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Costumes – Random sightings

With all the haikyo and yokai blog reports some of my other topics tend to get a bit neglected – so here’s a quick fix of costumes pics for you.

This is a small collection of three random costume sightings scored during other trips.

Firstly during a day out at the Meji Muru in Inuyama, I ran into this clawed cutie. A girl in white knee-length boots and a pink crab costume – don’t ask why.

She was actually with a small camera crew so a guess they were about to record a TV segment. The building in the background is a Frank Lloyd Wright original, so maybe it was something to do with that.

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Haikyo – Brick Kiln

Over the last couple of months Andrew and I have been slowly checking off all the sites in the book around Shiga Ken. Today we’re checking out #128 (p.185) and, as usual, without the benefit of any translation we have no idea what to expect, all we know is that it’s somewhere not far from the centre of Omi Hachiman.

As we draw close to the area that we figure it has to be in a huge black brick chimney slides into view above the other buildings. Brick isn’t a typical material in Japan (its dead weight isn’t something you want falling on you during an earthquake) and seeing brick usually suggests a historical or foreign (influenced) building – often both. Guessing that this must be what we’re here to see we park up and make our way across a rather industrial looking bridge and weir combo so see exactly what it is we’ve found.

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Haikyo – The Rainbow Hotel

Anybody who uses ‘ The Book ‘ might recognise this picture from p.199.

I even cropped my picture to look as close to the book version as possible, consider this my homage.

Though I have no idea why they selected this image to represent what is in fact a rather wonderful six storey hotel, with an elevated sky tower so tall you can see it long before the hotel comes into view.

This isn’t even the best bit of graffiti in the building, which has been adopted as a canvas by the graffiti community and is full much grander pieces of art, but we’ll get to that later.

First, let’s put this place into a bit of context.

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Nature – Bats in Shiga

For the second year running, I was lucky enough to be invited to join, and help out with, an annual research project that monitors a local colony of rare tube nosed bats.

Catching, tagging, weighing and recording data is the order of the day. I mostly helped out with putting tagged bats back in safe places where they could get over the trauma of being ‘researched’.

Here’s a selection of photo collages from the day. A full album can be found here.

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Yokai Report – Lafcadio Hearn/Koizumi Yakumo

Lafcadio Hearn

Today’s report isn’t about a specific yokai, but rather about one of the principle collectors of yokai folk law for western readers. Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (27 June 1850 – 26 September 1904) born on a Greek island to a Greek mother and an Irish father. Hearn moved to Japan in 1890 on a journalistic assignment and ended up adopting the country and staying on as a teacher and writer based in Matsue on the Western coast.

Although this position lasted only 15 months (to be followed by a succession of other teaching and journalistic jobs) it was maybe the most influential as it was here that he met and married, Koizumi Setsu, from a local samurai family. It was she who would act as an interpreter and guide as Hearn (known in Japan by his naturalised Japanese name, Koizumi Yakumo) began to collect and record traditional Japanese folk tales – many of which had never been written down before.

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Haikyo – Half Life Housing

Tom Waits once claimed he’d ‘seen it all through the yellow windows of the evening train‘, so chance are that along with Emirin’s house he might well have seen this place too as it’s just one stop down the line.

This place got me both curious and cautious as although it looked distinctly run down it was in a very visible location, right by the train tracks, and surrounded by other buildings.

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Haikyo – Emirin’s House (Original Find?)

Another house with a story today, I first spotted this place from a train and determined to head back and check it out as soon as possible. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that I got the chance to go back and explore. Even then it ended up taking two visits to go through, figure out and photograph this place.

The first thing I noticed here was how nice the garden must have been.  Lanterns dotted the undergrowth, and a stone bridge crossing a dry stream bed that run down to a leaf filled pond. It all seemed quite grand for a regular Japanese house.

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