Jim Friesen - Photography


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    Our last day in Tokyo was, as I mentioned earlier, spent largely in Yoyogi Park. The Rockers were a highlight but there was much more to it than that.

 

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     The above picture is of ladels used to clean your hands and lips before entering the temple.


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The above shot was by Angela. 


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     Once a year everyone brings the dolls that were a cherished part of their childhood, but are no longer needed, to the park to say thank you and goodbye. 


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     We aren't sure of what exactly happens to them. Maybe they work as extras in Pixar animated features. There have been issues in our house about what to do with toys when they are no longer needed, right Sally? This seems like a good solution.



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Less than a hundred meters from the Rockers sits a musician playing an Ehru. Not far from him are cheerleading practises ...

 

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... and small brown poodles are very popular

 

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     There was so much going on that I only caught a small portion of it ...

 

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     Another of Angela's photos above.



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     After we left Yoyogi Park we found a shopping district and Angela visited Tokyo Hands. I was slowing her down so she dropped me at some book store where I happily looked at Japanese Art books (I could only look at the pictures because I couldn't read the text) until she had had her fill of shopping. When we left Tokyo Hands we found the street jazz band from an earlier post...

 

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... and wound our way back through the lights of Tokyo



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(that's us below with Angela flashing the international sign for "I'm having my picture taken) ...

 

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... to the Kimi Ryokan and sleep. But our greatest adventures were yet to come!


     










 


On our last full day in Tokyo, before setting out for Magome, we went to Yoyogi Park. There will be other photos of the park but these guys deserve a page of their own.



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     I had the feeling that, whatever else happened during the week, come hell or high nuclear reactor contaminated water, these guys were going to be in Yoyogi Park on Sunday afternoon, living in the dream of American Rock & Roll.


Just havin' fun on the streets of Tokyo!


Go Johnny Go! Watch for the beer can finale ...


    

     It was raining the next morning but the city seemed to suit it. I looked out over the subway tracks near the Ueno Station and wondered how many times that view had been used in gritty Japanese detective movies. 


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     It was hard to keep my small camera in my pocket (the only one I wanted to take out in the rain) but I showed an unusual restraint. I was afraid of running out of battery. We got lost for a little while and wandered in what looked to be an area that was stuck in the 1950's. 

     I had been interested in Suiseki (the art of rock display) at one point in my life and enjoyed sights like this ...



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     We went to the Tokyo National Museum and browsed. They allowed photographs. Some of the first images we saw were these Buddhist Deities.



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     The illustrations of plants and animals were from the 14th Century, about a hundred years before Durer (they made me think of him) and were delicate and beautiful.



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     It was a great way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy day.



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     We had eaten dinner the night before with an old friend from Winnipeg, Doug, and had arranged to meet him outside the museum. We walked through the park ...

 

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... and into the Ueno shopping district, a very busy area full of stalls selling anything you might want to get cheap.



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     We had lunch in a great little Ramen restaurant and took the subway to Doug's part of town. I talked him into standing for a portrait. Thanks Doug.



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     He went to his apartment while Angela and I went to a movie (Elysium - not nearly as good as District 9 but not altogether terrible). We had popcorn with soy sauce and butter (I am not a fan) but were impressed with the patrons who, almost all, sat through the credits, like Ange and I like to do, until the house lights came on.

     We met Doug after the movie and wandered around the narrow streets of his area ...



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eventually finding an Italian restaurant he liked (good cheap wine), had a good fusion meal, then made our way back to Ikebukoro and bed.














Two photos from that morning at Senso-ji ...



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Sparrow & Fish




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Three Pillows



     I woke up at four in the morning to the sound of two men speaking Japanese in the alley outside our window. It wasn't loud and the streets were otherwise quiet. A crow was offering some comments from a nearby rooftop. The crows there are larger than the ones in Vancouver but smaller than ravens. I was told later they were called 'Jungle Crows' and could be aggresive. There was always one or two of them keeping us company as we travelled the city and the country. I started thinking of them as informal escorts. 


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     We got our breakfast at a 7-Eleven that morning (it wasn't bad: a little box of sliced fruit, and rice with a mysterty filling - tuna, I think - wrapped in seaweed, and a bottle of water. This became my morning staple) and decided we were going to visit the Senso-ji Temple; Tokyo's oldest temple.

     We passed a nearby landmark that we had noticed the night before.



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     Yes, the bar in which penguins are present. The next day we walked past it in the late morning when the door was open and we looked inside and there was, in fact, an unhappy looking penguin in a fenced off fake landscape near the back wall. Nothing sadder than a penguin in a bar at 10:30 on a Saturday morning. If I get back I'm definitely thinking of busting him out (note for future movie plot). 

     Anyway, we got to Senso-ji Temple and it brightened up a cloudy morning.



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     Photographers everywhere. When it's like that I just take pictures of the people taking pictures


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     For many people the visit was a serious pilgrimage. I don't judge people on their beliefs but on their actions. And who am I to pretend to know the true nature of existence? In Wim Wenders' beautiful movie, "Wings Of Desire", angels wander the streets of Berlin whispering words of comfort to the broken-hearted citizens. Watching people in prayer or meditation can sometimes be as close as I come to capturing that sense of comfort, even if they may only be praying to nonexistant angels.



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     Angela and I pulled our fortune sticks. Her's was the worst fortune possible but, in true Buddhist tradition, could be changed to the best outcome with good thought, deed and action. Mine was the best fortune but could be lost, like enlightenment, if not nurtured. We had to tie them to metal rods.



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     A busy place ...

 


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     ... and afterwards, lunch in the Daikokuya Cafe; famous for its tempura. It was delicious.

 


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