Sunday, 22 May 2011

富士山 - Fujisan

Did you know that Mt Fuji is actually considered an active volcano - although it hasn't erupted for over 300 years and is currently dormant.
Mt Fuji in the distance behind a shinkansen

It is 3776 metres high (that is almost 4 km!!) and considered one of the most beautiful places in Japan to visit. It is nearly 50 km around the base, and the summit crater is about 250 m deep, with a diameter of about 500 meters. It is so large, it can be seen by the space station - this photo was taken by one of the astronauts at the space station.
A photo taken of Mt Fuji from a space station

Mt Fuji's history is long and fascinating. It is the largest volcano in Japan and there are records which stretch back more than 100,000 years. Scientists have found a number of ancient volcanoes under what is currently known as Mt Fuji - some of these date back more than 700,000 years. However, the current volcano, referred to as 'New Mt Fuji' came into being about 10,000 years ago.
Beneath the current volcano lie many ancient volcanoes

There have been 16 recorded eruptions of Mt Fuji since 781. Mt Fuji erupted 12 times in the period between 800 and 1083, then was silent for more than 400 years. The most recent eruption was in 1707/8, and it was known as the Great Hoei Eruption. This eruption caused a crater which can be seen today, just to the right of the peak of MtFuji.
The Hoei crater can be seen to the right of the peak

Climbing Mt Fuji
Stations on the climbing trail of Mt Fuji

If you want to climb Mt Fuji, you can do so in July and August, which is the official climbing season. At all other times of the year, the temperature at the summit can drop below zero and is covered in snow so can be dangerous. There are a couple of different trails that you can take to climb the mountain, but it is recommended that you rest on the way in one of the many huts that line the trails.

Many people take two days to climb Mt Fuji and time their climb to arrive at the summit in time to watch sunrise.

Approximately 300,000 people climb Mt Fuji during climbing season each year.
The hut at the 8th station
The climbing trail on Mt Fuji
The hut at the summit of Mt Fuji
Climbing at any other time of the year is considered too dangerous for any but the most experienced mountain climbers with the best equipment.
A warning poster for climbers attempting to climb outside of climbing season
Surrounded by five lakes ( Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanaka, Sai, Motosu and Shoji), I believe Mt Fuji is truly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Japan.
Mt Fuji, surrounded by five lakes

Mt Fuji is as old as Japan itself and has been the inspiration for art and poetry for centuries. Hokusai was one of the greatest artists in Japan, and created many Ukiyo-e prints of Mt Fuji which have become famous. Here are some of the most famous Ukiyo-e prints:

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Dog Fashions in Japan

Recently in Japan, a new type of store has sprung up - dog fashion! Here is just some of what you can buy:

Traditional Japanese Clothing
Beautiful tradional kimono


and cuteness
or for summer .... yukata
light and summery yukata

Traditional Japanese clothing

traditional Hakama


inspired by martial arts
Formal wear
elegant and beautiful

and sophistication


beautiful bride

and glorious groom
Or more casual combat gear

And for those dogs who like to dress up
Sailor Moon

Dress your dog in your favourite team colours

traditional Japanese walking outfit

Does your dog like to wear hats?

pick your character
keeping the sun off

knitting patterns for doggie hats

I don't think he likes Pikachu!
Or perhaps a nice wig?


geisha style

dreadlocks!! or doglocks???

isn't she gorgeous!

ready for the runway!

And of course, we can't forget our feet!! Yes, shoes for dogs!
Love these outdoor hiking shoes

A nice pair of boots.

and comfy shoes for around the house.
 Whatever you need for your dog fashion, you can probably find it in Japan

on the shelves of a dog clothing store

or on the catwalk (or should it be dogwalk) of the Nintendogs fashion show

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Folk tales from Japan - The Rabbit in the Moon

The Rabbit in the Moon
Once the Old-Man-of-the-Moon looked down into a big forest on the earth. He saw a rabbit and a monkey and a fox all living there together in the forest as very good friends.
"Now, I wonder which of them is the kindest," he said to himself. "I think I'll go down and see."
So the old man changed himself into a beggar and came down from the moon to the forest where the three animals were.
"Please help me," he said to them. "I'm very hungry."
"Oh! What a poor old beggar!" they said, and then they went hurrying off to find some food for the beggar.
The monkey brought a lot of fruit. And the fox caught a big fish. But the rabbit couldn't find anything at all to bring.
"Oh my! oh my! what shall I do?" the rabbit cried. But just then he got an idea.
"Please, Mr. Monkey," the rabbit said, "you gather some firewood for me. And you, Mr. Fox, please make a big fire with the wood."
They did as the rabbit asked, and when the fire was burning very brightly, the rabbit said to the beggar: "I don't have anything to give you. So I'll put myself in this fire, and then when I'm cooked you can eat me."

The rabbit was about to jump into the fire and cook himself. But just then the beggar suddenly changed himself back into the Old-Man-of-the-Moon.
"You are very kind, Mr. Rabbit," the Old Man said. "But you should never do anything to harm yourself. Since you are the kindest, of all, I'll take you home to live with me."
Then the Old-Man-of-the-Moon took the rabbit in his arms and carried him up to the moon. Just look and see! If you look carefully at the moon when it is shining brightly, you can still see the rabbit thee where the Old Man put him so very long ago.

Feed my fish!

Ready to make music?