Located in Asakusa is the beautiful Senso-ji, founded in 628, it is the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. Also known as the Asakusa Kannon, the temple complex is dedicated to the Buddhist godess of mercy. To get to the temple you can catch the subway to Asakusa and then head to the centuries old shopping street of Nakamise-dori.
Nakamise-dori is a colourful gauntlet of charming little traditional Japanese gift shops that one passes through to get into the temple grounds.
The stunning baroque Templo de Santo Domingo of Puebla was built between 1571 and 1659.
The bright colour of its exterior gives no indication of the hallucinatory interior.
The stuccowork inside, which goes from chest height to the ceiling, is incredibly ornate.
Its best to go in and just sit down or you risk falling over as your eyes go upwards and upwards and then start traveling down a wall behind you taking you backwards.
Before the Sydney Olympics (best Olympics ever, don’tcha know?) in 2000, the Homebush Bay area was basically a toxic dump marshland that had been polluted for the past 100 years by various heavy industries. Much of the site had to have the topsoil removed and it was going to be completely built over. Near the centre of the Olympic site is an old unused brick pit that had been used as a location for the third “Mad Max” movie “Beyond Thunderdome“. It turns out that the water filled brick pit was the habitat of an endangered species of frog, known as the Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea). The presence of the rare frog led to the brick pit being preserved as a habitat for the frogs. Now the brickpit isn’t the prettiest thing to have in the middle of an Olympic park so some money was thrown it’s way and an amazing ring walk was built in the middle of it.
The ring walk, designed by Durbach Block Architects, is 550m (1800ft) in circumference and 18.5m (60ft) above the ground. The Ring Walk is truly a fantastic solution to preserving habitat whilst still allowing people to enjoy public space. It’s nice to see that our government is starting to realize that cities need to be “livable”. The whole Homebush Bay area is covered with cycling paths and I go cycling at there quite often with my wife, and friend Paul. The brickpit is one my favourite places in the whole of the Olympic park.
My friend Paul is an aficionadao of technology (otherwise known as “shiny kit syndrome”) and as such he has the latest bright and shiny things, such as a beautifully made folding German bicycle called a “Birdy”. Everytime I struggle to get my and my wife’s bike in and out of our car I’m jealous of how easily Paul assembles and disassembles his. All very civilised.
On a technical note the photos were taken with another of Paul’s shiny things, an I-mate JAMin telephone. Whilst the telephone doesn’t take as good photos as my camera, it had the advantage of being with us, as opposed to my camera, which was sitting at home.
Japan is often portrayed as a rich country that is obsessed with design. Some people would even have us believe that many Japanese live in beautifully designed houses set in Zen gardens.
Sure there is the very small minority who can afford to do so, but for vast majority in Japan, economic expediency causes them to live in very different surrounds.
I’ve known Edward Arteaga from the early eighties when we both used to work in the theater, Ed as a lighting technician and I as a set builder.
Ed composes modern music for orchestra and he regularly collaborates with choreographer Paula Ross.
On a visit to Vancouver last year I got a chance to catch up with Ed and his family.
Ed has always walked a different path to most other people and his house reflects that.
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.
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.
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.
Without a doubt, this is the best manhole cover I’ve ever seen. It shows the castle and also a fisherman with cormorants.
I just love the Hispanic colour sense, be it Frieda Kahlo’s house in Mexico City, Mexico;
The graves in San Juan Pueblo New Mexico in the U.S.;
or just the Posada (Hotel Posada El Paraiso) where my wife and I stayed in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico.