Thursday, September 27, 2012

Japanese Bus with Wooden Floors

When you get outside of major urban centers, much of old Japan is still around. This bus is in great condition and it has wooden floors. How many pairs of shoes walked across these floors on their way home from school or coming home to their family?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fast Food

Convenience stores sell snacks and fast food. The food is really good, fresh and flavorful. It is delivered early each morning and stocked carefully. Older food items are removed. Packaged snacks are popular. In the middle picture on the bottom row you have pepperoni, beef jerky, bacon and crackers. On the top row you have cured eggs, fish, cured squid, dried squid, etc. Prices are quite affordable.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tokyo Dai-ichi Lobby - Matsuyama

The lobby of Tokyo Dai-ichi hotel in Matsuyama. This is a first class hotel in the heart of the city. The staff is professional and courteous. The hotel is business class but clean and comfortable. Weddings are a big deal and hotels offer the complete package, from planning to hosting and everything in between. Days for weddings are something that must be carefully chosen. There are good karma days and bad karma days. Planning ahead is a must.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tokyo Dai-ichi - Breakfast

Tokyo Dai-ichi is one of the best hotels in Matsuyama. It's a business class hotel but it is also a destination for weddings as well as meetings, parties and other social functions. The yellow fruit is an interesting drink native to Japan. Sort of a cross between an orange and a lemon in taste. Sweet but more link a tart lemonade without the excess sweetness.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

View from Tokyo Dai-ichi

The view from Tokyo Dai-ichi hotel in Matsuyama. It is quiet yet impressive. The castle is well preserved because it was never in any battles. The castle hill was originally two hills that were filled in to create the one hill as it stands today. This was done during the construction period in the early 1600's.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Muhomatsu – The Rickshaw Man

Having watched this film I have found it delightful. Sure, Toshiro Mifune chews up the scenery. Yes, Hideko Takamine is underused as a co-star. However, the film is fun and dramatic at the same time. Muhomatsu is a rickshaw man. He comes from a poor family and never attended school. He crosses paths with an upper class family when he takes a child to the doctor when he is hurt. After refusing money from the child’s father, the family bonds with the likeable “Wild Matsu.” Along the way we see glimpses into Japanese life as it transitions from the late Edo period to the industrialization of Japan. It is set at the end of the Russo-Japanese war. There are excellent scenes throughout the film including footage shot inside a kabuki theater where "Wild Matsu" pisses off the audience when he makes smelly garlic soup inside the seating area. Japan’s authoritative system of order comes into play and while "Wild Matsu" is free willed, he is not rebellious. He is a good man of honor and principle. As the character of Mrs. Yoshioka states in the film, “if he was in the army, he’d be a general among his peers.” The film is poignant in how Matsu is aware of his shortcomings but is not apologetic for it and helps guide the boy to manhood after the child’s father passes away due to illness. It is not until near the end of the film does it become clear that Matsu has been in love with Mrs. Yoshioka but he cannot cross the cultural divide. The movie ends sadly but it gives great performances by Toshiro Mifune. He wakes up the elderly in the village when the drummers during an event are given a break when Matsu offers to show what drumming used to be like in the old days. Toshiro uses the drums to great effect while annoucing the different forms of play then demonstrating them to the crowd. There are some quite moving scenes and even the small parts featured in the film are well played. Rickshaw wheels turn during the film to denote the passage of time and the film has some special effects as "Wild Matsu" recalls his life. Not bad for 1958

Producer: Tomoyuki Tanaka Director: Hiroshi Inagaki Screenplay: Hiroshi Inagaki, Mansaku Itami (writers); Shunsaku Iwashita (story) Cinematography: Kazuo Yamada Music: Ikuma Dan Film Editing: Yoshitami Kuroiwa Cast: Toshirô Mifune (Matsugoro), Hideko Takamine (Yoshiko Yoshioka), Hiroshi Akutagawa (Capt. Kotaro Yoshioka), Chishû Ryû (Shigezo Yuki), Chôko Iida (Otora (innkeeper)), Haruo Tanaka (Kumakichi), Jun Tatara (Theatre employee), Kenji Kasahara (Toshio Yoshioka), Kaoru Matsumoto (Young Toshio), Nobuo Nakamura (Yoshiko's brother). C-103m.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Killer Hornets of Japan

This is a killer hornet native to Japan. This may not look that terrifying but an attack from one of these wasps can be fatal. They are more common than people think. If any locals find a nest, the prefecture office must be contacted. Officials will come and remove it. They are too dangerous for anyone to tamper with. The wasps will go after anyone they perceive as a threat. I was told that if I came across one, just to back off slowly and not run. Just back away slowly. They are not a big problem in the city, but out in the country, they do propogate. When officials remove them, they do it at night when the hive is asleep and wearing special protective clothing.