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Escape the heat, go to temples

Photo 1 - 2012-07-30
It's really hot out there now, so we should visit Japanese temples and shrines to escape the heat. The other day I visited Kyotanabe, Kyoto for learning Sukiya-zukuri which is one type of Japanese residential architectural style of designing public facilities and private homes based on tea house aesthetics. I called at Ikkyu-ji, the temple famouse as one priest "Ikkyu Soujyun". I feel comfortable with seeing the sett paving and the play of sunlight through the tree leaves.

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A chozuya is a Shinto water ablution pavilion for a ceremonial purification rite. This is also like a fountain to keep ourselves cool.

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Right after the rainy season in Japan, the middle of July, moss green is so beautiful in Japanese temples. I believe this green is one of various colors of Japan.

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This is the woodern bell tower of this temple built 400 years ago. Its eaves soffit and straight rafters are amazing.

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"Karesansui" the Japanese rock garden often called a zen garden, creates a miniature stylized landscape through carefully composed arrangements of rocks, water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes, and uses gravel or sand that is raked to represent ripples in water. The most of the temples have a well-kept garden by the skilled gardeners.

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Beautiful white sand drawing ripples. The temples are not only for worship, but also for feeling nature and getting fresh cool air. There's a restaurant in front of the temple, I recommend you to have tea flavor noodle called Chasoba and a shaved ice with green tea syrup on the top.


Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 11:24Comments(2)


Return to rugby

Photo 5 - 2012-07-26
While I was in Europe, I hardly played rugby, but now I return to rugby! I'll try hard in architecture and rugby again. The other day we enjoyed playing touch rugby with Pusan RFC's mates. That was the cultural exchange through sports.

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Next day I played the union rugby. It had been a half year to play. Once I was ready for finishing my rugby career, but I couldn't. I'm addicted. In the rugby game, I could do nothing due to lack of training.

Photo 1 - 2012-07-26
However, I'm so happy to play rugby again with those mates. I'll restart hard training for this rugby season.

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Our touch rugby team joined a competition in Momochi Beach, Fukuoka. This rugby is really tough because the rule's different and our feet stuck in the sand.

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Unfortunately we lost the games, but really enjoyed it. I can't stop playing rugby. I'll continue to be an "architect in athletes way".  

Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 14:31Comments(0)



Photo 1 - 2012-07-20
宮大工とは、神社、寺院の建築を専門とする大工です。木の命生かし、千年の建物を構築する宮大工、西岡常一さんの人生を垣間見たく、「鬼に訊け〜宮大工 西岡常一の遺言」という映画を見に行きました。失礼ながら予想に反して劇場内はほぼ満席。でも、ご年配の方が多かったので、若い人がもっとこういうのを見るべきですよ。
"Miyadaiku" is a carpenter specializes in shrines and temples. Make good use of wood, build an architecture which has a thousand years of life. I watched a movie about a story of one Miyadaiku, Tsunekazu Nishioka. Contrary to expectation, the theatre was full. Cinema attendances were mostly elder people, but I thought young generations should watch the movie like this.

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My guess was this carpenter was a fiend for work, and was really strict with his pupils, but I didn't feel that when i saw him in the film. He was a master carpenter of the renovation of Horyu-ji, reconstruction of Yakushi-ji and its west pagoda. His word has full of pride and confidence as a successor of traditional architecture.

Once again I want to see Yakushi-ji. What I was impressed was the sharpness of Japanese planes and chisels, and shaving off a thin piece of wood. The carpenters assemble timbers without minut clearance in the joints. Above all way of his life is so cool. I'll learn traditional Japanese architecture thoroughly.  

Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 01:12Comments(0)


My mentors

Photo 1 - 2012-07-19
After I got home from Europe, I visited my mentors. I reported what I've learnd overseas, told them what I want to do from now on, and asked them to coraborate in our work. Firstly, visited my reliable mentor, one landscape designer. He's taught me landscape design.
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The family of my senior team mate of rugby. I designed his house. I'm thankful to everything what they've done to me. When I was losing my identity, he gave me a word to get it back.

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He has been also my senior team mate since we played for the same University. We played for the same company as well thanks to his help. I owe him.

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I've learnd ceramic art and philosophy from this ceramicist. I always confess to him when I lose my way, he always lead me the right way. I hope to be a man like him.

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He was my colleague, and established his own architectural design office. I had a consultation with him about my future. Attractive architect.

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I joined their honeymoon in Paris. He is the specialist for food hygiene. I asked him to be a consultant for my commercial design.

I believe I can be invincible with those mentors. Visiting mentors will be continued.

Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 01:17Comments(0)


Flowers and Birds

Photo 5 - 2012-07-14
I went to the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art to see Atsushi Uemura's exhibition. Atsushi Uemura is the artist of "Nihon-ga" painting that have been made in accordance with traditional Japanese artistic conventions, techinics and materials.

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His grand mother and father were also great artists of Japanese style paintings. The sentient artist's gene has been inherited for three generations.

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Atsushi Uemura owns a big birdhouse taken over it from his father beside his house. This birdhouse could be for thoroughly observing and drawing the birds.

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This "Nihon-ga" is fine and delicate art particular to Japan. I was so impressed!

Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 15:27Comments(0)


Streets and Alleys

Photo 3 - 2012-07-13
This is the street of Prague, Czech Republic.

Photo 1 - 2012-07-13
Alley of Mikkonos, Greece.

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Street of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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Alley of La Cadiere d'Azur, France.

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Street of Notting Hill, UK.

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Hanamikojidori of Kyoto, Japan.

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This is the one of the streets we Japanese are proud of.

There are various kinds of street and alley. So much fun comparing these photos.

Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 00:00Comments(2)



Photo 2 - 2012-07-11
After I came back to Fukuoka, I joined a rugby training of one club team that I belonged before. It had been three months. Under the humid condition, we had lots of runnings. From the first warm-up, I felt SOS sign from my lungs. I was totally exhausted from the begining.

Photo 1 - 2012-07-11
I forgot the training I used to do, our coachm, younger than I, yelled at me, and I was so dissapointed. I then forgot pickoff plays as well, and was yelled again.

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I couldn't hit hard like before, as a result my shirt was torn into pieces. Someone said "You become soft!" I was depressed again...

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Right after the trainning, I had a rice bowl with ginger pork and spring onion, which I dreamed about in Europe. I'll try harder for the training until the rugby season. Wow! Eggs sunny-side up! I'll play rugby again for this team. I can't stop playing rugby. Addicted!

Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 01:15Comments(4)


Phoenix Hall

It's obvious that Kyoto is the best place to see and learn Japanese traditional architecture. it's because Kyoto had been the capital of Japan before Tokyo, and the most of buildings were not damaged by the Pacific War. I believe I could obtain something like ideas and inspirations I had in the Meditarraneans. I'm passionate to learn the essense of the Japanese traditional architecture. This is one of the reason I came home.

Photo 1 - 2012-07-08
Before I visited Byodo-in Hououdom, I stood by Ujigami Shrine, the oldest shrine in Japan. We call the building on the photo as Haiden built during the Kamakura periodm, 1185-1133, and Honden, the main building behind the Haiden was built the last Heian Period around 1100.

Photo 2 - 2012-07-08
The roof of the Haiden was made of skins of Japanese cypress. This method of roof construction is called Hiwadabuki and original of Japan, putting a cypress skin over another. I like this old, green and natural flavor, but new roof of the sypress skin is so beautiful.

Photo 5 - 2012-07-08
I was heading to Byodo-in. I haven't visited here since I was in elementary school. At that time I felt nothing, and no memory about this temple. That means I had little artistic sensibility. You can see Jodo-shiki garden, which the ancient landscape architect tried to re-create buddism heaven on earth. The temples are surrounded by beautiful pond.

Photo 4 - 2012-07-08
This is the Poenix Hall, symmetric architecture constructed in 1053 as the Amitabha Hall to eushrine a statue of Amitabha Tathagata. There is a pair of Poenix statues at the top of the roof, and the whole temple shape is like the phoenix with its wings extended.

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The Japanese garden beside the museum in Byodo-in. I took a rest there, then had a cup of green tea which is the speciality of Uji.

Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 13:09Comments(0)


Temple of Hydrangea

Photo 1 - 2012-07-08
I visited Mimurotoji, called Temple of Flower or Hydrangea in Uji, Kyoto, In every season, you can see different flowers in the temple garden.

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Now is also the season of lotus flowers. This plant has strong connection to Buddism, Budda statues sit on the lotus leaf.

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This temple has 1200 years of history, and the main temple was rebuilt 180 years ago, This is wooden, if the wood is taken care of, the buildings can last as long as masonry.

Photo 4 - 2012-07-08
10,000 Hydrangeas!

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50 kinds of Hydrangeas!

Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 00:06Comments(2)


Kobe Tourney

I was a guide of Kobe for my Fukuoka mates, and took them to one cafe called "Kannonya", famous as yummy cheese cake.  Those guys on the photo including me doesn't suit the cheese cake at all.

I realized that my hometown's so romantic.  I was satisfied that the foreign and Fukuoka people knew how romantic Kobe was.

We joined the touch rugby tournament at Isogami Park in Kobe.  It wasn't cancelled even it was rain.

I was so happy to play touch with my Fukuoka mates. My local high school mate also joined us. Now only two of us left still playing rugby after graduation.

Photo 1 - 2012-07-07
We kept on running on the muddy field.

I was stuffed.  I got to restart my training seriously.   

Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 18:09Comments(0)


Japanese food

マグロ刺身 赤坂 居酒屋「鶏・旬菜・お酒 てけてけ 赤坂」
After three months I could finally eat Japanese food. I'd been longing for the day. I had a meal at the small but yummy Izakaya, Kokoro in Higashiyamashichijyo, Kyoto. Tuna sashimi! It melted in my mouth.

Salad with Kujyo the local spring onion! Is the spring onion so sweet?

Photo 1 - 2012-07-06
Octopus sashimi! One of my three favorites. Buonissimo!

I then went back to my hometown Kobe. First and foremost, I really wanted to eat this. Okonomiyaki which has the local fresh octopus, cooked by Izmi's grandma! I've had it since I was in high school. The 80 percent of my body consists of this Okonimiyaki.

I took my touch rugby mates from Fukuoka to this restaurant. This is one of the most beautiful meals we Japanese are proud of! I was so pleased that they loved it.


Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 01:02Comments(2)



I got sound sleep during 6 hours train from Munich to Prague. When I looked around the city on the airport bus, I turned my thoughts toward three months ago I started this trip here.

後は飛行機が墜落しなければ日本へ。機内では、邦画「ALWAYS 三丁目の夕日'64」を見て感動。日本人って頑張ってきたんやなぁ。
Unless my flight crashes, I'll be back to Japan. I watched the in-flight Japanese movie "Always: Sunset on third street '64", and was greatly touched how the generation at that time worked really hard for the country.

I've finished my three months trip along the Meditarrenian. I could see traditional, masonry and commercial architectures in the south Europe thoroughly. I also could learn how they attract tourists all over the world. Those tourist place have something in common, if we arrange it in Japanese way, we could also create the place or architecture attracts people. Now I strongly feel to learn more about our origin in architecture. At the beginning, I thought I stayed and studied for a couple of years in Europe, but three months was enough to learn, some ideas came into my mind, and now I'm keen to carry out in practice the idea receiving a stimulus from this trip. I've decided to go home and will start my own business. That's what I'm passionate to do. I'm still looking for a chance to work overseas, but I have confidence I can go and work at any time. When I get back, I'll study harder and harder to create good architectures.  

Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 15:36Comments(0)



Leaving Europe soon.  Before I leave from Prague where I started my trip, I was passionate to see Munich, Germany.  Took a train from Cologne.

Photo 5 - 2012-07-03
Firstly I visited one museum Pinakothek der Moderne.  It has a fine texture of exposed concrete wall.

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The collections are modern art, graphics, architecture and design from 20th to 21st century.  There are many exhibitions of furnitures.

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I spent a lot of time in architecture exhibitions.  Germany is ahead in architectural design as well as advanced industrial design.

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Brandhorst Museum has multi-coloured facade composed of 36,000 vertical ceramic louvres in 23 different coloured glazes.

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The modern architectures turned to the historical German streets.  In this area, there are famous beer halls and restaurants.  The local beer is great!

Interior and ceiling of the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl beer hall - Munich - Germany
One of the most traditional beer halls is Hofbräuhaus am Platzl.  High arched ceiling with drawings and lights is amazing.

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The restaurant in the court yard of the city hall.  The atmosphere is totally different from the Mediterraneans.  It looks planed systematically and has style.

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Facade of the city hall, it shows us how well they keep the peace over the city, low percentage of unemployment, and how good to live.

Allianz Arena
The Allianz Arena is a football stadium was designed by the Swiss architect firm of Herzog & de Meuron.  The wall panels can be lit with white, red, or blue light. 

BMW-Welt Doppelkegel
BMW Welt is a multi-functional customer experience and exhibition facility of the BMW AG.

Off to Prague takes 6 hours by train, I'm leaving from Prague Ruzyně International Airport.  My visa's almost expired.


Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 00:01Comments(2)



Photo 1 - 2012-07-02
Took a bus from Oxford to Gatwick, another airport in the south of London.  Next day, I took a cheap flight to Cologne, Germany.  When I got the city centre, the massive building suddenly appeared in front of the station.

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Cologne Cathedral, I was overpowered with the scale and the beauty of the building.  The present cathedral was commenced in 1248, was completed in1880, took 600 years to built in some reason.  The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and has the second-tallest spires and largest facade of any church in the world. 

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Museum Ludwig which wavy roofs are quite unique beside the Cathedral.  Probably, I could say this modern building is in harmony with the historical cathedral.  This museum has one of the largest Pablo Picasso collections in Europe.

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The local restaurants stand in a row along the Rhine flows Cologne.

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In Cologne, Ta Ma Ra, friend of mine, showed me around the city, especially the historical buildings and restaurant culture. We had some local meals like a hamburg steak of something.

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I found a restaurant its facade and iron sign are cute.

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We then observed one botanical garden called "Flora".  There's no particular style of German garden, but I'm interested in local plants.  Amazingly, it's free to enter.

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I could learn the local architecture thanks to Ta Ma Ra's guide.  Thank you for teaching me German language as well!  

Posted by Masakatsu Nishitani at 00:01Comments(0)