Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Shinjuku Station, Tokyo

It is the most crowded subway station in the world, with 3.5 million passengers daily. 

And the first time for me to see some garbage in Japan. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Korakuen Garden, Okayama

Korakuen is a famous landscape garden in Okayama. It is one of the three most known gardens of Japan. The beautiful Okayama Castle is just nearby. On the day when I went there, I met nine couples of brides and grooms - all taking wedding photos in this superbly designed park. Just some photos for you to feel the atmosphere, and my apologies for a long gap in posting here. I know some of you are checking daily for updates. I will again post more often from now on. (*_*)

Moss is part of the Japanese culture. It is grown abundantly in many areas. Kokedera - the Moss Temple in Kyoto is a famous moss garden. 

Turtle symbolizes longevity and good luck. Sometimes they are represented in patterns composed of hexagons. 

Koi carps or nishikigoi decorate ponds and water gardens.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hanko/Inkan - Japanese Personal Stamp

In Japan it is common to sign any document with a tiny stamp instead of using a pen. The signing space on the Japanese documents is usually small because this personal name stamp is used. It is called a hanko. Or inkan. Or maybe the tool is called a hanko, and the stamp itself (applied on paper) is the inkan. It is quite the same thing. There are so many types of hanko. It can be made of wood or metal, it comes even in red or green, it is round or square. Maybe the square ones are used more in business environment, and the round ones are less official and more “personal.”

Everybody in Japan is likely to have at least one such stamp. Some people have more than one inkan. As far as I know, one must register their inkan in order to use it officially. Of course, the surname written in kanji is there. I have heard of foreigners who live in Japan even for years without having an inkan. Such “abnormalities” are understandable with foreigners. :-p Then, there are inkan written in katakana for foreigners – it is such a welcoming feeling towards foreigners in Japan in general.

The price varies according to the material it is made of. I have read about an inkan made of mammoth tusk that costs more than 1 million yen. ^ ^ Though the average price is about 20 euro.

Some years ago, I received a wonderful present – my own inkan. Somebody thought a lot about the proper kanji based on my name. ありがとう ございました, 春田様。

The inkan is small, about one finger size. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Shiretoko Five Lakes, Hokkaido

Shiretoko Five Lakes were formed in the remote past by the eruption of Mount Io located nearby. The landscape is decorated with volcanic stones. It is a beautiful area, surrounded by mountains. The season to visit this place is from late April to late November. This park, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in the northeastern part of Hokkaido. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Collecting Tourist Stamps In Japan

Somebody asked me about the tourist stamps I once mentioned in a post. They can be found in all the tourist spots, museums, shops, train stations, even some unexpected places. I have 100s of them and these are some randomly chosen examples. During one trip I met a Japanese man who would carry his notebook along everywhere. There were more than 2,000 stamps in it at that time. ^ ^