日本での一年間

August 27, 2011

Jim Thompson House, Bangkok

Filed under: abroad, Thailand, Trips — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — myyearinjapan @ 6:27 am

Jim Thompson was an American army officer who came to Thailand in 1945. He soon left the army and started a business selling Thai silks. His company’s silks were featured in the Rodgers and Hammerstein movie The King and I, making his company well-known and allowing business to prosper. Jim Thompson enjoyed antiques and collected many pieces to display in the house that he had built along the canal in Bangkok. Many of the antiques he collected were broken or incomplete. He believed in saving the treasured artifacts, but Thai people believed that such buying such broken objects was bad luck. And perhaps they were right because in 1967, while traveling in Maylasia, Jim Thompson disappeared and he was never to be found. His house on the canal is now a museum. You aren’t allowed to take pictures of much of the inside, so here are some pictures of the grounds.

Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson company store on the house grounds. The silk is not cheap, but it is quite lovely.

(more…)

Advertisements

July 12, 2011

Hong Kong Museum of History

Filed under: abroad, China, Hong Kong, Trips — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — myyearinjapan @ 5:09 am

If you ever find yourself with nothing to do in Hong Kong on a Wednesday, then you might consider a visit to the Hong Kong Museum of History (香港歴史博物館). The museum is free on Wednesdays.  But at $10HKD on other days, you won’t break the bank visiting on a different day of the week. (Just keep in mind that they’re closed on Tuesdays.)

The museum looks at the history of Hong Kong going back to prehistoric times and continuing almost up to the present day. There are exhibits about the different ethnic groups who live/lived in Hong Kong, festivals that take place in Hong Kong and different historical events that have had a big effect on Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Museum of HIstory

A little while ago, I posted pictures from my day trip to Cheung Chau Island and in some of those pictures, people were preparing for the Steamed Bun Festival. The history museum has a model of the “bun mountain” that I photographed, but with fake steamed buns on it.

Bun mountain (包山) model

(more…)

May 18, 2011

The Judas Tree at Sugaya Tatara Iron Town

In front of the Takadono, the building housing the last extant Tatara iron furnace, there is a tree. In the winter, the tree is a bare, skeletal eyesore. But during March, leaves slowly begin to appear, and for 2 days in early April, the trees leaves magically turn red, as if the tree itself is on fire. (Shall I call it a tree that burns but is not consumed?) It is called a Katsura tree, also known as a Japanese Judas tree. After the red color fades, the tree turns yellow and then slowly becomes greener and greener throughout the rest of April.

A group of people gathered on the hill that overlooks the town to get a nice view of the tree. Everyone wants to see the tree just as the sun is going down, when it is said to be most spectacular.

The tree glowing red and the takadono that houses the tatara furnace to the right.

The one street that makes up the town, where a score of people still make their homes.

March 30, 2011

Inside the Matsue Castle

Filed under: Domestic, Interesting, Trips — Tags: , , , , , , , — myyearinjapan @ 11:02 pm

Pictures I took in Matsue castle of the exhibits inside. They have several pieces of samurai armor on display. Other pictures from this castle can be seen in my previous post here.

exhibit

Admiring the armor

hlemet

I thought this helmet was pretty funny with those silly ears.

helmet

Being able to see the face armor makes this a bit creepy, in my opinion.

helmet

They had quite a few helmets on display. Maybe about 20 of them.

March 20, 2011

Lafcadio Hearn’s Former Residence

Lafcadio Hearn was born in Greece in 1850, the son of an Irish man and a Greek woman. He grew up in Dublin and moved to Ohio at the age of 19 and became a journalist. He worked in New Orleans and  Martinique before coming to Japan in 1890. He lived in Matsue, Kumamoto, and Tokyo before passing away in Tokyo in 1904. While in Japan, he married Koizumi Setsu, daughter of a samurai family and took on the name Koizumi Yakumo. Hearn wrote several books on Japan and helped shape the way the Western world viewed Japan over a hundred years ago, when the Western world still knew very little about the country that had been closed to most of the West until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

A statue of Mr. Lafcadio Hearn

Roof at Lafcadio's former residence. He only lived here for about a year.

Flowers in the entranceway.

Looking into Lafcadio's garden.

Alcove in the traditional Japanese room.

Garden path

February 21, 2011

Hiroshima Children’s Peace Monument

Filed under: Chuugoku, Domestic, Trips — Tags: , , , , , , , , — myyearinjapan @ 3:54 am

Sadako Sasaki was 2 years old when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. She was about 1 mile away from the hypocenter during the blast, but did not sustain any injuries. However, ten years later when she was 12 years old, she suddenly became sick and was diagnosed with leukemia. Her family was told she would die within a year. While she was in the hospital, she started to fold paper crane because there is an old belief that you may be granted one wish of you fold 1000 paper cranes. According to the Hiroshima peace memorial, she completed her goal, but according to a book about her life, she never had enough paper to complete all the cranes. Sadako passed away 8 months after being diagnosed with leukemia.

After her death, her classmates started to raise money for a memorial. The Children’s Peace Memorial (原爆の子の像) was completed in 1958. Everyday, people bring thousands and thousands of paper cranes from all over the world to be placed at the memorial.

Sasaki Sadako

Sadako sits atop the memorial, holding a paper crane.

Crane Cases

Cases filled with paper cranes.

Kurashiki cranes

Cranes brought from Kurashiki, Japan. They wrote peace in green cranes.

middle school, elementary school students

Cranes made by middle school students and elementary school students.

cranes

Children's call for world peace. If you pray for it, it will come?

February 19, 2011

Hiroshima Atom Bomb Dome

Filed under: Chuugoku, Domestic, Trips — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — myyearinjapan @ 11:55 pm

Every Japanese elementary student recognizes the Atom Bomb Dome in Hiroshima. It is as famous in Japan as the Statue of Liberty is in the US. Not only do they study it in school, but they also see it on TV, especially around August 6th, the memorial of the dropping of the bomb. There is always a big memorial ceremony in Hiroshima on August 6th.

The building was first made in 1915. And before the war, it was the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall (広島県産業奨励館). When the bomb was dropped in 1945, they were aiming to hit the T-shaped bridge located right near this building. The bomb detonated 600m (1,968 ft) in the air and 150m (450 ft) away from the Industrial Promotion Hall. Considering how close it was to the bomb, it was left surprisingly intact. And because of that, it did not get demolished during the initial clean-up after the bomb. Eventually, it was decided to keep the building and preserve it in its post-bombing condition. It now serves as a reminder of the destruction that took place in Hiroshima and the power of the bomb.

The very first time I came to Hiroshima, I remember walking past the atom bomb dome on the way to my hotel. At night, it get lit up and looks quite eerie. I also had not been told that we would walk right past the iconic building and was surprised to see the ruins in display. But as we were walking past it, there was a concert happening across the street at a stadium. With all this cheering going on in the background, here was this symbol of destruction.

Anyway, on to the pictures.

Atom bomb dome

The Atom bomb dome in Hiroshima.

looking at the atom bomb dome

Right after I took this picture of this guy studying the a-bomb dome, he turned around and asked me to take of picture of him in front of it.

Then and Now

Then and Now. A picture of the atom bomb dome as it looked before the bomb fell.

Blog at WordPress.com.