Category Archives: Japan

Yanagawa Canal Boats

Charcoal heater under the table

They were smiling at me

Typography: Fries Stall

Dazaifu Bus

Squat Toilet Instruction

Drawing instruction on how to position oneself on a squat toilet

Of Bags and Train Etiquette

Hida Phone Booth

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Phone booth in Hida-Takayama

Bear Warning Signs

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When you walk in the woods in Hida-Takayama, you’ll often come across bear warning signs with an image of the black bear. Meanwhile, I’ll just note it down here that we have not sighted a single bear in all three times that we’ve wandered in the woods.

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Shachihoko

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One can’t help but notice this fish-like creature illustration with human legs at the subway stations of Nagoya, usually reminding you not to smoke. When I visited the iconic Nagoya Castle and saw its peculiar rooftop adornment, I then realize where the idea of the subway mascot came from.

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One of the many replicas of Shachihoko on display inside the Nagoya Castle

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Shachihoko on the castle’s roof (times two)

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A Shachihoko replica to sit on for a snapshot, for posterity’s sake

Featuring the Snow Shovel

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At past the peak of winter snowing in Hida Region around March, one can notice plainly the handy snow shovels in different shapes, sizes, and colors, in front of homes, shops, and shrines, in standby mode.

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Find the shovel

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Fitting Room Instruction

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Quite logical and hygienic fitting room instruction

A clothing store fitting room instruction in Japan is to cover one’s face with a provided see through material when trying on shirts.

Delivery Tin Box

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Attaché-like case with wooden handle is used by restaurants in Hida-Takayama presumably for their food delivery.

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Walk for Sake

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No alcoholic drinks to anyone who comes to this restaurant by car

A restaurant’s own way of campaigning ‘don’t drink and drive’ on its alcoholic drinks menu.

Pedestrian Dude

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A fatter than usual, hat wearing hominid, as a pedestrian traffic light sign in Narita town, Japan.

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Can you see the outline of the hat?

Savory Senbei

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This rice cracker shop is one of the many small shops along Omotesando street in Narita town

One should never underestimate the taste of senbei (rice crackers) because when it is freshly made and still warm, the ‘yumminess’ meter goes up to about 75% more than those packed ones.

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Display case for the freshly made senbei

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Still warm

Deity Clothed in Bibs

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Jizos at Naritasan Shinshoji Temple

Jizo is (also) a protector of children and its statues are usually carved from stone. Seeing the bibs on the Jizos presumably put on by parents gave me some sense of spirituality and connectedness to the realm of human life driven by beliefs and unaffected by science and technology.

Temple Rain Barrel

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Rain barrel at Naritasan Shinshoji Temple

Rain barrel of Japanese Buddhist temples is one thing that I find particularly attractive even though every section of the temple is intricate. Perhaps because something utilitarian was melded into the structure.

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Rain barrel at the right side of the temple

The simplicity of the idea to collect rainwater by means of a barrel cannot be undervalued for it’s a measure to preserve the beautiful wooden temple in case of fire. And for all other practical uses such as watering plants and cleaning, rain barrel is truly a functional beauty.

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Another rain barrel from another temple inside the complex

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Spot the two rain barrels

Mount Fuji on the Ground

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Mount Fuji Toilet Signs

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The phone can wait

A toilet in the mountain is like a bottomless hole, that deep I presume. What goes in is impossible to retrieve. You’ve been warned by means of a sign. Almost all toilets have no sink in order to conserve water. One needs to use the hand sanitizer (if provided by your hut) instead. No faucet showering, and no tooth brushing, even if you’ve booked a hut. Awareness have been made possible through these toilets signs, including their hope that you’ll safely climb Mount Fuji.

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Conserve water in the mountain

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Have a safe climb, says the toilet

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Unexpected freebie since everything is costly up there

Toilet Coin Bottle

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Toilets are available at the huts along the Yoshida trail of Mount Fuji where each usage is understandably expensive at 200 yen. The higher you go, the higher the ‘donation’, and so it’s 300 yen at the summit. Some toilets have high tech vending machine like repository for coins, but a couple, or three of them use repurposed plastic bottle as receptacle for dropping in at least two 100 yen coins.

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Fujisan Trek: Descending Trail

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The descending trail is mostly volcanic soil

While it was easy climbing up, going down was taxing to my toes and legs. Had to use my leg muscles for braking most of the time or else I would feel like I’ll lose my footing on the steep slope. I guess it was mostly psychological. The Yoshida descending route is different from the ascending one, tiring but the view was better.

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Descending can be slippery

At past 8 AM, it was hot that I was down to my shirt and pants though I’ve put on REI gaiters to keep the volcanic soil from entering my trail running shoes. The trail is mostly loose volcanic soil with no huts along the route and with occasional mountain crawler encounter. Thoughts of coming back and bringing my daughter to this volcano were on my mind while descending because really, the trek was such a beautiful experience.

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The view of the clouds below

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One of the trail markers along Yoshida descending trail

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Hikers descending and resting

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Trail marker

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If that little girl can hike Mt Fuji, then so can you

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An emergency shelter for bad weather or eruption

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Trail marker. Still a long way to go down

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I imagine it would be fun and scary to just slide all the way down

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The sparse vegetation up there

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Finally reaching the 5th station

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