Kitakyushu Strange, Part 4

I hope the barrage of Kitakyushu Strange isn’t getting tiresome, because they’re easy to write and I haven’t had a lot of time lately.

Welcome to another neighbourhood temple, this time in the Showa-machi (昭和町) area of Yahata Higashi-ku. It’s within walking distance of my school, and is home to a 2-storey bell tower complete with pigeon-resistant green netting. I found the place on an overcast day in late January this year, while I was out wandering around on my lunch break. There I encountered a down-on-his-luck otherworldly hero moonlighting as a security guard.

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Kitakyushu Strange, Part 2

I think I’ve mentioned before the ubiquity of vending machines in this country. After dark, many are the solitary machines casting their neon glow as they stand in mute servitude to shift workers, motor scooter gangs, and petty criminals who ply their trade in a fitfully slumbering city. I knew she was trouble from the moment her feet, clad only in black fishnets and red pumps—the kind you see in Kokura on a Saturday afternoon—appeared in my doorway and hijacked my post. A group of vending machines installed together and operated by the same company or individual are usually called a vending corner.

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Kitakyushu Strange, Part 1

Rather than show photos of the rest of the major tourist attractions in Kitakyushu, I’m going to post pictures of some of the stuff you’re unlikely to see in a tourist guide. A What They Left Out of the Kitakyushu Tourist Guide guide to the city, as it were. This is the first installment.

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Sugawara Shrine

Last week I wrote about a Amida-in which is a Buddhist Temple. This week we’ll visit a Shinto Shrine called Sugawara-jinja. Jinja is one of the suffixes denoting a shrine and has nothing to do with black-clad Japanese assassins appearing from inside magic lamps. Other suffixes that indicate a shrine include -gu, -jingu, and -sha. Shrines appear on Japanese maps as a stylized torii gate. For karmic balance, I’d better tell you the suffixes for Buddhist temples. They include -in, -ji, -tera, and -dera, and are shown on maps as a swastika.

Sugawara Shrine, or Sugawara-jinja, is about a ten-minute walk from our apartment. As can be expected, it’s on a hill, but if you choose your route carefully it’s relatively painless to get there. From what I can tell, it’s a minor shrine, famous for the person it was built in honour of.

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Chinese Food, Indian’s-style

Last fall we got a flyer in the mail for a new Chinese restaurant that was opening up. I was going to scan in the flyer and try to write something witty about it but lethargy set in and I never got around to it. I’ve since passed by the place on the bus a number of times but it’s a major trek for someone without a car so until tonight I didn’t have a chance to take a photo. This evening I was walking home from Kokura so I made a point of going by. With camera in hand.

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Space Conspiracy

In honour of the astronomer in the family, who is celebrating a non-prime number birthday today, we’ll explore space. Not just any space, but an unreasonable paranoid facsimile thereof. For further mind warpage, check out the birthday-related links on my unchi post from a few days ago. Ok. Got your flight suits on? Ready for a journey among the stars? Let’s begin.

Japan is a land of technology. Robots, video games, and computerized toilets are but a few of the high-tech marvels. There’s also a fairly-well developed aerospace industry. How does a country that has made mimicry of the west its stock-in-trade for better part of the last hundred years represent its star-gazing ambitions?

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