And then.....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Handsome Devil

technical difficulties!

......have had trouble uploading on blogger for a few days. Hopefully this blip will pass soon so you can view a Handsome Devil on the the day of great celebration of his 68th year.

Monday, June 16, 2008

japan 5 08

Jolie and Marlena.

Friday, June 13, 2008

japan 5 08

Shopping in rural Japan: the lovely lady in a radish colored outfit selling one of the area's specialities: pickled radishes.
A helpful, happy sign demonstrating what might be done with the - extremely unfamiliar to me - packaged items below.
And, again, in the image above you will find the happy little figures and the ice cream cone ( ice cream was big in the towns we visited, found on most every street ) indicating what might be consumed within. Above, then, you might have ice cream, beer and a tray of red things made by a baker!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Japan 5 08

School girls and Saki Shops.
When visiting a historic site in a mountain town I was accosted by the school girls who were eager to speak English with me.
What is your name?! Where are you from?! I am afraid my answers only confused them but we had a fine time nonetheless.

In the same town, there were several saki distilleries. Both the distilleries and the retail shops had the huge ball of ? hanging about the entrance. This blog never has been heavy on facts and, with my trip to Japan, it is downright feather weight.
Ball of ? with no explanation will have to suffice unless Jolie cares to post a comment of enlightenment.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

japan 5 08

Marlena. More Japan to follow but, as you have surely figured out by now, all Japan images will be interspersed with MARLENA!

Friday, June 06, 2008

japan 5 08

i arrived in Tokyo on Friday and on Saturday Owain took us to one of the events of the Sumo wrestling grand national finals.
It was amazing. Amazing in ceremony, skill, seriousness and, well, size.

The first image will indicate to you what a task my wee point and shoot had to undertake. The packed hall was huge and while we had super upper level seats and I was able to crouch under the balcony railing to take the next shots, good focus was not really an option for the camera. Still, I have posted these images because the event was so spectacular, so memorable and I want to share the experience of being there with you.

So, first image: the crowd large, serious and, when appropriate, zealous.

Second image: some, just some, of the wrestlers, the stars, in their formal attire as winners.

Third image: the sponsor "parade". If the wrestler - all of whom, I was told, not only undertake rigorous training but an extremely disciplined lifestyle - is popular with the crowd they have sponsors. These sponsors are allowed to parade around the small ring with great pomp holding satin banners proclaiming the company's endorsement. The one pictured above was for one of the real favorites. The majority of the wrestlers that we saw that day had no sponsors so you can get an idea of just how popular this particular fellow was.

Fourth image: you will note the priest in green. Before the match actually began the priest preformed a most controlled number of traditional motions that indicated the commencement of the game. The competition itself begins with the wrestlers facing off as above but , like speed races, can have a few false starts.

Fifth image: Once the wrestling begins the objective, forcing one's opponent to take a step out of the ring, is achieved in a minute or, quite often, less.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Japan 5 08

Marlena and her mama and her friends. More Japan to follow very soon!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Japan 5 08

Every western eye must surely see Japan differently. This is true of any unaccustomed place I am sure but my experience of Japan was ( naturally colored intensely by a heart stealing one year old ) as if seen through many lenses. I cant really say "Japan is...."
I can say that traditional Japanese architecture is, while challenging on the knees requiring dining and sleeping very close to the floor, tranquil and evocative of soft spoken word.
Shoe come off immediately and, as in the case of the ryokans where we stayed, slippers are provided for journeying from the front door ( seen above ) to your tatami mat covered room. Once in the room, a room that always opened onto a small serene garden, those slippers were left at the door and you walked about in sock or bare feet. This latter exercise was a difficult one for me necessitating a gentle reminder: um, mama, slippers.
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