Sword Master

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This is a Japanese Tengu, which is a mythical creature that lives in the mountains of Japan. It is said that Tengus have incredible sword fighting skills and if you’re lucky and they think you are worthy then they might take you on as an apprentice so you can learn how to be a master sword fighter. There are quite a lot of these statues of Tengus in Buddhist temples in Japan and supposedly if you rub the foot of the statue of a Tengu it gives you good luck and good health (see how shiny his feet are!)

The Makeup Buddha

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This is probably the strangest Buddha I’ve even seen! It is on Ghost Hill (Yurei Zaka) near Shinagawa. There is quite a strange story behind this Buddha. Apparently he was being transported from his old temple to a new one but on the way he was dropped and some of his face was smashed up. When he arrived at the new temple one of the priests there took pity on him and covered up the hole in his face with some white makeup that fashionable ladies and geisha used. Now quite a few people come and use a little powder brush which is sitting in front of the Buddha to make him look attractive and apparently if you make him attractive he will grant your wishes!

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Funny Balconies

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I was passing through Tokyo’s Kappabashi kitchenware supply district when suddenly I saw this building with amazing balconies in the shape of colourful tea cups and saucers! Now Japan does have a lot of strange things but this is so weird I had to stop and take a photo. It’s a building belonging to a cookware company so I suppose it makes sense (a bit!). Anyway, it’s a pretty funny idea and certainly eye-catching, but I’m not sure I would want to live there.

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A Gruesome Pond

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When samurai killed someone they often cut off the head of their victim so they could prove that they had killed them. Of course the heads would be a bit of a mess so they needed to be washed before being shown or put on display! This little pond is particularly famous because it is the place where the head of Lord Kira was washed after the 47 Ronin (master less samurai) assassinated him to avenge the death of their master. This happened in 1702 and it’s one of the most famous stories from Japanese history!
You can visit the pond at Sengakuji Temple in Tokyo, which also has the graves of the 47 Ronin and their master. Apparently if you look into this head washing pond so that you can see your face in the reflection then you are going to die! (though I had a good look at my reflection there yesterday and I’m not dead (yet) because if I was I wouldn’t be able to write this post 🙂 ).

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Mega Dog!

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This dog statue is 11 metres high! It’s completely made of wood and has a resting area with benches inside and a viewpoint terrace at the back next to the tail. It’s part of a dog theme park called Wan Wan Land (wan wan in Japanese means ‘woof woof’), which is in Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture. There are about 500 dogs there of nearly 100 different breeds (and also some cats too). If you love dogs it might be worth a visit.

Going too far?

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Here in Japan they like their bread in thick slices, but today I saw this which is just going way too far! It’s called ‘Honey Toast’ and it is a special Shibuya area food in Tokyo. It is a dessert that’s pretty much made out of a whole loaf of bread, hollowed out a bit and filled with ice cream, cookies and sauces for toppings. You can even get birthday ones and ones with cute characters on top!

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So Many Flavours…

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Normally Kit Kat bars are chocolate or vanilla flavour. But here in Japan there are so many other flavours too, and some of them are really unusual and weird! We’ve seen: wasabi flavour, strawberry flavour, strawberry cheesecake flavour, apple flavour, green tea flavour (and several other tea flavours too), maple flavour, saké flavour, red bean paste flavour and even ‘beni-imo’ purple sweet potato flavour (I think this one is especially weird!).
Which one is your favourite or would you like to try?

Brainy Curtains!

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At the moment (until 6th November) at Tokyo Roppongi Midtown there is a design exhibition called ‘Design Touch‘ and one of the exhibits is an arrangement of curtains that you can control by just using your brain! It’s called the ‘Curtain Wall Theatre’ and visitors use a brainwave sensor to open and close the curtains.
Volunteers go up to a little platform and put on a headset which attaches gently to your forehead and left ear. In front of you is a little computer screen that says how much brain activity you are creating. If your brain activity is at 30% or under then the curtains in the exhibit will close. If your brain activity is 70% or higher then the curtains will open!
When my brother and I tried the sensor we could both get our brain activity up to 100%, and right down to 20% or lower. But when our mum and dad tried their brain wave activity seemed to stick around 40-65%!
It’s fun to use the sensor, but it needs a lot more work until we can do stuff like drive our car or prepare our meals using this brainwave technology or something similar. When I tried it sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. For example sometimes I lowered my brain activity (looking at the floor and thinking of nothing) and it said my brain activity was going higher! But it was fun, and it was also fun to interact with the exhibit by walking and running through it when someone else was moving the curtains with their brainwaves!

P.S. The weird silver tube thing behind the curtains is nothing to do with the exhibition. It’s a piece of art!!

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