Famous tattoo master Horiyoshi III (sandaime) uses electric needle to outline a design on a California client in his apartment in a quiet Yokohama neighborhood.
A visit to his tattoo museum is a must
Admission fee ¥ 1000
3-123 Isecho Nishi-ku,
Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa ken
It was hard to believe that I was actually seeing the Entering Ceremony of the Makanouchi, the top division sumo wrestlers wearing their heavy, ornate ceremonial aprons. But, there I was, October 20, 2017, in Tokyo, at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan stadium sitting in a box seat on a tatami mat close to the action, thanks to the connections of a generous Japanese friend who escorted me and his lovely daughter there.
3,000 sumo fans filled the stadium and cheered for their favorites as each top-division rikishi (wrestler) was announced, ascended and circled the dohyo, the ring.
I have been a true fan of Sumo for only a couple of years. Thanks to NHK World T.V. coverage, I am able to watch and learn, and enthusiastically choose my favorite wrestlers: Harumafuji, the top level Yokozuna from Mongolia (who will go on after this day #12 to win the Grand Tournament championship in an exciting tie-breaking match with Goeido. I will see another fave, Takayasu, and Ura and Ishiura, younger smaller wrestlers with speed and incredible skill, and Kotoshogiku, whose signature pre-match back bend elicits a lot of delight from the crowd.
At the beginning of my becoming a fan, I kept a written record of the matches and noted the winning kimarite, the technique. I am still learning to spot and name them. Matches last but a few seconds, and my eye is not trained to take in all that is played out. Generally, though, it is just plain entertaining to watch two 350+ men crash into each other with the force of 2 Gs, and try to outmaneuver the other with intelligence, speed, open hand slaps, grappling belly bumps, thrusting and belt throws, whether I can remember the correct names in Japanese or not.
Japan’s National Sport was begun as entertainment during the fall festivals of thanksgiving for the rice harvest at Shinto shrines 1500 years ago. Eventually it became so popular that it rose to be the central event. The wrestlers are naked, save for a thick woven silk belt called a mawashi wrapped around their waist and up between their legs. The tournament is considered a sacred event with many rituals carried over from ancient times in order to connect with the gods, offer thanksgiving, to purify the fighting space, and demonstrate that there are no weapons involved.
The skill required, and the fame and fortune a top challenger earns, has attracted men from other countries to come to Japan. Mongolia and Hawaii, have produced some legendary competitors. The winner of this particular tournament, Harumafuji, is a 33 year old from Mongolia. He was the 70th Yokuzuna, at the top of the top division. I will see him compete on this day, as the only Yokuzuna who was well enough to be able to compete. The other 3—two of whom were born in Mongolia, and the first Japanese Yokuzuna in years, Kisenosato, were out injured.
The next Grand Tournament begins tomorrow in Fukuoka.
I will be watching the 15 days of matches, continuing to learn, continuing to enjoy, and be warmed by the memories of actually being there, in person.
Window displays--especially for fashion--have always fascinated. These photos from 2005, 2009 and 2017 represent mod-traditional and retro-contemporary trends of their times.
TAKASHIMAYA DEPARTMENT STORE KYOTO MAY 2005
H & M SHIBUYA FALL 2009
TAKASHIMAYA DEPARTMENT STORE KYOTO FALL 2017
These manikins reminded me of the robot I met in a WHG hotel reception area in Kyoto.
Takashimaya's fashion is a bit more conservative on the whole than, say Isetan's, but you cannot help but appreciate their clever window design reflecting the influence of cutting-edge technology on everyday life.
COMPOSER "YOTA" TANAKAで午後を共有する
私の穏やかな作曲家でピアノの友人である "Yota" Tanakaと別の午後を過ごすことができてとてもうれしいです。
（彼は、金の軍隊が彼のオーケストラと同じ名前をしていることを私に伝えました：The Milky Way）、核兵器、人生の目的。楽観主義者であり、夢見ているヨータ氏は、宇宙船に乗って物事が本当に悪くなるのでは、残念だと言った。
I confess, I never did have the aromatic, fresh-brewed coffee at Kyoto's new and beautifully architected cafe, TIME DOU (What Time is it?) built on the site of a former clock shop.
It was the end of September, and temperatures and humidity were high on the day I discovered this restorative place located on Karasuma Dori, just above Marutamachi facing the old Emperor's Palace.
Tired, thirsty, and craving a dessert, I ordered their hojicha pudding, a light-weight not-too-sweet confection I fell in love with, and glass of iced hojicha (roasted green tea). The slightly smokey taste of this tea slakes thirst and refreshes the body--without the jolt of caffeine--was just right.
Time Dou （タイム堂） wi-ri available!
KYOTO never disappoints. Tradition, both a proud heritage but sometimes an inhibition to innovation is making space for the new. This movement is particularly apparent in the numerous cafes sprouting up around the city.
My hotel, the Palace-Side, across the street from Emperor Meiji's former palace, is in easy walking distance. On Karasuma Dori above Marutmachi Dori, TIME DOU which occupies the space where a clock shop once stood.
The relaxed energy, fresh modern architectural design with light wood, new ceramics accented here and there with old wooden beams, drew me in.
I became a fan from the first bite of a delicious open faced sandwich of grilled vegetables, a glass of iced hoji cha, and serving of delicate hojicha pudding.
It wasn't just the food that brought me back once a day for a meal or a snack or just dessert, but the wonderful young staff, led by manager and chef, Ryu Nakashima.
I think you will feel extremely comfortable and well taken care of when you go.
Sherry Remez is an Internationally published Inspirational, Travel and Feature Writer specializing in Cultural Preservation; Entrepreneur; Artist; Certified QiGong Instructor and Energy Healing Practitioner.
She resides in the beautiful State of California
Fukuoka Traditional Craft
Kazuo Sakata Kurume Kasuri
Sanui Hakata Ori
Tattoo Museum Yokohama
Yame Green Tea