25 March 2011

Red dawn

25 March 2011, 06:00

The first cherry blossoms

This morning I went to Ueno Park on my first "sakura sanpo" (cherry blossom walk) for 2011. The park has a few trees at Gojoten Shrine 五条天神 that usually bloom early.

I was also curious to see whether the dozens of big stone lanterns in the park had survived the earthquake, and I am happy to report that they are all intact. It is possible that damaged lanterns were repaired in the last fortnight, but this morning I saw only two that had toppled and were still lying on the ground one just outside the peony garden at Tōshōgū Shrine 上野東照 and another one at Gojoten ShrineThe rows of stone and bronze lanterns at Tōshōgū were cordoned off, presumably for safety or repairs. I looked very closely, and I really could not spot any cracks, just a few small fragments at the foot of some lanterns.

Gojoten's torii entrance, too, has been closed for repairs. I could not help smiling at a hand-written notice on the big stone torii leading towards the shrine. "Don't stop here! In or out this gate." There was no explanation, but again I assume it is for safety's sake.

Also see this photo.

Waiting for the blossoms

The bronze lamps at Tōshōgū have been cordoned off.

The "Flame of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" burns constantly in commemoration of the A-bomb tragedies.

This was the only serious damage I could see at Tōshōgū.

Fragments at the foot of a lantern

Gojoten Shrine's torii entrance has been closed.

One lantern toppled at Gojoten Shrine.

Benzaiten's lute at the Benten-dō next to Shinobazu Pond
(Benzaiten 弁才天, Benten-dō 弁天堂, Shinobazu Pond 不忍池)

The phoenix greets the spring

The first cherry blossoms of 2011, photographed at Gojoten Jinja 五条天神 in Ueno Park

20 March 2011

The power of the Great Tōhoku Earthquake

The first video illustrates the constant aftershocks that Japan has experienced recently. One second in the video = one hour. The big earthquake is at 1:17. You should double-click these videos to watch the bigger versions on YouTube.

The next video illustrates the power of the 10-meter tsunami that annihilated parts of Tōhoku:

19 March 2011

Tokyo Sky Tree 634 m

Empty sightseeing boat

16 March 2011

A new beginning

Plum blossoms

Plum blossoms

14 March 2011

Preparing for power cuts

Tokyo will have an electricity supply shortage and hence power cuts until end April, due to earthquake damage at nuclear power plants in Fukushima. There isn't much we can do, except to use as little electricity as possible ... and to make sure all computers are charged.

13 March 2011

Still there!

Sunday 13 March 2011, 06:17

12 March 2011

Sendai earthquake

Saturday 12 March 2011, 06:18, still standing proud as dawn breaks on a bright, clear day

10 March 2011

Chocolate scooter

It's almost White Day, but I'm finally posting photos of Valentine's Day chocolate I bought for a man who zooms around Tokyo on his scooter. 

9 March 2011


Wednesday 9 March 2011, 06:20


8 March 2011


Sunrise 4 March 2011

6 March 2011

Hay fever hell

This map illustrates today's pollen levels in Tokyo. Red indicates levels that are 極めて (kiwamete), in other words, exceedingly or extremely high. We are in hay fever hell.

Source: http://www.fukushihoken.metro.tokyo.jp/kanho/kafun/index.html

4 March 2011

Jizō at Zōjō-ji

The massive San'en-zan Zōjō-ji (三縁山増上寺) is a temple of the Pure Land (浄土宗, Jōdo shū) school of Buddhism. Hundreds of Jizō (地蔵) statues line the road that runs between the temple and the Tokyo Prince Hotel.

Dressed warmly for winter
This cat is everywhere!