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15 September 2008

Visited the Shrine for the Shogun's grave

On 14 of September, Sunday, I visited Japan's most famous shrine in Nikko city, which is 2 hour train ride from Tokyo.

It is called Nikko-Toshogu. The shrine was established for the grave of the Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who established Tokugawa dynasty in early 17th century. The dynasty established unified Japan. He placed Japan's capital in Tokyo, which was called Edo at that time.


The reason I went there is not just to enjoy the views of the shrine but to pray the Budha or enshrined spirits to protect Tokyo capital region. The shrine is said to be built to forever protect Tokyo capital region. Tokyo is now in dangerous period because the dangerous ship of barbarians are coming and to be anchored very soon. Read this article.


The views of the shrine was magnificient. I really enjoyed. A lot of foreign tourists were there. The decorations of the shrine's gate and walls are very artisitic. The statues of Budha, engraves, paintings, all satisfied my expectations. The shrines decorations are relatively flashy compared with typical shrines in Japan. But they are still Japanese and outcompete Chinese temples or old buildings. I really found another type of Japanese beauty.


Next to this shrine is third Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu's grave shrine. He is grandson of Ieyasu. Iemitsu in fact established foundamental systems and rules of the dynasty that ran 15 generations, more than 260 years such as seclusion, banning of Christianity and alternate year attendance for regional lords. Those things were done to prevent colonization by the West and separation of the country. He really was great Shogun. Interesting thing is he was known to be very gay Shogun. Although as Shogun, he could have many girls to sleep with, he never made any successor until middle age. He had gay relationship with his retainers. It was openly done because being gay was not conceived inmoral thing in those days. When he died, one samurai lord committed suicide because he was very loyal to him and had strong love relationship with Iemitsu. Well, that is how Japanese samurais were different from western knights.

The below is video clip of the visit on You Tube.

17 August 2008

Visited Auschwitz in Poland

This is the sequel of already posted article "Ich bin ein Berliner." My trip in Europe last month. After I enjoyed my 2 day stay in Berlin, I flew to Krakow, the old capital of Poland. From the city, I went to one of the famous World Heritage sites. It took 1 and a half hour to get to Auschwitz Museum by car. It was clear and sunny day. The place looked strangely beautiful although what happend there was so scary. At first I went to the second part of the former concentration camp, Birkenau.



Over 1 million people were said to be murdered there. The below photo is the bombed gas chamber. Nazis bombed the chamber when they left that place to destroy the evidence. It looked like Roman ruin to me.



The below is where the prisoners slept and their toilet.



Also the below is the site of forced labour in the ditch.


The below is the freight train car used for deportation of the prisoners. No seats in it. They had to stand up inside for days without food.


Then I went to the Auschwitz. That is me in front of the famous gate "ARBEIT MACHT FREI. (Labor makes you free.)" But the prisoners never became free. 90% of them died inside the camp.


You can also see the video clip of my vist of the museum.  
What lessons do we get from Auschwitz?
I think the most important thing is to learn what was the cause of such genocide. What was the beginning?
I recommend you to watch the DVD titled "Hitler, The Rise of Evil." Anti-semetism was not the only reason. What you can learn might help prevent similar event from occurring in the future.

31 July 2008

Ich bin ein Berliner!

Between 9 and 12 of July, I was staying in Berlin, Deutschland (Germany).

It was a beautiful and interesting city. The purpose of visiting there was to learn history of holocaust and the Cold War era.

The first place I visited was Holocaust Memorial. It is Wave of Stones.


The memorial for 6 million Jewish victims. The place was near Brandenburger Gate and the Parliament Building.

On one downtown street, I found small memorial plates. It is called "Stolperstein. (Hitting stones)" One of 1600-1700 existed on Berlin streets to mourn holocaust victims.


I also visited some history museums. One of the most impressive ones was German History Museum. I saw below postar for Anti-Jew proganda, which depicts Jews as greedy and communist.



The same museum exhibited part of former Berlin Wall.  



I went to Checkpoint Charlie, the former checkpoint between West and East Berlin. That now became tourist spot.



The below photo is memorial for Border Crosser who failed and then being killed.


Berlin experienced very dramatic history. I really felt that by being there.  

I've made video clip of my stay in Berlin. See this you tube clip.

On 12 of July I left Berlin for Krakow to see one of the famous World Heritage designated by UNESCO.

I will talk about that later.  

Danke schonn!

06 December 2007

Remembering Pearl Harbor and Hawaii trips!

December 7 is Pearl Habor memorial day for you. For us, it is December 8 because of the time zone difference.

Pearl Habor is famous for the navy base which had been attacked by Japanese imperial army in 1941. More than 2000 GIs were killed.

I visited there when I was in college. I flew to Hawaii from San Francisco. I was there on vacation.


At that time, I was kind of ignorant about history. I did not feel guilty or express condolence to the dead soldiers. Now I do.

People in Japan claim we've had far more casualties than Pearl Harbor by the U.S. air raids afterwards. But historical fact is Japan bombed Chinese cities and killed so many Chinese civilians. That caused the tension between the U.S. and Japan. It was even before Pearl Harbor. 

Some Americans consider Pearl Harbor and 911 the similar things. They are NOT.

In Pearl Harbor, the army targeted only naval base, not civilians. In 911, the target was mostly civilians. The terrorists knew the twin buildings contain private companies. Japan declared the war against the U.S. although it was delayed mistakably.


I have been to Hawaii, three times during my college days. Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island. I enjoyed staying there.

I want to come back again.

21:25 Posted in Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: College days, Hawaii