– encounters 5b & 6a

tis-taku-tashiro-medium
The beginning of this post really belongs to encounters 5. The Verkehr Museum, near Shimizu Port, is currently holding an exhibition of Taku Tashiro’s work. He’s an illustrator and graphic designer. The exhibition is interesting enough. I wouldn’t make a special trip just to see it. However, if you were combining checking out the Shimizu Port area, it’s worth popping into. Admission is only 400 yen and it runs until the end of February. The Verkehr has some really interesting exhibitions detailing the port history of Shimizu, and there were also some very lovely impressionistic/abstract etchings from a local artist. I’ve misplaced her name(card).

Encounters 6 begins with setting out to walk inbetween Shimizu and Okitsu station. You always think, easy, right? I’ll just follow the railway lines. Except they go places you can’t go. The easiest way to follow them is to be on them, which, in Japan, would probably result in death, considering how well they are utilised. Not really an option. Google maps, or GPS and so on, direct you to the most boring, car-ridden path you could possibly take. So, if you know the general direction, then follow the tracks when you can, if you don’t have to double-back too much, and there are lots of hidden pathways and opportunities.

Along the main road, maybe the old Tokaido Road, is the Zagyoso Musuem/Villa. A reconstruction of one of those elegant older houses you often encounter only as reconstructions. It belonged to one of the wealthier members of Okitsu, and he was visited by many dignitaries, etc. Not really my cup of tea, but entrance was free, the grounds and house were lovely, and if you like matcha and ice-cream, it was available, though maybe not on a mid-weekday. I was out walking to see what I’d encounter, so there was one thing.

As I wandered along I came across the Seikenji temple. According to virtual tourists, train spotters like it because the Tokaido line runs right in front of it. Which it does. Apparently, according to the link just prior, a shot of a train passing under the bell tower is well sought after.

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That brick wall was beautiful, mainly because the red brick is so rarely seen in Japan. The temple overlooks Suruga Bay, and the horizon would be the ocean if not for the elevated highway that divides the vision.

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The photo below details some further information about the temple. The temple was also a crucial in terms of negotiation between the powers that be and foreign powers/ religious interests, particularly Korean, throughout its history. It must have boasted stunning views once upon a time.

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I was the only one in the grounds, though some workers were labouring in the nearby haka (cemetery). A monk sang while I overlooked the grounds. Very peaceful.

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I love the depictions of the 500 arhats / rakan/ boatsatsu / bodhisattva that you can see depicted within Japan. Enlightened folk, in other words, who have reached sainthood, nirvana, possibly, but who come back to earth to help out the mess and mass of we bumbling fools. Of course, they’re quite often bumbling too.

Recently I saw Takashi Murakami’s depiction of these 500 fellows at the Mori Art Museum. The information I gained there was useful to understand the different personalities, facial expressions, foibles and achievements of the arhats. I visited a number (500?) of these at Nihon-ji, just outside of Kurihama. That’s a trip well worth doing. It’s detailed in this very long post from a previous blog of mine (there are a lot of photos!).

Anyway, I didn’t expect to see them. It was a delight to come across them, and to wend my way up the mountainside where I was abruptly met with a locked gate. So, I didn’t wander too far. But that gave me more time to check out the arhat who seemed to be having a pretty lively conversation with one another. I liked them so much, I’ll post a number of pictures to give readers some idea of the variety.

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My favourite. This one has the Buddha inside the Buddha. Or the pure heart is shining forth.

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This guy is very mellow.

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The temple from the back. That’s Suruga Bay in the distance.

And here’s Murakami being an arhat at the foyer of his Mori exhibition.

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Stay tuned for encounter 6B.

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4 Comments on “– encounters 5b & 6a”


  1. […] with nary a sound « – encounters 5b & 6a […]


  2. […] All of these guys would be boasatsu (bodhisattva) – or maybe gods, but this one looks pretty evil. I really appreciate their individual foibles all the more now after having viewed Takashi Murakami’s 500 arhats, as outlined in another post. […]

  3. rommel Says:

    I enjoyed our walk around Seikenjo Temple. Seeing the buddhas and looking at each of their facial expressions was kind of interesting.
    That last pic … Took me aback at first sight, but then WHOA-ed after getting a second look. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • theheartbeatsoftly Says:

      That Takashi Murakami “statue”
      was actually animated as well. It was a great exhibition. If it’s showing again, check it out. It makes seeing the 500 bosatsu more engaging. Thanks for dropping by ๐Ÿ™‚


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