Japan 1983 (Part 11)

November 23

Fall (my personal favourite) is the time to view the changing colors of the leaves. Momijigari is the Japanese word for leaf peeping. Many Kyoto temples and parks hold night illuminations with the colorful trees lit up beautifully. ~ Abby Denson

As I begin the penultimate post on this blog subject, Rosemary Clooney is crooning on the Sinatra Channel. The Super and I have been participating in a Nielsen survey this past week. So, on the way to Big Ole walks every morning, it’s generally brief interludes with the Comedy and Progressive channels; for extended listening at home Sinatra gets a lot of play, along with The Bridge (classic rock ‘n roll) and The Beatles channels . . .

Ruth was a novelist, and novelists, Oliver asserted, should have cats and books. ~ Ruth Ozeki

[I believe we’re still in Kyoto on the grounds of Kiyomizu-dera . . . ]

[This may be at the Kodaiji Temple . . . ]

[Looks like a shogun’s palace?]

Philip K. Dick could have been Japanese. He seemed to know a lot about how the world is never what it looks like. That’s pretty much Japan through and through. ~  Christopher Barzak

[I very much remember this photo. The part of Japanese culture I admire as much an any. Take your damn shoes off when . . . well, here, as Roy demonstrates, you must before entering any temple or shrine, wear the slippers provided, and put your shoes back on when you leave . . . ]

[From Kyoto, we then ventured 30 miles south to Nara . . . ]

[The Great South Gate (‘Nandai-mon’) is the main gate of Tōdai-ji. The original, erected during the Nara period, was destroyed by a typhoon during the Heian period. The present structure, which dates to the Kamakura period, was built using what is known as the “Daibutsu style.” A type of construction based upon Sung Chinese models, it was newly introduced to Japan by Chōgen, the monk responsible for restoring Tōdai-ji, at the end of the twelfth century. The ridgepole was raised in 1199 and the structure was completed in 1203 along with the statues of the guardian dieties, the Two Ni-ō housed in the gate. The gate with its double hip-and-gable roof is five bays wide and two bays deep. Originally there were three pairs of doors. The eighteen giant pillars that support the roof measure twenty-one meters and the entire structure rises 25.46 meters above the stone plinth on which it rests. The Great South Gate is the largest temple entrance gate in Japan, suitable in scale to the Great Buddha Hall (www.todaiji.or.jp/).]

[The story of the Great Buddha in the following photos . . . ]

[Tōdai-ji (‘Eastern Great Temple’) is a Buddhist temple complex that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples, located in the city of Nara. Though it was originally founded in the year 738 CE, Todai-ji was not opened until the year 752 CE.  Its Great Buddha Hall (‘Daibutsuden’) houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana, known in Japanese as ‘Daibutsu’. The temple also serves as the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism. The temple is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”, together with seven other sites including temples, shrines and places in the city of Nara (Wikipedia).]

China’s influence was seen not only in the design of the city but also in grand buildings such as the Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world. ~  Kenneth Henshall

[The Great Buddha Hall (‘Daibutsuden’) has been rebuilt twice after fire. The current building was finished in 1709, and although immense—57 metres (187 ft) long, 50 metres (160 ft) wide and 49 metres (161 ft) high—it is actually 30% smaller than its predecessor, being reduced from 11 to 7 bays wide due to lack of funds. Until 1998, it was the world’s largest wooden building.  It has been surpassed by modern structures, such as the Japanese baseball stadium ‘Odate Jukai Dome’, amongst others. The Great Buddha statue has been recast several times for various reasons, including earthquake damage. The current hands of the statue were made in the Momoyama Period (1568–1615), and the head was made in the Edo period (1615–1867) (Wikipedia).]

[According to records kept by Tōdai-ji, more than 2,600,000 people in total helped construct the Great Buddha and its Hall; contributing rice, wood, metal, cloth, or labor; with 350,000 working directly on the statue’s construction.  The 16 m (52 ft) high statue was built through eight castings over three years, the head and neck being cast together as a separate element. The making of the statue was started first in Shigaraski. After enduring multiple fires and earthquakes, the construction was eventually resumed in Nara in 745, and the Buddha was finally completed in 751. A year later, in 752, the eye-opening ceremony was held with an attendance of 10,000 monks and 4,000 dancers to celebrate the completion of the Buddha. The temple gives the following dimensions for the statue: Height: 14.98 m (49 ft 2 in); Face: 5.33 m (17 ft 6 in); Eyes: 1.02 m (3 ft 4 in); Nose: 0.5 m (1 ft 8 in); Ears: 2.54 m (8 ft 4 in). The statue’s shoulders are 28 meters across and there are 960 six curls atop its head.The Birushana Buddha’s golden halo is 27 m (87 ft) in diameter with 16 images each 2.4 m (8 ft) tall. Recently, using x-rays, a human tooth, along with pearls, mirrors, swords, and jewels were discovered inside of the knee of the Great Buddha; these are believed to be the relics of Emperor Shomu. The statue weighs 500 tonnes (550 short tons) (Wikipedia).]

An obstacle which would frighten discreet men is nothing to determined women. They dare what men avoid, and sometimes they achieve an unusual success. ~  Ōgai Mori

[Nara Park (Nara Kōen) is a public park located in the city of Nara, at the foot of Mount Wakakusa. Established in 1880 it is one of the oldest parks in Japan. The park is one of the “Places of Scenic Beauty” designated by MEXT. Over 1,200 wild sika deer freely roaming around in the park are also under designation of MEXT, classified as natural treasure. While the official size of the park is about 502 hectares (1,240 acres), the area including the grounds of Todai-ji, Kofuku-ji, and Kasuga Shrine, which are either on the edge or surrounded by Nara Park, is as large as 660 hectares (1,600 acres). While Nara Park is usually associated with the broad areas of the temples and the park proper, previously private gardens are now open to public. These gardens make use of the temple buildings as adjunct features of their landscapes. The park is home to the Nara National Museum and Todai-ji, where the largest wooden building in the world houses a 15-metre (50 ft) tall statue of Buddha (Wikipedia).]

[Yup, you buy cookies and crackers on-site, and as you stroll along the deer politely come up and request such from you . . . ]

[Kasuga Taisha is Nara’s most celebrated shrine. It was established at the same time as the capital and is dedicated to the deity responsible for the protection of the city (japan-guide.com).]

[Center photo is our new guide who replaced our guy in the brown suit . . . ]

[The long path leading up to the shrine takes you through a fascinating landscape of woods interspersed with thousands of tall stone lanterns covered in moss and lichen (kanpai-japan.com). Marsha seems to be the lead member of group, based on my photo evidence . . . ]

[The Shinkansen, colloquially known in English as the bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan. Initially, it was built to connect distant Japanese regions with Tokyo, the capital, to aid economic growth and development. Beyond long-distance travel, some sections around the largest metropolitan areas are used as a commuter rail network. Over the Shinkansen’s 50-plus-year history, carrying over 10 billion passengers, there has been not a single passenger fatality or injury due to train accidents. Starting with the Tokaido Shinkansen (515.4 km, 320.3 mi) in 1964, the network has expanded to currently consist of 2,764.6 km (1,717.8 mi) of lines with maximum speeds of 240–320 km/h (150–200 mph).  The network presently links most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu, and Hakodate on northern island of Hokkaido, with an extension to Sapporo under construction and scheduled to commence in March 2031.  The maximum operating speed is 320 km/h (200 mph).  Test runs have reached 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world record 603 km/h (375 mph) for SCMaglev trains in April 2015. The original Tōkaidō Shinkansen, connecting Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, three of Japan’s largest cities, is one of the world’s busiest high-speed rail lines. In the one-year period preceding March 2017, it carried 159 million passengers, and since its opening more than five decades ago, it has transported more than 5.6 billion total passengers.  At peak times, the line carries up to 13 trains per hour in each direction with 16 cars each (1,323-seat capacity and occasionally additional standing passengers) with a minimum headway of three minutes between trains. Japan’s Shinkansen network had the highest annual passenger ridership (a maximum of 353 million in 2007) of any high-speed rail network until 2011, when the Chinese high-speed railway surpassed it at 370 million passengers annually, reaching over 1.7 billion annual passengers in 2017 (Wikipedia).]

[12-car 200-1000 series sets with a maximum speed of 240 km/h (150 mph) which were introduced in November 1983 (Wikipedia). 37 years later, the U.S. still doesn’t have anything close to this??]

[Where the Shinkansen took us from Nara to Kyoto to Nagoya . . . ]

[Nagoya is the largest city in the Chūbu region of Japan. It is Japan’s fourth-largest incorporated city and the third-most-populous urban area. It is located on the Pacific coast on central Honshu. It is the capital of Aichi Prefecture and is one of Japan’s major ports along with those of Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Yokohama, Chiba, and Kitakyushu. It is also the center of Japan’s third-largest metropolitan region, known as the Chūkyō metropolitan area. 2,327,557 people lived in the city, part of Chūkyō Metropolitan Area’s 10.11 million people. It is also one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world (Wikipedia).]

[On a stroll through Meijo Park in Nagoya on the way to Nagoya Castle . . . ]

[There’s the castle in the distance . . . ]

[Green tea growth is trimmed in the form of a rolling sea . . . ]

Japan is the first nation in the world to accord ‘comic books’–originally a ‘humorous’ form of entertainment mainly for young people–nearly the same social status as novels and films. ~  Frederik L. Schodt

The pond garden is an intricate phenomenon coalescing the intent and will of various people of influence living at various times. ~  Norris Brock Johnson

No one will understand a Japanese garden until you’ve walked through one, and you hear the crunch underfoot, and you smell it, and you experience it over time. Now there’s no photograph or any movie that can give you that experience. ~ J. Carter Brown

[Nagoya Castle (Nagoya-jō) was constructed by the Owari Domain in 1620 during the Edo period. Nagoya Castle was the heart of one of the most important castle towns in Japan, Nagoya-juku, a post station on the Minoji road linking two of the important Edo Five Routes, the Tokaido and the Nakasendo. Nagoya Castle became the core of the modern Nagoya and ownership was transferred to the city in 1930. Nagoya Castle was destroyed in 1945 during the bombing of Nagoya in World War II and the reconstruction and repair of the castle has been undergoing since 1957. Meijō, another shortform way of pronouncing Nagoya Castle, is used for many Nagoya city institutions such as Maijo Park, the Meijo Line of the Nagoya Municipal Subway, and Meijo University, reflecting the cultural influence of this historic structure. The castle has also historically been called Kinjō, which means “Golden Castle” (Wikipedia).]

[An overview of Meijo Park and Nagoya environs . . . ]

The art of stone in a Japanese garden is that of placement. Its ideal does not deviate from that of nature. ~ Isamu Noguchi

In Japan, so many emoticons have been created that it’s reasonable to assume Japanese appreciate their convenience more than anyone else. ~ Morinosuke Kawaguchi

[Obviously a shot out of a window of a moving means of transportation . . . ]

[The rest of the photos on this post have water views, leading me to suspect they are all somewhere along Ise Bay which hosts Nagoya Port . . . ]

The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings. ~  Kakuzo Okakura

As the lower parts of the Japanese houses and shops are open both before and behind, I had peeps of these pretty little gardens as I passed along the streets; and wherever I observed one better than the rest I did not fail to pay it a visit. ~ Robert Fortune

In Japanenese houses the interior melts into the gardens of the outside world. ~ Stephen Gardiner

For the casual viewer, Kurosawa’s films can be an exercise in endurance. ~ Jerry White

[Nagoya Port, located on the northern shore of Ise Bay, is the largest trading port in Japan (Wikipedia).]

There are so many other fun ways to dishonor the family name that buying girls’ underwear shouldn’t be one of them. ~  Rin Chupeco

What I learned: The 12-car, 150 mph Shinkansen was introduced in November 1983, which, coincidentally is when we were there. The Great Buddha Hall was the largest wooden building in the world when we were there . . .

Up Next: The completion of Japan 1983

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