Upon hearing the name Himeji, most people would instantly think of the castle the city is famous for, while forgetting the lesser known Mount Shosha (書写山, Shoshazan) where Engyoji (円教寺, Engyōji), a temple complex, is situated. As Himeji castle, also know as the White Egret Castle (shirasagijo), is one of the few extant castles preserved in their original form, this should not come as a great surprise.
Even if it shouldn’t come as a great surprise, we do feel it might be interesting to provide a thorough intro-guide-review of this fabulous castle and underline why it really shouldn’t be ignored if one is travelling in the Kansai region. Besides reviewing and introducing this castle, we want to provide some important elements of information that could augment the pleasure of visiting this castle.
Each person has their own way of travelling. For some nature is important, for others culture is most important. Some organize their trips around regional dishes. And some like a mixture of all those things together to create a balance that satisfy their needs.
Nevertheless, the greater part of the people who travel to Japan are only interested in the two following aspects: traditional culture and Japanese cuisine – a third aspect that is gaining popularity is popular culture. In other words, traveling to Japan is quite often culture and historic based (with an important focus on aestheticism): one wants to see temples, shrines, castles, gardens, … etc. .
This article is written as a critical response to an article written by Shinshi Okajima for Tokyo Girls’ update. His article, in our opinion, provides an unsatisfactory explanation of the phenomenon of gradols/グラドル [gravure idols] for male subjects. By misrepresenting the use of fabric in the world of gravure/グラビア, he fails in our opinion to underline the essential dimension that drives the appeal of Gradols for male subjects.
Any self-respecting cinematography enthusiast should know the name of Kaneto Shindo (1912-2012). As a director, he brought us narratives like Children of Hiroshima (1952), the naked Island (1960), and Onibaba (1964) and, as a screenwriter, he wrote dozen of scripts other well-known directors like Kon Ichikawa (1915-2008), Keisuke Kinoshita (1912-1998), Yasuzo Masumura (1924-1986), Fumio Kamei (1908-1987), Kōzaburō Yoshimura (1911-2000), and Tadashi Imai (1912-1991). As such, it is only logical that psycho-cinematography reviews masters of Japanese cinema, such as Kaneto Shindo. In this article we review his horror narrative Kuroneko (1986).
Can Nagoya really be considered “the most boring city in Japan”, as Philip Brasor ( 2016/10/08) puts it, or is this general thought about Nagoya making the city bleaker than it really is? We are convinced that the latter is the case. In our view, if your focus is either on regional cuisine, Japanese Tokugawa history or on (the history of) Japanese industry and technology, then Nagoya is a great place to visit.
What concerns history, Aichi prefecture is the birth region of important historical characters like Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536/37-1598), Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) and Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616). For everyone who wants to know more about Japanese history, places as Nagoya castle – enter at own risk, because the building could collapse in a strong earthquake – and the Tokugawa Art museum are a must see. More spiritual souls can calm their souls by visiting the Atsuta shrine, one of the three imperial shrines Japan offers. And car and technology enthusiasts will surely enjoy the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology.
But the most pleasing about Nagoya is knowing that after a hard day of using public transport, sightseeing and learning, one can feast on the many delicious dishes (like Misokatsu, Tebasaki and Unagidon) Nagoya offers. But instead of focusing on restaurants serving the traditional Nagoya dishes, I’ll introduce the meat restaurant Redrock.