Tuesday, June 28, 2011
The Museum of Contemporary Art in the tiny town of Nagi in Okayama is a unique collaboration between architect and artist. The building entitled "Moon" is by architect Arata Isozaki and artist Kazuo Okazaki.
The name "Moon" refers to the orientation of the building, a long narrow shape composed of an arc and a straight line. The line points towards the moon at 10pm on the Autumnal Equinox.
The artwork is titled Hisashi that which supplements, and is composed of 2 small sculptures on the flat wall and 2 curved granite benches along the curved wall.
It is a large minimal space filled with light. Hisashi is a Japanese word for eaves and refers to the sculptures which are made by pouring plaster so it overhangs an edge, and when dry is then hung on the wall.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Kenkun Shrine, also known as Takeisao Shrine, is located on a small hill, Funaoka Yama, in the northeast of Kyoto.
With its roofs of cedar bark shingles, the shrine looks to be old, but in fact was not founded until 1880. It enshrines the great warlord Oda Nobunaga.
The shrine is very much a part of State Shinto, the emperor-centric religion created in the Meiji era. Many of the old Japanese heroes who were considered to have been imperial loyalists were enshrined at this time, as well as Nobunaga, Toyotomi was also enshrined in Kyoto at Toyokuni Shrine.
This is an Onusa, a purification wand used in all ceremonies.
There were several smaller shrines on the hillside, including this Inari Shrine.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
This is the manhole cover for Nishinoshima, one of the islands that make up the Oki Islands. I know a squid is not a fish, but its close enough.
Masuda down in the southwest of Shimane has the Takatsu River and I'm guessing these are carp.
This is from Taki Town up in Izumo and its hard to tell from the design exactly which fish it is meant to be, could be flying fish or it could be an Orca.
Fukuura is a village on the Shimane Peninsular and now a part of Mihonoseki. The fish is probably a Sea Bream (tai) as Kotoshironushi, popularly known as Ebisu, used to enjoy fishing for Tai here.
The draincover for Mihonoseki also features the Tai.
Another one from Masuda, and these look like Ayu, called Sweetfish in English. The Takatsu River is a popular place fro Ayu fishing.
Not sure which town this belongs to, but it was on the banks of the Shimanto River in Ehime, Shikoku. They might also be Ayu.
Friday, June 24, 2011
The Seamark Building is located on Island City, a man-made island in Hakata Bay.
It houses various offices and a "Cyber University".
It was designed by architect Kojiro Kitagawa, who I have not come across before.
It opened in 2008.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
For my last day in London I headed out to Canary Wharf. For a long time I had been wanting to photograph the Tube station there. It was a Saturday so not many people about.
Built on top of what was once dockland, Canary Wharf is home to the offices of gangsters and robber barons nowadays known as banks, insurance companies, and other "financial service companies".
Paying themselves huge sums of money for the privilege of gambling with other peoples money, if their gambles dont pay off they suck the public purse dry.
In keeping with their own high opinion of themselves they build huge palaces of steel and glass.
One security guard tried to tell me I couldnt photograph "his" building, which was simply not true. I checked the law beforehand and when I explained that to him he said if he called the police they would take my camera.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The Kunisaki peninsular is home to an uncountable number of buddhist statues, mostly made of stone.
Some are by the roadside, and some are in the grounds of temples, but many are at the sites frequented by Yamabushi, the mountain ascetics who lived and visited here.
Some are carved directly into the rock itself, but many are placed in the man-made caves that were used by the ascetics for their meditation practices.
There are a bewildering array of characters in the Buddhist pantheon. As well as various buddhas there are numerous bodhisatvas as well as saints, disciples, and other deities often derived from hindu deities.
Its only recently that I have started to visit buddhist sites, mainly for an interest in the statuary and other art.
I am beginning to recognize some of the figures, but the identity of others still eludes me.
It is my hope that one day I can return to kunisaki and follow the old pilgrim trail as there are for sure many wonders to be found off the beaten track.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Though it is located on the mainland of Nagasaki Prefecture, Tabira is included in the island Hirado.
Like many other churches in Nagasaki it was designed by Tetsukawa Yosuke.
Construction began in 1915, and the church was dedicated in 1918.
Built of brick, and using them decoratively, the church features an octagonal belfry and a lot of stanied glass and gold leaf.
Japan is trying to get the churches of Nagasaki listed as a World Heritage Site.
Monday, June 20, 2011
The shrine is tucked away a little to the west of Shimogamo Shrine, though it was originally located on the bank of the Kamo River nearby.
The name refers to the old "road" to Izumo, and sainokami is a later name of dosojin, the phallic stones at roadsides and crossroads that were the site of spirit-pacification rites. Plagues travelled along the roads and were experienced as demons, so these sites were to protect from such demons.
The dosojin became associated with Sarutahiko, and he is the main kami enshrined here. Also enshrined is Uzume, his wife, Ninigi, who Sarutahiko guided down to earth, Okuninushi and Kotoshironushi, the Izumo kami, and several others.
Sarutahiko took on the visage of a monkey, hence the image on the numerous ema.
It is said that in olden days women who wanted a divorce would come here to pray.