Odd sights in a Japanese Graveyard

These graves are all from the Ushiku Joen, the cemetery around the Ushiku Daibutsu.

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As far as I know, “One Piece” is a manga about pirates and has nothing to do with volleyball. If anyone has an explanation for this, put it in the comments, please.

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An English tombstone tells the world that you’re international, even in death.

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Chiba Oyako Sandai Summer Festival

I’ve gone to photograph quite a few of Tokyo’s most famous festivals over the last couple of years, and although they were great, there were times when the huge crowds made them less enjoyable, so this year I decided to go and see some of the more minor ones.
I find that they’re often quite similar to the bigger, more famous ones, just on a slightly smaller scale, and with much smaller crowds. If you want to get decent photos of an event like the Samba Carnival in Asakusa, you really need to get a spot a couple of hours early, but at events like Chiba’s Oyako Sandai Natsu Matsuri, you can pretty much just show up.

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In the afternoon, there’s a parade with an awa odori (traditional folk dance), marching bands, and samurai re-enactors.

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Next is a demonstration of acrobatic tricks that Edo Period fire fighters used to signal wind direction and the progress of a fire. (See this post for more information.)

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Park Rehearsals

A couple of weekends ago, a TV crew from a Singaporean production company asked me if they could interview me for a documentary about love hotels. It was hard to find a good spot, and they finally decided on Yoyogi Park. Unfortunately, during the interview, we were interrupted several times by a didgeridoo player, a tap dancer, and various other people. I had never really noticed how many people there are practicing things in the park before, so I took a walk around and see what other kinds of rehearsals I could find.

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There were thespians.

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Ballroom dancers.

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I have no idea what this thing is, but the music sure was beautiful. If you know, answers in the comments, please.
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Beautiful Walks in the Nara Countryside

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, but I think I have a pretty good excuse – my wife gave birth on Monday night. I’ve been in her hometown in Nara Prefecture, and I have to say, it’s been about the best week of my life.

I was staying at her parent’s house, and every morning I’d walk about 25 minutes to the hospital to visit my wife and new son.

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I can’t describe what a wonderful feeling it was to walk under the blue skies past these amazing old houses and rice fields on the way to spend the day with my wife and new baby.

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This is the little guy I was going to see, my new son Matthew.

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Anti-yakuza Blimp

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It says boryoku tsuihou (ban organized crime).

This photo was kindly submitted by “Henry.”

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