Memoirs of a Genji

Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Japan

June 25, 2009

A long long time ago…in a land far far away…there was a lady with powdery-white face, blackened teeth, and brows in the middle of her forehead. She retreated to a mountain temple and came up with an epic tale “on the night of the full moon.”

Lady Murasaki in Ishiyama-dera

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The Land of the Setting Sun

Osaka, Japan

June 24, 2009

I had just accorded Japan omnipresent status. The Land of the Rising Sun may well have been the Land of the Setting Sun as well. Japan bookended the day!

Osaka Castle at Twilight

It was a dramatic sunset. A tinge of orange, a swathe of pink, and splashes of yellow set the sky aflame. The cinematic combination of castles and colors was as dreamy as Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams. Osaka-jo (Osaka Castle) and its shachihoko, that ubiquitous roof design of a fish with a dragon head, cast a mystical silhouette against the psychedelic sky.

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The Samurai Castle

Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan

June 24, 2009

I had seen posh palaces, towering temples, and formidable fortresses, but a castle complex eluded me – until I got to Himeji, a quaint little city near Kobe. Himeji-jo (jo being castle in Nihongo) was completed in the early 1600s, yet it stood as the best-preserved castle in Japan, even emerging unscathed from WW2 bombings.

Himeji-jo: White Egret Castle

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Serendipitous Serenity

Subic, Zambales, the Philippines

February 15, 2009

I had never been a Subic person. I didn’t mean the town, but SBF (Subic Bay Freeport Zone), which I found a tad contrived.

The bay area was a Spanish arsenal repository more than a century ago, and more recently, it housed the controversial American naval base. When the Americans left in the early 90s, the area was converted into a commercial and entertainment development zone.

The Lighthouse Marina Resort in Subic

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