Japan Photos
Last updated: Thursday, September 05, 2002.

Here are some photos I took while travelling around Japan in 1997. I've tried to give a little background for each picture, but don't quote me as a historical source. I'm just repeating what I think I was told.

Here's a picture of Eric, myself, and Robin visiting our long-time buddy, the Daibutsu (Great Buddha) at Kamakura. Standing (or perhaps I should say "sitting") over 12 meters high, and weighing in at 120 tonnes, this was a pretty impressive sight. The Daibutsu used to be inside, but back in the 1400s a tidal wave came along and swept the building away. The statue remained standing, however.

This picture was taken in the Hida Folk Village in Takayama. The houses are a couple of centuries old. The roofs are very steep in order to shed the two meters of snow that fall in the winter. Despite the lack of chimney, there is always a fire burning inside. The heat kills the insects that might otherwise eat the roof.

Himeji Castle is one of the coolest castles in Japan. Unlike most castles in Japan, it is not a reconstruction, so you can walk around inside and see it more or less as it was. The spots above the roof are birds.

Here is a "dry landscape garden" in Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto. It consists of 15 rocks arranged in a thirty by ten meter plot of raked white gravel. A very reductionist view of nature. I gather the deal is that one is not supposed to be able to see all 15 rocks at the same time, so one should sit and meditate until one becomes one with oneself and can see the fifteenth rock in one's mind's eye. I kept losing count.

Another famous Kyoto temple: the Kinkokuji. Subject of the Japanese novel "The Golden Pavillion", this temple was apparently burned down by someone, and was rebuilt and re-covered in gold leaf.

And finally, something a little more modern. In Osaka's "DenDen Town", a discount electronics market, there is this building with a big bug on top of it. Don't ask me why.

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Brett Allen (brett@snazzorama.com)
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