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Takamatsu visit photos...

MOOD: Gaga


So as I mentioned, on monday I took the bullet train to Okayama and transferred to an express train to Shikoku, the other of the 4 main Islands of Japan.

I visited a professor I know there and he actually did a great job showing me around (we spent the entire afternoon together, but only about 1 hour at the university itself, the rest was site seeing... as you will see. ANYWAY, be sure to check out the videos ( underlinedlinks in bold), I like them quite a bit, I think they do a good job in presenting the atmosphere...

Luckily all of Japan's islands come very close to eachother, so in the case of Shikoku, a bridge (or rather several bridges) were built along a string of small islands. The train goes under the roadway.

Yikes, the view out of the window was a little scary. Its a long way down to the water...

Really great views along the way. It took at least 10-15 minutes to cross the bridge.

The guy I visited took me to Mt. Yashima, which overlooks the city of Takamatsu. He pointed out that this is known as 'blood pond'... because after some midevel battle, the victors used this pond to wash the chopped off heads of their vanquished enemies... until the water was BLOOOOOD red. pretty gross actually!

And of course there's a temple on top. Founded by a gaijin! And yes, that does say 'THE Yashima Badger'

I guess thats The Badger, and thats.... Mrs The Badger...

One interesting thing bit of info I learned is that there are 88 different temples in Shikoku, and apparently there's a believe that if you visit all 88 (and say some certain prayer), you'll get into heaven easier (i'm not sure if its that you get one of your sins overlooked or you get to pass one of the tests of purgatory or something... but anyway it seems there is a bit of an industry around the believe. Old retirees with nothing to do but worry about whats going to happen when they die like to take tours that take you to some or all of the temples.

Apparently there is some sort of way to document your visit at each temple too, so you can prove that you really did ALLLL of them...

Chant your way to heaven! (700kb).

Ah... all is explained... you should visit the badger too!

Near the temple is a GREAT vista of the city. Thats the downtown part... only like two reasonably tall buildings. The city is only about 300k people. It was a bit hazy, but pretty warm weather.

Here's a bit of a panorama(1.7mb).

Another local custom is to throw clay discs off the side of this hill, it brings you good luck or makes a wish or something like that... anyway for $2 we got 10 of them and let them rip. I found that frisbee like spinning helped it go much further, especially if you catch the wind right...

Masao wasn't quite as good at it. (350kb)

A horrible picture of me. this was before my 1000 yen QB hair cut. :-P

After that we went to Ritsurin park (click for fancy description and photos), which used to be the private estate of the ruling Shogun in the area. Now its a park with a nicely tended Japanese style garden.

We visited the tea house to get some Japanese green tea (which I can't say I like the taste of), but we got to chill in a 300 year old house and stare at this rock garden... good for chilling! ;-)

Mmm... tea...

Here's a great video of the tea lady interrupting our peaceful contemplation (1.1 mb)

Tea House

Apparently when the Emperor came to Takamatsu last time, he was allowed to sit there.

Apparently most of the koi in this pond were donated by an award winning koi breader. Yes... they have awards for koi...

As we were leaving a crew showed up to take some wedding photos for a couple. Thats the guy in his white kimono. I wasn't able to get a picture of the bride, but she looked really nice, very colorful kimono (I usually only get to see old ladies in Kimonos... so it was a nice change!)

Some kind of crane. There were also a lot of ducks and a few turtles too.

Apparently they like to use this park for filming TV dramas and what not set in the feudal period, especially since from most angles, there are no modern buildings in sight (actually as you can see in the first picture from the park, recently a few real estate companies broke a long standing agreement to not build anything that was visible from the pond... the local govt is trying to tear down the buildings... but still, not too bad).

A Koi feeding frenzy...

Ume trees are blooming, especially after all the warm weather this week. Sakura are coming in another few weeks I guess.

Thats a lot of pics all at once, hope you enjoyed them. probably for friday I got pictures from my visit to the Sharp research HQ and the train.. and a few other random things... probably.

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April 13, 2007