedicated to the song. Okaya city on the shores of Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture, the birthplace of the song's composer, Taro Oguchi (小口太郎) (1897-1924), also has a song monument and bronze statue of him.

The song is about a four-day, boat-rowing trip around Lake Biwa undertaken on June 27, 1917 by seven college students. They were in the rowing club at an elite college in Kyoto called Dai-san Koto Gakko (No. 3 High School 第三高等学校) which later merged with Kyoto University. As shown by the red line in the map above, they started at Otsu and rowed to Omatsu (now called Omi-Maiko), Imazu, Chikubushima island, Nagahama, Hikone, Chomeiji, and back to Otsu. They stopped overnight at Omatsu, Imazu, and Hikone.

The dotted blue line shows a longer route taken by earlier members of the rowing club beginning in 1893 when they did it for the first time. Twenty-one of them rowed around the lake in three boats, taking four nights and five days. The school's annual summer tradition of rowing around Lake Biwa thus began.

As the song circumnavigates the lake and mentions famous places in Shiga, the words also express symbolic meanings and sometimes unknown or mistaken meanings. The song is widely interpreted as describing the journey of life itself.

I have visited and photographed all the places mentioned in the song as well as all the song monuments in Otsu, Omi-Maiko, Imazu, Chikubushima, Hikone, Chomeiji, and Okaya (Nagano). I also created some digital images to match the scenes mentioned in the song.

More info about Lake Biwa Rowing Song here.

Photo: This map of lake Biwa is part of the Verse 5 Song Monument recently built in Oct. 2005 at Hikone Port. The English captions were inserted by me with my computer.
Edo Geisha801 views江戸芸者
Lollipop maker, very popular801 views
Matsuyama Castle799 views
Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.799 views
10:25 am: Clearing out the crowd. We were promptly herded to the exit to make room for the next horde of people waiting to see the Emperor who appeared two more times that day.798 views
Phallus daikon radish auction, minimum bid 200 yen794 viewsAll the daikon they were carving earlier in the day were sold at an auction. Most were sold for a few hundred yen. They even had an English interpreter (woman on left) so foreigners could bid too.
Now a shelf. It leads to the attic.794 views
Festival spectators come by the busload, including people from US military bases such as Yokota.793 views
The Ninja house (Ninja yashiki) is one of the main attractions of the Ninja Village. This was an actual ninja house belonging to the Fujibayashi ninja family. It was disassembled and transplanted here from Ohara Ichiba in Koka.793 views
These photos were taken in late April 2007. (Copyright year in the images are mistaken.)791 views
The crowd awaits the departure of the portable shrines to go on the procession around town.790 views
Beachgoers frolick in the lake as the rowing boats arrive.790 views
Leggy Ricoh girl789 views
The outlandish Elizabeth mikoshi carried by she-males.786 views
Osaka Evessa cheerleaders shake hands with boosters as they are in tears. It was their second time to lose a championship game.786 views
引けや引け引け785 views2 comments
Intermission784 viewsThis Ushigome-Tansu Kumin Hall can hold almost 400 people. Both shows were sold out. Tickets are sold about a month in advance. They sold out within 2 weeks. I was sitting in the middle of the hall (non-reserved seating). Tickets cost only 2,000 yen.
Emergency escape hatch whose lock can be quickly released with a sheet of paper.781 views
Taxi fares from Shin-Iwakuni Station780 views
Ueno-shi Station has ninja dolls to greet you.780 views
Entrance to the basement.780 views
Ladder going to the 2nd floor. There's also a trap door on the floor below the ladder where the ninja could hide. Notice the rope. The ninja hiding under the floor would tug the rope connected to the 2nd floor.779 views
Lowrider toy cars too.776 views
Ninja armored suit for protection against swords.774 views
Hula Halau'O Kamuela from Oahu won the overall title at the 2008 Merrie Monarch Festival held in Hilo, Hawai'i. The overall winner is also invited to perform at Ikaho Spa's annual Hawaiian Festival held in August.772 views
Japanese belly dancers at Noge Daidogei in Yokohama.771 views1 comments
Mud Spotting, Warabi Hadaka Matsuri in Yotsukaido, Chiba. The men hold babies and use mud to paint a mud spot on the baby's face. It is to wish for happiness for the baby.770 views
Torii gate to Kumano-sha Shrine.769 views
"Nanohanaya"768 views
Ema votive tablet with giant penis portable shrine. 500 yen.768 views
Iwakuni Station 岩国駅766 views
2. Sumidagawa (Sumida River)766 views
The End(s)764 views
The Peace Statue was built in Aug. 1955, the 10th anniversary of the bombing. The Peace Statue was modeled after popular wrestler Rikidozan.763 views
Model at Nikon booth763 views
Hypocenter of atomic bomb762 viewsA series of concentric circles emanate from the marker.1 comments
Model for Canon Kiss Digital N762 views
Hidden floor compartment where they hid their valuables outside the house.762 views
Portable shrine procession. Also see the video at YouTube.761 views
Costume Player758 viewsIn Tokyo, large anime and manga fairs are held at convention halls such as Tokyo Big Sight and Makuhari Messe. Many cosplayers also attend these events and pose for photographers. You can see many anime, manga, and video game characters come to life in an incredible array of costumes.
See more photos of cosplayers here.
Honda Civic, one of the few Japanese cars at the show.757 views
Grand sumo tournaments are held six times a year in Jan., March, May, July, Sept., and Nov. They are held at Ryogoku Kokugikan arena in Tokyo in Jan., May, and Sept. In March, it is in Osaka, July in Nagoya, and Nov. in Fukuoka. This is the Kokugikan.757 views
Happi coat with official logo755 views
Mikoshi (portable shrine) bearers gather in front of Kumano Shrine.755 views
Ninja swords.755 views
During Aug. 22-23, 2009, Yokota Air Base held its annual Japanese-American Friendship Festival. I went on the 23rd, arriving at about 11 am. The base was open through Supply Gate No. 5 which is near Ushihama Station on the JR Ome Line.754 views
Clear waters and beautiful Lake Biwa beach at Omi-Maiko752 views
Kumano-sha Shrine, the starting point of the procession or "Penis Parade." 熊野社752 views
Plum Blossom Queens in Kairakuen, Mito751 views
The old Kanayama Shrine751 views
Sarutahiko-no-Okami, the deity who led the descent of Amaterasu (Sun Goddess) from heaven to earth.750 views
Amenomori is Takatsuki's showcase and flagship area. It's a quiet, rural part of town with waterwheels, roadside streams and flowers. Charming and picturesque.750 views
Court ladies called myobu. 命婦749 views
The first room you see in the house is the living room. You can sit and have free "ninja tea" while waiting for a guided tour of the house. Along with the geisha, the ninja is one of the most recognized but misunderstood things about Japan.749 views
When you push in the end of this floor plank, it opens up to reveal a sword.749 views
Yamaha Motorcycles746 viewsYamaha's booth was the most elegant in the motorcycle section.
Girl with Umbrella. Hand-colored postcard dating before 1918. The kimono looks like casual wear, and the design pattern was typical during the turn of the 20th century. She's still in her teens it seems. One of the first vintage postcards I bought. Y2746 views1 comments
A Touch of Mud. One custom is to receive a touch of mud on your face.745 views
Inner palace women745 views
Unique helmets worn by warlords on the battlefield.744 views
Swimsuit Beauties. These are typical swimsuits worn during the late 19th century. Horizontal stripes were in vogue. They are not posed very well, but there's something charming about them. This postcard is postmarked Aug. 1912. A nice summertime greet743 views
Peace Fountain with the Peace Statue in the distance742 viewsA fountain of water was made for the victims who were desperate for water.
Naoko Yamazaki gets help in the donning of her shuttle launch and entry suit in preparation for a water survival training session...742 views17 Sept. 2009 --- Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Naoko Yamazaki, STS-131 mission specialist, gets help in the donning of her shuttle launch and entry suit in preparation for a water survival training session in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) near NASA's Johnson Space Center. United Space Alliance suit technicians assisted Yamazaki.
Uradome Coast, Tottori, part of the San-in Coast National Park. 山陰海岸国立公園740 views
Kyuden Totei plaza739 views
Portable shrine procession739 views
Shuriken target practice at the Shuriken Dojo in Koka Ninja Village, Shiga Prefecture. 手裏剣道場738 views
One of Kyoto's Big Three Festivals, the Kyoto Jidai Matsuri is a procession of over 2,000 people dressed in wardrobe reflecting Kyoto's historical periods from 794 to 1868 during which Kyoto was Japan's capital. Held annually on Oct. 22.737 views
Site of Lord Kira's Estate or Honjo Matsuzaka-cho Park. Lord Kira was the villain in the famous Chushingura vendetta. 吉良邸跡・本所松坂町公園735 views
Edo Geisha. These geisha are from Asakusa, which also happens to be one of Tokyo's geisha districts. 江戸芸者734 views
The kamuro attendants precede the oiran.732 views
Brothel maids or prostitutes. Maids were employed to guide patrons to their rooms and serve sake and food. Or they could be low-class (cheap) prostitutes. Hand-colored, undivided back.732 views
Inner palace women731 views
731 viewsA retirement ceremony for an important sumo wrestler includes a variety of activities besides the actual ceremony of cutting away the topknot. It involves almost the entire Japan Sumo Association, and most wrestlers in the top three divisions (Makushita, Juryo, and Makunouchi) also appear in exhibition matches.
A large banner adorns JR Matsudo Station (Joban Line) to celebrate Matsudo native and astronaut Yamazaki Naoko's return to Earth from her Space Shuttle mission in April 2010.731 views
6. Hahha Kudoki ハッハくどき730 views
Water spider: How the ninja did it. This drawing from the Koka Ninja House shows how it was done. The ninja sat on the board inside the wooden ring and waded through the water while partially submerged. His wooden clogs had small flippers.730 views
Nagasaki atomic bomb peace park hypocenter729 views
Trap door on the floor opened.729 views
Honda W.O.W. Concept728 viewsHonda had nice women posing, but I was hoping they would bring out the Asimo robots to introduce the cars.

I smiled at her, but she never noticed me...
Oiran. Her wig and geta clogs weigh the same (about 7 kg or 15 pounds each) to keep her head and feet balanced. Her whole outfit weighs about 60 pounds (27 kg). That's why she needs his shoulder for support as she walks. 花魁728 views
1. Fuji Murasaki (Purple Wisteria)727 views
Kusatsu Shukuba Festival, Shiga Pref. 大奥夢道中726 views
Inside Kanayama Shrine725 views
Maiko in Her Room723 viewsA private moment. This maiko is lying down in her kimono reading a comic book after getting tired of playing cards. Her mama-san probably would not be pleased to see her wrinkle the kimono like that. Not sure if this was staged or a candid shot. It's hard for anyone to lie down like that in a kimono.1 comments
One exhibition room has a model of the Battleship Yamato wreck.723 views
Edo Geisha722 views江戸芸者
Kintai-kyo Bridge, Yamaguchi721 views
People could borrow and wear kimono for free, courtesy of the shrine.721 viewsThe portable shrine procession is actually called a "costume parade." You can wear a mask or whatever and also wear a kimono (considered to be a costume) and join in the parade.
Part 1 - Edo Scenes (江戸風情): 1. Fuji Murasaki (Purple Wisteria) 藤むらさき721 viewsDancers: 小奴、千佳、由良子、舞子
Sexy model at CP+ photo show in Yokohama721 views
Mud Fight719 views
Closing curtain718 views
Close-up of Ichiyo sakura cherry blossoms. "Ichiyo" means "one leaf." You can see that the flower actually has a small green leaf inside. 一葉桜718 views
The Kokugikan as seen from JR Ryogoku Station platform.717 views
Asakusa Samba Carnival717 views
Portable shrine for Takeinadane-no-Mikoto who was a local prince married to Tamahime which Tagata Shrine worships.717 views
Peace Statue description716 views
The second mikoshi features the giant penis carried by 12 men at a time, all of whom are age 42, considered to be an unlucky age (yakudoshi) for men. They seek protection by carrying the phallus.716 views
Schedule of events and procession route. In odd-numbered years (like 2007), the procession starts from nearby Kumano-sha Shrine. In even-numbered years, the procession starts from Shinmei-sha Shrine.713 views
YOKOSUKA, Japan (June 8, 2008) A Japanese child holds up his copy of the manga "CVN 73" during the initial distribution of the comic book outside Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka.713 viewsYOKOSUKA, Japan (June 8, 2008) A Japanese child holds up his copy of the manga "CVN 73" during the initial distribution of the comic book outside Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka. The manga follows Jack Ohara, a fictitious Japanese-American stationed aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73), as he experiences life on the carrier and arrives for the first time in Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew R. White (Released)
Being next to the Pacific Ocean, Chiba has quite a few festivals held on the beach. The Kazusa Junisha Matsuri is one of the larger ones. Sept. 13, 2009 (Sun.) was the main festival day when they went in the water at the beach. 712 views
Filled on our right711 views
Keep in mind that this is in the middle of winter.707 views
Takamisakari for butsuri keiko707 viewsEverybody cheered whenever he entered the ring.
Edo Geisha707 views江戸芸者
The Japan Grand Prix International Orchid Festival 2010 was held during Feb. 13-21, 2010 at Tokyo Dome. I attended this show for the first time on Feb. 20, 2010. Regular admission was 2,000 yen.707 views
Kanamara boat mikoshi706 views
Old school library is now a K-ON gallery, event space, and cafe. Fans of the popular manga/anime called K-ON! gather here on weekends.706 views
Iga-Ueno is very successful in promoting its ninja past and drawing tourists. Also see the Koga-ryu Ninja House in Shiga.705 views
A woman waves an American flag to greet a family member assigned to the Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) as it pulls into its new operating base Fleet Activities Yokosuka.704 viewsYOKOSUKA, Japan (Sept. 25 2008) A woman waves an American flag to greet a family member assigned to the Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) as it pulls into its new operating base Fleet Activities Yokosuka. George Washington's arrival from its former homeport of Norfolk, Va., marks the beginning of its role as the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Peter D. Lawlor/Released)
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