Colored Bus in Shizuoka City!


Buses are often used in Japan, especially in Shizuoka and touristic regions as big moving advertising boards.

And sometimes they seem to be decorated for the pure fun of it!

I took this picture this afternoon in Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City!

A great way to encourage kids to board a bus!
Edo Era Travelers in Shizuoka City (Sumpu)!


The City of Shizuoka (as of the Prefecture) was always called so, but until the end of the beginning of the modern era it was called Sumpu/駿府.
The city grew in importance when the Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa/徳川家康 decided to retire there in the beginning of the 17th Century.
There used to be a castle called Sumpu Jyou/駿府城 but the later Shogun ordered it to be burnt.
In recent years a two-third size copy has been (and is still) built as faithfully as possible.
This makes for a very interesting venue as it includes parks, a museum and an event space.


Now, if you walk along the moat behind Shizuoka University Junior School you will espy some people sitting on a bench just beyond a traditional lantern tower!


Can you see them?


They are not people but statues!


Bronze Statue of Yaji-Kita

Actually it is a modern statue of two main characters of “Tokaidochu Hiza-kuri-ge (Travels on Foot on the Tokaido),”
Yaji (left) and Kita (right), a story/play written 200 years ago by Jippensha Ikku!
An ideal spot to take pictures of the past as the statues faithfully represent two people of the Edo Era, a time when travelers walked all the way from Yedo/Tokyo to Sumpu (174 km)!



Note that the garb is taht of typical travelers of the time.


the gentle face of a grand old man!




Obviously the face of a younger and more exhuberant companion!


The « chonmage/丁髷/hair knot » in fashion then!


In that time men used to shave their pate unless they were practically becoming bald! LOL


Everyday necessities were carried in small boxes.


Tobacco box and pipe.
Note the footwear!


Sandal and calf wear.


The moat and pavement.


Will report on Sumpu Castle next time!
Noh Mask Artist: Roger Voltz

Roger Voltz standing in front of his artworks at the recently exhibition in Shziuoka Bank Shizuogin Gallery Yonki.

« I would like to leave a legacy for the younger generation to continue. »

Roger Voltz (63, a French citizen born in St. Denis in the suburbs of Paris, came to Shizuoka City in 1973 to settle down after a long travel through the woorld.
A University language lecturer by trade he had always been attracted by the Japanese culture.

Apart of becoming in martial arts he has been carving Noh masks for the last 18 years.
Noh Theater is one of the oldest forms of theater in Japan (originating out of combination of Chinese performing arts, known as sarugaku, and traditional Japanese dance called dengaku、 during the Muromachi Era, 13th~16th Century) and has attained great fame in World Performing Arts for its intricate dances, music and acting.
The actors are exclusively male and usually only the main one wears a mask(s) on stage.

Akobujou/阿古父尉/Old Man

There are five Noh Theater « Schools » all possessing their own original masks.
But the same masks have to be duplicated according to rules and traditions as obviously these original masks are really worn, invaluable relics they are!

Hanjo/班女/Lady Han

So far Roger has carved and exhibited 20 masks under the guidance of his Master, Kishinosuke Atsumi.
5 of them were exhibited at The Exhibition held with three more artists at the Shizuoka Bank/Shizugin Gallery Yonki March 10th~16th.
He is far from being a new face in the art as he has already exhibited in the Shizuoka Prefecture Museum and in Mariko.

Kantan Otoko/邯鄲男/The Man form Kantan

Carving the masks in wood is a long and intricate process taking 8~10 months in Roger’s cas as he can create them only during his spare time.

Yamanba/山姥/the Old Mountain Crone

Each mask weighs 130g~150g for female characters and 150~180 g for male counterparts.

Hashihime/橋姫/Princess Hashi (the mask of jealousy!)

Each mask is carved out of a block of either hinoki/檜/Japanese cypress or kusunoki/楠/camphor tree, both valuable wood in this country.
The process was kindly demonstrated with maks carvedin different stages at the exhibition:

The « four main stages »

A rough picture is drawn on a block weighing around 1 kg.

A rough mask is carved with help of hard paper measures.

The face is gradually carved in more details with the help of hard paper model.

The finished product hollowed out to fit the face of the actor with holes for the eyes and mouth!
It will then be careful painted.

I’m planning to interview Roger in his atelier soon to show you a more detailed explanation!

If you want to contact Roger directly for more information, write to him at !

December 14, 2009. Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, kamiashiarai. Taken by R-G. M.

A bit of over-illuminating?

December, 10th, 2009. Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Sengen Shrine. Taken by R-G. M.
Earthquake Damage in Shizuoka City


November 11th, 2009. Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Oote Machi. Taken by R-G. M.

The wall/rampart surrounding Sumpu Castle in Shizuoka City collapsed in three places after the recent earthquake (M6).
Early Illuminations in Shizuoka City


November 10th, 2009. Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken-cho. Taken by R-G. M.
Shizuoka City’s Last Wooden Houses 4


October 28th, 2009. Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajo Machi. Taken by R-G. M.
Shizuoka City’s Last Wooden Houses 3


October 21st, 2009. Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo Machi. taken by R-G. M.
Shizuoka City’s Last Wooden Houses 2


October 17, 2009. Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Kamiashiarai. Taken by R-G. M.
Shizuoka City’s Last Wooden Houses 1


October 16th, 2009. Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Kamiashiarai. Taken by R-G. M.


October 19th, 2009. Showa-cho, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City. Taken by R-G. M.

A house disappeared leaving its mark on its neighbour!

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