There's quite a bit of controversy about this symbol of the Osaka Expo (1971?). Designed by a well-known Japanese sculptor, it is supposed to be a representation of the sun. Many local folk, however, think it is simply an ugly piece of concrete and want it torn down.
At any rate, we did not go to this park north of Osaka City to view this what-ever-it-is, but to visit the excellent Museum of Ethnology that was built after the expo. There is also an art museum, a massive Japanese garden, an arboretum, sports fields and other sites worthy of the 2-hour, 4-train trip to the former expo site.
In the summer, many communities have large shows of fireworks, but individuals can also put on their own shows. Sparklers, rockets and other fiery works can be bought at supermarkets, convenience stores, stationery shops, toy stores, and even some train stations. In some manner that escapes Steve, fireworks are supposed to let one forget about the awful heat of a Japanese summer. Steve prefers to put his faith in another traditional summer escape mechanism, the air conditioner.
Here, Calvin is escaping the summer heat at Grandma Kariya's.
|After returning from Fukui-ken, the Bender family stayed with us for a few days. One of their missions in Osaka was to pick up a T-shirt at the Hard Rock Cafe in Osaka. Michelle's mission was to have fun. And that she did.
This has been an unusual year for weather. The summer was not nearly as hot as it normally is, and we had typhoons in June, which is extremely rare. Then in August/September, the usual typhoon season, we had several unusually big typhoons which caused extensive damage.
Of course, the plants on the lanai could never make it through even a small typhoon, so Steve spent quite a number of days in the summer and fall hauling plants inside, then hauling them back out a day or two later. Quite a workout.
|I forget what this concert was about. Taiko drumming, perhaps? Big crowd, though.
Get ready for Print Club, America! If the Tamagotchi didn't get you, Print Club will!
What's Print Club?, you ask.
Print Club is an automated picture-taking booth.
Fine, you say. We've had 'em for years, mainly to take passport photos, right?
Wrong. Print Club lets you choose a variety of effects, overlays, messages, etc. for your photos. Make your selections, press the button, and a minute later, a sheet of small stickers pops out.
Stickers???, you say. What good are stickers???
Well, the millions of young kids (mostly girls) that are willing to stand in line for hours to make their stickers put them in special sticker collection books, trade them with friends, stick them on their school books, etc.
And now, the Japanese company that makes these booths is planning to export them to America!
A recent Sunday trip took us to Kyoto for the first time in at least 8 years. Not many changes. Temples are still a thousand years old. Some of the trees, too, judging from the one at right.
Our idea was to go first to Maruyama Koen to view the fall foliage, then walk down a back alley to Kyomizu temple and view some more foliage.
|Naturally, we happened to pick the one weekend that was considered best for fall foliage viewing in Kyoto, so we got to meet the entire population of Japan wending its way along this very narrow alley. Hi, guys!
|Yoko mentioned that Keri wanted a fan. Well, here's where to get them. Which one do you want, Keri?
|Goal! That's Kyomizu temple in the background. When the roll of film now in the camera gets developed, I'll have some more pics to post.