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  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Instructions for worship at a shrine
    Ikuta Jinja - Instructions for worship at a shrine

    This sign instructs those (probably of younger generations) who need a reminder how to worship (from right to left): "First you bow twice with back bent to ninety degrees and head lowered. Then you clap your hands twice at chest level. Then bow one last time."

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - An ema and a wish
    Ikuta Jinja - An ema and a wish

    This ema reads, in the center, "May I find someone I really like and keep a good relationship for a long time." To the right is also written," May I find a man."

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Two prayers for university entrance
    Minatogawa Jinja - Two prayers for university entrance

    These two emas are both for successful entrance into university. The first asks to pass his or her entrance exams (name not visible), whereas the second wishes specifically to be able to enter the Osaka College of Education, and was written by an 18 year-old woman.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Plaque describing historical origins of the shrine
    Minatogawa Jinja - Plaque describing historical origins of the shrine

    This plaque tells of the founding of Minatogawa Shrine. It notes that the shrine was created by order of the Meiji Emperor in 1868 in honor of Kusunoki Masanari, who died here in 1336 along with fifteen of his family members, all of whom committed suicide.

  • Thumbnail for New grave marker
    New grave marker

    This new stone rests on a site that must have held a much older marker before. I believe the inscription on the sphere reads, "Meet together in one place," which would refer to a belief that some Buddhists have that they will join together after death in the Pure Land of the Buddha Amida.

  • Thumbnail for Hiroshima:  Peace Memorial Museum, Art by Survivors, 19  --  "Mother and me joyfully reuniting in the ruins"
    Hiroshima: Peace Memorial Museum, Art by Survivors, 19 -- "Mother and me joyfully reuniting in the ruins" by Furui, Natsuko

    Mother and me joyfully reuniting in the ruins -- Explanation by the artist: "Looking for my mother, I searched among the crowds of people trudging out of the city. Then, ahead of me I noticed my mother walking my way in her underwear and with blood on her shoulder. 'Mother!!' We held each other and cried by the side of the road. My mother had been trapped under the house, unable to get out, but neighbors freed her. It was a miracle. If we hadn't met then, I would have spent the whole night wandering through the rubble and smoke looking for her." -- The artist was 22 at the time of the bombing, 78 when she drew this picture.

  • Thumbnail for Hiroshima:  Children exposed to radiation before birth; young A-bomb microcephaly patient with her mother
    Hiroshima: Children exposed to radiation before birth; young A-bomb microcephaly patient with her mother

    Many children who were exposed to the radiation of the A-bomb blast while still in their mother's wombs were born with what has become known as "A-bomb microcephaly." Such children suffered from mental retardation or physical disabilities. They have been cared for by relatives, with independence for them being difficult or impossible. As their care-giving relatives age, assistance for them has become a major issue.

  • Thumbnail for Grocery Store Display:  Fish
    Grocery Store Display: Fish

    More fish for sale.

  • Thumbnail for Post Office: Jihan 2
    Post Office: Jihan 2

    A closer look at a post-card/stamp machine.

  • Thumbnail for No Smoking
    No Smoking

    A sign in a post office reminds its occupants not to smoke.

  • Thumbnail for Counter
    Counter

    Text: Go-jiyuu ni otori kudasai

  • Thumbnail for Post Office: Jihan 1
    Post Office: Jihan 1

    A post-card and stamp machine in Hokkaido.

  • Thumbnail for Grocery Store Display:   Nori
    Grocery Store Display: Nori

    Dried sea weed (nori) is an essential part of a balanced Japanese diet.

  • Thumbnail for Poem and Cypress Trees
    Poem and Cypress Trees by Konoe Nobutada and Hasegawa Tohaku

    Among Konoe Nobutada's masterpieces is this six-panel screen that includes a waka poem - energetically inscribed in oversized kana - surrounding a sensitively brushed ink painting of a cypress grove. Recent scholarship has attributed the painting to Hasegawa Tohaku, based on a stylistic comparison to the brushwork and artistic expression of his famous Pines in Mist. - John T Carpenter

  • Thumbnail for Coffee Makers and Juicers
    Coffee Makers and Juicers

    A display of high-tech coffee makers and juicers.

  • Thumbnail for Refrigerators
    Refrigerators

    Some overly complex refrigerators on display.

  • Thumbnail for Rice Cookers
    Rice Cookers

    High-end rice cookers for sale in a department store.

  • Thumbnail for Grocery Store Display:   Pocky Two Kinds
    Grocery Store Display: Pocky Two Kinds

    Two kinds of Pocky: Men's (with dark chocolate) and original.

  • Thumbnail for Flower Prices
    Flower Prices

    Example prices at a flower shop .

  • Thumbnail for Heartbreak
    Heartbreak

    Recipients of ashes of the war dead were hard pressed to find solace in the thought that their beloved had the honor of dying for the Emperor.

  • Thumbnail for Kimono Display
    Kimono Display

    Beautiful white silk fabric to be used for kimonos.

  • Thumbnail for Sitting Buddha diagram
    Sitting Buddha diagram

    Exlanation of a cross-legged, sitting Buddha sculpture.

  • Thumbnail for Emperor Go-Mizunoo
    Emperor Go-Mizunoo by Gen'yo Shonin [1634-1727]

    Ink and color painted I\image of the Tokugawa-era emperor Go-Mizunoo. The two poems were copied from inscriptions on other portraits of the emperor. The translation by Watanabe Akiyoshi is as follows: "Painful, this/withered tree fence hidden/ in the deep mountain;/ would that at least my heart's/ flowers were fragrantly abloom./ My life being thus,/ in this world that I will never revisit/ the thought of leaving a trace/ of my calligraphy for a moment-/ even that is sad." The artist Gen'yo, a Zen Buddhist nun, was Go-Mizunoo's granddaughter.

  • Thumbnail for Hokkaido Train Price Table
    Hokkaido Train Price Table

    A pricing table for the Hokkaido train system.

  • Thumbnail for Ocha
    Ocha

    A close-up of a tea vending machine.