Sunday, October 9, 2011


Just east of Nagasaki is the city of Kumamoto, the capital city of Kyushu.  The main attraction in Kumamoto is the castle.
I arrived at the castle when it would normally be closing, but this was a summer time Friday and the castle had special evening hours, assuming I could find the correct entrance (2 of 3 were closed with no helpful English to let you know one was open)
Below is a view from the base of one of the turrets from the first locked gate that I walked up too.
 Once of found the open gate, this was the view of the same turret seen from inside... Yes, I breached fortified castle by passing 500 yen coin to the ticket person.
 This is the side of the main building, seen from the walking path from the ticket booth to the entrance.
 Below is a view from the front, there is another smaller castle building to my left.
The castle complex has been under renovation from 1998 through 2008, I was lucky to visit without renovation equipment everywhere.  Below is the results of the renovation, beautiful tatami rooms that you can't go into.
 Japanese art everywhere, photos are okay as long as you don't use a flash.
One part of the renovated are was for live performances, I was really lucky that I showed up on a day and time when there was a live performance.
No cover and these two put on a really good show.  The koto player (wooden Japanese instrument) has a website, maybe she tours. She has a myspace page too, I did not think she was on myspace as I watched the show.
You can see all the people watching, I think I was the only foreign person there.  If you go to a show like this, TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE!  The old guy in the blue shirt, his phone went off during the show, the ring was louder than the music being played.  Everyone in the room turned around, gave him the evil eye, the music inadvertently stopped.  Under the pressure, he could not turn it off, as you can see, his wife is no longer sitting next to him.
 Above, everyone has their shoes in plastic bags.  Below is a model of the castle's internal structure.  This was used during a reconstruction in the 1960's.
 This is the view from inside the castle top floor.  It's difficult to look outside at night because of large lights pointed back at the castle.
 I noticed this sign as I exit the castle, the Kumamoto Marathon, February 19th....
 Below is inside an old dojo, built in the 1950's.
 This is the main shrine in Kumamoto city, it's quiet today, but on New Years day everyone comes here.
I'm not sure what is going on, but I guess it's best not to mess around in Japan, especially at the intersection of  Sakae St. and Ginza in Kumamoto.  You can't see through the wall of police, but they are confronting one person.  That's 8 or 10 police addressing one issue, must be difficult to talk your way out of this.
Below is Yama-chan's restaurant. This one must be lost, this is a Nagoya special.

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