Space Shuttle Playground

Retro Movie Posters

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In Tennoji, an old-fashioned Osaka neighborhood.

Mito Kodokan

This Golden Week, I went to Mito, an interesting city that deserves to get a lot more visitors than it does. I’ve already written about Kairakuen garden, the city’s most well-known attraction, but there are also some other attractions that make this city a nice getaway spot if you live in Tokyo. This is called the Kodokan. It was an academy for the nobles of Ibaraki Prefecture,  and I can’t say I’ve ever seen a high school or university campus that was as beautiful as this one.

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The school was founded in 1841 by the ninth feudal lord of Mito, Nariaki Tokugawa. Pupils studied the Chinese classics, warrior arts, mathematics, astronomy, and medicine.

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The building is filled with beautiful calligraphy and furniture from 19th century Japan. Unfortunately, most of the buildings burned down in a fire, but the front gate and the main hall have been preserved.

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An English pamphlet is available.

The Kodokan is open from 9 to 4 every day of the year. Admission is only 190 yen ofr adults. Address: Mito-shi, Sannomaru 1-6-29. It’s seven minutes’ walk from the station. Tel. 029-231-4725

Cosplay Hooker

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A costume play hooker coming out of an Ikebukuro love hotel. I was more than a little curious about what was in the suitcase.

Bonsai in Showa Kinen Koen

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Bonsai plant in Showa Kinen Koen. Many of the plants in this lovely little bonsai garden are hundreds of years old and some are equisitely beautiful. There are also huge fields of flowers, a Japanese garden, and an incredible children’s playground. The children’s playground has giant, climbable dragon sculptures, rubber mountains for bouncing on, a water park, unicycle training area, and a “sea of mist”. The best time to see the flowers is late-April to early-May, but the park is enjoyable any time. It’s on the Chuo Line about 30 minutes from Shinjuku. Click here for the park’s website.web analytics

There are more posts related to bonsai at:
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/bonsai-in-showa-kinen-koen/
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/12/06/1190/

Kinnikuman Doll

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This is Kinnikuman (lit. muscleman), a popular Japanese superhero.

Sumo Mawashi Hanging Out to Dry

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While I was riding around looking for the Oni slide, I came across this sumo stable out in the middle of nowhere. The white fabric on the fence is the wrestlers’ mawashi hung out to dry. It’s called the Sakaigawa-beya. Here’s their homepage and a photo of the wrestlers.

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