Roger L. Simon

The Seven Samurai Meet Blade Runner

fish.gifSometimes it’s hard to believe Japan is one country. When you’re outside the big cities, most of the time, if you’re a tourist, you’re looking for the quaint or the folkloric, like this fellow selling river fish in Kanazawa’s Omi-cho Market.

Or maybe you’re looking for the perfect period interior like this one in a samurai’s house in the Naga-machi District. It also has a near perfect garden and near perfect dappled carp floating practically motionless in a near perfect stream. Trust me.

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Of course the natives are onto us tourists and our lust for elegant Japanese crafts (who wouldn’t be?), so they offer opportunities for us try our hands at ceramics and such for a few (or a lot of ) yen. Here Madeleine and Sheryl are having a go at yuzen silk painting at an establishment only a few hundred meters from the samurai’s house. They did pretty well, but yours truly made quite a hash of it. At least I didn’t get any paint on my camera.

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So… yet more aesthetically minded… looking for the zen of the zen.. we headed off to the capital of it all today… Kyoto… and found… “Blade Runner”! Yes, that historic temple city has the most teched-out railroad station I have ever seen and we are literally staying inside it – at the Hotel Granvia. This photo is taken from the front door of the hotel looking across the station at the Isetan Department Store on the opposite end. There are so many restaurants and shops in this place, you could never leave it and almost never repeat yourself.

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I guess if you wanted to do a little zazen, you could bring your meditaton cushion up to this skyway which crosses over the vast station ten stories up.

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As I type this, I can hear the shinkansen rumbling past. More from the temples tomorrow.