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Sunday, September 24, 2017

The temple of Hase was built during the the Hei'an period right outside the Yamato, in the "less civilized" Uda region, to provide the court nobles with a relatively near yet secluded "vacation resort" of the times.

As nobles moved with their escorts and servants, this created immediately the need for an infrastructure of services that the local people of the town in Uda was eager to provide. The temple complex created a small but rich set of satellite activities hosted in the otherwise hostile valley behind the Miwa mount. The Hase village still lives of the tourism and pilgrimage activity generated by the temple and the nearby shrines, and the micro-shops grabbing on the narrow valley sides must look much alike they looked like one thousand years ago:


Saturday, September 23, 2017

And so, today program is quite heavy.

  1. Visit Mitsue and its Jinja in the early morning

  2. Visit the Buddhist temple of Hase and the village born around it

  3. Visit the complex of the Oo-Miwa Jinja, or the set of Shinto Shrines at the foot of the Sacred Mount Miwa

  4. If possible, Climb mount Miwa.

So, I wake up early in the Hinotani resort, get my breakfast, have a fast visit in the onsen and check out by 9 am.

I dreamed of the trip between Misugi and Mitsue so many times while writing of it in my book... and here I am traveling this road. Here's how it felt:

I left the audio in, including the AM radio broadcast with the local interferences, to give you the full feeling of the trip.

I will add an entry to mention this place, as it struck me for several reasons, even if I staid for one night only.

First of all, I will mention the fact that, on 199 pounds for one night, the Hinotani resort it's the most expensive hotel that I have booked in this trip, and being a three stars, I was a bit suspicious about the worth of the place. OTOH, both an abundant dinner and a meal-class breakfast were included, and this brings the effective cost down to 150 pounds. Moreover, I absolutely needed a base near Ise but somewhat halfway to Nara. I could have staid in the Nara region, but this place was also part of my backup plan in case I couldn't visit Ise the first day, and this part of the plan worked perfectly.

After having visited the Ise Jingu, I head for Misugi, a very little village on the old road between Ise and Nara. This road was probably the most important route in the very early years of the Yamato "empire", before they conquered Izumo and in an epoch where they were still called Yamatai. Traveling this road was one of my dreams, and indeed is the central part of the novel I wrote.

Misugi is the last village before exiting the mountains if you came from the Yamato, or the first village where you could have prepared for the dangerous travel in the mountains of Uda if you came from Ise.

I arrive in the location at dusk, but this only adds to the beauty of the place. The sunset is terse, and wrap the high cedar forests from which this place takes its name (Misugi means "beautiful cedars"), in a soft golden light which warms my heart. I am sorry I couldn't stop to get any photo on the way, but I have this from when the morning after, from my room looking down on the main village.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Today I am moving from Shirakawa to mitsue. A last hot bath in the Shirakawa-no-yu hot spring, a local breakfast and here we go on the most expensive autoroute of the world (didn't check, but sure it feels so). The final destination is Mitsue, but I will stop in Misugi, where I found the only free room in all the Uda valley for this day. I made some 3-4 hours space compressing the (already rich) program for the next day to allot for a visit at the Naigu of the Ise Jingu, or the most important of the two (almost) twin shrines in Ise. This is where the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu-no-omikami is enshrined, and has been the place where almost all the emperors have been bestowed their crown.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

When I set Shirakawa-go, the village in the Gifu prefecture declared World Heritage by Unesco, as the first destination in my long trip, I was searching for a "true Japanese spirit", if such a thing can ever exist (Japan has been a set of shifting regions perpetually in war against each other since the beginning of time).

I must admit I think I found it, but it's a bit different from what I expected.

But first thing first, before going, I wanted to see if I was able to find some substitute for my glasses. My friend Yoshi helped me out, and tried some pre-made glasses, but I have a peculiar view problem which isn't particularly heavy, but is hard to correct. For example, I could actually drive without glasses, but it would be a nuisance for me rather than a danger for others.

The "Megane Plaza" (megane means "glasses") seemed a good place to find something better, and the guy at the counter analyzed my old glasses and told me a new copy could be readied in 30 minutes. I couldn't believe it, but he did even more; since I told him those glasses were old and I wanted to change them already, he suggested me a fast check, and we discovered that I actually needed a different correction. The complete visit was free with the glasses, and it took about 10 minutes. All in all, in less than an hour I had my new glasses, much better than the old ones both in their look and in their functionality -- actually the old ones could have been damaging my sight. Also, I spent about 140 pounds, which is a relevant amount of money, but significantly less than what I could have spent for the same service in England -- and which I was in need of anyhow. It looks like the "daikichi" I was bestowed with at the Atsuta Shrine is working quite well!


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

With the hurricane incoming, I had to forfait visiting the Ise Jinja. I want to recover part of the visit shrinking the visit to Mitsue Jinja on 20/7.

20/9 09:00 – 13:00 Travel from Shirakawa-go to Ise.
20/9 13:00 – 14:00 Visit Oharai-machi.
20/9 14:00 – 16:30 Visit Ise inner jinja.
20/9 16:30 – 18:00 Arrive at Misugi Onsen.

21/9 08:00 – 08:45 Travel from Misugi to Mitsue.
21/9 08:45 – 10:00 Visit Mitsue Jinja.
21/9 10:00 – 10:30 Travel to Hasedera
21/9 10:30 – 12:30 Visit Hasedera
21/9 12:30 – 13:00 Travel to Oomiwa jinja
21/9 14:00 – 18:00 Visit Oo-miwa Jinja / iwakura jinja / sai jinja (Climb Mount Oomiwa?)
21/9 19:00 – 21:00 Arrive at Asuka.

Monday, September 18, 2017

When you say the calm before the tempest... Typhoon n. 1718 (the 18th of the 2017) is due to pass over Nagoya at around 21:00, yet the day is just cloudy and the wind is still.

The plan is meeting with my friend Kiyoshi in front of my hotel and then visit the Atsuta Jinja, the Nagoya castle and the Tokugawa Art Museum. For the ones not knowing Japanese history: the Tokugawa dynasty was the samurai family achieving the title of Shogun and creating the role of Taikun (a word known as tycoon in English) -- in opposition to the Japanese Emperor until the Meiji restoration in 1868. Or in other words, they were the legitimate rulers of Japan for over 300 years -- and Nagoya is the theater where the most dramatic scenes of their ascension to power take place, hence the museum dedicated to the art pieces they inspired or acquired is located in this city.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

And so, here we are.

As I get down from the flight, I am immediately facing the proverbial Japanese courtesy: at the immigration gate, a couple of gentle airport employee help me completing the filling of the immigration card (where you declare you're a good guy and how long is your visit). Also, the policeman at the immigration gate checks the card and reads the destinations I set as "address". He is a bit confused, (should be just one address, the one of the first hotel you stay in), but he compliments with me for both my Japanese and my list of destinations, and lets me pass in less than one minute.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Air France flight from Heathrow to Paris was late. Probably the news of a bomb in the London subway caused a bit of security hysteria. I had to run to reach my gate, a few minutes after it was "officially" closed, and all this because the french security check in the flight transfer area were changing turn and talking about the grades of their respective kids at school, and the luggage checker that was just entered in the turn at that moment was afraid a Big Ben souvenir I am bringing to my pen pal was, maybe, a perfume bottle holding more than 10cl. liquid.

However, I am in Seoul, and I already breath eastern air.

Here's the entrance of a free show about the Royal Palace in Soul airport.


Very eastern, isn't it :)
And so, after many years during which I had to keep reserved about my doings and my life, I am finally putting my life don the right track. And so, my old blog can come back to life too. And what better occasion to have it record my first vacation in years: three weeks in Japan, two of which visiting the peculiar locations I wrote about in my book Rai'an, and a third in Tokyo, working from Bloomberg Tokyo office.

My program will touch Nagoya, Shirakawa-go (a small village in the mountains which has been declared a world heritage by Unesco), Ise, Misugi-Mitsue in the mie prefecture, Hase-dera, Sakurai, Asuka, Nara, Kyoto, Sumoto in Awaji-shima and Takamatsu in the Shikoku, and I will be finally back in Tokyo.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

After 1 year of silence, I am finally able to break it. Although there are still some formal details to be processed, major changes are incoming in my life, so, the reasons that required me to keep silent about my current life and working status are vanishing.

I took the occasion in a gap between my professional occupations to finish my long novel: Rai'an (future peace).

Click here for being linked there.

The novel is in Italian, so, if you don't understand this language (I might be biased, but is common saying that it's one of the most beautiful languages in the world), it will be useless to you, I am afraid.

It's about a time travel back to Japan of the Hei'an period, around the year 1000. However, the time travel is just an excuse to be able to place a modern scientist in an ancient environment.

Although there is adventure, romance action, there's much space also for a historic reconstruction of the everyday living and generic cultural environment of the pre-medieval Japan. This period is one of the most mysterious in the history of Japan, as not much documentation has come to us, except for the very probably much embellished stories that the Imperial Court wrote about itself. In fact, modern researches are revealing many aspects of the culture, everyday living and religion of the place and time that was nearly unsuspected just 10-20 years ago. In this novel, I am trying to explore the ancient Japan as it's being revealed by the most advanced researches in the field.

So, if you can read Italian, and are into time travel and/or ancient Japan stuff, jump in and have a look at my Lulu showcase.

Update: E-book now added. Here you can read an extended preview, before buying from the above link.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Our Hangout with Kunal and Vasudev from India.
We talked about their experience, how to organize the new documentation and new exciting features in the upcoming Falcon 1.0.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

As we're wrapping up the Alpha 1.0, we'll be doing some hangout to talk about ... our things :D.

This is a first Hangout we had last night (this time, in English).

Friday, April 05, 2013

I thought it would be a good idea to have weekly or periodic net meetings to be shown on the net, to talk about Falcon, but also about coding, and about anything us coders like to talk about (music, animes... :D).

I did a preliminary test, and I liked it. Here's our first try (sorry, in Italian):