Japan used to be foreign to me, but after living here for more than 7 years, it’s very familiar. However, there are times that I see things that feel foreign to me. I lived in the Ofuna area of Kamakura for 4 years, and ever since I moved to Fujisawa, I’ve returned to find changes. That’s one thing about Japan, there’s constant redevelopment happening. When people move out of their old house, it’s usually demolished, then replaced by a couple newer, narrower, taller houses. Since moving from Ofuna, I have seen that several new buildings have been constructed, some torn down, and some renovated. The building right next to my old apartment is gone, and is currently surrounded by a white construction fence. Probably one of the most noticeable changes near Ofuna Station is the demolition of half of the station’s main entrance staircase. They’re installing an elevator. But this is what makes things so foreign to me. As things slowly change, my familiarity with the area decreases, even though I return there on a weekly basis. This is certainly foreign to me.
Demolition at Ofuna Station.
This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge at WordPress’ Daily Post blog.
On September 30th, there were two events. One was local, the other was major.
First, in Ofuna, Kamakura, there was a big festival. This was the Sanma Festival. Sanma is the Japanese name for a fish called Pacific saury. But not only was this a festival about a small fish that’s grilled on a stick, it’s also a friendship festival between Ofuna and the city of Ofunato in Iwate prefecture. Ofunato was one of the cities devastated by the tsunami of March 11, 2011. Ofuna and Ofunato share the same kanji (大船 and 大船渡). I managed to take a few pictures of it that afternoon.
It’s a busy festival with lots of food.
This intersection was being controlled so festival-goers weren’t hit by traffic.
This banner flag says “Sanma matsuri.”
Look at all that food.
Finally, a picture from down on the street.
The festival ended at 3pm, which is quite early. The reason was that Typhoon 17 (Jelawat) was on its way. When it hit Okinawa, it was equivalent to a category 4 hurricane, and was called a super typhoon. There was plenty of damage and power outages in Okinawa, but in the Tokyo area, we didn’t have to worry very much. It rained a lot and the wind was strong, but it was pretty brief.
A wet window during the typhoon.
The festival season is starting already. Summer is on its way! Last weekend, Ofuna in Kamakura held its own festival, the Ofuna Matsuri. It’s very small, only covering one city block and consisted of a handful of food stands, a brass band from a junior high school and a parade that featured Miss Kamakura. I didn’t stay for the festival, but I walked through it.
This is about one third of the food stands at the festival.
I’m on a roll. For the second week in a row, here is another batch of 10 Instagram pictures. These pictures were taken from May 30 to June 3, 2011. Please leave a comment stating which photo you like the most and why, as well as which you like the least and why. Thanks!
Sunny and very warm now! (Fujisawa, Kanagawa)
Cheeseburger with Swiss cheese at Kua’Aina (Kamakura, Kanagawa)
Dark clouds (Kamakura, Kanagawa)
Hungry? (Kamakura, Kanagawa) – This muskmelon is around $70.
Down to the platform (Fujisawa, Kanagawa)
Schedule board at Futamatagawa station (Asahi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa)
Shonandai high rise apartments (Fujisawa, Kanagawa)
Curvy canopy (Machida, Tokyo)
2 wet balls reflected in the rain (Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa)
You know it’s June when hydrangea start to bloom (Fujisawa, Kanagawa)
On Sunday, I was at a beach barbecue at Yuigahama Beach in Kamakura, and we had some visitors. All along the beach, there are signs warning of hawks, as they like to attack unsuspecting people who are carrying food. I saw several people get attacked, losing their food in the process. One happened to be my friend, and he lost his corn. They can be quite aggressive, and they were present in large numbers. It was hard to get some good quality photos of the hawks, but I tried my best. Below is what I was able to capture.
A single hawk flying above.
Another hawk, a little closer.
Those are all hawks. There were plenty of crows around, but they didn't get mixed up with the much bigger hawks.
See the hawk in the middle? It didn't hit anyone, but it was probably going after someone's food.
They were everywhere!
The kites were also out. The plastic type, not the bird.
It seems touch screen devices are getting more and more popular. Smartphones, tablet computers, shopping mall directories, ATMs, and now vending machines. I took this picture on the Tokyo-bound Tokaido Line platform in Ofuna Station.
Plenty to drink, but I didn't try it.
Our final destination on January 3rd was Sasuke Inari Jinja (佐助稲荷神社). Inari shrines are famous for the numerous red torii gates forming a kind of tunnel along the main path leading up to the shrine. They also have guardian fox statues in front of the shrine, just like other shrines have guardian dog statues. This shrine is near Zeniarai Benten, but it’s much less popular. But when we were there, there were plenty of visitors. This was my second time at this shrine. Apparently, this shrine was the site of the hidden village of Kamakura, which was home to the predecessors of the ninja. It’s in a well protected area, being difficult to reach except for one direction. Enjoy the pictures!
This narrow path heads away from Zeniarai Benten.
We're coming up to the entrance of Sasuke Inari Shrine.
A bit closer now. Lots of red torii.
And the torii keep going for a long way.
Going up the hill, still more torii.
A small statue at the side of the path.
Yes, still going up!
The shrine is in sight!
Looking back down from the top of the stairs.
One of the guardian fox statues typical of Inari shrines.
Another path leads up to the left. We didn't go that way.
This is the main building of the shrine.
Yes, there are even more steps behind the shrine building!
This is another small shrine behind the main building.
The red maple leaves are still visible here.
And that’s it for the Oshogatsu pictures. I hope you enjoyed it!