Saturday, May 07, 2005

Paddy fields



paddy field, originally uploaded by Gong Di.

Paddy fields that are covered with water for rice-planting are a familiar landscape to Japanese people. It tells us the beginning of early summer. We have seen this rural landscape since we know not when. It is deep-rooted in our minds as one of the primal scenes.

Interesting statistics


I found an interesting statistics in a weekly magazine. A man who runs his private training school in Furano, Hokkaido, asked his students what is the most necessary thing in everyday life for them. Their answers are as follows:

1. water
2. fire
3. knife
4. food
5. clothes

A TV producer found this result interesting and asked young people living in Tokyo the same question. He got the following result:

1. money
2. keitai (cellular phone)
3. TV
4. car
5. house

Big difference!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A Headless Saint



A Headless Saint, originally uploaded by Gong Di.

This is a test blog sent directly from -- therefore linked automatically with -- the picture uploaded to Flickr.com. I have wanted to put pictures in my blog. After trials and errors, with our instructor's help, at last I succeeded in it.

Our instructor told me that the headless saint in the photo must be John the Baptist. Thank you.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Centrair


Last Friday (April 1) I went to a newly built airport called "Centrair", which is a nickname for Central Japan International Airport that opened in February, 2005. It was an airport on the man-made island near Nagoya. It was a bit smaller than I had expected, yes, small compared with Kansai airport, which was also built on the artificial island.

My purpose was to meet a Chinese student from Tianjin Normal University at the arrival lobby, but she was not to come out, for she missed her airplane. I was told so by Hayase sensei on the cellular phone just when I got to the airport. What a waste of time! I had to return to Tsu without the student in charge.

Since I had much time before the return boat bound for Tsu left the port, I strolled around the "sky town", the place on the fourth floor, where I've heard there are many restaurants and souvenir shops, even a public bath, and I took some pictures. I'll show some of them to convey the atmosphere of the new airport.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

A Headless Saint

I used the word "saint", but I'm not sure whether it is the appropriate word or not, since three figures in the photo have angel-like wings and the one on the left-hand side must be a king (he has, besides the crown, a scepter in his left hand and a ball representing the world in the other). Anyway, these holy figures, especially the one with his head in his hand, attracted my attention when I visited Notre Dame de Paris.

A Headless Saint

Let me explain from the beginning. This is the photo of the decoration carved on one of the three entrance-gates that lead you into 'la Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris' (the middle gate is closed). The façade of the Cathedral has three main big gates (see the second photo), and all of them are magnificently ornamented with many statues and symbolic or allegorical animals and plants in relief.

The headless figure is outstanding compared with many other 'normal' figures on the gates. I have been thinking there must be some legend behind this strange figure. Is he a great martyr who was canonized after enduring hardship for the sake of his faith? Is he the same person as the king on the left, and do the four figures tell his pious life briefly like some medieval paintings where different times are often depicted in one canvas?

I remember that I have met a similar headless figure somewhere in a story, though the story was not about a saint or a king but, if my memory is correct, about a knight. The whole story escaped my memory, but the scene that remains still impressive in me goes roughly like this:

A knight had a fight in a tournament (or in a battle, I'm not sure) and he was defeated and beheaded by his opponent. He fell down from his steed but he did not die on the spot. Slowly he rose to his feet and picked up his cut-off head, which lay on the ground, and the head spoke some words about revenge and he, the headless knight, mounted his horse again and went away, carrying his head under his arm.

I'm not going to say that this bizarre story has something to do directly with the headless figure in the relief of Notre Dame de Paris. I think, however, that this kind of figure holding his head in his hand might appear in other folk tales and legends, and it may be one of the common figures the Western people’s imagination produced.