Thursday, November 26, 2009


Mount Kurama is a mountain just north west of Kyoto, you can get there by taking a train from the north side of downtown.The mountain is covered with temples and by the time we got there it was getting dark out side. The main temple is about 1km up the mountain from the train station.Above is about half way up the mountain.There might be more mountain to climb, but it got to dark, so this was the summit.A monk named Mikao Usui wrote the five principles to happiness at this temple... here they are:

"The secret art of inviting happiness
The miraculous medicine for all diseases

At least for today, do not be angry.
Do not worry.
Be grateful.
Work with diligence.
Be kind to people.

Every morning and evening, join your hands in meditation
and pray with your heart.
State in your mind and chant with your mouth.

For improvement of mind and body."


Monday, November 23, 2009


This is interesting... The spelling of my name in Japanese is デミアン (you might need to turn on Japanese character set in Windows if that does not look like something Japanese), and this name is not something you would expect to see anywhere... similar to the US. But this past weekend I came across this sign:That's right, Demian Hotel or the DH. It turn out the DH is a love hotel in Kyoto and they have very reasonable rates, regardless of if you stay or rest.To learn more about the love hotel, you can follow this link to CNN.Here is the lobby, shortly after taking this photo some old lady at the front counter started yelling at me. If you are in Kyoto, finding the DH is really easy, just exit subway station Higashiyama exit 1 and walk about 3 blocks...

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In the previous post, a friend asked if I feed the deer in Nara.... nope, there was enough other people doing that - that the deer were doing okay.But, there are deer everywhere. Above are a couple of the deer in Nara.Above is a deer waiting for some food outside the worlds largest wooded building, Nara. But deer's are actually a popular tourist attraction in other locations in Japan.Above is a deer on the island of Miyajima, just south of Hiroshima.Miyajima is known for O-torii, the large orange gate above.... AND and and the worlds largest spatula!!It took almost 3 years to make that.

Monday, November 9, 2009


If you are wondering "is that the worlds largest wooden building?" .... Yep! And here I am getting ready to enter the worlds largest wooden building by playing with fire:And inside the world largest wooden building is the largest Buddha in Japan:This one is 50ft tall, but I guess there is a larger one somewhere else... Nara is between Nagoya and Osaka.

Peace Park

The Peace Park is a large park in the center or Hiroshima dedicated not only to memory of the victims of Hiroshima, but the non-proliferation and elimination of nuclear weapons leading to world peace.Above is the A-bomb dome seen through the cenotaph. The park and museum is amazing and difficult to describe. Below is a statue of Sadako Sasaki and a memorial to children.It was kind of funny, almost instantly upon arriving at the peach park groups of four kids would rush up to me and say "can, can, can we... can we ask you a quest--ion?"It turns out they were mostly from Osaka on a school trip to Hiroshima, and I think there assignment was to talk to foreigners. These kids had difficult questions too, like "what do you think about war" and "can you write a message for peace?" And they wanted me to write my message on a piece of paper, partly because I think it was difficult for them to understand English. By the end of the day, I wrote about 10 messages of peace, even evoked Obama's name in a couple of them. Here is another view looking south, the A-bomb dome is on the left and peace park is on the right.Below is the Peace Museum.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Or in this case Hiroshimayaki, or the local form of Okonomiyaki I was introduced to on my first trip to Hiroshima. Step one, order this:This restaurant was just east of the peace park, just north of the Tokyu Inn across the street from Lollipop. Once you complete your order, this guy get's to work.This bar was really nice. It's U-shape, 90% of the surface is the cooking area and once your dish is ready they just push it to you. The table keeps it warm, so you can take your time eating. Here is the final dish:It might look weird, but its really really good. Hiroshima style is layered batter, cabbage, pork cheese with yakisoba noodles and fried egg and a generous amount of okonomiyaki sauce.... The first time I tried this dish was actually in Lynnwood, WA, but that was Osaka style. I think I like Hiroshima style more.