Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Koban, or Police Box

The predecessor of the modern neighborhood police box, or koban, dates at least to the Edo era (1603-1867).Charles Dunn, in Everyday Life in Traditional Japan, writes "{The officer of the peace}took with him two or three assistants and called at the various watchpoints that were sited in the subdivisions, manned by a representative of the local residents' association."  The powerful local residents' association, which today maintains a strict watch on, among other things, the garbage collection stations in its jurisdiction, meting out severe chastisement on those who deposit their waste before the mandated time or, heaven forbid, on the wrong day, was likewise in days of old a formidable social institution.

Goodbye to All That: Back to the Old Tokai Road: Akasaka, #39

above: a lively inn scene at Akasaka, Toyokawa, Aichi
below: the Ohashiya in today’s Toyokawa 

Monday, June 14, 2010

High School Sports Day Photos: The Honey Bees

High School Sports Day

Sports Day is a tradition at Japanese primary and secondary schools.  Students vie against each other running events, the tug-of-war, and similar athletic contests.  At middle and senior high schools there is a panel competition. The teams' mascot or theme is depicted in the paintings, which are made in sections and then mounted on a frame.  The quality of artwork created by Japanese students is exceptionally high.

The Scream

Was this road sign inspired by Munch's famous painting? It reads, 'Beware of children dashing into the roadway."

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Soba, or buckwheat noodles, is a popular and delicious dish.  The soup is decanted from the jar at right into the cup at its left. Wasabi and leeks may be added to the broth, into which the noodles are then dipped. My lunch set included rice, Japanese pickles, fried egg, boiled bamboo shoots, and sweet beans.  If you're ever in Tochio, drop by the restaurant pictured in this post, just off the upper end of the main street.

Tochio's Specialty: Aburage, or Fried Tofu

Tochio, Niigata; Famous for Fried Tofu and Fertility

The photos show downtown Tochio. The city has a popular fertility festival, but I saw little evidence of young children during my visit; most of the townspeople I met were elderly.  

Back to Japan: A Cycling Trip- Interesting Signs

Every year I hear of bear attacks in areas like those along my route; "Beware of Bears" says the first sign.  And the second sign?