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Anna Ikeda
Tochigi-ken, Japan
Interests: i don't have any.
Recent Activity
Who are these girls in front of mikoshi (a portable shrine)? Where did they come from? What's their job? image: Wikipedia It is a rule (sometimes followed and sometimes not) that a mikoshi should be preceded by a group of local gals. They are called “Tekomai" (手古舞). Let me tell you a bit about their origin and their goofy fashion. In the mid-Edo period, geishas (芸者) acted as tekomai. However, these days, since there are not enough geishas, and besides – they have other, more exciting things to d... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2010 at Budget Trouble
Our unhealthy obsession with Rei Taisai at Nakamura Hachimangu in Moka continues. Though this looks to be the last installment. Until next year, of course, when we'll repeat it all over again. But in the meantime, here is a short little something about the remaining two events you can see during Rei Taisai: - lots of sword waving, and - a mikoshi procession Let's start with the sword waving bit, OK? The official name of this performance is “Batto Embu Taikai (抜刀演舞大会)”. Batto (抜刀) consists of for... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2010 at Budget Trouble
In this entry, Dr. Trouble is going to bore you to tears talk about Kagura (神楽) – a shinto dance performance we saw at the Rei Taisai festival at Nakamura Hachimangu in Moka. Origins of Kagura In the Japanese myths, Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, there is a part called “Iwato kakure (岩戸隠れ)” where Amaterasu (天照), the Sun Goddess, got upset at her younger brother, Susanoo (須佐之男), because he was ruthless and mean to her. He used to poop and then scatter his scat in her Palace. When Amaterasu was weaving t... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2010 at Budget Trouble
Hi Amy, Unfortunately, what you described is a common misconception. You can remove an image from the post, but that doesn't mean it will be gone from Typepad's servers. Don't believe me? Check the URL of some image that you think you've "deleted". It's still there. And will be for as long as you ask Typepad to remove it permanently for you. Colleen said there is no user facing interface for this, every time you want to truly permanently remove an image (as in gone, gone, including its URL) you have to ask Typepad. So basically, Typepad holds on to your images, even after you (and 99% of bloggers) think they've "deleted" them. I'd like to know why? The explanation Colleen offered was "to prevent users from 'accidentally' deleting the images", which is total bollocks.
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What we can see at the Rei Taisai festival? Here is a brief program description of Nakamura Hachimangu Rei Taisai that took place on September 19, 2010: 10:00 Sacred horses parade 11:00 Rei Taisai opening ceremony and sword performance 12:00 Yabusame 13:00 Daidai Kagura 13:30 Mikoshi procession In this entry we’re going to talk about... you guessed it... Yabusame. Yabusame in general At present, Yabusame (流鏑馬) is a ritual ceremony, which takes place on shrine grounds during special occasions. Ho... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2010 at Budget Trouble
Not that you really care, or want to know... But guess what? Dr Trouble will tell you anyway. So, here we go. Nakamura Hachimangu - sorry, the link in Japanese only - (中村八幡宮) is said to be one of the shrines built in 676 by Emperor Temmu’s (天武天皇) ordinance. Alternatively, it is said to be built in the mid 11th century by Yoriyoshi (源頼義) and Yoshiie (源義家) MINAMOTO. When they joined the Zenkunen War (前九年の役), which took place in Mutsu Province (陸奥国) - the tip of mainland Japan, they built eight shr... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2010 at Budget Trouble
Cimmorene, I have to say that thanks to reading the comments here (and I normally never visit the official Typepad blog), I discovered your blog. I love it. It's bookmarked now. Myself, I haven't been on TP that long, since 2008 only. Came here from a self-hosted WP disaster, which resulted in me losing the entire blog. I loved Typepad. I say "loved", because Typepad no longer has certain functions that I'm finding out I really need. I moved my photoblog off Typepad in March, and now I am in the process of migrating my "regular" blog elsewhere. I am so sad to leave. I am devastated, actually. I wish I could stay. I am risking losing all my incoming links by leaving. Yet, I'm willing to lose them, because what I desperately need is a user-facing tool to delete images (that I insert into blog posts) permanently, and Typepad doesn't have such a feature right now. I can live with all the other bugs and inconveniences, but the lack of that one feature turns out to be a deal breaker for me. Other than that, I shudder at the thought of going back to a self-hosted WP nightmare. I hate WP so much that my groin hurts. But what else can I do? Open a ticket every time I want to remove an image permanently? I want better control over the images I insert into posts, bottom line.
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If you are a Tochigi native and hear the words “Moka city” (真岡市), though it's also spelled Mooka and Mohka in romaji, then maybe you kinda sorta perhaps know that it’s located somewhere in the southeastern part of Tochigi Prefecture. You probably also can come up with something along the lines of the SL train, cotton (Moka cotton used to be very well-known during the Edo period), and industrial parks. They still make cotton the traditional way in Moka, but mostly it's only for show. Approximatel... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2010 at Budget Trouble
It didn't work for me in Firefox, it didn't work for me in Safari. It DID work for me when I tried to add a video in the HTML version of the post, though. But not the embed function, but the "URL and we'll insert the player for you" option. Sucks!!!
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Hi Jessica, I've been having the same problem for over a year, or whenever it was the Typepad released the previous editor. I opened multiple tickets regarding this issue, and was told that everything looked fine on their end, and that the problem was on MY end, because I'm using a Mac and Firefox. Oddly enough, when I posted on Flickr samples of other sites on other platforms that were viewed using Mac and Firefox (with no color loss), all I was offered was a discount to renewed my Typepad subscription. Which I so stupidly took and renewed. And now, after finding out that I, as a blogger, have NO option to permanently delete an image (an image, btw, which is MINE and which I own) from the bowels of Typepad, and that this has to be done on the "backend" by the staff, I am beyond livid. I am fed up with Typepad and I am leaving. A free platform like Blogger offers me the option to permanently remove my images, but a PAID service like Typepad doesn't?
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He hotlinks and uses copyrighted photos without permission: I'm sorry but I don't speak Czech, and I can't see if there is an email address on that blog. And I can't figure out how to leave a comment over there either. So, unfortunately, I have to post it here. Mark Yajeji, or whoever you are, you are a thief. You never asked if you could use my photos on your blog. And no, my photos are NOT licensed under Creative Commons. Please remove them. Otherwise, I will be forced to contact your ISP and report you for using copyrighted materials without permission. And in case you're not aware, it's called stealing. Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2010 at Budget Trouble
There are many reasons why we love the city of Moka. Last week showed yet again that the people of Moka are truly exceptional. In fact, they are so exceptional, they deserve a special blog post to show you just how much we love them. And yes, such a post will indeed be coming up soon. In the meantime, let me tell you about yet another reason why we love Moka - the festival at Nakamura Hachimangu. Last year I had to be dragged there kicking and screaming. I wanted to stay home, or at the very least - in the car and read a book. This year, September couldn't come soon enough. And today, I willingly woke up at an ungodly hour ready to head to Moka at the crack of dawn. The festival itself is nothing special. There is yabusame (traditional archery on horseback), there is batto embu taikai (where people wave swords and show off their mad katana skillz), there is a traditional stage play for those with impaired mobility (a very cool feature, I wish more events had something like that!), and there is a mikoshi parade. What makes this event special is the heart that the organizers put in its preparation and execution. People are friendly, accommodating, cheerful and well-meaning. In other words - typical Mokans. I'll be boring you with this festival all week, so get ready. Today, let's start with yabusame. That's the bit where guys (and a gal - there was one girl doing it as well) in traditional costumes get to ride horses and shoot arrows. Not indiscriminately though. There is a path, and there are set targets. Still, it's quite exciting to watch. Turned out he was the captain of a local riding club. No wonder! This older guy ruled the course - I don't think he missed a shot at all. The girl was decent. I remember her performance last year, and this year her skill has visibly improved. And she was kinda pretty too. The boys in the audience really enjoyed her performance. But the other guy (not pictured here), ohmygod. Missed every single shot. In his defense, he did wear very thick glasses. Still, it was sad to watch... To be continued... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2010 at Budget Trouble
Hi Pawel, It's a little bit different in a travel blogging community. Even big companies with big bucks think they can just send a bunch of press releases to random travel bloggers and those will be so grateful for the opportunity to blog about overpriced cruises, hotels or tour packages, that they will jump at the chance to spread the word for free. And some of the biggest companies are the worst offenders, unfortunately.
Toggle Commented Sep 18, 2010 on Open Letter to PR Professionals at Budget Trouble
Hahaha Cara! Oh yes, it would be nice. Then them ladies would be throwing more than just their IDs at the poor cop.
Toggle Commented Sep 9, 2010 on Walking while foreign at Budget Trouble
I had to get a re-entry permit today and that, of course, required a trip to the Immigration Office in downtown Utsunomiya. I didn’t need to get it today, because I’m not going anywhere until December (yay! Malaysia!), but since I had time and the weather was nice (read: not hot and muggy, just pleasantly warm and breezy), I thought it would be a grand idea to walk from Takiyacho all the way downtown. So, I’m happily walking along and taking photos here and there, mostly of old dilapidated buildings, and suddenly a police car stops next to me. I was just taking a picture of this building. And yeah, it looks like someone actually does indeed live there. A nice policeman got out and approached me very cautiously. He wanted to know what and why I was photographing in this neighborhood and asked for my ID. And here I did something that I always do in awkward situations – I make them even more awkward by pretending not to understand a word of what is being said to me. Easy to do in Japan. The policeman wasn’t prepared to speak English to me, and I, sure as heck, wasn’t going to willingly give him my personal details. I wasn’t committing any crime, I was careful not to stand on anyone’s property, and he had no reason to ask for my ID. He would have had to take me to the police box (a small, local police station, a.k.a. “koban”) in his big, shiny police car, if he really wanted to see my passport or alien card. And I’m not going to hand over either one to anyone without my husband being present and without documenting the whole incident on video. Hey, I haven’t committed any crime, so they shouldn’t mind, right? This was the first time it happened to me in Japan – to be stopped by a cop while WALKING and minding my own business. I’ve read about such incidents before, but I always thought they happened to burly, scary-looking foreign men. Not to dainty, almost middle-aged ladies. The cop proceeded to ask me questions, still very pleasant and smiling, and I proceeded to be a stupid foreigner, still very pleasant and smiling. He pointed at my camera and asked why I was taking pictures around here. I pointed at my camera and said in English “hobby”. I waved my arm around and said “Utsunomiya pretty”. And then I took out my name card (still better than a passport) and pointed out both blog addresses to him. “See? Brog writing. In Engrish. And here, Tochigi photo brog. I rub Tochigi.” The cop didn't quite know how to react, he smiled, took the card, got in his car and drove off utterly defeated. I felt sorry for him. He was young and cute and so polite, and if I were 15 years younger and single, I would have asked for HIS personal details. The sad part is, that if... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2010 at Budget Trouble
These guys and gals deserve an Oscar. This is brilliant. Now I'm going to die laughing every time I have to sing "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes" with my students. So guys, when is part 2 coming out? Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2010 at Budget Trouble
Hi Tornadoes, and now you can tell your wife where to park :-)
Last Thursday we had some errands to run, and as much as I hate errands, I can’t complain too much in this case. One of those errands brought us to Futaara shrine in Nikko. See what I mean? There are plenty of a lot worse places you could be forced to visit on official business. Like the Immigration Office in Utsunomiya, or the drivers license testing center in Kanuma. I’ll take the Shrine and Temple complex anytime. Since we are chronic cheapskates and hate paying for parking (which, as you can imagine, is rather expensive in touristy areas, and you don’t get any more touristy than Sannai in Nikko), we did what we always do. Instead of stopping at one of the big parking lots nearby Rinnoji, we continued up the mountain, past the grave of monk Shodo, towards Takinoo shrine. Yep, along this road. Be careful, it's narrow. You want to park for free when visiting Nikko? Then you gotta do the same. Follow the narrow, twisty road along the river and soon you will see plenty of spaces where you can park your car, 100% legally, for free. The downside of this arrangement is that you still need to walk to the shrines. But you walk alone, or almost alone, through the woods. There are no loud tourist crowds, no information booths, no commotion. Just you and a stone path through the forest. But don’t worry, the path is well maintained. It’s the same path that the shinto priests use during Yayoi festival when they carry mikoshi back from Takinoo shrine to Futaara. Not a soul in sight. The path will take you by the entrance to Mt. Nyoho. Seeing the sign there, I realized that it might be a good idea to climb this mountain as a practice run for next year’s Mt. Nantai midnight extravaganza. Yes, we’ll be climbing that mountain again. And again - at night. Sad, this is the shrine by the entrance to Mt. Nyoho. People, who do that, should be tarred and feathered and made to wear a sign around the neck proclaiming "I have an IQ of a stool sample." And Marielle (because I'm pretty sure that's who wrote it - judging from the crossed out "Andrea" above) - yes, you're stupid. Anyone who disrespects any place of worship like that is a moron. Case closed. But Nyoho is relatively easy to climb, or at least those familiar with it say so, and I’d like to believe them. So maybe in September when the weather’s nice and not too hot, we'd give it a try. Are you up for some Nikko mountain climbing this fall? You're welcome to join us. This time we’ll do it, like normal people, during daytime. Statue at the entrance to Mt. Nyoho. Following this stone path to Futaara, you’ll exit the woods at the back of the shrine. You’ll also get to see a lovely view of Taiyuin along the way (it will be on the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2010 at Budget Trouble
"Roomful of bosoms"? Nice! I want one too. Ha! Those are the moments that make me glad I know squat about SEO, keywords and all them whachyoumacallits. By the way, what's your opinion about Matador U? You went through their program, right? Is it worth it? Honestly? You can email me, if you prefer to talk about it in private. Thanks!
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2010 on Monjayaki vs Okonomiyaki at Budget Trouble
Hi Cara! It reminded me of this, actually: Don't click if you're sensitive to human mummies and such. PS. And thank you so much for "liking" the blog on facebook. I'm still figuring out how this whole "page" business works. :-)
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2010 on Afternoon in Ueno at Budget Trouble
show off!!! hehehe :-)
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2010 on Monjayaki vs Okonomiyaki at Budget Trouble
Hi sixmats! It does look like one, but I don't think so.
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2010 on Afternoon in Ueno at Budget Trouble
While in Tokyo, in addition to getting shot in the face (well, I did, Dr Trouble just watched), we visited Ueno. Why Ueno? No particular reason, other than it's the last stop on the Utsunomiya line. We didn't go to Ameyoko (bleh...), we didn't go to the zoo (it costs money), or any of the many museums there (money again). We just walked around the Ueno Park where we didn't have to pay and took pictures. Well, Dr Trouble did, while I complained that we should go home because the cats must be lonely, hot (even though we left the AC on for them) and hungry. Between my complaints, we did manage to visit the Ueno Toshogu (being renovated, nothing special, maybe you'll see pics another time) and the Ueno Rinnoji (nothing special). We also saw a lot of homeless people in and around the park. Literally everywhere. I have no idea how they were surviving in this ridiculously hot weather. Living in the countryside, we do see a lot of poverty (ha! you should see our neighborhood!), Japan is not as egalitarian as the well-off natives would like you to believe. But though I am sure there are homeless people in Tochigi (there must be), I have been pretty much insulated from the sights of in-your-face out-on-the-street homelessness. Or maybe I just haven't been looking hard enough. Dunno... Anyway, let's look at something that you've already seen countless times on other blogs. Lotus blossoms. Here they are in Ueno: And what's the plural of "lotus"? Lotuses? Or loti? I mean, there's fungus and fungi, succubus and succubi, torus and tori. Why not lotus and loti? But my favorite shot must be this one: The plant looks so surprised to see us. This statue was also quite surprised to have its picture taken: Say what you want, it's creepy. Me no like. Or is that how it looks during the full moon, huh? Not sure, if it was exactly full, but judging from my bitchiness that day, it must have been. Or was it because of the needles to my face? Not sure. Either way, here's the moon. When Dr Trouble took this photo I was already on the train home. The cats won't feed themselves, you know... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2010 at Budget Trouble
Courage? Nah... Once when you get to be my age, young man, you will see, there is no other way. :-)
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2010 on Shot in the face at Budget Trouble
Hi there! I had monja before, but with bacon, and it was OK. Nothing to write home about, but maybe that's just me. Okonomi's fine, not my favorite. I'd rather have yakiudon. :-)
Toggle Commented Aug 28, 2010 on Monjayaki vs Okonomiyaki at Budget Trouble