While walking in Tokyo’s eastern Ryogoku, just to the east of Sumida river, I found this interesting structure between a road and a major park. It is a rainwater harvesting station, with an upside down umbrella for a roof and a water tank of 600 liters of water inside. The wood it is constructed from is taken from thinned out wood from the large wood plantations all over Japan. The idea behind this station is to harvest rain water to water the hedges and flower beds in the area, to take the pressure of the local water works. Naturally it would take thousands of these all over Tokyo to even make a dent in the local water use, but it is a great first step and an experiment to go back to a more sustainable lifestyle.
On my last trip to Okinawa I visited the relatively new Chura-Sun beach (美らSUNビーチ) right to the south of Naha Airport and saw this group of wedding photographers doing their best to capture a young couple in the classic “groom getting blown away”. If you have ever been to a wedding in Okinawa, you know this pose! I was there in the winter and the beach was quite deserted, not least due to the cold winds. Even Okinawa gets chilly in the winter. I always thought of Okinawa as Japan’s own paradise. It is quite expensive to go there from the mainland but I am sure the locals are happy to keep it that way. I wouldn’t mind spending a few months there in spring or summer!
The last of the photos of the Mizukake Matsuri! As you can see I got way too close for my own good at the final moments here, as the wall of water comes crashing down on us I got caught by a nasty sideways bucket of water and the last photo in this series is the last photo my camera took before promptly shorting and giving up it the ghost. So, by the time I had gotten a replacement body the festival was already over and I had missed the grand finale and the Emperor’s visit! Well, you can get them all. Next time I’ll try to be more careful, but knowing myself, when I see so much fun I can’t stay out of it! Enjoy!
More photos from the great Mizukake Matsuri at Monzennakacho! The first few photos are of the many omikoshi teams representing different neighborhoods around the great shrine of Tomioka Hachimangu, the center of this festival. Along the route there are several two men teams of firefighters volunteering to give the omikoshi bearers a massive hose down, as you can see in the third photo. At this point most other photographers had wisely retreated to a safe distance but I am more like a shark sensing blood in the water, I throw all caution to the wind and charge in with camera blazing when I see something as interesting as this! Absolutely not my smartest move.
I moved closer to the great shrine and saw the first of the mobile swimming pool stations, where one of the omikoshi teams were met with a wall of water as a dozen people emptied buckets of it all over them, it was pretty impressive! And of course I had to move in closer, to check out the kids trying to fight back with their water guns, the cutest and bravest thing I ever saw! More photos to come in the final post on this fantastic festival. Enjoy!