hello japan! (backlog flush #76 and travelog)travel

March 25, 2008

Travelog of the Moment
Mornings in hotels I tend to watch kids' tv, it's more interesting that the news and I like watching people teach English. There's this one show with muppet-like folk, they all play instruments along with a human pianist. I'm impressed with how much fidelity the instruments seem to be handled; they're not just holding them and flailing, which seems to be the standard for puppet musicianship.

Another show has a big dog, a little girl who also dances and sings, and then a bunch of younger kids who wander around and try to follow around. It's so very cute.

My breakfast from Mister Donut! (Nice counterpoint to Boston's Mister Sushi.) The shop seemed busier in the afternoon.

Japan is so 10 minutes into the future... Kit Kat with green tea AND Kit Kat with apple!

"Ah" and "Un" at the local Shinto temple. Thought I'd start the day making a token offering and asking for a good day taking in Kanazawa.

Since rain was forecasted for later I thought I'd start at Kenrokuen Garden, of Japan's best three gardens it's widely viewed as the finest. But many trees had supports to see it through the winter snows; I especially liked this one's crutch.

Midoritaki Waterfall; I guess waterfalls aren't common in this kind of garden, but I liked the way it breaks over rocks.

Nearby is Kaisekito Pagoda, nice stone structure.

I got interested in finding the source of the waterfall. This is part of the stream to it, I like how the path is broken by the small stream.

Another bridge, Gankobashi -- reminiscent of a geese in formation if taken as a whole, or of tortoise shells if taken individually.

The Neagarinomatsu Pine, majestic.

Plum blossom, purty.

In my typical attempt to find beauty just a little off the beaten path, a well...

Next to the teahouse it was SO GREEN.

I took green tea there, but was two shy to take this one shot of the lady serving it to us.

So I spent a few hours just walking around. After I headed over to neighboring Kanazawa castle. This is the corner of its wall.

Later, the view from where the last shot was pointing.

It strikes me Japanese is great for this kind of signpost, since you can write it vertically.

There's like a small forest up there. I of course got lost, because that's what I do in forests.

Who, me Tourist? I'm not sure if I found the actual castle or not. There was some part of something that was under heavy construction, and I never really went into anything. They had some storehouses but that was about it. So, not a very good tourist.

Many attractions in Japan have models of the area. I like that.

I really liked the 21st Century Contemporary Art Museum. These reminded me of my tuba playing days.

By far my favorite modern art work of the trip is Argentinian Leandro Erlich's "Swimming Pool"

Artwork you can really get into!

View from inside.

Another neat work was "Liminal Air", this kind of cloud of string things you could push your way through, like a stringy fog... very neat.

Don't know if it was art or design or what but I liked this rabbit ear chairs.

Compared to "Swimming Pool", American James Turrel's "Blue Planet Sky" was rather static...

So, that was the museum. I headed back and scouted out the territory near the hotel... lots of bars etc, the Kanazawa Scramble district, which I think is a refernce to the intersection where people can cross any of the six ways. Here's a scooter sporting something I've seen on a few bikes as well, odd handlebar mitts...

This is assembled from a snapshot of a McDonalds placemat (I know, I know... but they had this "Shaka Shaka Chicken" I wanted to try... kind of like DIY shake and bake. The lemon pepper version I had was really great, actually.) Anyway the placemat sported six people saying something about McDonalds, and ending with the same catchphrase (have to ask what it is.) Anyway, it got me thinking about people's handwriting with Kanji, which generally seems less robust to me than English letters... how bad can your Kanji be and still be legible?

Back at my hotel I realized... tonight is the season opener for the Red Sox! And they're in Japan too, so the time of day works out for me... here's Dice K warming up.

Here's Big Papi. The Sox struggle a bit at first, and I could kind of sense how the Japanese announcer was rooting for them... especially Dice K, it might well be a point of national pride there, seeing how one of their former stars is doing in American baseball...

Besides the grunts of disapproval and excitement at big plays, I like how the symbol for "Red Sox" (behind 0-2 in the 5th) kind of looks like a sock: