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Discussion Starter #1
I'm surprised nobody has started a thread about Japan yet, one of the most incredible countries on this planet. So let's start one! Personally I like pictures of everyday life and unknown places more than the oh-so-famous tourist sites, but feel free to post any pictures as long as they are stunning, unusual, or simply aesthetic.

I'll start with the main street in the village of Narai (奈良井 ; literally "the (water) well of Nara"), in Nagano Prefecture. If you're curious, the sign on the black banner in the picture means "charcoal sheets" (charcoal sheets are used in Japanese houses to absorb odors and purify the air).

For me, that's why Japan is such an extraordinary place: it has managed to keep traditional architecture and culture despite its economic development. In the rest of Asia, unfortunately, economic development almost always means destroying the old neighborhoods and the old houses, and transforming the traditional culture into little more than a tourist attraction. Japan is the miraculous Asian exception (perhaps because it developped earlier; or perhaps because the Japanese mentality is just different from the rest of Asia).



 

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Discussion Starter #6
^^The principle of this thread if one picture per day. If someone has already posted a picture, you have to wait until the next day to post your picture.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Merry Christmas! メリークリスマス!

Since this is Christmas (even in Japan), everybody is allowed to post a picture today. A Japanese Christmas picture.

This is my picture: a Christmas shop in the southern city of Kurashiki (倉敷), in Okayama Prefecture. When Western culture meets ancient Japan...



 

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Discussion Starter #13
A back street in the neighborhood of Sanmachi (三町), in the city of Takayama (高山), in Gifu Prefecture.

I wish the Chinese weren't busy destroying the old districts in their cities. Japan is a living proof that you can be a high-tech country with a highly developed economy and still keep the traditional culture and traditional architecture. Yet in China and most of the rest of Asia it seems people believe progress = destroying the past. It's sad. 20 years from now, only Japan will still have beautiful traditional districts like this one.



 

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Smelly cat...
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^^I've heard about the destruction of old quarters in many Chinese cities and I find it really sad... but it did also happen in many European cities as well in the past!

Btw, great photos, Japan is extraordinary in many ways!
 

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Terras Irradient
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Japan is really amazing country, been there and very impressed!!! Great photos, beautiful country! :banana:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
In the West, lovers write their names on tree barks, in the Latin alphabet. In Japan, well, lovers write their names on bamboo barks, with Japanese syllabaries and Chinese characters. You got to love our planet for its diversity!

This picture was taken in the famous Sagano (嵯峨野) Bamboo Forest, on the western outskirts of Kyoto, Japan's former capital. Japan being Japan, you'll be glad to hear that the sound of the wind in this bamboo forest has been voted as one of "one hundred must-be-preserved sounds of Japan" by the Japanese government. A perfect place for lovers then!



 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
This building is not a temple. It is an indoor hot spring facility, built around the Dogo Hot Spring (道後温泉), in the city of Matsuyama (松山 ; literally the city of the "pine tree mountain", quite a poetic name), which is the largest city on the southern island of Shikoku.

There are thousands of hot springs (or "onsen" in Japanese) across Japan, due to the volcanic nature of the country. The onsen can be either outdoor or indoor, and are quite popular with Japanese people. The Dogo Hot Spring (or Dogo Onsen) is one of the most anciently known and most famous onsen in Japan. It was already mentioned in Japanese litterature 13 centuries ago. Yet the current public bathhouse building built around the hot spring, the one you can see in the picture, dates only from 1894.



 

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Discussion Starter #20
Planet of the Apes: a troop of macaques enjoying an outdoord hot spring (onsen) near the city of Nagano, home of the Winter Olympics. It's not just human beings who enjoy the onsen in Japan!

Incidently, Planet of the Apes was originally a French novel published in 1963 as La Planète des singes.



 
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