I’m now back from my trip to Tokyo for JCDCG3 (where the running joke was speculation on what the next G to be added to the conference name would stand for), and still somewhat jet-lagged. But I’ve now put online the first of several batches of photos from my trip, which I will continue posting as I finish processing them. This set is from Kagurazaka, the neighborhood of both the conference and my hotel. Below are two of my favorites; see the link for more.
This craft fair was set in the grounds of the Akagi Shrine, one of many shrines and temples throughout the city. The shrine itself is modern in architecture (plate glass and wood) and well-used; there was a long line at the prayer bell. You can tell from the torii and the urban background in this shot that it’s set in Tokyo or somewhere similar, but it felt to me that the craft fair participants could have been anywhere in the world, although there was a distinct Japanese flavor to some of their crafts. We found it impossible to resist a tea-towel decorated with surfing anteaters, as the anteater is the UCI mascot.
I’m not sure this alley has a name (many of them don’t seem to) but it’s just uphill from another alley that some maps label with 見番横丁, “kenban-yokocho”. This appears to mean something like “viewing alley” (someone who knows Japanese please correct me), and is so called because in older times you could view the geisha there. At a bend in the viewing alley there’s a basement restaurant that serves only garlic-based dishes (with decorations from the annual garlic festival in Gilroy, California), and the entrance to an even smaller side-alley with steps down to the bathhouse behind our hotel. There are still geisha working in some of the fancier local restaurants; one of them sang and played the shamisen for us at a dinner for some of the conference participants.