05.08.2014 § Leave a comment
I transfer subway lines in a station called Ikebukuro on my way to school. It’s like Times Square in New York and is well known for having great restaurants and shopping. I have been busy and haven’t yet had any opportunity to explore that area. But here are some pictures anyway:
Do Something Different
28.07.2014 § 1 Comment
I have always pondered why mountain climbers, especially the ones who have regular jobs, climb such high mountains. What is their motivation—besides being interested in the sport—that they will risk their lives for it?
From what I’ve observed, doing something different is one of the best ways to relax and refresh our minds. Sitting in an office five days a week and climbing a snowy mountain are definitely two different things.
I too am doing something different. I am in Tokyo at Waseda University for an intense, three-week Japanese course in this hot, humid summer weather. It would definitely be less of a challenge if I were visiting during the lovely cherry blossom season or in a cool autumn. I was forewarned by a Japanese native: “Tokyo’s summer is disgusting.” But I wasn’t intending to be a tourist anyway; this is exactly the different kind of experience that I was seeking. « Read the rest of this entry »
Isamu Noguchi and Yoshiko Yamaguchi
09.04.2013 § 3 Comments
Only recently did I learn that at one time Isamu Noguchi was married to Li Xianglan, a woman with a fascinating life. This knowledge came as a shock to me, or almost like regret, because Li Xianglan was such a legend and such a prominent figure during my childhood. She was a very famous singer and movie star during my mother’s youth. My mother was her diehard fan and would sing her songs and talk about her all the time. There were no pictures of her in those years because of her mysterious status and I always wondered, how beautiful could she be? What happened to her after she left China? I did not know that she had a long career after she left China using two different names, Yoshiko Yamaguchi and Yoshiko Ōtaka.
More of Japan’s Manhole Covers
19.11.2012 § Leave a comment
I sent a link to my last post about manhole covers to my Japanese friends, and they directed me to this website, which got me wildly excited. I selected a few of the manhole covers that have Japanese woodcarving interest to share here.
Hunting Manhole Covers
08.10.2012 § 1 Comment
I’ve been lucky to travel to Europe many times for business, to France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, England. After a while, I got a little blasé about things and did not pay too much attention to anything other than getting my business done. I did take one or two short excursions for pleasure, dovetailing the business trip, to places such as Venice, Paris and Prague. I was not looking for anything in particular at those times, although I noticed the door handles in Prague were quite amazing and took many pictures of them. Unfortunately, my documentation was lost, and I have never been back to Prague since. « Read the rest of this entry »
Bathtubs and Robes
12.07.2012 § Leave a comment
A Cultural Difference
I also noticed that the hotels in Japan always prepare you with a toothbrush and toothpaste and a pair of disposable slippers. None of these could be found at the Minneapolis Hilton I checked into when I visited our representative in Minnesota. « Read the rest of this entry »
Cherry Blossoms over Water
30.05.2012 § Leave a comment
Cherry blossoms do not only grow in Japan but they look and feel different when seen against a Japanese architectural and historical background.
I was too early for Kyoto’s cherry blossoms although it was the main purpose of my trip; this regret promises another trip to Kyoto soon. However, I caught the full bloom in Kamakura, a thousand-year-old capital located 45 minutes away from Tokyo where the remnants of temples and castles show the influences of early Dang Dynasty China. There I finally experienced the cherry blossoms cascading down over the water.
Next time I want to see the ocean of cherry trees in full bloom in Kyoto.
Cherry Blossom Festival in the City
21.05.2012 § Leave a comment
When I was visiting Japan, a friend from the US who is living in Tokyo had planned to take me to an Indian restaurant. I suppose he was looking forward to this meal because he was a bit tired of Japanese food. It was cold and I did not bring enough covering for the unexpectedly cold air. By the time we walked to the very small restaurant at dusk, it was 7:30p.m. and the restaurant would not have a table for us until 9:00p.m. So we walked on. My friend was hoping to find a good Italian restaurant, but I requested to settle on the first noodle place we passed since it was dark and I was cold and hungry. The dinner was not so tasty. Tokyo-style soup broths are really not as good as Osaka ones; they’re just a bunch of soy sauces.
We started to walk back to my hotel and had gone about four blocks when all of a sudden a street filled with rows of cherry trees in full bloom, their blossoms light up for the night, appeared in front of us. « Read the rest of this entry »
04.05.2012 § 2 Comments
Journey to Japan
This spring’s trip to Japan reminds me of my first trip to Italy in 1992. I called it “The Grand Tour”– a term referring to the tradition of 18 century European artists who could not consider their art educations complete until they had make a trip to Italy. I prepared for this trip to Japan for over a year and a half, and never have I put so much time into preparing for a journey to a foreign country. I am not sure if being able to ask for directions on the street or in a busy subway paid off for all of the time I put into studying the language, but I certainly was happy that I could be free and independent.