Gods of Japan
April 23, 2003 2:49 AM   Subscribe

Gods of Japan. A photo-dictionary. 'This photo library and dictionary is a labor of love. After moving to Kamakura in 1993, I became intrigued by the many deities and faces of Buddhism and Shintoism. There are over 650 photos in this library ... '
Related :- Quirky Japan. This site is just fabulous. 'Are you tired of shrines and temples, reconstructed ferro-concrete castles and tea ceremonies? Do you like to get off the beaten track? Would you like to meet Japanese people who do not meet the conformist stereotype? Japan, behind the conservative grey suits and formal bows, is a country quirkier than you can ever imagine. The Quirky Japan Homepage provides information about oddities such as the The Meguro Parasitalogical Museum, the Thousand Person Bathtub, Love Hotels, temple lodging, and the Yakiimo man (the ice cream man's evil twin). '
Related interest :- Lost Japan. Here's an interesting interview with the author, Alex Kerr; and here's a piece about his wonderful house.
posted by plep (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sorry, the interview with Alex Kerr is here.
posted by plep at 2:50 AM on April 23, 2003

So many gods, so many quirks; too little time!

No, two of my favourite websites, plep and Bifurcated Rivets, have been feeding my passion for Japan for quite a while now. This post may be the little push that will make me save enough money to actually go and live there for a few months. Seriously.


And I want that man's house, pronto!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:10 AM on April 23, 2003

For alternative news :-
The Japan Observer is a good alternative newspaper.

Here's a gallery of photos of Kamasagaki, the largest slum in Japan.

Then there's the Tokyo Toilet Map.

Here's a good page about the burakumin.
posted by plep at 3:15 AM on April 23, 2003

plep- another fabulous fpp!

Justin Hall posted about Alex Kerr's Chiiori house on Chanpon.org.
posted by gen at 3:46 AM on April 23, 2003

(Miguel, if you like this you'll love gmtPlus9, Geisha Asobi and Shikencho).
posted by plep at 4:13 AM on April 23, 2003

Great stuff again (as always) plep.

I love the photogenic appearance of Alex Kerr's house, but I cannot imagine how difficult actually living in the thing must be. The indoor smoke must be the best reason to invest in an outdoor barbecue, not to mention the mosquitos in summer, the (hideously large adult-hand-sized) spiders nesting in the roof thatch, rainy season mould, and that weird multi-legged ghastly creature which is like a cross between a giant centipede and a spindly-legged silverfish, centipedes (*shudder*) et cetera. Have you ever seen a live centipede (on your wall) about as long as your foot? Still, the house is lovely.

And the first link is wonderful.

posted by hama7 at 5:51 AM on April 23, 2003

Fantastic links - make sure to check out the tales of Yakuza Crime. Thanks plep.
posted by vito90 at 6:27 AM on April 23, 2003

posted by reverendX at 8:03 AM on April 23, 2003

I love that article about the house. I have been meaning to go up there sometime, and intend to actually do so after the weather ceases being disgusting in about 6 months. I have been in similar houses though, and the indoor smoke is not a problem at all. It is difficult to imagine how open the house really is, but really it is not much more enclosed than your average picnic shelter at the park. This is the downside of living in a Tokyo apartment in the winter though; complete lack of insulation. But it really helps the smoke clear out. The best part for me though, is where he mentions that the JET people (of which I am one) have their own little mafia. This is so true. We have our little tentacles extended into every corner of Japanese society, especially the junior high schools. It is true that Japan is a lot more quirky than the stolid image that many foreigners have about it. But it is also true that in their rush to modernize and catch up with the west, most of traditional culture has been abandoned wholesale. Maybe I just live too close to Tokyo, but most of my Japanese friends know less about samurai and geisha than I do, and somehow manage to have even less interest than me in ikebana and tea ceremony, instead opting for an interest in Pooh-san and David Beckham.

By the way, I am about to kill the friggin Yakiimo man! Shut the hell up already! Driving around trying to sell nasty potatoes from a dirty-ass pickup truck by singing through a megaphone should really be illegal. But there are no noise pollution ordinances in Japan. (Or apparently any food preparation guidelines either) This time of year is much worse for noise pollution because it is political campaign season. Candidates are not allowed to post any signs anywhere other than a few designated and registered areas, but they are in no way discouraged from driving around in a van shouting through a loudspeaker about how great they are. It is one of those quirky things that surprise foreigners especially because Japanese are supposed to be so considerate, and maybe you wouldn't expect them to wake everybody up with their babbling, but it is a fact of daily life here.
posted by donkeymon at 8:45 AM on April 23, 2003

Are you mad? nothing better than hearing "Yakiimo! Oishii imo!" on a cold winter night. I lived on those when the snow got deep and my kotatsu wasn't working well. mmmmm. immmmooooo.

Now the campaigners are bad. Do they really need to be telling me "dozo yoroshiku" at 8am on a saturday!? Dont they know I had 5 nomikais the night before!?!? Sheesh.
posted by Dantien at 9:10 AM on April 23, 2003

The Quirky Japan page has actually been discussed here a couple of times in the past.
posted by MrBaliHai at 9:56 AM on April 23, 2003

Thanks MrBaliHai. I tried searching for it but it didn't return any more than a couple of individual pages from the site (rather than the whole site itself). This surprised me greatly. :)
posted by plep at 10:19 AM on April 23, 2003

Thanks plep. I especially have a soft spot for tengu. Think I'll Google it now, actually.
posted by Shane at 1:56 PM on April 23, 2003

Domo arigato!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:03 AM on April 24, 2003

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