Part of our trip with Atsuko’s sister took us to the historic town of Kurashiki, a river port lined with distinctive black and white tiled kura structures. In residential building, a kura can be referred to as a ‘treasure house’ but in simple terms it means store or warehouse. These converted warehouses are now shops and cafes and the canals are used only for the gentle tour-boats.
We walked along the rivers, between the tiny narrow streets and climbed up to Achi-jinja, the large shrine overlooking the town where we found an extremely old Noh stage. On the way down from the shrine, we noticed something we missed on the way up, a relatively modern tradition similar to the coin throwing at Izumo. Its not uncommon to see people toss small stones up onto temple gates because they consider it good fortune if theirs remains balanced among the others. Atsuko feels though that in the process, dislodging other people’s stones could have an equally negative effect.
The final two images show a simple blackboard outside a financial office that presented handwritten information regarding the global stock market. Read from right to left and top to bottom, the characters were so perfectly formed that we had a hard time believing they were written in simple chalk, which they were of course.