Monday, July 5, 2010

Oriental Accents -- Japanese Castles and Temples and stuff

Posting is slow this month again. I'm back to revising my screenplay, plus occasionally plugging in a little more of the Flying Swordsmen RPG. So not much time to blog. So here are some pictures I took while I was in Japan (these are all from way back in 2003-2004).

Maizuru-Jo (Dancing Crane Castle remains) in Kofu. They're slowly working on restoring bits of the castle.

Photo of Kofu, with Mt. Fuji in the background, taken from the top of the castle walls.

Detail work from the Minobu-san Kuonji (Mt. Minobu Kuon Temple).

Temple bell at Kuonji.

Me and one of the Takeda's 24 Generals at the annual Shingen-Kou Matsuri (Lord Shingen Festival). Takeda Shingen was considered one of the greatest military minds of feudal Japan, so they honor him every year by dressing hundreds of drunk folks up in armor and spears and swords and guns and marching them around town. (I don't think I actually ended up on TV--no one said they saw me anyway.)

Some of the foot soldiers. We had a prime vantage point that year, right in front of Starbucks and just down from the judge's stage.


  1. You are super-lucky to have seen the Shingen-Kou Matsuri. I'd love to see that. The Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima is one of the coolest stories--how Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen fought to a standstill. There's a point where Uesugi's cavalry actually broke through the Takeda line, led by Kenshin himself, and he and Takeda Shingen actually crossed swords for a moment.

    There's a Japanese movie called HEAVEN AND EARTH (no clue as to the English title, and I can't find it online) about the battle, but they have huge inaccuracies (like Takeda flees in the movie, which he didn't in reality).

    Awesome stuff.

  2. Some accounts of the battle say that Shingen didn't have time to draw his sword, so he fought Kenshin with his commander's war fan.

    Some local historians told me that the two actually probably didn't face each other, Kenshin and his home guard battled Shingen's home guard but the two generals didn't actually meet. Hard to tell with the way the histories were written in those days.

    Anyway, Kurosawa's Kagemusha is also about Shingen--how he did the 'El Cid' tactic of fooling the enemy and his own troops about his death. Good film.

    Haven't seen Heaven and Earth yet, but I remember when it was released. I'll have to watch it one of these days.