Art


Shiraoi Hokkaido Ainu's Title NO2

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Exploring Ainu’s Wisdom and Crafts in Shiraoi, Hokkaido

By Denis Plamondon

Photos by Sandra D’Sylva and Denis Plamondon

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When one thinks of Hokkaido, many images surge from the conception of Japan’s northernmost island. Notions of nature, wilderness, mountains, volcanoes, large farms, snow, ice carvings, festivals and ski resorts easily come to mind. So are major events like the Winter Olympics of Sapporo in 1972 or last year’s G8 Hokkaido Summit. If one scratches the surface a little further, one might identify the name of the indigenous people of Japan. After all, the Ainu have been living here for several thousands of years.

On the other hand, we’re probably unaware of the long history of discrimination and the chronicled inferiority complex felt by the Ainu themselves which almost led to their extinction. As a matter of fact, many stories depict the Ainu-Wajin (Japanese) relation as a stream of repulsion for a culture of lesser importance, second rate and not worth keeping. The Ainu elders even stopped teaching their native language to their children to enable them to more easily integrate into mainstream Japanese culture. The embarrassment of being Ainu seems particularly ironic when we know its meaning: Ainu means “human” or a “respectable human”. The government only recognized the rights of this great nation in 1997 with the rather ineffective Ainu Cultural Promotion Law to describe their culture as “unique”. But it takes more than an exhibition of fabrics and other crafts to preserve a culture; teaching language and transmitting values are instrumental to keep the Ainu nation alive. (Please read an insightful interview with Hasegawa Osamu ). According to a 2006 census, the Ainu population in Hokkaido accounted for 23,782 inhabitants while between 2,500 and 10,000 individuals were estimated to be living in Tokyo. This number is probably higher since many are unaware of their origin or hide their true identity. At first glance, one may get discouraged with such an outcome, but the situation has started to change for the Ainu people, like many other things in Japan.

In addition to dedicated ‘backstage’ activists, proud and talented Ainu artists are trying to promote and revitalize their culture to a new level by transcending their folklore: Oki and his Ainu Dub Band are gaining world recognition; and Ainu Rebels led by Mina Sakai are known for fusing traditional music with dance, rock and hip-hop. The international solidarity between aboriginals from around the world, who hold regular meetings every year, is no stranger to the emancipation of Ainu culture. In September 2007, the UN General Assembly passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Japanese Government finally passed a bill which recognizes the Ainu as “the indigenous people of Japan”.

Keeping Ainu Culture Alive:

On 3 October 2009, Kaha:wi, a Mohawk dance company from Canada, is performing at the Red Brick Warehouse, in Yokohama. The theater company will share the stage with Ainu Rebels in a show called: Dance with the Earth. To mark the occasion, Professor Hiroshi Nakagawa of Chiba University will give a lecture on the teachings of Ainu language. In Tokyo, the Restaurant Rera Cise (House of Wind) in Nakano is also a good place for the diffusion of Ainu culture and cuisine.

The Ainu Museum in Shiraoi:

Shiraoi is a small town located some 20 kilometers west of Noboribetsu. There are a few hotels in the area, but Ryokan Okita, just a few minutes from the JR Station, is a good recommendation if you are looking for convenient budget accommodation. The Ainu Museum actually offers more than only a museum. An interesting display of houses (cise) was erected to represent a typical Ainu village. A series of music and dance performances are scheduled every day which allows visitors a great opportunity to learn about this rich and unique culture. Lively entertainers dance around a rectangular fire in the middle of the house with typical instruments, such as a tonkori (plucked string instrument). A woman plays a mukkuri (mouth harp) with rhythms that evoke the Inuits in northern Canada. They take great care to perform correctly as it is said that most Ainu songs are sacred and are often sung to keep evils spirits away.  Performers proudly wear traditional Ainu costumes and headbands embroidered with organic patterns, also designed with the rational of protecting the wearer from evil. If you would like to learn more about Ainu patterns, please visit the superb website by Deborah Davidson, Project U-E-Peker.

Watch an interesting interview with Mina Sakai of Ainu Rebels

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Shiraoi Hokkaido Ainu's houses (Cise)

Shiraoi Hokkaido - Ainu Houses (Cise)

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Ainu's costumes and culture presentation in Shiraoi, Hokkaido

Ainu traditional wear and cultural performance - Shiraoi, Hokkaido

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Ainu's dance around a fire place in indigenous house, Shiraoi. Hokkaido

Ainu dance around a hearth in an indigenous house - Shiraoi, Hokkaido

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Women Musician playing the tonkori (plucked string instrument) in Shiraoi, Hokkaido

Musician playing the tonkori (plucked string instrument) - Shiraoi, Hokkaido

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Ainu's woman musician playing the "bombard" in Shiraoi, Hokkaido

Ainu musician playing the "mukkuri" - Shiraoi, Hokkaido

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2 women wearing Ainu's costumes with baby bed in Shiraoi, Hokkaido

Women wearing Ainu dresses singing a baby to sleep - Shiraoi, Hokkaido

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Inside an Ainu's house in Shiraoi, Hokkaido

Inside an Ainu house - Shiraoi, Hokkaido

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Fishes are being smoked in the ceiling of an Ainu's house in Shiraoi, Hokkaido

Fishes are being smoked inside Ainu house - Shiraoi, Hokkaido

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Wall patterns and tatoo on one hand in Shiraoi, Hokkaido

Wall patterns and tatoos (hand in photo) - Shiraoi, Hokkaido

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Women executing Ainu mats'work in Shiraoi, Hokkaido

Women weaving an Ainu mat - Shiraoi, Hokkaido

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Title Ainu Article

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Ainu are the first inhabitants of Hokkaido, a major island located  in northern Japan. In a coming article, I will be writing  about the museum of Shiraoi and its enactment of Ainu’s great, but yet endangered culture.

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Excursion sacrée entre Kurama et Kibune

Par Denis Plamondon
Photos par Sandra D’Sylva et Denis Plamondon
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Se perdre dans la nature au dessus de Kurama

Se perdre dans la nature au dessus de Kurama

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Si vous voulez profiter au maximum de votre séjour à Kyoto(京都), l’exploration de ses environs pourraît consolider la fabuleuse expérience que l’on attend d’une visite dans la capitale de 1000 ans. À part l’incontournable préfecture de Nara (奈良), reconnue pour  ses célèbres temples Tōdaiji (東大寺) et Hōryū-ji (法 隆寺), trésors de l’humanité qu’ il ne faut surtout pas ignorer, la ville de Kyoto est entourée de plusieurs destinations faciles d’accès. De telles visites vous procureront d’enrichissantes découvertes. La ville de Uji (宇治) cache l’un des plus beaux temples bouddhistes du Japon: le Byodo-In (平等 ). L’éloge lui vient de la finesse de son architecture et de l’élégance de ses formes. Profitez de ce périple pour visiter une fabrique de thé et goutez à la délicatesse du Macha. À la nuit tombée, vous pouvez aussi embarquer sur l’un des bateaux qui partent à la pêche au cormoran munis d’une perche à laquelle on suspend une cage de feu afin de naviguer dans la nuit. À l’ouest de Kyoto, se trouve la petite ville d’Arashiyama (嵐山)et une multitude de temples éparpillés dans une forêt de bamboo. Au nord, le village de Ohara (大原)vous permettra de découvrir le temple Sanzen-In (三千院)et son impressionnant jardin. Mais le secret demeure une petite course en montagne entre Kurama (鞍馬) et Kibune(貴船)

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Randonnée Kurama-Kibune:

Niô-mon, la porte des gardiens

Niô-mon, la porte des gardiens

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Je vous propose aujourd’hui une randonnée dans la montagne de Kurama qui se trouve à peine à 12 kilomètres au nord de Kyoto. La compagnie de chemin de fer Eisan opère un petit train à trois wagons qui part de la gare de Demachi-Yanagi et termine son trajet à Kurama-Yama, 30 minutes plus tard. Le village, célèbre aussi pour son festival du feu (鞍馬の火祭り) le 22 octobre, – voir l’article sur le Festival de Feu de Kurama – est encastré au fond d’une gorge que traverse la rivière Kurama-Gawa (鞍馬川). Au retour de votre promenade en forêt, suivez la route qui longe le cours d’eau et profitez de l’un de ses onsen(温泉). Il n’y a rien de plus charmant que de relaxer dans un bain thermal en plein air tout en admirant les arbres célestes qui se dressent dans le flan de la montagne, surtout après les efforts de la marche.

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Les moines au départ de la randonnée

Les moines au départ de la randonnée

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Dès que vous sortez de la gare à Kurama, vous vous engagerez dans les escaliers qui vous mènent à la Porte des Gardiens (Niô-mon) 「二王門」. La structure est imposante. Une fois affranchis de votre contribution de quelques centaines de yen, vous emprunterez une longue suite d’escaliers, de sentiers, de ponts et croiserez une multitude de petits hôtels shintos, de temples bouddhistes et des statuts de toutes dimensions. Le chemin zigzague dans la montagne et la nature vous réserve un accueil surprenant avec ses arômes, sa fraîcheur, ses ombres et la curiosité de ses formes. L’aménagement forestier respecte à la lettre l’esthétique japonais: Atteindre l’harmonie tout en évitant de niveler jusqu’à la perfection! Cette randonnée vous donnera en outre l’occasion d’observer d’étranges manifestations de la nature. Entre-autre, l’imposante stature de plusieurs de ses arbres donne à la forêt ses lettres de noblesse.

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Les charmes de la montée entre Kurama et Kibune

Les charmes de la montée entre Kurama et Kibune

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Taille impressionnate des arbres entre Kurama et Kibune

Taille impressionnate des arbres entre Kurama et Kibune

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L'eau de la purification près du Temple de Kurama

L'eau de la purification près du Temple de Kurama

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Le temple Kurama 「Honden-kondô」 (本殿金堂), situé à mi-chemin du sommet de la montagne, fut fondé en 770 suite à l’illumination de son fondateur, le moine Gantei – (Voir information complète ). La montagne sacrée préserve les trois symboles de l’âme universelle, soient le pouvoir, la lumière et l’amour. Tous les cultes visent à vénérer la manifestation de ces trois éléments dont la Trinité représente la divinité suprême : Sonten (尊天). La Trinité de Sonten se traduit aussi par les concepts suivants:  L’âme de la vie, l’âme suprême de l’univers et l’activité de l’âme. Après 1239 ans d’histoire, on ne s’étonne plus de trouver autant de reliques du passé religieux à cet endroit alors que la dimension sacrée du lieu explique l’aspect intact de sa nature.

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La montée entre les temples de Kurama à Kibune

La montée entre les temples de Kurama à Kibune

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Plus on monte, plus le panorama s’ouvre jusqu’à ce que l’on atteigne le Honden Kondô. Sa terrasse alors offre un spectacle magnifique sur la vallée. L’originalité des objets religieux vaut le déplacement.

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Le pavillon adjaçant avec ses espaces ouverts près du temple kurama

Le pavillon adjaçant avec ses espaces ouverts près du temple kurama

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Le cône de pierres fines près du temple Kurama

Le cône de pierres fines près du temple Kurama

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Si vous ne voulez pas marcher cette longue partie sinueuse, une autre option s’ouvre à vous. Grâce au funiculaire situé à la base, près de la Porte des Gardiens, il est possible d’accéder directement à la Pagode Tahô-tô (多宝塔)quelques mètres à peine au dessous du temple de Kurama. Un peu plus haut, vous pouvez vous arrêter un moment au musée dont la collection est voué à l’environnement. Il existe même un étage contenant des reliques au fort contenu historique pour Kurama.

Que ce soit les racines qui s’étalent au dessus du sol, les temples au bois naturel comme le Sôjo ga dani Fudô-dô (僧正が谷不動堂) ou Maô-Den (魔王殿) qui attireront votre regard inquisiteur ou encore la forme en lambeaux de l’écorce des arbres, cette promenade dans la montagne sacrée ne vous laissera guère indifférent.

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Une pause près d'un lieu sacré: le Sôjô ga dani Fudô-dô

Une pause près d'un lieu sacré: le Sôjô ga dani Fudô-dô

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Lieu de culte en montagne: Maô-den

Lieu de culte en montagne: Maô-den

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Racines en surface Randonnée Kurama-Kibune

Racines en surface Randonnée Kurama-Kibune

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Sôjô ga dani Fudô-dô

Okuno-In Maô-den

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Étrangeté de la nature. un arbre s'habille d'un châle

Étrangeté de la nature. un arbre s'habille d'un châle

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Au cours de votre descente vers Kibune, vous souhaiterez peut-être refaire le chemin inverse. Le joli village de Kibune continuera de vous épanouir par l’authenticité des ses restaurants, l’ordonnancement de ses commerces et la simplicité de ses maisons. Les piétons et les voitures qui circulent dans les deux sens se partagent l’unique rue étroite, car le village est coincé entre la petite rivière et l’autre versant de la montagne. Au cours des longs mois d’été, on installe des planchers temporaires (Yuka / 床) au dessus de la rivière afin de créer de l’espace pour des restaurants.

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Manger sur une terrace au desus de la rivière à Kibune

Manger sur une terrace au desus de la rivière à Kibune

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Profitez-en pour vous restaurez et commandez le Shabushabu (しゃぶしゃぶ), une sorte de pot au feu que l’on prépare devant vous et que vous mangerez au son de l’eau qui gicle entre les pierres de la rivière.

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Serving ShabuShabu in Kibune sr le "yuka" au sessus de la rivière

Serving ShabuShabu in Kibune sr le "yuka" au sessus de la rivière

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Si vous voulez laisser un commentaire, veillez retournez au début de cet article et cliquez le lien “Comment”. Vos impressions seront appréciées.

Kyoto’s Secret: Get a Paper Lantern

Did you ever visit a temple and wonder if you could purchase the beautiful paper lantern you just saw? You ask around, try to make yourself understood, but no one can really tell you if it is possible or not. Then you say:  I should find it in a lantern shop, of course. But where do we find such a place?

If you are in Kyoto, here is a valuable secret for you. Kawashima Chochin Senmon Ten, just west of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, is a small shop where  articles such as umbrellas and paper lanterns can be found. Just walk in, browse a moment and very soon you will come across used models of lantern which come in different sizes and have a wide variety of characters on them.  It is customary to choose a style or model, specify your design requirements and return back later to get your order.  A trained artist will create the lamp or umbrella according to your specifications: desired characters, crest or images. Of course, you as a tourist can order the same way, if time and money are not an issue; it will cost you between 10,000 and 30,000 yen. But if you can’t, here’s a tip: ask the shop attendants (the lady of the shop in particular) if second hand lanterns are available. She will be happy to repair any apparent defects with wet paper and a bit of glue, and you will get a beautiful lantern for a fraction of the price with little wait! Why bring home a new article without history, when you get away with authenticity?

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Mountain Temple Lantern Style

Paper Lantern with Typical Mountain Crest

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Here is the address:

KAWASHIMA CHÔCHIN SENMON TEN

Kyoto-Shi, Kamigyo-Ku,

Kita-no-Shôbô-Mae, 602-8384

Japan

川島提灯専門店、京都市上京区北野消防署前

(北野天満宮西入)日本 602-8384

Tel/電話番号:075-462-5922

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Japanese Lanterns Produce Light as Well

By Denis Plamondon

Photos by Sandra D’Sylva & Denis Plamondon

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Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Golden lanterns under the drops of rain

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, golden lanterns under the rain

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What image pops up in your mind when someone mentions a lantern in Japan? If you pass by a yakitori restaurant and the smell of grilled meat begins to tease your senses, you might think of a red paper lamp in front? The same lantern also indicates the location of an Izakaya (Japanese bar). When hundreds are aligned in the trees along a path, you may be looking forward to joining a festival around the corner? Or the sight of another white paper lamp in a doorway could suggest that night is approaching? In fact, very few of us will think of a Japanese lantern as solely decorative.


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Stone Lantern at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto durig Ume Matsuri

Stone lantern at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto during Ume Matsuri (plum blossom festival)

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In your search of knowledge and quest for meanings while visiting Japanese temples and gardens, you will come to discover a wide variety of lamps and lanterns. Style, shape, material, color and location are aspects to consider in evaluating these beautiful objects. They are mostly made of stone (ishi-doro) and paper (chochin or bon-bori), and many adorn Japanese characters (chochin-moji). You will also find them in bronze, metal, wood and a combination of materials. According to its locality, a paper lantern will also bear a particular crest – indicating a mountain temple for example.

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Magnificient Bronze Lanterns at the Sacred Taiyuin Temple in Nikko

Magnificent bronze lanterns at the Sacred Taiyuin Temple in Nikko

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Lamps and Lanterns in Japan Have a Long History

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The origin of the lantern is attributed to China and was introduced to Japan by Korean monks in the 6th century along with Buddhism. There are many questions as to why Buddhism, a religion with no god, was so rapidly adopted by the Japanese whose animist religion (Shintoïsm) depicts many gods. Buddhism was able to give answers as to what to do when a person is deceased. The recitation of sutras and the ‘enlightening of souls’, symbolized by lanterns, gave the Japanese another understanding of the spirits they fear so intensively.

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Wooden lanterns on the way to the Shrine in the beautiful village of Kibune, near Kyoto

Wooden lanterns on the way to a shrine in the beautiful village of Kibune, northern mountains of Kyoto

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Lanterns attached to a Cart during Gion Matsuri in Kyoto

Lanterns attached to a float during Gion Matsuri in Kyoto

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For a very long time, lanterns were only seen at temples as a part of ceremonies, with the intention of illuminating souls. In this manner, offering light is a spiritual gesture and carries profound meaning while transcending the physical notion of light per se. During the long history of Japanese Buddhism, giving a lantern to a temple was a recurrent and popular gesture among warlords and daimyos. Some authors and historians have suggested that they did so due to fear that the spirits of victims they’d killed would return; thus, a stone lantern was a good insurance policy to calm the anger of evil spirits, which could be reminiscent of a strange fusion between Shinto and Buddhist practices and beliefs (I will post an article on this matter later.) Whatever may have been their intentions, warlords have donated a phenomenal quantity of stone and bronze lanterns to temples and shrines all over Japan. Consequently, it has given many artists a chance for expression and communication of an important heritage to younger generations.

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Bronze Lanterns in Nigatsu-Do in the Todai-Ji Complex in Nara

Bronze lanterns in Nigatsu-Do in the Todai-Ji Complex in Nara

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Stone lanterns at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto during Ume Festival

Stone lanterns at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto during Ume Festival

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During the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600), a famous great tea master, Sen-no-Rikyu, started to assimilate stone lanterns in gardens as a way to “provide illumination for an evening tea ceremony”. This new direction was decisive and one can still see these vestiges very much sculptured in the overall landscape surrounding temples. Nowadays, stone lanterns are part of the Japanese garden design and well integrated among other features; in such an environment, their functionality is purely aesthetic. The perception of their beauty gives “light”. Conversely, lanterns and paper lamps in temples and shrines are still lit with actual fire or electricity. There are numerous festivals across Japan where visitors are invited at dusk to enjoy the splendor of their illumination. The Obon Matsuri is one of them (Visit the beautiful photo album of Gino T. Manalastas). Furthermore, in the surroundings of Kasuga Grand Shrine in Nara, more than 2000 stone lanterns are lit twice a year (February and August).

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Stone Lantern in Katsura Garden, Imperial Villa near Kyoto

Stone lantern in Katsura Garden, Imperial Villa near Kyoto

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Stone lantern perfectly integrated in the garden of Manshu-In, Kyoto

Stone lantern perfectly integrated in the garden of Manshu-In, Kyoto

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Stone Lantern in Shugaku-In, Imperial Villa in Kyoto

Stone lantern in Shugaku-In Imperial Villa in Kyoto

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Huge paper lantern in Yamashina. Stone lanterns in the lower background

Enormous paper lantern in Yamashina; bronze lanterns in the lower background

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Paper lantern in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto

Paper lantern in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto

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Golden lanterns in a mountain small temple between Kurama & Kibune, near Kyoto

Golden lanterns in a small mountain temple between Kurama & Kibune, near Kyoto

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A choregraphy of lights during Obon Matsuri on the Mount Hiei, Kyoto

A choreography of lights during Obon Matsuri on Mount Hiei, Kyoto

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To learn more about the stone lantern and especially about the  2000 units around  Kasuga Grand Shrine in Nara.
To learn about the art f the Japanese gardens and the variety of stone lanterns
More on the Buddhist Gardens with this links.

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I would appreciate your comments. Click on comment link at the beginning of this article

Recycling Gondolas

By Denis Plamondon

Photos by Sandra D’Sylva & Denis Plamondon

Recycling the Gondolas in Nikko

Recycling Gondolas in Nikko

Once hanging in the air for sightseeing or used to climb to the top of a ski hill, old gondolas can easily be recycled for a second life. But for how long? You can find this rather odd phone booth in the village of  Nikko, located a couple of hours North West of Tokyo by train (departing from Asakusa Station).  You can’t miss it if you are on your way to the sacred bridge passing over the Daiya river. By the way, Nikko is not only famous for its temples, but also for its stunning nature, so be prepared to discover. The question is how much longer will you find any public phone around? Recently, I went to a conference at the Tokyo Hilton and I came across a series of telephone boothes with no phones inside! Could there be a third life for a gondola with a public phone in it? A museum, maybe.

Buddhism, for its part, reinvents  itself continuously – recycling is not deemed necessary. Gadgets of our time, with their short life cycle, fade away so quickly while the tradition of Buddhism seems to be more alive than ever in Nikko. If you come to Tokyo, this World Heritage asset is absolutely a “must see” destination. With an early start, you can make it in a day, although you will probably wish you did not have to sacrifice so many temples on the way. Play it wisely and spend a couple of days; it is worth the trip. The site of the first temple was founded in 766 by the monk Shodo-Shonin during the Nara period (710-792) before the capital was moved to Kyoto. With such a long history encrypted in time,  space and every dimension of its architecture and design, Nikko is probably one of the nicest places in Japan to appreciate the richness of colorful mountain temples.

The particularity of this fantastic location comes from the high level of talent invested by its conceptors in building and constructing. By hiring the best artists – sculptors, painters, carpenters, etc. –  emperors and shoguns have directly contributed to Nikko’s celebrity by providing it with the most colorful and delightful temples found in Japan. You will see very few temples with bare wood here. After the death of Shogun Tokugawa Iyeyasu, a mausoleum was erected at the Toshogu Shrine where ashes of the famous shogun were transported. The surrounding nature as well, embeded with such vestiges, are also of high interest.

Nikko Snake bridge over the Daiya River

Nikko Snake bridge over the Daiya River

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Nikko Yomeimon Gate

Nikko Yomeimon Gate

Details of fine sculpture in Nikko

Details of fine wood sculpting in Nikko

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Nikko Yakushido Tour and Lantern

Nikko Yakushido Tour and Lantern

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Nikko Taiyu-In Tour

Nikko Taiyu-In Tour

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Nikko Taiyu-In Kaminari-Mon

Nikko Taiyu-In Kaminari-Mon

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Information to Nikko (Access, Facilities, World Heritage)

Information from the City of Nikko

Kabuki in a Hall of Glory

By Denis Plamondon

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Kabuki-za in Ginza Tokyo

Kabuki-za in Ginza Tokyo

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The countdown for the demolition of the old Kabuki-House is imminent. Before the building is torn down in 2010, why don’t you attend a farewell performance at the famous theater in Ginza while you still have a chance?

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Latest Kabuki Sayonara Performance at the Kabuki-za Tokyo

Latest Kabuki Sayonara Performance at the Kabuki-za Tokyo

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The latest “Sayonara Kabuki” performance starts on May 2nd and runs until June 26th at the Ginza Kabuki-Za in Tokyo.  The deep-rooted structure stands honorably with class among newer constructions in the chic Ginza area.  News of its demolition did not go smoothly.  In order to keep protesters and kabuki aficionados silent, the authorities advocated that the old building did not meet earthquake standards and regulations.  So if you come to Tokyo in the next two months, or if you are simply a fan of all forms of authentic and live performance, you may want to part of history and share a moment of grandeur with these great actors before this landmark disappears.

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Kabuki-za is contrasted by a modern environment

Kabuki-za is contrasted by a modern environment

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It won’t be rebuilt before 2013, but the architecture will be quite different then. There is no question that Kabuki will survive this transformation and transcend time and space coefficients, but the aura and treasure of the ancient theater will have vanished and survive only in the memories of those who were there.

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Posters of Kabuki play in front of Kabuki-za Tokyo

Posters of Kabuki play in front of Kabuki-za Tokyo

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As a Kabuki performance can be very long and expensive, you can buy a single act ticket at the west gate of the theater and watch from the last balcony on the 4th floor; the sound is still good, the huge stage is impressive and the colorful costumes of the all-male cast are astonishing. To do so, you must stand in line to purchase your ticket (800 to 1000 yen) at least one hour before the opening.  Arrive even earlier if you can, as word is spreading very fast.  Don’t miss out.

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Characters of Kabuki Play Kabuki-za Tokyo

Characters of Kabuki Play Kabuki-za Tokyo

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For more information, please read a good article by Shane Sakata in The Nihon  Sun

Also, read this information on the new Sayonara series of performance

If you want to comment, please do so at the beginning of this article

Scene of Kabuki in front of the Kabuki-za Tokyo

Scene of Kabuki in front of the Kabuki-za Tokyo

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