Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Aso City may not make Japan's national news much, but Aso Shrine is considered one of Japan's three most famous "romon" shrines—shrines with an impressive, ornate two-tiered gate.
Note that this picture isn't of the actual shrine itself; just the entryway. I'll post pictures of the actual shrine, and other sights on the shrine grounds, over the next few days.
Some years later, residents of sacred Nikko discovered natural hot springs in the neighboring Kinugawa-Kawaji area. Today, in the Kinugawa-Kawaji hot spring resort area, you can still enjoy the same simple yet mysterious natural beauty that so enthralled Shogun Ieyasu hundreds of years ago.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Mellow Monk is all for sustainable tea-growing practices, and our growers in Aso, Japan, are all certified under Japan's Eco Farmer Program.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Affectionate physical contact is better for a woman's health than whispering sweet nothings in her ear, according to new research. Men, on the other hand, are healthier when their partner says nice things to them. [emphasis mine]
"The more I read about them, the less I understand them."
Friday, July 27, 2007
"Aged Monkey," by Takamura Koun (1852-1934).
Thursday, July 26, 2007
A scene from Tezuka Osamu's "Jungle Emperor" comic, one of many featured at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum's exhibit on the pioneering Japanese animator.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Did you know, for instance, that in the 1800s
English and American cookbooks shows us that tea has been served cold at least since the early nineteenth century, when cold green tea punches, that were heavily spiked with liquor, were popularized.
So remember, if you're enjoying, say, a nice ginger green tea hot toddy, you're carrying on an old American tradition.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Instead, the townspeople freely admit that they created the pictures by planting a darker-colored variety of rice alongside the traditional green rice. What they don't freely admit is that the whole thing is probably a publicity stunt, but at least it's not too tacky.
And I'm guessing that the rice harvested from this "tambo art" ("rice field art") is bagged and sold at a premium.
Finally, some comments on the linked-to Pink Tentacle page raise accusation of Photoshopping, but at its official website and blog, Inakadate officials freely admit to being instigators of the whole phenomenon.
The work of alien beings? No, it's the work of the mayor's office.
Monday, July 23, 2007
In the days of the Shogun and his samurai, the area of Tokyo known as Honjo, in Sumida Ward, was an eerie, desolate place. Lonely farmhouses were scattered among vast fields that transformed into oceans of darkness at night. This famously creepy landscape gave birth to various scary tales, each usually tied to a particular place. The most renowned of these folktales came to be known as the "Seven Mysteries of Honjo."
Over time, some of the original seven tales were replaced with different ones, and new renditions of old tales also evolved, so in the end the final count exceeded seven, although the "Seven Mysteries" name was retained. One of the most well-known of these Honjo mysteries is about a haunted fishing spot known as the Oiteke-Bori.
Oiteke-Bori was a secluded spot on the banks of a canal where fish could be caught with amazing ease. In the evening, fishermen would drop their lines into the water and start pulling out fish, one after another. A fishermen would keep his catch alive in a closed wicker basket hung in the water, but just as he was about to go home with his fish, a disembodied voice from out of nowhere would angrily command, "Leave them here! Leave them here!" ("Oiteke! Oiteke!"). Anyone who heard the voice would flee in terror, but sometimes a fisherman would grab his basket of fish before running off.
On the way home, however, he would suddenly find himself feeling weak at the knees—and realize that the fish had mysteriously vanished from his basket. Soon word began to spread about the haunted fishing spot, and the voice's command became the location's name—Oiteke-Bori, the Leave-Them-Here Fishing Spot. So popular was this legend that a slight variation of the name, oitekibori, became part of the Japanese language, meaning to be suddenly abandoned or left behind.
A depiction of the spirit that was said to haunt the "Leave Them Here" fishing spot in the Sumida district of Tokyo hundreds of years ago.
The supposedly haunted canal, now filled in, once flowed along the road in front of the Tsugaru Inari Shrine, located near Kinshicho Station in Tokyo.