Wednesday, December 28, 2011


" I believe it's time to look forward now to the future,"

said the singer,

"It is so important  that we remind the world that Japan is now safe,

and that the doors are wide open for tourists from all over the world to come in and enjoy the beautiful country."

ーLady Gagaー

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dolls Temple (Houkyouji-Temple) (宝鏡寺) in Kyoto

Do you have dolls?
If you have your favorite dolls, and you're planning to part with that dolls for some reasons,
you may visit this temple with your dolls,and hold a memorial service for them.
In Japan,dolls are believed to be imbued with a spirit,like humanbeing,
because dolls have been loved so tenderly by the owner.
So when we have to part with our dolls,they have to be disposed of in a purifying ritual.
This ritual is held only March(3.1~4.3) and November(11.1~11.30)in this temple.
This is the temple,"Houkyou-ji Temple" in Kyoto.People sometimes call this temple "Dolls Temple".
This temple is very famous for its dolls purifying ritual.
Many people in Japan visit this temple with their dolls which they're plannning to part with.
Originally this temple was rebuilt by ancient Imperial princess,"Karin-Egon-Zenni".(華林宮恵厳禅尼)
about 700 years ago,in Kamakura era.
According to a legend,the princess found a small statue of Goddess caught in a fishing net at Futamigaura sea in Mie prefecture,and she brought it back to Kyoto.
Then she built this temple,and worshiped that small statue as a god. That is the origin of this temple.

So this temple has long been closely connected with Imperial lineage since 700 years ago,
and for generations Imperial people takes charge of this temple.

Nadeshiko flowers are beautiful.
They are even drawn on the sliding doors for partitioning rooms.(Fusuma-e)
This temple has closely connected with princess since ancient times,
so it has so feminine atmosphere.
This is also drawing in this temple. Pheasants are vividly described by famous ancient painter, Oukyo-Maruyama.

For generations,Imperial princess loved their favorite dolls.
This doll is "Banzei-san". (万勢伊さん)
This is in the shape of a lady-in-waiting of princess.
This doll is so loved by the ancient princess that it is said to be imbued with a spirit of humanbeing,
and it is said to have patroled (night watch) in the temple.

These dolls are lady-in-waiting of "Banzei-san". They are enjoying Japanese backgammon.
The left girl is "Otora-san",and the right girl is "Otake-san".
Ancient Imperial princess loved such realistic dolls like her real friends,
and the princess treated these dolls as real human.
And these dolls always supported the princess mentally in everyday life,
and these dolls played an important roll of teaching material of the princess.

This Dolls temple is open only in March(3.1~4.3) and November(11.1~11.30).
This is famous temple of historic interest,deserves special mention.


Please take subway "Karasuma line" from Hankyu Karasuma station in Kyoto,and get off at "Imadegawa" (今出川)station.
It takes 15 minutes from Imadegawa-station to this Dolls Temple.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and the best in the New Year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Messi vs Neymarーa decisive battle fought between two mighty rivals

Finally dream match came to an end today.
Balcelona beated Santos 4-0.  It was a dramatic game...
But every Japanese can never forget super play of Neymar, Santos.
Today he was so completely marked by Puyol and other defenders that he couldn't move,so he couldn't grasp a chance to shoot till the end...
Unfortunately we couldn't see his tremendous shoot today...
We really expect to see his spectacular play again.
Thank you for the great game.
(FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2011)

Friday, December 16, 2011

FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2011 presented by TOYOTA

Phew...It took me almost 3 hours to finish this portrait...
Super star of Barça,Messi is in Japan now.
They beated Al-Sadd  4-0,but unfortunately Villa(Barça) was wounded in this match.
Everyone is worrying about him...
Before the game,Jorge Fossati,the manager of Al-Sadd Sports Club,said " I do hope Barça players will be overcome with heavy drowsiness during the game...." XD
He seemed to pin his hopes on the faint possibility,but it was in vain...

And every Japanese people is now waiting eagerly for this Sunday Final match of FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.
Barça (Spain) vs Santos (Brasil).  It is a dream match.
Every Japanese want to see Messi's super overhead shoot again.
And of course we're really fan of Neymar,young hero from Brasil. He is a super striker.
It will be really exciting match.
Welcome to Japan,and good luck to every player!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The spirit of a true artisanーYuzen atelier "You"

He is an experienced Yuzen kimono artisan,Mr.Yamada.
He also runs Yuzen kimono shop which I already mentioned in my blog before.
I'd like to show you their work scene, more precisely than before.
(This is chinese legendaly general.)

What is he doing?
He is not drawing a picture. This is not a pen.
He is tracing the outline of the sketch by this tool (tube).
Actually, he is squeezing a paste out of this extra-fine tube! 
He is surrounding the outline by the paste. And this paste serves as a breakwater,as a protective wall.
This protective wall (made by paste) is necessary for him to prevent each color from blurring.
As you know,he needs to distinguish flower color from background color by using different colors.
If dyestuff blurs,run,spread, it spoils his work.
To prevent blurring is one of the most important work when they dye kimono.
We call this work (tracing the outline by paste using a tube) " Itomeoki".(糸目置き)
(This is kind of technical term.)
And please look at this picture.
This is interesting. What do you think he is doing?
He is covering the flowers,the leaves,the branches by wax,to prevent being blurred when he dyes.
He needs to hide these flower parts because he needs to dye background color first.
After background is dyed successfully,he wash this wax away.
Yamada said it needs extra high skill,because it is very difficult and delicate work.

And now another artisan is dyeing background color.
Now that he covered the flower parts beforehand,
he doesn't need to worry about being blurred by the dyestuff.
And their specialties are different.
They each took responsibility for one aspect of the work.
for example,coloring the background color,covering the flower part,etc...
And last,another artisan is coloring the flower parts.
It also needs high skill,
but he doesn't need to worry about being blurred,
because background color is already dyed perfectly.

This is how his beautiful Yuzen kimono is created.
Yuzen has a long history of 400 years,
Originally it started as a design of a folding fan,
but as time passed,people orderd these kind of designs for their kimono,
and fascinate many people even now.
I'm happy If I can tell you tips of Yuzen and experienced artisans.

Please take subway (Karasuma line) from JR Kyoto,
and get off at "Gojo" station. (210yen / one-way)
This atelier is located near Gojo station,
it takes you about 3 minutes to go to this atelier.

Open daily except Monday,Tuesday and Sunday,
from am 9:30 to pm 5:00.
TEL 075-344-5067

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Miyamaー Beautiful hamlets in north Kyoto

If you yearn for a glimpse of old rural Japan,head to lovely Miyama,
a town nested in the Kitayama mountains of northern Kyoto.
The town is composed of several village clusters spread over a large area.
These picturesque hamlets are home to an abundance of traditional
Kayabuki-yane(thatched-roof) farmhouses
thatched with a thick roof of long susuki (pampas grass) reeds.
Miyama-cho has become a popular home for artists,
and is also gaining attention from outdoor enthusiasts
for its excellent hiking,camping and kayaking on the Yura-river.
There are many thatched-roof farmhouses.
Some of the houses are farmhouses,and oters are cafe,inn,and so on.
There are many wild flowers.
This is also thatched-roof farmhouses.
Scarlet-tinged leaves are beautiful.
This is Yura-river.
There are many tourists from abroad.
It is possible to travel to Miyama as a day trip from Kyoto,but it makes a much nicer overnight trip.
In 1994 the village was designated a national preservation site.
There is not much to do in the village except walk around and admire the wonderful old houses.
Miyama is located in "Nantan City", next to Kyoto City. (Please look at this map.)
Public transport is very poor in this area(Nantan-City).

How to access

JR Kyoto - JR Sonobe JR train (570yen,44 minutes /one-way)
JR Sonobe - Miyama(Kayabuki-no-sato)   →a municipal bus (900yen,50 minutes/one-way)

Kajika-sou(河鹿荘) 10,000~13,000 yen a night per head (dinner and breakfast are included) 
You need reservation beforehand.
Tel  0771-77-0014
※Attention   Dishes change every season.
This dish is an example.

If you want to know more.....→Miyama tourist society  Tel 0771-75-1906

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gion-Odori (Autumn dance performance by Geiko and Maiko) ③

It is good to visit Gion at the beginning of November,
and please enjoy Maiko performance!
This performance is held from November 1 through November 10 at Gion Kaikan. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gion-Odori (Autumn Dance performance by Geiko and Maiko) ②

These girls below are fairies.
Usually they are in Dolls (Maiko's favorite dolls)
But when Maikos leave the house,they get out of the dolls,and begin to behave as they like...

Her pose is so cute.
She found something yummy in the kitchen,and she is trying to eat it when no one is looking.

Gion-Odori (Autumn dance performance by Geiko and Maiko) ①

 "Gion odori" is an autumn dance performance by Geiko and Maiko in Gion,Kyoto.
This performance started in 1894,and it is well-known as one of splendid autumn events in Kyoto.
This performance is held from November.1 through November.10.

Before the show starts,we enjoy tea ceremony.
They entertain us with green tea.
These are utensils for making green tea.
Maikos are playing with their favorite dolls...