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Osaka Midori Elementary part 2 June 29, 2010 19:29

Time is short this morning, but I didn't want to start my day without posting some more pictures from Osaka Midori Elementary.  I'm a bit behind in my days, so I'll be playing catch-up for a while. I'm already back in Tokyo, and I visited several places after this.  More on that later.

The point of this post is to bring you some of the images we captured on our visit to this beautiful school.  Whatever they're doing there, they're doing it right.  These kids were amazingly talented, and just glowed with enthusiasm.  We spent the morning talking with as many as we could while they worked on their drawings of dragons.  A testament to how fun this all was for us, is that Dean forgot how hot it was while he was making his rounds.  I think it was actually hotter and more humid there than in Florida.  No one else there seemed to notice.  If we ever need to colonize the planet Mercury, these kids would be a good choice.

As usual, our visit was too short.  Before we left we were presented with several gifts.

But the memories of that day are the most enduring gift of all.  We can't thank them enough.

Osaka Midori Elementary part 1 June 28, 2010 17:53

Yesterday morning we dropped by Osaka Midori Elementary.  Whenever we do this our first stop is always the principal's office so we can be briefed on what's gonna be happening.  But before the briefing started I looked out the window and saw a bunch of kids playing dodgeball in the playground below.  Man, it looked like fun.  I took a few pictures, not expecting I'd get anything interesting since I was at least two hundred feet away and everyone was so small in the frame.  In cases like these I take some shots anyway.  You never know.

When I brought these up on my screen, I was amazed.  Now I get why people take pictures of sports.

On the morning of June 27th, 2010... June 27, 2010 08:21

....I unexpectedly became cool.

Before I came to Japan, appearing in a photograph next to real football players was something that was only going to happen to me through the wonders of Photoshop.  And the possibility of  being presented with a real jersey was about the same probability for me as winning the Giant Slalom or living in Key West with a dolphin friend that I solved mysteries with every week.

But all that has changed.

Today I got to stand on stage next to Ryuji Bando and Akihiro Ienaga.  They play football for Cerezo Osaka.  They are calm, thoughtful and soft spoken, as opposed to me, who is noisy and moves around too much.  But they don't know that and so they gave me a jersey that they had signed.  They gave one to Dean too.  Then they took a picture with us.

I really don't know how to add to that.  So I'll just stop here.

Manga Museum June 26, 2010 17:46

Did you know that the International Manga Museum is in Kyoto?  I didn't either.  Till we accidentally drove past it.

There are some exhibits in the galleries upstairs, and I saw original Range Murata drawings and some huge prints of his finished work.  There was a cast of Hayao Miyazaki's hand.  There were a lot of visitors dressed up like their favorite characters, and it made me feel at home, like I was visiting Comic Con a little early.  All these things were what I expected to see.

But what I didn't expect was that the vast majority of the space in the two-story building was lined with books.  Tall, unending shelves of them.  It starts downstairs and continues upstairs.  And every so often there is a bench with someone reading.  The core of the upstairs was a very tall gallery with Manga arranged neatly from 1945 to 2010.  You could read whatever you wanted.  People were sitting on benches and sofas, catching up on stories that began before they were born.  That's really what this place is, a massive reading room and repository for Manga culture.

No picture taking is allowed in the main room or the galleries but I'm sure they have a website you could visit to get a better image of the place.

Kyoto 3 - Bronze Creatures June 25, 2010 17:56

I've been meaning to do a little post about some of the creatures I've run across in Kyoto.  I've seen more here merely because I've had a day off to look around.  One of the things I've noticed is that there is that quite often, different materials and textures are placed together.  Like this dragon fountain.  Metal, stone and water all working with each other.  More on that later.

For now, I wanted to post these pictures of a Dragon from Kiyomizudera Temple, and two Guardian Lions from Yasaka Shrine.