Wednesday, June 21, 2017

 

Taipei city and Matsuyama city have been keeping an interaction for about ten years through some events, such as table tennis matches, Ehime marathon, onsen festivals and so on.  In 2014 the two cities agreed to a friendship interaction to deepen the tie. Since then Taipei has gotten much more familiar to people in Matsuyama. My husband and I took a trip to Taipei. Unfortunately we had four rainy days, yet thanks to the rain, many kinds of subtropical plants and trees in rich green, which got wet with rain entertained us a lot.  We also enjoyed exotic foreign drinks and food.  We saw familiar kanji sign boards on the street, but many kanji were totally different than Japanese. We met many kind people. Whenever we stopped on a road to look for something, someone crossed the street came close and asked, “Where would you like to go?” in Japanese. “Thank you very much!”

Saturday, June 17, 2017

 

Isaniwa shrine has a long stairway. Today when going up it, we played janken (Rock-paper-scissors). If you win, you can go up 6 or 3 steps, depending on the shape you formed. Our two guests from the US and the UK enjoyed playing the game. There is no absolute win nor absolute loss among the three shapes. I think janken is an interesting and clever system.

 

Oh, you want to know how many steps the stairway has, or want to play janken? Come and join us!

 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

 

We’ve never guided Bansuiso before, but maybe we will do so in future. So we visited there to learn more. The staff there could explain well enough for us to understand. Located next to the Saka no Ue no Kumo museum, Bansuiso is a French style house built almost a hundred years ago. The building is beautiful and we felt a good atmosphere from that time period.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

 

 

There is a three- story pagoda at Ishite temple.   Three- story pagodas are rare in Japan.   It was constructed with no nails.   This technique is earthquake- resistant.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

 

We can find Botchan’s effects in most sightseeing spots in Matsuyama. Botchan is a novel centered in Matsuyama, written by a famous novelist, Soseki Natsume, about 110 years ago. This novel features unique characters, of which the most popular are the hero, Botchan, and the heroine, Madonna. At Matsuyama Castle, the staff welcomes you dressed as Madonna or train conductors from that time. They bring these characters to life in our time. Feel the Botchan World!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

 

Probably because of rain, there were few tourists.   The cherry blossoms were over, but wisterias are very beautiful now.   And azaleas have begun to bloom.   The stone wall was tasteful in the rain, too.   Matsuyama Castle has various ways of enjoying.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Spring is the best season for Ohenro, Shikoku pilgrimage. Many pilgrims visited  Ishiteji-temple.  One the way back home, I met a pilgrim from Switzerland. A very sad thing made him come to Shikoku island and do pilgrimage. Walking alone over 1400 km in a foreign island, following the route that countless people went through, I really hope this Ohenro allays his grief.

Wednesday, April 6, 2017

 We barely avoided getting wet with spring rain while strolling around the Dogo area. Today's guests were a Japanese couple, their two grandchildren and their Russian friend. These teenagers normally live in the UK. They came back to Japan during their spring break. They were curious about everything they saw. They had unfailing interest. When they bought an  English paper fortune at Isaniwa shrine, they eagerly read their futures written on small pieces of paper showing serious look sometimes, smiling,  laughing sometimes. We thought that they were mature for teenagers, yet we were somehow relieved to see their playful child-like behavior. “Best wishes to all!”

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

 Today we had a Romanian guest from Germany. After visiting Matsuyama Castle, we had a hanami (cherry blossom viewing) party in Dogo Park. Guests from Italy and the UK also joined us. Cherry trees were almost in full bloom. We enjoyed beautiful blossoms, delicious food and amusing conversations.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

 We took a walk through Dogo's main shopping arcade.  There are about 60 shops along the arcade.  You can buy many kinds of local souvenirs there.  For example, Bochan Dango dumpling, durable porcelain Tobe yaki, many kinds of citrus food, Matsuyama style sponge cake tarts.  We found a new shop in the arcade.  There are many kinds of Imabari towel products available there.  Imabari towels are high quality and the company started more than 110 years ago.  Please check the quality of these products with your eyes and touch.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

You know, we live in Matsuyama, which is called the haiku city. We wanted to know more about the father of modern haiku, Shiki Masaoka, so we went to the Municipal Shiki Memorial Museum in Dogo. By looking around his museum, we appreciated him more. Someday, let’s explore this wonderful haiku city together!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

It’s in the garden of Shoju-temple which is nestled in a busy area, yet still keeps a quiet presence.  Today’s destination was “Shiki-do”.  Shiki’s personal belongings, such as his desk, are exhibited there.  A unique atmosphere has been conserved.  We soaked in the old days for a while.

 

We talked about Botchan train which was displayed in the garden while we looked at it, we coincidentally met a man who had worked as a train driver for many years.  He happily told us so many interesting stories about the railroad in Matsuyama.  He was like a living dictionary of the railroad history.  His old days story went on and on…..J

Saturday, February 11, 2017

It's a cold day today, but the signs of spring are here and there. Watching them we composed Haiku:) 

 

plum buds in pink

embrace 

covert spring (Sayuri)

 

 

nice old casle guide

with unfamiliar smart phone

ladies smiling in early cherry blossoms (Sumiko)

 

an early-flowering cherry tree

waiting for you

Matsuyama castle  (Miwa)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

 Today we visited Ishite-ji. The temple was being prepared for the Setsubun event on Feb. 3rd. Setsubun means the day before a change in seasons, mostly from winter to spring, in the traditional calendar. On that day, we throw soybeans at demons, saying “Demons out, Fortune in!" to get rid of any evil spirits. Happy spring is waiting for us!

Friday, January 27, 2017

 

We welcomed a special guest from France.  He is a gentleman and a wonderful guy.  We took him to Matsuyama castle.  Matsuyama castle commands a great view.  We can see a statue on a hill.  It is a statue of Kobo-Daishi.  Kobo-Daishi opened the 88 temple route.  He’s one of the most famous priests in Japan.  We introduced information about Kobo-Daishi and the 88 temple pilgrimage.  But he already knew about Kobo-Daishi, because he visited Kouyasan in Wakayama.  He has a great interest in everything Japanese.  Tomorrow, he will go to Kyoto.  Next time we are looking forward to talking with him about his impression of his tour.  Bon voyage!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Happy New Year!  

We started guiding at Matsuyama Castle this year.  

There are some flags for the birthday ceremony of the castle.

On January 15, 415years ago, they started building this castle.

Wednesday,November 30, 2016

 This is the grave of Akiyama Yoshifuru (1859-1930) in Dogo area.   He contributed to the victory in the Russo-Japanese war and was called “The father of modern cavalry”.

 After retirement, he became a principal of a middle school in Matyuyama.   He, his brother Saneyuki and their friend, Masaoka Shiki are main characters of the Japanese famous novel “Saka-no-ue-no-kumo” (The Clouds on the Hill).

 

Wednesday,November 16, 2016

On a beautiful autumn day we met a musician from Bulgaria. As his T-shirt shows  he's visited many places for concerts. Every two or three years he comes to Japan. After exchanging small talk we went down to Horinouchi park with him. He was looking for the place to practice flute. Some people around us were lucky to be able to listen to his flute:-)

 

Wednesday,October 26, 2016

Today we showed two American girls around the Dogo area. Although they currently live in Matsuyama (one of them already for a year), it was their first time to be in Dogo.  

I was explaining about Ushinden from the outside of it. Ushinden is a special zone of the Dogo-onsen main bath house, used only by the imperial family members. From its partially opened window, a man in yukata was seen. The girls were surprised. “Ah, Emperor!?” Sorry, he was just a visitor. Though we can’t use Ushinden, a tour is available to see the inside of it.

There are many more places to visit in Matsuyama. I hope the girls enjoy visiting those places during the time they are in Matsuyama.

 

Saturday,October 15, 2016

 The weather is nice today.   We had a fine view of the city from Matsuyama castle.

 A grand marathon was held in Matsuyama castle park.   In the old days the park was a middle samurai residence.   Now the place is close to the heart of the people as a park.

 

Wednesday,October 5, 2016

 

Ishite temple’s main hall is only open about one month a year, late October to mid November, when pilgrims and local people get special benefits. We visited there just before this period, and felt that the temple ground was cleaner than usual because the priests used blooms to create a water-like pattern on the ground. At that time, it’s ready to welcome more people! 

Wednesday,September 21, 2016

On the hilltop of the Matsuyama Castle site, we met three French tourists, one lives in Japan and two from France. We had a chat. We talked about the EU referendum in the UK, same-sex marriage, and more. It was interesting. Sometimes their talking sounded like debating. 

They had planned to take an ukai (cormorant fishing) tour in Ozu city, but it was canceled because the Hizi River swelled due to a typhoon. I feel sorry for that. I hope they come again and can make it next year.

 

Wednesday,September 14, 2016

 

There is a white heron statue on the small tower top of the Dogo Onsen Main building, because the white heron is a symbol of Dogo Onsen.   Today we found a heron on that statue.   It was raining but the heron made the day a lucky day.

Saturday,September 17, 2016

 

This is Nioumon or the Guardian Kings Gate at Ishite-temple. The gate was built in the 14th century. It's a national treasure. Autumn is a good season for pilgrimage.

Wednesday,August 24, 2016

 

Autumn insects have begun to sing at night, yet we are still having scorching days during the daytime. Today we walked around the Dogo area in expectation of “pleasant lunch and drinks”. We met a Chinese family, but we could not communicate with each other well, however there was the common point on the Kanji characters between us. We talked with them by writing Kanji for a while. It was good to know that there is a way to know each other. Then the long awaited time had come. All the Camellia members got together and had lunch at Nikitatsu-an.

 

Monday,August 15, 2016

We had a couple from North Carolina, US. We showed them around the castle and Dogo Hot Spring. They were so eager to learn Japan's history, customs and language. Though it was hot and humid day, we felt privileged as a guide to have such nice guests.

 

Wednesday,August 10, 2016

Now is summer vacation, so Matsuyama Castle was crowded with full of tourists. The castle has been decorated with illumination to entertain the visitors at night for a month.

 

Wednesday,August 3, 2016

At Ishite-temple we met a couple from France. They have visited Japan 10 times! 

It was nice talking to them. 

Bon voyage:-)

Wednesday,July 27, 2016

Pokemon Go was released in Japan! We saw many people gazing at their smart phone in the Dogo area. One member of Team Camellia went to Dogo park to catch Pokemon:-)

Wednesday,July 20, 2016

At Ishite temple

 

Every 20th of month is believed to be a special day to celebrate Kukai, and today was one of them. A lot of pilgrims visited the temple area, where there were some stalls selling locally grown vegetables, homemade sweets, handmade clothes and accessories, and so on. They soothed the pilgrims and other visitors under the blue skies.

 

Wednesday,July 13, 2016

 

This year's “Onsenart” in Dogo features Yamaguchi Akira. At first sight, his paintings look as if they were traditional old Japanese paintings. But looking closer, you will find they contain some modern or unreal details. For example, a picture with a feeling of Edo era shows a man in a house using a tablet. A horse in a horse stable is actually a horse-faced motorbike. I enjoy those paintings. You can see his works in the Dogo-onsen main bathhouse and some hotels.

Wednesday,July 6, 2016

 

An illumination event started at Matsuyama Castle on July 6 and will continue until August 13.

 

This dragon is going to fly towards the blue sky now, but it is brilliant and backed by a dark sky when it is night.

 

Please check it out!

 

 

 

Wednesday,June 22, 2016

 

It was rainy today.

We took a walk around Dogo town.

Then we had a cup of tea and sweets at Hotel Dogo-kan. In its small garden is a pine tree, which is said to be 300 years old.

We were impressed by the magnificence of  the pine tree.

Wednesday,June 8, 2016

 

At Matsuyama Castle we met some sweet couples from overseas. They had a peaceful time sitting in the shade of the new green trees and strolling around the castle grounds. We practiced guiding from the ticket window of the castle keep. We were able to find many things we hadn’t recognized before. How nice and mysterious the castle is!

Wednesday,June 1, 2016

 

There is a place for self service drinking tea at Ishite Temple.  It’s one of the Osettai feeling of hospitality places for pilgrims.  Many pilgrims visit Ishite Temple.  The tea makes them feel refreshed.

Wednesday,May 28, 2016

 

With 1350 years of history. Hougon-Temple is one of the most beloved temples in Matsuyama. Unfortunately the buildings and the Buddhist statues burnt down in August 2013. They have been rebuilt by people's great support in this spring.

 

Wednesday,May 25, 2016

 In spite of the rain, many tourists visited Matsuyama Castle. They looked like part of a sumie painting in the mist. Among them were high school students on a school trip from outside of Ehime. We hope people can also enjoy Kumamoto Castle soon.

 

May 18, 2016

 

Today is a fine day. We walked along Dogo shopping street. We found many kinds of umbrellas. It will be Tsuyu next month in Japan. Tsuyu is the name for the rainy season in Japan, which lasts from June to mid-July. Please go to Dogo to shop for umbrellas.

 

 

May 11, 2016

 

It was a chilly day for May. The sky was dark and we occasionally got light misty rain.  In spite of such weather, Ishite temple was filled with many pilgrims.  We went around the guide points of the temple while practicing as always.  We saw a foreign man coming to the temple, however he went off in a hurry after going around the temple.  We wondered “Why was he interested in Ishite temple?” We never asked a question of him.  We hoped he enjoyed his quick tour by himself.  We finished our guide practice and went home before it started raining again. 

 

April 27, 2016

 In Matsuyama azaleas and wisterias are blooming here and there.  At Matsuyama castle we enjoy sweet smell of wisterias.  The main castle with fresh green is also beautiful.    

April 19, 2016

 We had a special guest from U.S.A.!  She had applied to our HP for the guide.  We met a hotel in Dogo, went to Ishite-Temple, Isaniwa- Shrine, Dogo.  Then we got the tram and went to the Matsuyama-Castle.  She was so active and friendly.  We walked so much and talked about many things.  It was fine day with comfortable wind.  Many beautiful flowers bloomed.  We enjoyed a spring day.   

April 6, 2016

 A location of TV was performed in front of the Dogo Onsenn main building.

 Recently many famous people and television characters visit Matsuyama.           

 Matsuyama is famous for history and literature.  And there are many beautiful natures!

April 2, 2016

 After visiting the Ishite temple, we strolled along the banks of the Ishite River. So beautiful! Sakura or cherry blossoms are at their best now. Many people were preparing for hanami or cherry blossom viewing parties.

 For Japanese people, sakura is a symbol of spring, and of parting and meeting, since spring is the time of graduation from and entrance into school in Japan. You are lucky if you are in Japan at this time of the year. Enjoy sakura viewing and feel a bit what Japanese people feel from sakura.

March 23, 2016

 

At the Enmanji-temple near the Dogo onsen main building there is a huge white statue of Jizo.  One believer had offered the special small dishes for Jizo because of the spring equinoctial week.  In this week we would visit our family tombs.

 

March 19, 2016

 

We met a couple from Malta. Malta is an island country like Japan, so we felt an affinity with them. It was foggy and drizzling. We showed them around the castle in the fog. They told us about Malta and their trip (traveling all over Japan for over 5 weeks!) They were so gentle. We had a pleasant time with them. We hoped they enjoyed our guiding and would enjoy the rest of their trip in Japan. Soon they will see beautiful SAKURA (cherry blossoms). Bon voyage!!

March 9, 2016

 

We went to Ishite-ji temple. Spring is sure to be around the corner. We saw a pink carpet of early-blooming cherry blossom petals on the precincts of a small temple along the approach to Ishite-ji temple. It is said there is a cycle of three cold days and four warm days at the beginning of spring in Japan. Today must have been one of the cold days. Chilly rain was beating on the ground steadily, while pilgrims' chants were ringing around. A full-dress spring will be coming soon, brining more pilgrims to temples and shrines.

February 6, 2016

Several kinds of citrus fruits are raised in Ninomaru garden, which is located at the bottom of the castle hill. Citrus fruits are often offered to visitors for free.  This is Kabosu. The juice of Kabosu is used as seasoning for Nabe( hot pot).

February 3, 2016

February 3 is the day of Setsubun. Setsubun ceremony is held in many places. Setsubun means a parting the season. According to the lunar calendar, Setsubun is the last day of winter. It is said that "bad air" rises at the changing of the season, so people scatter roasted soy beans to drive out devils and attract good fortune. However devils in Ishiteji-temple are good guys! They hit visitors on their back with bamboo sticks to get rid of  evil spirits.