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Lacking high resolution pictures.

After my last successful journey to Toyohashi, Japan, we soon enough realized that we had a massive problem. The pictures taken at Sensei’s house in the past just all happened to be lacking high resolution quality. They were fine for reference to study or for design, but sadly just not that great for a possible future publication. Quickly thinking it over with one option left, fly back as soon as possible or risk closing borders…
According to the motto “to have is better than to need” the usual arrangements were made and booked, to get things on the road.

Arriving in the land of the rising sun

I flew over with a case filled to the top with sweets and chocolate for my friends abroad. Hoping not to get caught at the border entering Japan. LOL.
Please check for the allowed amount and weight of import products to Japan.
Anyway, tight but we made it!

Ueno Park and Tokyo National Museum

The first day of the mission started off with a clear blue sky. So I thought Ueno Park might just be right for me. A walk from Ueno station all the way towards the Tokyo National Museum and its beautiful pond. Coming closer it was visible that a special exhibition was taking place. It showed statues of buddhist deities from Kyoto. I have no idea how they transported them to Tokyo.
In all, an enormous plus for the knowledge hunters, like myself, that made their way there.
Later I enjoyed book shopping in Shinjuku (I know exactlly where I want to go!) just as much, as I love being on the go and dig outdoor activities.

Ueno nights.

I knew for the beginning I didn’t have to much time to see my friend and amazing Photographer – Ronin de Goede – as I just arrived and he was leaving. So we called a last second hit or miss dinner arrangement. Always good clean fun catching up. If you don’t know his work be sure to view the link at the bottom of this entry.

The next morning I made my way to see yet another friend. No one less than Horifune from Nagoya City. Always taking best care of me, I can truly say, he is the cities greatest Horimono attraction. Heavy artillery work thats looks so tough. So real!

Shooting pics in Toyohashi.

For me arriving in Toyohashi is like being at home! I was more than lucky to be back and didn’t waist time to get things set. So difficult, setting up station. A3 size scanner, Laptop? How does it work? Solutions? Trouble shooting? Find an efficient way!
I was prepared, but had no idea that my Japanese mother (Sensei’s widow) was going to reach me the life history of all pictures she had. Big boxes. “Here are the boxes Gordon, if you need anything, just let me know.” Boxes filled with albums upon albums full of treasures. Believe me, when I say: Shodai Horikoi worked Horimono as hard as ten men. I am not exaggerating. It is off limits to how much he made. The amount of drawings, sketches, Tebori works and travel he did is extreme.

It took five days in total to snap everything and 4300 pictures later, my back was finished. I was filled with joy and pride that old clients of Sensei came to see me and took me out for dinner.
Mission accomplished!

Shizuoka, Kunozan Toshogu Shrine

Before leaving Toyohashi city, my japanese mother, Satsuki, had the idea of driving to a place she had always wanted to go and never had time for. So we packed our seven belongings and drove to Shinzuoka city. Kunozan Toshogu shrine is a national treasure and dedicated to Shogun Samurai warlord Leyasu Tokugawa. “The bamboo lights of world peace” is held yearly at full moon. You can feel the presence old spirits all around you. A surreal space where time plays no significant role…
Driving up the road in the dark was scary and taking a cablecar across the mountian was magical. This place worked on me for a long time. Still does…
You have to see it!

Kamakura adventure for a day.

Back to Tokyo region I met my road dogs Bea, Daniel and Marvin. It’s always so much fun meeting friends, when you’re on the road. It is a pleasure to share good times together. I had been eating well in Toyohashi, but these guys were here for the first time and didn’t want to miss a thing. I tought I would give they a treat! Beers, Skewers, Ramen and the one or other taste off side the menu just to see what they are made of. Full points, we eat everything.
Japan and Vegetables

A day in Kamakura viewing “The great Buddha of Kamakura” the statue of Amida Noryai is the moment you notice how small you are as a soul. Its a lot of walking and there are a number of Shrines around the attraction. Fun stuff and the way back was a little more quiet than usual as contemplation found its way.

Back in Tokyo it was time for bars and the next feast.

Nikkō, World heritage Site.

The feeling that a small tour was coming together was shaping up in our heads. Nikkō (Home to the three famous Monkeys), is truely amazing! Try get there early because it is not like it used to be. There are thousands of tourists waiting in line to get entry tickets. It is a bit of a spoiler, but then again: you never know if anyone is going.
Try a rainy day! That could add to the suspense of the environment. Could be cool!
After taking hundreds of pictures, which I don’t want to bore you with, I did want to stress how important it is for tattooers fevering Japan to go back there as much as everyday life allows you to.
Go there, take pics, use them!

Asakusa is Tokyo!

Asakusa, by far my favourite neighbourhood of Tokyo. Home to Shodai Horikoi’s friend Sensei Horikazu. You know that you have arrived at the right place when you come up out of the subway and see the orange gates that home the guardians (Kongorikishi) that protect buddha. For the craft, there’s always a lot to take care of as it is usually my last stop before flying home again. So those days are busy and adding to that meeting friends is also part of why I love it here.
My friend Daniel and myself ran the streets and bars together for a couple of days and then Sensei Horikazu allowed us to visit. Dan took it straight two days in a row! Valuable time to catch up…
Leaving for Germany the next day, Sensei gave me a Fire Force Hyogota along. No idea where he found it, but it’s got age for sure!



Asakusa Photograghy
Tokyo National Museum
Japanese Tattoo Nagoya
Shizuoka Night view
Kunozan Toshogu Shrine
Kamakura Daibutsu