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Ikebana – The Way of Flowers

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We went to the International Center in Sakae, a great place to get help if you are visiting Japan as a tourist or non-Japanese speaking resident. They had an Ikebana show.  Ikebana is a disciplined art form where nature and humanity come together in a flower arrangement. The arrangement emphasizes shape, line, and form based on a scalene triangle. Ikebana is also known as kado, the “way of flower”.

What I liked about this was the use of the banana tree flower in the center.  It's big and light yellow with tiny green bananas growing in a spiral from it's stem.

What I liked about this was the use of the banana tree flower in the center. It’s big and light yellow with tiny green bananas growing in a spiral from its stem.

There are many rules for Ikebana.  Minimalism and structure are two considerations.  Minimal flowers set among stalks and leaves.  A scalene triangle using three main twigs or points represents heaven, earth, and man, or sun, moon, and earth. The container, usually pottery, is a key element.

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Silence is practiced during Ikebana.  It is a time to appreciate nature.  The practice of this art makes one more patient and tolerant of differences. It promotes a closeness to nature and relaxes the mind, body, and soul.

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It is believed that Ikebana came to Japan with Buddhist priests in the 15th century. Since then, many styles of Ikebana have emerged.  The organization Ikebana International was started in 1956 to promote good will internationally through flowers.

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I don’t pretend to see all of the elements that are used in Ikebana.  I do like the idea of taking time out of our busy modern lives to “see” the natural world.  It does refresh the body, mind and soul. Enjoy!

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Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall

Entrance to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall

Entrance to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall

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Statues leading to the entrance of the Memorial Hall

Statues leading to the entrance of the Memorial Hall

Incoming crowds at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall - It was a weekend and very, very crowded as only China can be.

Incoming crowds at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall – It was a weekend and very, very crowded as only China can be.

On our last day in Nanjing we accompanied our friend, Shi Jun, a philosophy professor at Nanjing University of Science and Technology, and some of his students to the Nanjing Memorial Museum.  Because it was a weekend, and it was China, the museum was very crowded. The students we were with had been to this museum before on class trips.  One of them told me that she had a friend who went on a class trip here and vowed never to go again because it was so sad.  She was right.  The museum is world-class and lays out the story of the massacre of 300,000 citizens of Nanjing in 1937 by the Japanese when they were at war with China.  Nanjing was the capital at the time, called Nanking, and the Japanese knew that if Nanjing fell, the rest of China would fall, too.

Plaque explaining the Nanjing Massacre inside the Nanjing Holocaust Museum

Plaque explaining the Nanjing Massacre inside the Nanjing Holocaust Museum

On December 13, 1937, the city of Nanking was invaded, following the fall of Shanghai, by the Japanese Imperial Army, who had received orders not to take prisoners and to rape and loot as they saw fit.  So began the massacre of 300,000 citizens and unarmed soldiers in the city of Nanking.  The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall has been built near a site where thousands of bodies were buried in mass graves, known as “The Pit of Ten Thousand Corpses.”  It was a very moving experience to go to the Hall. I will attempt to repeat the history that is told by the people of Nanjing at the Memorial Massacre Hall in memory of those who died during the massacre.

Casting of remains found after Nanjing Massacre

Casting of remains found after Nanjing Massacre

During the battle for Shanghai, it was very bloody on both sides. Chiang-Kai-shek commanded the Chinese troops and knew that if Shanghai fell, Nanjing would be next.  Following advice from a German advisor, Chiang-Kai-shek took his elite troops out of Nanjing and brought them into the Chinese countryside.  The plan was to use the great distances of China as a weapon in the war to wear out the enemy and to keep his forces viable to fight another day.  While this might have been a great strategy for him, it left Nanjing a sitting duck for the Japanese Army.

The city announced it would not surrender and would fight to the death.  Under orders, the Chinese military that were left in the city, mostly untrained soldiers from the countryside, prevented the citizens of Nanjing from leaving the city thus setting the city up for the coming disaster.

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Photos of the destruction in Nanjing

Photos of the destruction in Nanjing

The  Japanese Imperial Army was given tacit approval from its commanders as it moved from Shanghai to Nanjing, to murder, rape, and loot as they wished.  They used a scorched earth policy and moved very quickly to Nanjing from Shanghai. As the Japanese got closer to the city, people tried to flee, fearing both the war and the deprivation that would follow.  Most Westerners fled the city but 27 people stayed, mostly missionaries, and they set up the International Committee for Nanking Safety Zone.  On December 1st they told all of the citizens who were left to move into this zone. People thought they would be safe there but such was not to be the case.

Prince Asaka from the Japanese Royal Family, was put in charge of the Japanese Army invading Nanjing.  He was informed that the Japanese Army had surrounded the city and that the Chinese would probably surrender. Prince Asaka gave the order to “kill all captives” thus giving official sanction to the massacre.

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There was a demand made for surrender which supposedly would have allowed the Chinese Army to leave the city but Chiang-Kai-shek refused. The Japanese Army then attacked the city from several sides.

On December 12, the Chinese Army was ordered to retreat and this led to utter chaos in the city. Some of the retreating soldiers stripped civilians of their clothing to “blend in” with the civilian population. Others were shot in the back as they attempted to flee.

Painting depicting "the rape of Nanjing"

Painting depicting “the rape of Nanjing”

On December 13, the Japanese Imperial Army entered the city without resistance.  Accounts of the slaughter that followed came from survivors, both Chinese and Japanese, and from the diaries of foreigners who stayed in the Safety Zone.  There were even photographs and movies taken of the slaughter.

Historical witnesses to the massacre

Historical witnesses to the massacre

Statue of Minnie Vautrin, an American missisonary who helped save people in Nanjing.

Statue of Minnie Vautrin, an American missisonary who helped save people in Nanjing.

One famous incident was a “contest” between two Japanese officers to see who would be the first to kill 100 people with a sword.  They each killed slightly over 100 but lost count as to who was first so they continued to 150. The Japanese newspaper headline read, “Incredible Record [in the contest to] Behead 100 People – Mukai 106 – 105 Noda – Both 2nd Lts. Go into Extra Innings.”

These two officers were arrested and tried as war criminals and were executed when Japan surrendered in 1945. Prince Asaka was granted immunity as part of the surrender agreement with the Japanese after World War II because he was a member of the Royal Family. He committed suicide.

VJ Day 1945

VJ Day 1945

Japanese Emperor surrendering after World War II

Japanese Emperor surrendering after World War II

The men, women, and children of Nanjing were systematically raped and killed during the six weeks of Japanese occupation. The Japanese documented their own actions but, later, were ordered to hide and destroy all evidence of the massacre.  Bodies and documents were buried in mass graves or burned.

In 1995 on the 50th anniversary of the surrender of Japan following World War II, the Prime Minister of Japan, Tomiichi Murayama, gave a formal apology for Japan’s actions in World War II. The people of China do not consider this apology to be “formal” enough. They are still waiting for Japan to own up to what it did in Nanjing.

Number of victims of the Nanjing Holocaust

Number of victims of the Nanjing Holocaust

In 1994, 2007, and 2012, high-ranking Japanese officials, mostly right-wing or nationalists, said that they don’t believe that the massacre happened or that if it did, there weren’t as many people killed as China has stated.  The Mayor of Nagoya was one of these people.

Just like the Holocaust, people today are denying that the “Rape of Nanjing” ever happened or that it wasn’t as bad as is being reported or that it is propaganda.  I believe that it did happen. That it was part of the horror of war. That a very well-trained Japanese Army ran amuck due to the poor decisions of its leaders. That is not an excuse for the violence visited on Nanjing but every country has had its moments of insanity, particularly in war, the US included.

An enigma for us being here in Japan today is witnessing the everyday kindness and politeness that the Japanese people exhibit and reconciling it with the horrors of Nanjing. Let there be an end to war in all its forms and an end to killing and violence.

Plaque at the end of the Nanjing Holocaust Museum

Plaque at the end of the Nanjing Holocaust Museum

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And Now For Something Completely Different

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Map showing Nanjing and Shanghai in China

Map showing Nanjing and Shanghai in China

Yes, there are Ninja at the Nagoya Airport!

Yes, there are Ninja at the Nagoya Airport!

We needed to go to Nanjing, China, because Don was asked to give a paper at a conference at Nanjing University of Science and Technology.  We booked on China East Airlines, which is a brand new Chinese airline.  We would fly into Shanghai and then catch a flight to Nanjing.  We packed light so we wouldn’t have to check our bags.  We already had a huge layover in Shanghai and then, the in-coming plane was late.  Don’t worry, we were told, this plane is always late.  No biggie! So, after waiting EIGHT hours, the plane finally landed and we were off.

Welcome to the Yin/Yang that is China. While China, without a doubt, has some of the most historic sites you could ever hope to see, they are also dealing with major problems like a huge population, scarce and polluted water, food supply issues, and air pollution. (I recommend the new book by Damien Ma and William Adams, ‘In Line Behind a Billion People’, which talks about these issues in China.)

New book on China.

New book on China.

When we landed in Nanjing we were met at the airport by two students of the University.  It was very late and so they hustled us out to a car and we headed for our hotel. They gave us each a bottle of water and told us it would be an hour ride before we reached the hotel.  We rode on major highways and toll roads and there was construction everywhere. The air quality was…brown. It was difficult at times to see clearly. Were we really breathing this stuff?

Bull statue in front of our hotel, just like Wall St. but smaller

Bull statue in front of our hotel, just like Wall St. but smaller

Lobby and entrance of hotel

Lobby and entrance of hotel

We arrived at our hotel which we were told was located in an ecological park.  I tried to get someone to explain to me what made it “ecological” but the most I could get was that the air quality was better than it is in the city and that it was a “place for old people to relax and fish.” I began to wonder if we were staying in an old folks’ home! Believe me, I could use the rest!

Lobby

Lobby

No, not an old folks’ home, it was a beautiful new 5 star hotel and one other conference member, the two students, and ourselves were the only guests!  Just as I started to think of The Shining, I noticed that our room number was 8223.  When we got on the elevator, I wondered why there was no eighth floor.  In fact, there was nothing above the fourth floor..? Turns out that all the room numbers begin with an 8.  It’s a lucky number in China that means you will have money in your future. Our room number was really 223 and we were on the second floor. (But I still hope they are right about the money!)

For more on lucky and unlucky Chinese go here:
http://www.my-new-chinese-love.com/chinese-lucky-numbers.html

Our room was gorgeous.  A large queen size bed with down duvet, a huge walk-in shower, robes and slippers, snacks on the table, and not a Japanese TV show in sight!  (The Japanese do have the absolutely worst TV programming in the world!) We absolutely crashed into that lovely huge bed and slept like babies. One odd thing, the bathroom had a glass wall between the bathroom and the bedroom. Now, there was a set of blinds you could close (and we did) but it got us wondering what they were thinking when they built and appointed the rooms. Do old folks who fish need or want glass walls in their bathrooms?

Okay, reality check. We are in China, people. You can’t drink the water, you can’t even brush your teeth with the water(and when I forgot and did, I had a panic attack!), you can’t even trust the bottled water, and forget ice. You can’t be sure of what you are eating because of pesticide use. And the western toilets are few and far between. Yes, our hotel room had one but our room was an hour away from the conference at the university! You catch my drift.

Breakfast : (clockwise) rice, squash, shortbread, rice-stuffed dumpling, and sweet potatoes

Breakfast : (clockwise) rice, squash, shortbread, rice-stuffed dumpling, and sweet potatoes

We had breakfast at the hotel before getting back into the car and heading out to the university. Now that it was daytime, once we were on the road, we could tell that the air quality was not good. It isn’t smog, it’s PM, particulate matter. It’s actual particles of grit in the air. You can see it on all the cars. You could write your name in it. And you are breathing it. Just FYI.

Driving through the PM

Driving through the PM

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We arrived at the university and they took us to the conference room. It was well-appointed and comfortable. People supplied us with snacks and drinks all day long. I attended the conference with Don. The university is in a suburb of Nanjing and not really close to any sight-seeing without a car which meant I was there for the day.

Don speaking at the conference...the whole reason we were in China

Don speaking at the conference…the whole reason we were in China

Most of the conference was in Chinese, all of it was about climate issues. Don gave his paper in English as did some other presenters but most of it was in Chinese. Don is a part-time professor at Nanjing University and they had a signing ceremony for him and another visiting professor at the conference. According to his contract, he needs to attend a conference and give a paper at the university at least once a year for the next three years.

Giving a presentation

Giving a presentation

Don's presentation

Don’s presentation

At the lunch break, we drove over to a hotel on campus where they had a Chinese lunch buffet set up. We sat at a table with several people from our conference. There was also a large conference of meteorologists being held on campus at the same time. After an hour, we were driven back to the conference site and stood outside to have our group picture taken. Yes, even though I was just visiting with Don, they included me in everything, even the group picture.

Again, there was no western toilet. I made dew…ah, due, but a very funny thing happened to me. I usually get my pants all up and fixed to leave the stall before I flush. Well, it’s a good thing because the one stall I was in started erupting like the tsunami from Hell sloshing water all over the stall. I dove for the door and barely made it out in time and then stumbled outside because I forgot there was a step down to the main floor of the bathroom. I managed to right myself and, when I realized that I was alone and no one had witnessed my ridiculousness, I just laughed myself silly, you know, that crazy hysterical laugh you get when you’ve just been snatched from the Jaws of Death! I never knew I could still move that fast, but, I may be scarred for life!

Then we went back into the conference and heard the rest of the presenters, mostly in Chinese, although some had slides in English. I had my iPad with me and read a book. I don’t think this was totally bad because: 1. I wasn’t really part of the conference; and 2. the other attendees were looking at their computers, too!

Dinner after the conference. Some of the dishes were: duck, pork, squash, corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, spinach, seaweed, oysters, fish, noodles

Dinner after the conference. Some of the dishes were: duck, pork, squash, corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, spinach, seaweed, oysters, fish, noodles

Conference dinner

Conference dinner

After the conference, we were taken back to the campus hotel for dinner. We had several private dining rooms since we had too many people for just one room. We sat at a big round table with an electric lazy Susan bringing the food around to everyone at the table. It’s unbelievable the number of dishes they bring out for a big Chinese banquet. We had several different kinds of vegetables and fruit, duck, pork, crayfish, fish, tofu, chicken, and lamb. But, this was not the fun part.

Toasting with Shi Jun

Toasting with Shi Jun

Mr. Party Animal

Mr. Party Animal

Mrs. Party animal

Mrs. Party animal

More toasts

More toasts

Toasting with Shi Jun

Toasting with Shi Jun

Don and the Dean of the Department of Climate Change Policy which hosted the conference toast each other at dinner

Don and the Dean of the Department of Climate Change Policy which hosted the conference toast each other at dinner

The big guys toast

The big guys toast

The real fun came when they brought out the sake. The custom is that everyone at the table toasts everyone else at the table. Let’s just say that the sake flowed freely. After we toasted several times at our own table, we visited the other two dining rooms to toast the diners there. In the meantime, they were coming to our dining room to toast us. The professors at our table started to skip pouring the sake into the thimble-size glasses and started to drink directly from the pitchers! They were getting louder and louder with their toasts. It’s a great custom and no one gets left out. We had a great time and finally made the last car back to the hotel.

The next morning we went down to the dining room and ate breakfast. We were going with our friend Shi Jun to downtown Nanjing. We went to the Nanjing Memorial Museum which was very crowded because of it being a weekend and because China just has so many people. This museum tells the story of the massacre of 300,000 people in Nanjing by the Japanese in 1937. It is a historical event known as the “Rape of Nanjing.” I will tell more about this museum and what happened to the people of Nanjing in my next blog. It deserves its own space to do it justice.

Nanjing Memorial Museum

Nanjing Memorial Museum

Number of victims of the Nanjing Holocaust

Number of victims of the Nanjing Holocaust

After the Memorial Museum, Shi Jun took us to a beautiful restaurant. The students ordered food for us. They said the Chinese tradition was to order one more dish than the number of people at the table. They ordered twelve dishes. We wound up sending the last dish back because no one had room for it! Again, there was a lazy Susan in the center of the table and the food choices went round and round.

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After lunch, we visited the 99 1/2 rooms of the family of Gan Xi now known as the Gan Xi Folk Art Museum. The real home of Gan Xi had probably 300 rooms or separate buildings. This is the only one of this type of house left in Nanjing.

The outside of one "room" with plants

The outside of one “room” with plants

Receiving guests

Receiving guests

Sitting in the family chairs

Sitting in the family chairs

Gan Xi and his family

Gan Xi and his family

Silk kimono worn by family member of Gan Xi

Silk kimono worn by family member of Gan Xi

Model of the original "house", really 300 buildings at it's peak, all owned by the family of Gan Xi.

Model of the original “house”, really 300 buildings at its peak, all owned by the family of Gan Xi.

Wood carvings

Wood carvings

The whole “99 1/2” thing started when it was said that the Forbidden City had 9,999 rooms. 9 is a lucky number and is associated with the Emperor. Since no one can have as much as the Emperor, wealthy people were said to have 999 rooms, and less wealthy had 99 rooms. 10 is a bad number because it is the “end”. So 9 1/2 is as close to 10 as you can get while not being ten and still being a very lucky number. Anyway, the museum shows you how wealthy people lived in the past. Some of the rooms show items owned by Gan Xi and his family. Other rooms house craftspeople who both demonstrate and sell their crafts. See the photos for some of the crafts.

The happy couple in the garden of Gan Xi

The happy couple in the garden of Gan Xi

Don and Shi Jun, a professor at Nanjing University of Science and Technology.  (You can see the quiet, beautiful garden with the huge city buildings just outside the garden walls.)

Don and Shi Jun, a professor at Nanjing University of Science and Technology. (You can see the quiet, beautiful garden with the huge city buildings just outside the garden walls.)

With Shi Jun, our guide and friend, at Gan Xi Folk Museum garden

With Shi Jun, our guide and friend, at Gan Xi Folk Museum garden

The Chinese Garden: water, stone (mountain), and plants with winding paths (always a surprise around each corner)

The Chinese Garden: water, stone (mountain), and plants with winding paths (always a surprise around each corner)

School children making drawings at Gan Xi Museum

School children making drawings at Gan Xi Museum

The really nice part of the afternoon was getting to spend time with Shi Jun, who has become a friend of Don’s since his visit to Penn State and then Don’s visit to the university last year. He is a very good host and a very kind man. He is the age of our son, Jeff. He’s married, has a daughter, and is a philosophy professor at the university. His English is great and he acts as an interpreter both for the conference and in his capacity as our host. He is the reason Don was invited to the conferences and to be a part-time professor. He is a wonderful friend and we hope to be able to have him visit with us in the future.

Carved dragon plaque

Carved dragon plaque

Carved ivory vase

Carved ivory vase

Shrine at the Gan Xi Folk Museum

Shrine at the Gan Xi Folk Museum

Silk loom

Silk loom

Large loom for weaving silk

Large loom for weaving silk

Display of Chinese fans at Folk Museum

Display of Chinese fans at Folk Museum

Chinese lanterns at Gan Xi Folk Museum

Chinese lanterns at Gan Xi Folk Museum

Bonsai and carved plaque

Bonsai and carved plaque

The Lantern Festival in Nanjing (photo at Gan Xi Folk Museum). Can you believe the number of people?

The Lantern Festival in Nanjing (photo at Gan Xi Folk Museum). Can you believe the number of people?

One of the other great things that happened at the Folk Art Museum was that we actually met one of the artists. He is a paper-cutter which sounds trite until you see his work. He actually worked at a university in Pa as a visiting artist and has had showings of his work in the US and Europe. He demonstrated his art for us and let us keep the pieces as gifts. We were thrilled.

Posing in front of some of the artist's work with the artist himself.  We were thrilled!

Posing in front of some of the artist’s work with the artist himself. We were thrilled!

The artist working his magic

The artist working his magic

Small samples of paper cutting art done by the artist himself as we watched.

Small samples of paper cutting art done by the artist himself as we watched.

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The Art of Paper-cutting in China

The Art of Paper-cutting in China

Leaving downtown Nanjing

Leaving downtown Nanjing

Everywhere we looked in downtown Nanjing, there were construction cranes with huge apartment houses going up block after block.

Highrise apartments in Nanjing.  They go on for miles!

Highrise apartments in Nanjing. They go on for miles!

Acres of giant high-rise apartments, as far as the eye can see!

Acres of giant high rise apartments, as far as the eye can see!

Part of the ancient wall that once protected Nanjing (Nice car, too, which is part of the modern problem that China faces.)

Part of the ancient wall that once protected Nanjing (Nice car, too, which is part of the modern problem that China faces.)

We had dinner at the hotel in a private dining room with Shi Jun, his students, the other conference guest from the UK, and us. Again we had a lazy Susan and many dishes. We discussed the conference, China, the US, the UK, and the state of the world in general. The students talked about their hopes for their futures, the rest of us talked about our families. It was a very happy and relaxed evening…a fitting end to our visit.

We went to bed early that night since our flight was very early and we still had to get to the airport. That early the air quality is just terrible. The Chinese only allow construction vehicles to operate at night, but there is construction all over the place. The dust still hadn’t settled that early. We made it to the airport in plenty of time. Shi Jun insisted on going in with us. He is the consummate host. We said our goodbyes and headed for the gate.

Can you see the jet plane?  Look in the middle for the two tiny lights, one on the nose and one on the wing.  This picture was snapped as we waited for take-off at Shanghai's Pudong Airport.

Can you see the jet plane? Look in the middle for the two tiny lights, one on the nose and one on the wing. This picture was snapped as we waited for take-off at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport.

I took photos out the plane window. You be the judge. I thought the photos hadn’t come out but they are pictures of jets waiting to take off. If you look closely, you can see the lights oN the planes. Yes, the air quality is bad.

PM (particulate matter) at the airport as we taxied for take-off

PM (particulate matter) at the airport as we taxied for take-off

Cargo ships in Shanghai Harbor

Cargo ships in Shanghai Harbor

Again, China is really the Yin and the Yang. Like every country they have both good and bad. They are just so big and have so many people that their problems are huge and seem to an outsider to be insurmountable. China is so different from Japan that it’s hard to believe they are both Asian countries and neighbors. It’s just such a stark contrast. It reminds me of forty years ago traveling in Europe and going from Austria or Switzerland and then crossing the border into Italy. The orderly life gave way to instant chaos, the trains were late, you were ripped off everywhere you went, and everything was dirty from both air pollution and the ages. As a tourist, I’ll have to go with Japan. It’s just so much easier.

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Emergency! Emergency!

Lining up at the tennis court at the start of the drill

Lining up at the tennis court at the start of the drill

Don’t get excited!  It’s just our practice drill in case of an emergency. And, let it be known that Japan has lots of possible emergencies! They have earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis, and the more usual, fires.  We had an emergency drill which was, for all you teachers out there, like a fire drill at school. We knew in advance that the drill was coming at 11:30 am.  Right on the dot, a voice message came and, in Japanese, told us to leave our building. (Don was teaching and, although they had the drill, they were told NOT to leave their building.) If I didn’t already know the drill was coming, and I was alone, I wouldn’t have a clue about evacuating the building and where I should go.  I don’t speak Japanese.  So, this is the same problem we encountered during the typhoon.  And, considering that this is an international university, I am not alone in wondering how we would be aware of emergency information.

Of course they had the drill in the RAIN!

Of course they had the drill in the RAIN!

Anyway, in an orderly fashion, and in the rain, we marched outside, our leader counted us, and we walked down the hill to the tennis courts.  The tennis courts are the first major open space away from other buildings that is close to our language classrooms.  We all lined up with our umbrellas.

Our group leader was stylish yet in charge

Our group leader was stylish yet in charge

The symbol of power

The symbol of power

The drill was in full swing when our leader was handed her walkie-talkie.  I remember from my years as an elementary teacher that the walkie-talkie is THE symbol of power during a drill.  I must admit here that I never even got close to holding one…and that was still the case here.

Getting the stretcher ready

Getting the stretcher ready

Helping the "wounded" man onto the stretcher

Helping the “wounded” man onto the stretcher

Then the drill got even more serious.  A man from the crowd took off his jacket.  A sling was placed on his arm, and a stretcher was brought out. The man laid down on the stretcher and was trundled off by several men in suits.  All I know is that he was getting wet because it was still raining, so great acting on his part.

The Ultimate Leaders (official pinnies, clipboards, and bullhorn)

The Ultimate Leaders (official pinnies, clipboards, and bullhorn)

Then a man with a bull-horn, which trumps the walkie-talkie for power, told us the drill would be over at noon.  We all waited quietly and orderly.  Our leaders didn’t have to tell us to be quiet or to face front, like we used to do at the school fire drills.  American school children could learn a few things from this well-ordered drill!

All lined up and waiting for noon so we could get out of the rain.

All lined up and waiting for noon so we could get out of the rain.

At noon, on the dot, the drill ended and we all went home or back to our classes.

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Later that same week, I was our family’s nominated person to go to the Emergency Training Classes. Don had received an email earlier in the month saying that someone from our family MUST attend the training. Since he was teaching at the time of the classes, I was the default family member.

Our esteemed leader from the Red Cross in Tokyo

Our esteemed leader from the Red Cross in Tokyo

The first class was CPR and AED training. The instructor was a man from the Red Cross in Tokyo. Class was limited to 20 participants and not quite that many showed up. The instructions were given in, you guessed it, Japanese! We did have an interpreter which was good because not one person in the class spoke Japanese. They all apparently did speak English, however.

These are the key phrases we are supposed to yell.  I believe they say something like: "No consciousness!" "I need your help!" And "Stay calm.  Call 119.”

These are the key phrases we are supposed to yell. I believe they say something like: “No consciousness!” “I need your help!” And “Stay calm. Call 119.”

The instructor from Tokyo began to explain to us how we were to do CPR. It was so typically Japanese that I had to laugh. Here’s what he told us. Before beginning CPR on a person we think is unconscious, we should tap the person lightly on the shoulder and then get down by their ear and ask in a quiet voice if they need help. If we get no response we should do it again a little louder, and then, if needed, a third time very loud. His explanation is that if the person were not really unconscious, we wouldn’t want to startle them by yelling at them.

My partner calling for help.

My partner calling for help.

The next thing is to ascertain breathing. Yell to passersby, “This person is unconscious. Excuse me but will you please come to my assistance?” I asked if it wouldn’t save time to just yell, “Help!” The interpreter gave me the Japanese word for it which was a heck of a lot shorter than the other whole sentence, but which I have already forgotten. I’ve since looked the word up. It’s “taskemas”. Just pray that you are not my unconscious victim while in Japan or that I have quick access to a dictionary!

1&2&3&4&....

1&2&3&4&….

Giving it my all!

Giving it my all!

When you get someone to help you, have them dial 119 which is the emergency number in Japan, and explain the situation. You will have already started CPR, which is 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths. I asked about the breaths since the US is now telling people not to do the breaths, and they said they aren’t as important as the chest compressions, but if the person isn’t breathing, you should try to do them if you can.

Getting ready to use the AED portable defibrillator

Getting ready to use the AED portable defibrillator

If the victim doesn’t respond to the CPR, it’s time to start-up the AED, which is the portable defibrillator. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that little piece of machinery. The instructor showed us how to turn it on and how to place the electric pads on the victim, one below the right shoulder and one on the left side. Before you remove the victim’s clothing which you must do to apply the pads, you need to shout out for all the world to hear, “This person is unconscious and I am helping them!” I guess it’s so no one gets the wrong idea.

Frank (I named him),  my unconscious emergency victim

Frank (I named him), my unconscious emergency victim

The AED will run a test on the person’s heart and if deemed necessary, will rev up for the big shock. You will know this because the big red button lights up and an alarm goes off. Clear everyone who doesn’t want to get the shock of a lifetime away from the victim and then hit the button. Whether the shock works or not, you are to keep doing CPR until the ambulance comes. You also must keep the electric pads on because the AED will continue to monitor the person’s heart and the ambulance crew and hospital will want that information.

For those of you who took CPR already, none of this is out of the ordinary except the extremely polite behavior in the face of an extreme emergency. Only the Japanese would worry about startling someone by yelling too loudly or by announcing that they are only undressing the person because they are helping them. I also want to go on record as saying that CPR is a lot of work and that once you begin, you are required to continue until help arrives. Someone’s life is literally in your hands.

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The second part of our training was information on what to do in a major earthquake. Basically there are two waves in an earthquake: primary and secondary. The primary wave is vertical and not very hard even in an extreme earthquake. But it is soon (depending on how far you are from the epicenter of the quake) followed by the secondary wave which is horizontal and will literally knock you off your feet unless you are holding on to something secure. In a quake, you should, if time allows, open your door so you won’t be trapped and then get under something sturdy like a table so debris won’t hit you in the head. If you are able to get outside, get away from all buildings so you are not hit by falling debris. There are designated open spaces for people to go to.

You are supposed to make friends with your neighbors so you can help each other in an emergency. In Japan it’s literally the house on either side and the three houses across the street. They’ve really thought this out because they’ve had to. We met the man who lives next door, but we haven’t seen anyone else around.

Some items for the emergency kit

Some items for the emergency kit

You should also have an emergency bag ready to roll. Your bag should include: a first aid kit, duct tape, your important papers, flashlight, work gloves, water bottle, high energy food bars, blanket, face masks, portable toilet (which turns out to be a plastic bag big enough to fit over a cardboard box), radio and batteries, a tarp, and rain poncho. Just think that you may need this stuff to live off of for a few days until help is available.

Our interpreter and our earthquake expert

Our interpreter and our earthquake expert

By the way, I won a prize for having my furniture attached to the ceiling so it wouldn’t fall over! It was a box of three different tins of crackers. I shared it with one of the college students from my group. I figured college kids are always hungry! They showed a picture of a room all disheveled after an earthquake and I said to the college kid, “Isn’t that how all dorm rooms look?” She agreed!

Here’s a couple of links so you can see what the Japanese have been through. You’ll know why they take their emergency drills very, very seriously!

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/environment-news/japan-tsunami-2011-vin/

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn4t13uxJFQ&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DSn4t13uxJFQ

http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&t=6m7s&v=0ZTECaTOxFE&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D0ZTECaTOxFE%26feature%3Dyoutu.be%26t%3D6m7s

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The Ultimate Challenge: Shopping for Groceries in Nagoya

You are having a dream. And in your dream, you are in a grocery store and, although you can recognize the different aisles: bread, soaps, spices, dairy, etc., you can’t read any of the labels or ingredients. You don’t know exactly what is in any of the brightly colored packages. Welcome to my nightmare! That is my food shopping experience in Nagoya.  

Location of Aeon Mall in Yagoto

Location of Aeon Mall in Yagoto

Aeon Mall, Yagoto

Aeon Mall, Yagoto

Thankfully, another professor’s wife took me food shopping the first time.  This means taking the Meijo (purple) subway line for two stops and getting out at exit 3 in Yagoto for the Aeon Mall. There is a grocery store on the second floor of the mall.

Japanese shopping cart with baskets (not my photo because I forgot to take one)

Japanese shopping cart with baskets (not my photo because I forgot to take one)

Here’s the drill.  Take the escalator up two floors and get a handbasket and place it into the shopping cart which is only just big enough to fit the basket! But, not to worry about that because the product sizes are about a fourth of the size of American products at home!

Fresh fruits

Fresh fruits

You begin in the fresh fruit and vegetable aisle. You will recognize most of these items. Let me just say, the carrots are perfect and the biggest carrots I have ever seen! They practically scream at you to buy them just because they look so good. Apples are also wonderful but quite expensive. They have bags of frozen vegetables, but not many choices.

"Buy me, I'm beautiful!"  screamed the carrots!

“Buy me, I’m beautiful!” screamed the carrots!

As you go down the aisle, you start to see the fresh fish. Some of these are things I’ve seen before.

Fresh fish

Fresh fish

Packaged fish

Packaged fish

When I got to the soap aisle, I looked for the same container of laundry detergent that we had at our apartment. (I found this bottle near the washing machine and found out this was laundry soap by pouring some in my hand and squishing it around to see if it got sudsy.) Luckily, they had the same package at the store. My friend said she started by looking for a picture of a white shirt. Then she tried the product. If she liked the way it worked, she kept using it. (She has been studying Japanese for 6 months. She knows just enough to get an idea of what might be in the package. She also knows just enough to ask a question in Japanese like, “What is this?”)

Soaps

Soaps

Be very careful in the spice aisle. The salt and sugar are right next to each other. I almost made the rookie mistake of buying salt for my tea! I buy my sugar in sticks (like straws full of one serving of sugar), then I know it’s the right stuff. Thank goodness I’m not baking (no oven in the apartment). How many straws of sugar go into a cake or a batch of cookies anyway?

Sugar

Sugar

Coffee was interesting. The first time I bought “origami” coffee. It’s coffee that doesn’t require a coffee pot. (We didn’t have a coffee pot in the apartment.) It’s regular drip coffee in a filter that unfolds to fit the top of your cup. There is no decaf in the regular grocery store. You have to go to a shop that sells special coffees to get that. Since then, we bought a drip coffee pot and now I buy a bag of regular drip coffee. The first time I bought this product, I had just bought the coffee maker and showed it to the clerk to see if I was buying the right kind of coffee for it. He went and got the manager who spoke some English. It was the right stuff, so now I just look for the dark blue package.

Drip coffee

Drip coffee

I asked this same manager about cereal and he had me follow him to a place about five aisles away from coffee. He showed me the cereal selection and bowed to me, thanking me for shopping in his store and for allowing him to help me. I wanted to cry!

Dannon yogurt - note the mixed berries picture on the label

Dannon yogurt – note the mixed berries picture on the label

I buy the same yogurt every time. It’s Dannon with mixed berries. I know that because it actually says “Danone” and it has a mixed berry picture on the label. Each container has about 2 teaspoons of yogurt in it! I feel like I’m in the land of the Lilliputians…and I’m Gulliver! But, then again, the Japanese are thin and most Americans are not. You can draw your own conclusions here.

Service trays and tongs to select your breads and pastries

Service trays and tongs to select your breads and pastries

Breads and pastries

Breads and pastries

Breads and pastries

Breads and pastries

To get fresh bread or rolls, you first take a tray and a pair of tongs. You select what you want, put it on the tray with the tongs, and take it to the cashier. If you want your bread sliced, they do it by hand with a bread knife, just indicate with your fingers how thick you want your slices. You pay for the fresh bread right at the bakery counter. Just a little aside here, the Japanese love white bread. In the packaged bread aisle, that’s all you’ll find. I couldn’t believe it!

Bags of white bread!

Bags of white bread!

When I bought butter for the bread, my friend read the label for me. I bought one stick. When I went the next time, I wanted a bigger package (2 sticks) so I found the one stick package and compared the writing on the label. Another thing I can’t believe, the Japanese use margarine instead of butter, so you have to be really careful when making your selection. There is no whipped or soft butter available. Believe me, I looked!

Butter (two sticks worth but in one big chunk)

Butter (two sticks worth but in one big chunk)

There is no grape jelly. Plenty of strawberry and blueberry, but no grape. Don’t know why.

Milk and juice

Milk and juice

Milk and juice comes in 1000 mL containers that compare to our quarts. There is nothing big like a gallon size. They have whole milk, no-fat, and soy milk. Be careful that the orange juice you buy is 100% juice. One time I bought juice that was only 10% juice. Boy, was I mad at myself!

Sushi boxes ready-to-go

Sushi boxes ready-to-go

There are many shelves of freshly made foods that people buy to have for dinner. To buy these items, you either have to recognize it or be able to read the labels. Sadly, neither of these work for me right now.

Pre-made foods

Pre-made foods

Oh, let’s not forget about tofu. There’s a whole case of every different kind of tofu you could ever want.

Tofu

Tofu

So, you’ve bought your groceries and you go to the check-out. You take the hand basket out of your cart and put it on the counter. The clerk scans the items and puts them back in the basket. You pay (unlike other things, you can use a credit card), take your basket to the bagging station, and put your items in your own cloth bags to take home. If you don’t have your own bags, they have small plastic bags that hold one or two items, or you can buy cloth bags at the dollar store (¥105 = $1.05 includes tax) on the third floor.

Check-out time

Check-out time

Check-out station with bagging behind it

Check-out station with bagging behind it

Okay, so you have your two or three bags of food. Now you have to get home. You have two choices: take the subway or take a cab (¥1000 = $10). I have tried it both ways. One way costs you $10 but the cab is waiting right outside the mall and it takes you right to your door (if you had the foresight to have someone write your address in Japanese beforehand!) Or you can be a pack animal and take the subway, going up and down several sets of steps, riding for two stops (make sure to go home before 3pm so you don’t run into the school kids or workers going home – very crowded!) with bags hanging from every appendage of your body, walking 2 long blocks uphill to your apartment and then up three flights of stairs to your door…you get the idea. So, let’s just say, $10 well-spent!

Pack animal...I tried taking the subway with my groceries! I am actually carrying 5 bags, 4 food bags and my purse. And let me just say for the record, milk and juice are heavy!

Pack animal…I tried taking the subway with my groceries! I am actually carrying 5 bags, 4 food bags and my purse. And let me just say for the record, milk and juice are heavy!

So, the rule is if you are buying one or two things, take the subway but if you are shopping for the week, take the cab. Oh, and I thank the sweet angels of the universe who made me put four cloth shopping bags in my luggage before leaving the States. They have been so handy for so many things. And who knew I would really, REALLY need them for food shopping.

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Sakae and Osu

So you say you want to go shopping? We’ve got just the place for you just a few subway stops away from our home base at the university. It’s called Sakae. It’s extremely high-end. It’s where the elite with the old money in Nagoya go when they need a new ¥50,000 ($500) designer handbag or the latest designer shoes or clothes.

Makes me think of the Sesame Street song, "one of these things is not like the others, one of these things doesn't belong.  Can you guess which thing is not like the others, before I finish my song?"  It's the Buddha!

Makes me think of the Sesame Street song, “one of these things is not like the others, one of these things doesn’t belong. Can you guess which thing is not like the others, before I finish my song?” It’s the Buddha!

Shop in Sakae

Shop in Sakae

I kid you not, name a designer label and Sakae has their store. There are more designers here than there are in Paris! (Told to me by someone who has lived in Paris.)

Shopping in Sakae

Shopping in Sakae

Inside the shops at Sakae

Inside the shops at Sakae

The subway will let you out in a huge mall area that is connected to one of the most upscale malls I have ever seen. I can’t stay in there too long because the amount of lighting on the products is both blinding and hot. This mall has sections for different designers…Prada, Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Hermes, Fendi, YSL, Coach, Kate Spade, etc. You get the idea. Everything is high-end and very expensive.

Underground part of mall at Sakae Station

Underground part of mall at Sakae Station

Underground mall at Sakae Station

Underground mall at Sakae Station

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Once you buy something in one of these stores, the same sales clerk will wait on you whenever you go there. They will remember what you bought, what you looked at, what you are interested in, everything to make your shopping experience pain-free. That’s their job…and people who work in the shops in Japan take their jobs seriously. They make a good salary and in these high-end stores they also make commissions.

I saw one store that I just wanted to go into and look around but I noticed a row of uniformed clerks and realized that I wouldn’t be able to just “look” by myself. That’s not the shopping experience of the rich in Sakae. That’s what you do at home, at Boscov’s or Macy’s, where you can’t find a clerk even if you need help! This is something totally different.

Shopping in Sakae

Shopping in Sakae

Many of the shoppers are young women. The younger, unmarried girls come from families with money, have jobs, but live at home so that all their salary is discretionary. And they are putting that money on their backs in the form of the very latest fashions. The other young category is young married moms. They don’t work, they are in charge of the family finances, and they must dress to show how successful their husbands are. (Don’t have the latest $500 designer handbag? Looks like your hubby isn’t doing too well.)

Shopping in Sakae..."Salary Men" in their black suits

Shopping in Sakae…”Salary Men” in their black suits

Aside from the fun of just seeing these shops, there is the food mart where you can buy just about any kind of food. You can take it with you, have it shipped home, or shipped anywhere in the world. There are hundreds of food booths, all with uniformed young women with super smiles, hawking the products in their booths. Unless you really want something, this is a place you will only be able to stand for a few minutes. It’s extremely crowded and very noisy.

Food Mart in mall in Sakae

Food Mart in mall in Sakae

Back on the street, the fashion show starts. Doesn’t matter whether it’s day or night, these people really know how to dress! Daytime is great but come nighttime, they really put on the pizzazz! Always the latest, short skirts or dresses, designer shoes, designer bags, and what they refer to as “blonde” hair, which is actually a reddish-brown color. It’s an amazing sight to see.

Sculpture outside the train station with the Midland Tower

Sculpture outside the train station with the Midland Tower

There are some tourist sites to see downtown as well. We went to the Midland Tower Building and took the elevator and several escalators to the 44th floor. There for a small fee, you can go out on a deck that goes around 3 sides of the building and get gorgeous views of Nagoya. It’s open-air but covered, and the views are breath-taking. We need to return at night to see the city all lit up. We heard it’s great. There’s also a very good Italian restaurant on the 42nd floor! Just in case…

Nagoya from the Midland Tower

Nagoya from the Midland Tower

View of Nagoya Castle from Midland Tower

View of Nagoya Castle from Midland Tower

TV Tower in downtown Nagoya, near Oasis 21

TV Tower in downtown Nagoya, near Oasis 21

Another site is the TV Tower. It’s right downtown and also has a viewing platform. It’s near Oasis 21 which includes lots of night action.

Lucent Tower Painted Walkway

Lucent Tower Painted Walkway

Lucent Walkway

Lucent Walkway

Stilettos on the Lucent Walkway

Stilettos on the Lucent Walkway

We walked from the Lucent Tower to the train station via the Lucent Painted Underground Walkway. It’s fun for kids…so of course, I had to go there. It was fun and a nice way to walk to the train station.

Osu

Osu

Osu

Osu

Good Luck Cat (maneki-neko) is a symbol of good luck, wealth, or good health. Our rule is, if you get lost at the Osu market, meet at the cat!

Good Luck Cat (maneki-neko) is a symbol of good luck, wealth, or good health. Our rule is, if you get lost at the Osu market, meet at the cat!

Not far from Sakae is Osu, which reminds me of a grand bazaar. It’s hundreds of little shops selling everything imaginable from American and Australian clothes (even saw cowboy boots) to used clothing sold by the pound. It’s a favorite of everyone and is definitely lower brow than Sakae.

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Inside Osu Temple

Inside Osu Temple

There is a very old temple right outside the Osu marketplace. People worship there and it is considered that the temple provides protection for the market.

Traditional drummers

Traditional drummers

Acting out an old Japanese tale

Acting out an old Japanese tale

Traditional Japanese instrument and songs

Traditional Japanese instrument and songs

Dancing, juggling, acrobatics, and just plain funny...these guys could do it all! This was the act where we put our money in the hat.

Dancing, juggling, acrobatics, and just plain funny…these guys could do it all! This was the act where we put our money in the hat.

Cartoon character beckoning us into a shop

Cartoon character beckoning us into a shop

The Japanese love their cartoon characters

The Japanese love their cartoon characters

Our personal favorite, aside from the face and outfit which are great, he would pose for you when you took his picture.

Our personal favorite, aside from the face and outfit which are great, he would pose for you when you took his picture.

Parade of the Geisha in Osu

Parade of the Geisha in Osu

The parade of the Geisha through Osu which drew a very large crowd.

The parade of the Geisha through Osu which drew a very large crowd.

And who is this lovely Geisha?  That's right, it's me!

And who is this lovely Geisha? That’s right, it’s me!

We were at Osu on their Harvest Festival Holiday (think Japanese Thanksgiving). It was crazy crowded with street performers, food booths, and Geishas on parade (someone told me the Geishas are really men!) The main parade went up to Sakae with all the floats and bands you would see in an American parade, except the costumes were Geishas, Samauri, and Shoguns. Lots of fun but the parade bogs down as the women can only walk just so fast in their kimonos and geta (wooden clogs)!

Women marching in Harvest Parade in downtown Nagoya

Women marching in Harvest Parade in downtown Nagoya

Harvest Festival Parade

Harvest Festival Parade

Parade float with golden dolphin

Parade float with golden dolphin

The first Feudal Lord at Harvest Festival Parade...Don wants to be him!

The first Feudal Lord at Harvest Festival Parade…Don wants to be him!

The second feudal lord...Don has helmet envy!

The second feudal lord…Don has helmet envy!

Geisha on parade

Geisha on parade

Ladies of the Court

Ladies of the Court

The third feudal lord, the main guy, head honcho.  When he shows up it's like Santa Claus has finally made his appearance in our Thanksgiving parades. Notice that he is also in a red suit!

The third feudal lord, the main guy, head honcho. When he shows up it’s like Santa Claus has finally made his appearance in our Thanksgiving parades. Notice that he is also in a red suit!

Our University group that went to the Harvest Festival at Osu and Sakae

Our University group that went to the Harvest Festival at Osu and Sakae

We had a blast having gone to the festival with a bunch of university folk including students. We were so tired that we couldn’t wait to get home. And isn’t it funny how we are starting to think of our little apartment and neighborhood as “home”.

Yes, after our long day at the Harvest Festival I felt just like the walking dead!  (If you read the sign it says "No Photos".  We didn't notice it until we went back the next day...brain dead, or what?

Yes, after our long day at the Harvest Festival I felt just like the walking dead! (If you read the sign it says “No Photos”. We didn’t notice it until we went back the next day…brain dead, or what?

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Nagoya Castle

Nagoya Castle in all its glory

Nagoya Castle in all its glory

Nagoya Castle is a flatland castle built by the Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa. It is a wooden structure built on huge stone walls. All of the shogun’s feudal lords were ordered to help with the construction of the castle. If you look at the giant stones in the castle’s walls, you can see the marks of the different lords carved into them from way back in 1609.

The Crest of the Shogun

The Crest of the Shogun

Castle wall stones showing the mark of the feudal lord who donated them.

Castle wall stones showing the mark of the feudal lord who donated them.

The castle was surrounded by a moat and it’s turrets were built with bay window projections which overhung the stone walls so that rocks could be dropped on attackers.

Castle walls and dry moat

Castle walls and dry moat

Entrance to Honmaru Palace

Entrance to Honmaru Palace

The castle includes Honmaru Palace which was the home of the Shogun when he was at the castle. The palace was made from honeki cypress (which is a very fragrant wood and has a beautiful light color) and had painted walls, ceilings and sliding doors.

Male and female tigers!

Male and female tigers!

A tiger "family"

A tiger “family”

A funny story is the fact that some of the wall paintings were of tigers. I asked why they would paint tigers since there are no tigers in Japan. The guide told me that the artists had seen paintings of tigers in China and copied them, but had mistakenly thought the cheetah was the female tiger and had painted the tiger and cheetah together with a cub, like a family!

Only natural national monument in Nagoya, a Japanese nutmeg tree that is 600 years old.

Only natural national monument in Nagoya, a Japanese nutmeg tree that is 600 years old.

On the grounds of the castle there is also the only natural national monument in Nagoya, a kaya-nu-ki or Japanese nutmeg tree. It is 600 years old and it is said that the shogun decorated his dinner plate with nuts from this tree on the night before he would go into battle.

Ancient battle

Ancient battle

Posing on the Golden Dolphin

Posing on the Golden Dolphin

Linda and the Golden Dolphin

Linda and the Golden Dolphin

One of the most famous things at Nagoya Castle are the Kinshachi or Golden Dolphins, a male and a female. They are covered in 18 carat gold and are situated on the highest rooftop of the castle with smaller ones on some of the other buildings. They were thought to be talismans against fire. This did not help the castle during World War II when it was firebombed by the US Army and destroyed.

The bombings of the Castle during World War II by the U.S. Army Air Forces destroyed Nagoya Castle in 1945.  (Photo from Wikipedia article)

The bombings of the Castle during World War II by the U.S. Army Air Forces destroyed Nagoya Castle in 1945. (Photo from Wikipedia article)

UtüUuu

Nagoya Castle

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Luckily, many of the paintings and objects of art were put into storage as the war got closer and closer to Japan. Many of these items are being used in the reconstruction of the castle and palace or can be seen at the Tokugawa Museum of Art. The reconstruction of the castle is scheduled to be done in 2018.

Working hard in the hard hat area

Working hard in the hard hat area

Don lends a hand moving the blocks of stone for the shogun

Don lends a hand moving the blocks of stone for the shogun

Construction site of a castle guard tower

Construction site of a castle guard tower

Construction of a guard tower

Construction of a guard tower

Nagoya Castle is a magnificent structure that looms over the area where it is sits. It is in the center of a huge park which includes other buildings such as a tea house. When you see the reproduction of the castle grounds and its surrounding area, you definitely know that the Big Guy in Town lived there! Where the castle stands, it is the highest structure around. In modern times, it is dwarfed by the downtown skyscrapers but it is alone in the center of the park so it appears as it did when it was first built, the highest structure in the area.

One of the fun things at Nagoya Castle is Rent-A-Shogun. These young guys are cool and ready to perform at your party or other occasion. They graciously pose for pictures with you.

Hire a shogun for your next party!

Hire a shogun for your next party!

Another character from the shogun era.

Another character from the shogun era.

Oh, we are so cool!

Oh, we are so cool!

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