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Showing posts from January, 2018

Water crisis? But ... you've got a big lake!

I should be used to ignorance about South Africa -- or South Shithole, if you prefer -- but my students never fail to shock me into silence.

Office worker in her late 30s. Where are you from? Cape Town. Where is that? Cape Town in South Africa. South America? No, look at this map: this is South Africa and this is Cape Town. How about Cape Town? The latter is studentspeak for "I don't know anything about Cape Town; could you please tell me more; do you like it; if yes, what are you doing in Japan?"

I explain a bit. "Is it very hot?" I explain a bit more, and mention the current water crisis, which means my beloved city will run out of water in April.

The student looks at the map. "But," she says and points, genuinely puzzled, "you have a very big lake!"

A year that's already gone to the dogs

2018 is the year of the dog. I photographed these ema at Hie Jinja, which always has big variety of designs. Indigenous species such as the shiba inu and the Akita inu feature prominently.

An X-rated start to 2018 thanks to the Bearded Jizō (髭地蔵)

I really didn't mean to start the year in an X-rated fashion, but what's a woman to do when the situation arises unexpectedly?
You may recall … Well. You probably don't. This was six years ago, before the long hiatus, when I went on a few walkpeditions to find Tokyo's remaining phallic stones. It amused me – still does – that here in the heart of the city of robots and bullet trains you can still find old gods and ancient beliefs, hidden behind neon lights and artisan coffee shops.
There's a phallic stone in the heart of Ueno Park, and nobody knows about it. Or rather, very few do, and certainly no tourists.
It stands on Shōtenjima (聖天島), a small island next to Benten-dō in Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park. It's not easy to see it, though, because the island is fenced off and in a badly neglected state. 
If you look at it from behind, it looks like this …

… but it's not what you think it is. It's actually a Jizō figure. That's clear from the other side, but o…

My one cider is bigger than my other cider

I'm going to hit both. Happy 2018. Remember to duck for missiles.

I was going to say we've reached peak moronickness, but we all know he's going to outdo himself. Soon.