Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas Lights in Tokyo

A few random photos of christmas lights this year.

Near Tokyo station building (the building in the background)

By the side of Marunouchi Building, near Tokyo station

Behind Tokyo post office

So much for today. More photos and video clips later.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Illuminations - Ueno Park

Illuminations of various types are common sights in the Christmas and New Year season. I found these few at Ueno Park, a few kilometers from Tokyo Station.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Rikugien Gardens

Rikugien is one of the best traditional Japanese gardens in Tokyo. Created in 1702, it has been the private property of several distinguished families before it was donated to the City of Tokyo by the family of the founder of Mitsubishi. The garden is only 20 minutes from Tokyo station, by train (near JR Komagome station, to be specific).

The garden has a nice pond, many sakura trees, and several teahouses. They say the garden is designed to have beautiful views in all four seasons. I went there to see the autumn leaves last week, so these photos show what the garden looks like in autumn.

Some of the leaves (hope you will not be mad at me for having a third post with them)

A visitor in Kimono

Since this was the peak season for the colored leaves, there was a 'light-up' of autumn leaves. During a light-up, selected portions of the park and the colored leaves are lit to create a colorful display, which attracts hundreds of people.

I did not know about the light-up, and therefore did not have the tripod with me. It needed all the tricks I know to get a few reasonable photos (one of the photos below was taken with the camera on the top of my head :-p). However, a light-up is much nicer than what can be captured using a still camera.

These bamboo shades provided lighting to the footpaths. I used them as tripods :-p

I called my host father, Iguchi-san, to tell him that I am in Rikugien, seeing the light-up. Here is the rest of the conversation:

Iguchi-san: "Great place! Who else are with you?"

Me: "Oh, I came by myself"

Iguchi-san: "What a waste! But I guess you can still enjoy."

I think you got the message. :o)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Autumn in Tokyo University

While the temple gardens turn red due to the maple leaves, our university turns yellow during the autumn, due to the large number of ginko trees.

More photos of some other colored and fallen leaves

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Autumn Leaves

Maple leaves have turned red, and people are going places to see them. I will just post a few photos for now.

There are hundreds of places in Japan for seeing colored leaves. Depending on where you are, it is possible to select where to go. For me, I like the Higashiyama (Eastern Mountains) region of Kyoto.

Sorry about the short post this time, mainly because I am writing my thesis :-p. More about Autumn leaves in my next post.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Shichi-Go-San (seven-five-three)

Shichi-go-san is a Japanese festival for praying for the healthy growth of young children. Girls attend the festival at the ages 3 and 7, boys at the ages of 5 and 7. The festival is held on the 15th of November every year. However, most people celebrate it on the nearest weekend since it is not a national holiday.

On the festival day, the kids come to a shinto shrine accompanied by family members, dressed in kimono. However, a few children dress in western style.

The priests take the children and the family members in to the shrine and conduct prayers, usually 2-3 families at a time. A praying session takes about 30 minutes.

Chitose-ame (candy for longevity) are given to the kids by both the parents and the shrine. At this particular shrine, they got ballons too.

Every kid climbs on to the "big stage", after the prayers.

They take loads of photos with family members. Later, each of the kids goes for a studio photo with the costume and candy.

A few random photos. More photos at my niece's blog

These photos were taken at Hie shrine in Akasaka, Tokyo. Any large shrine will have quite a few children coming in, if you are in Japan during the week that includes the 15th of November.