Inuyama Castle, Aichi Prefecture, Japan

Inuyama, near Nagoya, is the home of the oldest (built in 1537) Japanese castle in original condition. Much of the outer walls have been removed.

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Most of the castles that one sees in Japan these days are modern reconstructions. The Japanese appear to care more about the aesthetics of something rather than the fact that it is old or historic.

This 180 degree panorama was taken from the top of the castle.

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The river is called the Kiso and the local fishermen used to use cormorants to catch fish for them. Cormorant fishing is mainly done as a tourist attraction nowadays.

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Without a doubt, this is the best manhole cover I’ve ever seen. It shows the castle and also a fisherman with cormorants.

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Eating at the bull fights. Plaza de Toros, Mexico City, Mexico

I had read “Death in the afternoon” by Hemingway so I knew that I didn’t want to see a bullfight in person. Unfortunately when I was in Mexico in 1983 I was traveling with a woman who insisted that she wanted to go to a bullfight. I explained how horrific it would be and said I didn’t want to go; she said she’d go alone, so I went with her. Any guy who has traveled in a Latin American country with a blond will know why.

The bullfights were at the vertiginous Plaza de Toros (the largest bull ring in the world). It was the off-season so we saw only the tyros and macho soap opera actors kill bulls very badly. I found the experience distressing so I kept looking around at the audience, which was interesting in it’s own right. It blew me away that there were little kids with their parents ringing large hand held bells and braying for blood. Ole! Ole!

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Walking up and down the isles were vendors hawking hot-dogs (at least I think they were hot-dogs). So while one watched bulls being tortured and stabbed to death, matadors being gored in the backside or having their arms broken as they ran from the bulls, one could eat some mystery meat in a bun. After a couple of hours I left the Plaza de Toros, with my very pale and quiet traveling companion, my head in a spin at all the gore. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have made a very good Roman.

Berber women. Sidi Harazem, Morocco

A lot of people in the west think that the women of Islam are being forced to cover themselves from head to foot for religious reasons. Actually the stereotypical burkha that is shown so often in the western media as a sign of Islamic oppression of women is not so much a religious requirement but rather a cultural one. Moslem friends have told me that the Koran asks women to dress and behave in a modest way and that doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a burkha.

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The Berbers make up about 30% of the Moroccan population and are the remnants of various European migrations and invasions of North Africa and their culture isn’t as heavily influenced by Arab culture as some of the more fundamentalist cultures elsewhere.

In my experience the Berbers seemed to be a little more open and friendly. The Moroccans know that many Europeans see the Berbers as “Europeans” and many a “guide” that I’ve met has tried to pass themselves off as Berbers, thinking that westerners would be more likely to trust a Berber.

This photo was taken in 1982 on Kodachrome 64, at Sidi Harazem, near Fez.