See Japan's castles the easy way
Article posted on Sunday, November, 20th, 2011 at 3:26 pm
In early November of each year, the annual Saga International Balloon Fiesta is held on the western outskirts of Saga city. I didn’t make this year as I’m yet to fully recover from last year’s efforts in trying to escape the car park. The fiasco that that was aside, it was a fun day with plenty of things to do & see besides hot-air ballooning.
One odd little thing that I saw was this huge image of Ryōma Sakamoto made using soft drink bottle caps. And I must say, I am relieved (and a little surprised) to see that they’ve used the image of the real Ryōma Sakamoto and not the suave Masaharu Fukuyama, who played the lead character in NHK’s 2010 Taiga Drama, Ryōmaden. The piece was assembled by the students of a local high school.
And speaking Ryōma Sakamoto, how about checking out the latest Samurai archives podcast: Symposium Report – Why Ryōma Now
Article posted on Saturday, November, 6th, 2010 at 12:49 pm
Days off & blue skies do not come around often enough – FACT. How lucky that they once again joined forces to produce a sensational day last Wednesday, a public holiday. To further add sweet complexity to the mix, it was the opening day of the Saga International Balloon Festival.
First thing's first. Please check out the updated photos and information on the Saga Castle profile page. There's a video (like it or not) and you'll notice the new theme has finally been applied to the main site (again, like it or not).
A photo that didn't make it onto the Saga Castle profile page is this one. This sign is located about 40 metres to the North of the castle, and I wonder if you can't spot the hot-air balloon behind the breath-taking network of wires.
Article posted on Sunday, October, 24th, 2010 at 9:55 pm
I had been waiting 12 months for today’s trip to the Masutomi castle festival in Kaho (Fukuoka Pref). That’s how long it has been since doing a post on the lighting-up of Masutomi castle. I didn’t quite make it to the lighting-up, I just had to settle for a day-trip. And even then, the rain pretty much put an end to anything festival like. Hey, I’m not complaining. I’m not big on crowds.
The drive there was a bit hairy. As I made my way through the (I would guess) seldom-used mountain pass, I came across two sections where half of the road had fallen victims to land-slides. Not the type where land has slid on the road, but the type where the road has slid away. That coupled with narrow, twisting roads and the fog made for some pretty focused driving.
Once I arrived in Kaho, I was very happy to see plenty of signage pointing me in all the right places. First was a sign to the relocated main gate of the castle, then to the place where the crowds would have gathered, if the weather had’ve been decent. There was one other gate to be found, Masutomi castle’s Karamete gate. Some prior research ensured I’d be able to take the obligatory snaps.
The castle itself is, shall we say, rather unique. It’s Japan’s 2D’est castle. And due to the fog, I felt happy to even get the pics I got. I wasn’t going to hang around all day for the fog to clear, it’s just a billboard after all.
I was driving just as focused on the way back. I felt it was necessary for my survival. If only I had continued to be alert when I was home free. I decided to pull over to check out some cars, and whack! I hit the gutter. A slow leak ensued, and down the road, I noticed the car pulling to the left.
It had been a while since I’d changed a tire. The first time to change one in the rain. And hopefully the last time I’ll need to change one, rain or no rain.