Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rokkoyo Coffee Shop, take 2

My default coffee shop in Nagoya has become a little place called "Rokkoyo", which I sketched in September. 
On this last day of the year, I visited the coffee shop again to catch up on some correspondence and enjoy my favourite coffee ("Wiener Kaffee", served in a matcha bowl) and slice of chocolate cake.

Friday, December 30, 2011

"Gozarasse" onsen in Nagakute

After a busy and stressful few weeks, I rewarded myself with a trip to an onsen close by. A free 15 minute shuttle bus from Fujigaoka subway station takes us to the facility in the adjacent town of Nagakute.

Among the many kinds of baths was a beautiful space (洞窟湯) situated in the outdoor spa section -- a little grotto-like space, dark, cosy, meditative, filled with steam and mist, but partially illuminated by rays of sunlight. The darkness of the materials inside allow the mist to stand out, especially as it hovers gently over the surface of the still water. The sound of the spring water dropping onto a feature stone offers a soothing aural experience. Outside, two more stone spouts installed higher up a thick stone wall pour water down to stone slabs delineating where to stand (打ち湯). There is moss that has grown on a side wall.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

by the station in Hoshigaoka

After running a few errands in Hoshigaoka, I had some time to kill before heading to Nagoya station to see a friend (it`s been almost 20 years!)... this is a view from the Mitsukoshi department store (where I saw a neat little art show of work by Kataoka Tsurutaro), towards the bus terminal and main subway station entrance in Hoshigaoka. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

dry cleaner in Hoshigaoka, Nagoya

I came across this little storefront along the main street that follows the Higashiyama subway line in Hoshigaoka. The awning shows that it is a dry cleaner, but the old sign above tells us that it is (or was) a Meiji milk distributor... and yet the entire storefront is taken up by vending machines selling canned drinks and cigarettes, a ubiquitous urban scene.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Paint has a life of its own...": Jackson Pollock

Billed as the first Jackson Pollock retrospective in Japan, this exhibition at the Aichi Arts Centre has gotten quite a bit of exposure.  I ended up going on a whim as I finally had a few hours of free time and was in the area. Unfortunately, there were only one or two large canvases such as this painting (belonging to the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art) but seeing these in real life had a hypnotizing effect. Other smaller and simpler work offer a fuller picture of the artist...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

antenna tower

The area south of Nagoya Castle is the government sector of the city, with large, boxy, conservative Modernist buildings (with the exception of Nagoya City Hall and the Aichi Prefectural Building, which are both historic, idiosyncratic and highly eclectic). 

Many of the government buildings here have large antenna towers perched on top... I`m not sure why, but my guess is that in an emergency (like a major earthquake), it`s to ensure that lines of communication remain open and accessible.

The tower with the triangular top in the distance in this sketch is the Higashiyama Sky Tower, which is located by the Higashiyama zoo, east of the city core.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nagoya Castle at night

Every day I have the same view of Nagoya Castle... so I needed to try something different. These are some night views of the castle, which is lit up at night for all to see.

Incidentally, there was a beautiful rainbow right beside the castle in the afternoon, reminding me of the blessings upon our lives.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meito Ward office

I needed to pick up a document at the city of Nagoya Meito Ward Office...

My experiences dealing with the people at the service desks at municipal government offices in recent years have been pleasant; a surprisingly different situation from years and years ago... 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fuyuu-gaki (Fuyuu Persimmons)

It`s been a week since receiving these persimmons, which are very much in season. They are of the Fuyuu (富有柿)variety, and become available relatively late as far as persimmons go. I`ve been reluctant to eat them, as I have been mesmerized by the depth of their colour... a dark, rich (but varied) orange verging on red, leathery and smooth, assertive but delicate... I`m sure they taste as complex as they look.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nagoya Castle and antenna tower

Nagoya Castle is probably this city`s most recognizable (and recognized) symbolic landmark. A substantial area around the tenshukaku does not have any tall building, allowing the castle to remain prominent in this part of the city. This antenna tower seems to be an exception.
Four hundred years ago when the original structure was built, Nagoya Castle must have been an awesome presence at the centre of the expansive Nobi Plain, rising higher than anything else around it, all the way to the mountains.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

winter trees and Gifu mountains

The trees within the Nagoya Castle grounds are displaying a variety of beautiful, subtle colours. Northwards, beyond the expanse of apartment buildings, lie some mountains in Gifu Prefecture.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Yoro Mountains from Nagoya

A view of the  Yoro Mountains (養老山地) towards Mie Prefecture, as seen from Nagoya on a sunny winter day... Nagoya lies at the centre of the Nobi Plain, and on sunny days like this, one can see mountains in Gifu, Mie, eastern Aichi, and all the way to Nagano Prefecture.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

on the Nagoya subway lines

People on the subway lines... there is much to observe on the train, and I am sure that a cross-cultural comparison of the ways people behave on subway cars would be an interesting social study - the unstated behavioural codes, standards, manners, and etiquette people use to deal with and interact (or don`t interact) with strangers within a confined space would seem to be different from one place to another...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nagoya Noh Theatre (名古屋能楽堂)

The Nagoya Noh Theatre  (名古屋能楽堂) is located just south of the castle. In operation since 1997, the intricate composition of roofs houses a traditional Noh stage with modern seating. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nagoya Castle, part 2

It`s sunny today, and the mountains in Gifu are visible on the horizon, prompting me to sketch these and add some colour to yesterday`s sketch.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nagoya Castle

The view north towards Nagoya Castle and beyond, all the way to the mountains in Gifu (mostly hidden at the horizon due to overcast skies)...

Friday, December 2, 2011

waiting at YEG

The airport is full of a variety of people, mostly relatively still and in their own little worlds as they wait for their flights.