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  • Writer's pictureNigel

⛱️ Buddhas and Beaches 仏陀とビーチ

Updated: Mar 31


2024 年 3 月 30 日



Tokyo seems to have an endless list of art galleries and museums. Very useful if it's still chilly outside. Chilly? Ha! Turning a corner in amongst Tokyo's skyscrapers I was hit by "a wind like a whetted knife" to quote English Poet John Masefield. I headed for a "Tully's Coffee" to gather my senses. There was a notice on the door - due to high winds please use other entrance. Oh please, just let me in......

Over a warm cup of coffee I deduced that my destination - The Idemitsu Museum of Arts, was a mere block away. Ok, off we go. Navigating the entrance of a theatre........

「強風のためこのドアは締め切り」お願い、中に入れて…。




.......I found a smart entrance with a guard in a smart uniform.👮‍♂️ 9th floor please. Whoosh. Then ushered into a hushed, dimly lit cavern of ......Art. We are talking about an extraordinary calligrapher called Ike Taiga (1723-1776).......https://idemitsu-museum.or.jp/en/




Born in Kyoto during the Edo period, he used all the different strokes of the calligraphy brush to paint pictures. Incredibly fine, subtle paintings which convey mood and atmosphere. Especially of the countryside. It's impossible to do him justice here online, except to upload a few examples....

もちろん、本物はオンラインのものよりも優れています.





You may think this this is all a bit esoteric. But the museum does everything it can to help you relax and enjoy the art. There is a viewing area where you can get a drink,

美術館はとても居心地がよかったです。



.......toilets which gleam and shine with a simple feel of luxury, and a discreet shop. It's a variation of heaven. 天国

Whoosh. Down to street level again. Cross the traffic and enter the park which surrounds the Imperial Palace.


Space......

広い公園



Vistas......



You are as free as a bird......

皇居以外はどこでも自由に歩けます



To explore......



.....and look....うめ (Ume) means plum. The plum blossom which precedes the cherry blossom.



A short walk from the park and I saw this road sign. A food museum perhaps? Oh! The English Language! 😂

No, this is the National Diet 国会........the Japanese parliament..



........looks pretty earthquake-proof doesn't it?

耐震性がありそう



Good grief. That cold wind. Need some hot food. Let's go Korean for a change. A chilli-laced tofu soup still bubbling on arrival.......

ぐつぐつ煮立った韓国豆腐鍋



...and the staff simply top up my glass with cold water without me blinking an eyelid. That is service.

I was intrigued by these jars though......

これは何ですか



Back to Tokyo Central Station, where I pass a group of girls preparing for graduation....卒業 Sotsugyo.......a big thing here....



I have a dim memory of standing on Palace Green in Durham University, wearing a black gown and hood lined with white rabbbit fur. Proud parents taking photographs. That was my graduation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_Green

I was invited to attend this graduation at Rikkyo University, but I had gone down with a heavy cold. How boring! However a student gave me permission to publish this photo. Thank you!

😊 写真掲載許可ありがとうございます。



...and what a splendid degree certificate...

卒業証書






 


Now look, I want to get one thing straight. I am not a car freak. But this is the second time in Japan that I have stumbled across an old Renault. It must be something to do with some kind of Japanese-French entente cordial. For me it is nostalgia. Parking outside St. Stephen's Terrace in Stockwell, south London. Driving to Pro Musica Chorus rehearsals in Fitzroy Square, careering down the A23 to visit my parents in Sussex. That idiosyncratic gear lever......

懐かしい



A car with character. A biscuit tin on wheels. A sort of anti-car. Parked in the woods above Kamakura......

鎌倉




This is not what Kamakura is famous for. Tourists actually flock to the Daibutsu - the Great Buddha.......鎌倉大仏. Why isn't it in a temple you may ask. Well, in the 14th and 15thc. earthquakes and Tsunamis made short work of the wooden hall, so it's been outside since then. It is stupendously big when you get up close.




It had been a 30 min hike through the woods to get here. I was glad I had brought my walking boots.....

ウォーキングブーツ持ってきてよかった……。



There were resting places of course.....

休む場所




At one point I came across a house that was under construction. I love those wooden joints......

木材の連結部分が好きです





Kamakura is a strange place. Quiet, old houses are perched on the side of the hill, interspersed with ancient temples and.....a railway. At the bottom of the hill the town meets the sea, the beach.....

鎌倉は不思議な場所



I had got off the train......

私は電車を降りました.......



...and walked up the steps to the Engakuji temple. (円覚寺). Actually a whole Zen temple complex.....

You are immediately faced with the great Samnon gate from 1783......

山門



which is decorated with these fantastic wooden carvings.......

素晴らしい彫刻




Later on in the day I passed this felled cedar tree and was reminded of those curves......





No need to go to Kyoto and fight with all the tourists....here I felt a delicious sense of calm and contentment descend on me......

京都に行く必要はありません



And as if to promote all this well-being, you can sit in the sun and drink a hot cup of matcha tea, served on an impeccable tray with two tiny sweets........heaven......

抹茶と小さな和菓子。至福の時間。



I am a lucky person, I know, to be able to do this. However there has to be some reward for sweating through all those Japanese verb conjugations.....more scenes.....

鎌倉に来られて私はラッキーでした



one temple has a collection of Kannon sculptures.......representations of the goddess of mercy.

観音様



delicate.....these fine lines reminded me of the brush-strokes of Ike Taiga , mentioned earlier

池大雅の絵に似ています



石段に椿が落ちていました



reflection....



I am not quite sure what this is, but it bears the crest of the Chrysanthemum throne.......

菊の御紋



votive offerings.....

お賽銭



.......across the railway there is another temple, which is the start of the trail through the woods.....Jochiji. It was behind this that I came across the Renault 4. Maybe it belonged to a monk......

金宝山浄智寺



As I sat down for a breather in the woods, two birds started to call each other through the trees. I sent a recording to Tsutomuさん、my bird expert, but he was baffled......

木々の中で奇妙な鳥の声が聞こえた




As I have mentioned, this hike landed me up at the Great Buddha of Kamakura. I then boarded the Enoshima Light Railway.....(江ノ電)





..........and found a watering hole down by the beach......Enoshima Craft Beer. mmmm......😋




The beach ビーチ







 


And now for something completely different....Since starting this post the weather has turned foul. Of course April is on its way, so there are high hopes for a late cherry blossom season. I can't wait. In the meantime loads of people have gone down with coughs and colds - including yours truly. So off I go to the doctor. The waiting room of her surgery is as clean as an operating theatre. So change your shoes and show your credentials. No English spoken. "a cough has come out" and "I have taken in a cold" might be direct translations of the Japanese at this point. Of course the communication breaks down at some point and I have to call my Tomoko さん , who is a nurse. I Pay my bill. Then off to the dispensery. やっきょく薬局. Nr. 36 your number is up!

また薬局に行かなくてはいけません。




Now if the girl would just give me the prescription ( fertig! ) and say bye bye, that would be fine. Instead she starts going on about a medicine book. Do I have one? no. At this point I lose the thread of the conversation and ask how much it costs. "Oh It's free" she says with a winning smile. She then hands me the bill for the prescription, which is what I meant, not her medicine book . Oh well, I know have a pretty little medicine book......an okusuritecho...お薬手帳......



and whilst I am on this topic, this is what, for example, my Ibuprofen prescription looks like.......all very precise......



Let's end on an uplifting note.....Oh no! the pun slipt out before I could stop it......



....Aki (ex. Frankfurt Musikhochschule) and friends gave a little concert last week in Hatagaya. Leopold and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salieri and John Cage were on the menu.....


Kei Kondo (not in picture) and Kei Sakoda also played a compostion by Masamichi Kinoshita for Shakuhachi and Posthorn. To my relief, Aki finished the concert by playing a movement from a solo Bach Suite. It was her birthday after all! 🎂

チェリストあきさんのコンサート。その日は彼女の誕生日でした!




 


Thank you for reading "..Buddhas & Beaches .."

⛱️ "...仏陀とビーチ.."を読んでくれてありがとう



  Feel free to share the blog with friends.

⛱️ よろしければ、リンクを友達と共有してください



⛱️  And and I enjoy hearing from you...!

コメントすると楽しいです!



THE END

☸️

終わり


104 views2 comments

٢ تعليقان


الضيف
٢٩ مارس

Beautiful photos and stories! ... I need to make a stop one day on my way to Oz.

Happy Easter, Lucianne

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Nigel
Nigel
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😉 recommended


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