Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mochitsuki ~How to Make Mochi, or Japanese Rice Cake~

I came across a small festival while strolling around my neighborhood on a sunny Sunday. I found a stall selling freshly-made mochi there.

Mochi are Japanese rice cakes, which are made by pounding boiled glutinous rice into paste. The process of making mochi is called mochitsuki, which is usually (but not always) held as a year-end ceremony. People once enjoyed mochitsuki at their home, although nowadays it is not very common especially in urban areas. I remember, when I was a kid, my relatives used to gather at my grandfather's home and enjoy mochitsuki together every year-end.

Family mochitsuki is becoming a thing of the past, but it is still popular as an act of festivals and events.

Mochitsuki ~How to Make Mochi, or Japanese Rice Cake~ [iPhone 4S/HD]
- Shot in 1080p full HD with an iPhone 4S on Oct. 21st, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thirteen Mikoshi Gathered at Shrine Festival, Kawaguchi, Saitama

Kawaguchi Shrine, initially built in 10th century, is being worshipped as the guardian god of my city Kawaguchi. The autumn festival is held at the historical Shinto shrine every October. Every couple of years, many mikoshi, or portable shrines, gather at the festival from neighboring areas and parade around the shrine. Thirteen mikoshi joined it this year. They left the shrine one after another on a sunny morning, paraded around vigorously and gathered again at the square in front of Kawaguchi Station, to perform a spectacle together.

Thirteen Mikoshi Gathered at Shrine Festival, Kawaguchi, Japan [iPhone 4S/HD]
- Shot in 1080p full HD with an iPhone 4S on Oct. 21st, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Japanese Kindergarten Field Day

The field day of the kindergarten, which my five-year-old nephew attends, was held on a sunny autumn weekend at the yard of the elementary school near the kindergarten. Three to six-year-old kids got into games, performed gymnastic formation and danced with zeal. Their parents also took part in some games. All of them fully enjoyed the event as a player, as well as a spectator.

Japanese Kindergarten Field Day [iPhone 4S/HD]
- Shot in 1080p full HD with an iPhone 4S on Oct. 13th, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Marunouchi Illumination 2012, Tokyo

Marunouchi Nakadori Avenue, passing between the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station, is outlined by beautiful trees. Trees along a street usually consist of only one kind of tree, however, the trees along this avenue are different. You can see various kinds of trees.

The trees are decorated with light bulbs from mid-November to mid-February every year. But this year, the illumination event started on October 1st. It was to commemorate the restoration of the main building of Tokyo Station which was unveiled on the same day. 230 trees along the 1.2 km avenue were lit by one million LEDs and are enjoyed by delighted people walking by.

Marunouchi Illumination 2012, Tokyo [iPhone 4S/HD]
- Shot in 1080p full HD with an iPhone 4S on Oct. 1st, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Restored Tokyo Station Building Unveiled

By the end of 19th century, there were already three train terminals in Tokyo. The capital, however, didn't have one in its busiest area. It was daunting to build a massive station and rail tracks in the high traffic area filled with buildings, although the government knew they needed to build it urgently.

In 1914, Tokyo Station finally opened in the bustling area. The raised rail tracks connecting to the station were designed not to interfere with road traffic. They were made of red bricks although concrete structures were becoming more popular for a massive building at that time. The main building of the station, which was three-storied and had two domes on both sides of 335 meters width, was also built with bricks and a steel skeleton.

Nine years after the completion of the station, the red brick building withstood the Great Kanto Earthquake, which caused catastrophic damage to Tokyo. However, it was not able to escape war damage. It was almost burned down by air raids in the end of World War II. Only the skeleton and the wall remained. The station building was repaired when the war was over, however, the two domes and the third story were removed, they were badly damaged.

A plan to restore the building to how it looked before the war damage was proposed in the end of 20th century. Numerous people agreed with the plan and it was put into action in 2007. After 5 years of work, not only was the building restored, it also had seismic countermeasures installed. The old foundation made of pine trees was replaced with concrete boxes, and cutting-edge quake absorbers were installed between the building and the foundation. These operations were completed without moving or disassembling the building.

On October 1st, 2012, the oldest building of Tokyo Station unveiled its restored look. The Station Manager said that he hopes people will be familiar with it for the next 100 years.

Restored Tokyo Station Building Unveiled [iPhone 4S/HD]
- Shot in 1080p full HD with an iPhone 4S on Oct. 1st, 2012