Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mejiro Garden

On our last full day in Japan, our major trip was to Ginza St for a shopping/sightseeing trip (see previous entry). We took the subway back to our hotel.  Since it was too early for dinner and was a lovely day, a few of us decided to take a walk and see if we could find the garden we'd been told about.  

Japanese signage can be really attractive as this one for the garden shows.

The way to the garden led through residential streets with a few small businesses thrown in.  These ladies could have been going home or going to a boutique.

 There were several very attractive gates.  I especially like the ones that are promisingly ajar.  It signals, "Hello, do come in!"

This subtle sign indicated what this shop sold.  Can you guess what it is?  It took me a minute or two to figure it out.  Fabric!!!  What I didn't realize until we went in was that the fabric was antique kimono fabric.  At long last - a shop that sold fat eighths (and some sixteenths) of glorious silks.  I discover this on our last day??? or I finally found this even though it was on our last day in Japan.. Hooray!  My only disappointment was that D successfully restrained me from purchasing their entire inventory.

As I said, this was also a residential area and many of the owners have lovely gardens in their very small lot.  This wonderful yellow rose bush grew up a fence and over an arch.

 We made it to our destination.  This is a lovely, small garden with a gazebo (not pictured) a path around a medium-sized koi pond, rocks, and waterfall.  This is what we saw as we walked in. 

Here you can see the rock wall around part of the pond and some of the koi.

We seem to have been especially lucky on our trip.  Here is another bridal couple who were having their photo taken in a small clearing in the park.  Her kimono was the most beautiful one I saw while in Japan.  They were willing to let us take their picture.

As we left that clearing we passed a building with glass walls (we never found out if it was part of this garden or a nearby independent business).  I took this photo so I could get a good look at the design of the obi fabrics.

One of the many rhododendrons in flower in the garden.

A paintable scene:

A distant view of the small waterfall and another paintable view.

Wildlife - a female duck (I don't remember what kind; I'll have to look her up)

Here is a close-up of the waterfall.  Charming, isn't it?

From the waterfall looking out:

Simply pretty pictures:

Leaving Mejiro Garden, we saw lovely flora -

and fauna:

As you can tell, we had a very good walk.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ginza Street

Last night I thought it was Friday so I didn't write.  Fortunately I did work on the next batch of photographs so I do have some to upload. This was the day we toured the Ginza shopping area; it is known for very high end stores (and prices!).

This is at the edge of the big name shops; it's a whole sale store next to a cafe.

This is the only store I really wanted to go in, but our guide was power-walking us to the destination she had in mind.  I figured I'd better keep up!

Here you can see the Mikimoto building in the distance.

In this store, all the manikins turn 90 degrees every few minutes.  It's a real eye-catcher!

Almost anything you can think of is sold on this street!

Here is one of the street signs - very elaborate - and Piaget in the background.

The Omega store and next to a wall of live greenery.  We saw this kind of thing quite often in the the newer, higher end areas of Tokyo.  Smart building!

The notice on this "box" says, "Give your coins to the Lion of Goodwill. They will be used to help unfortunate people."  My eye was initially caught by the lovely design so I looked closer and read the notice.  Clever!

 Even here there is an area set aside for people to sit and relax and for children to play.  It doesn't look like what I think of as a park, but it is clearly new so trees haven't had a chance to grow and flourish yet. It didn't matter to the children we saw playing here.

As we left (with no packages in our hands!) we passed this shop again and noticed far fewer bikes.  It was time to go home - for us it was back to the hotel.

So much of the Tokyo we saw was new construction - very new, very modern, very forward thinking with all the plants, parks, and water features.  It took me a while to realize that this is a country that has many earthquakes.  What they are doing, I believe, is razing old buildings when possible in order to build safer, stronger buildings that may be able to withstand earthquakes.  Of course, there were much we did not see so there is probably still much of old Tokyo. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

8th International Bonsai Show

This was the day we actually went to exhibit of trees.  Having had a little experience with bonsai shows, I determined to take only photos of special trees and things that D might want as reference.  From those pictures, I selected 18 and then worked on getting that down to a reasonable number.
  Remember crew cuts?  Scary movies?

 Beautiful screen with Mt. Fuji.

Full exhibit of tree, screen, porcelain, and rock.

Reference photo for me - design inspiration.

 Daughter of a vendor- too cute to ignore!  We were exchanging hand signals.

 Indigo booth . . . restraint was shown (somewhat!).

 Play area - drums and crafts and bounce room.

 Just because . . . great color and design; I call it inspiration.

 Stewartia because I love them.

 Lavender companion plant (love lavender, too).

 Amazing stand!  Pretty nice tree, too.

 Really small bonsai.

 School children worked on bonsai for this show. This is a display of their trees.  I loved this idea!

 Water feature.  I want it.

 This gets my vote for a WOW tree!

There were so many special trees and things to see it was hard to limit myself.  What I posted in this entry is intended to be a really, really quick overview.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Baseball in Japan

We were very lucky to be able to go to a major league baseball game in Japan between the Tokyo Swallows and the Tokyo Giants.  We has asked our bus driver if he knew how we could get tickets which thrilled him no end.  As it turned out, he was a great Tokyo Giants fan so he arranged to have all of us who wanted to go sit on that side of the stadium.  That was new for all of us who are used to the US system - you buy seats depending on how close to the field, whether it's on the first base line or behind home plate and so on.  In Japan, it's the team one is rooting for that matters.

So here are photos that I will try to explain as well as try to convey the delight that being at that game gave us.   The first two photos were taken in the refreshment area of the stadium.  Notice the curry cup advertised in the second photo?

Here's the view from our seats on the Giants' side.  

The warm up:

This is one of several lovely young "beer girls".  They carry the beer in a keg on their backs; I hate to think what they feel like after their first few days!

The pitch  . . .  by this time, the Giants fans were all on their feet, and they stand for their team every inning as do the other team's fans.  Fans for the Giants have a different song for each player which they sing every time the player comes up to bat.   Many of the fans on both sides wear jerseys with the name of their favorite player (as you can see in the picture above).  Each team has a its own "band"; the Swallows fans even had dances they did for their team.

A hit!

The Giants won, and our driver was very happy with that, but he was also proud that he had made it possible for us to have a very special time.  I think his wife was also proud and happy for him.