The bamboos are a group of woody perennial evergreen plants in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Some are giant bamboos, the largest members of the grass family. Bamboos are the fastest growing woody plants in the world. Their growth rate (up to 60 centimeters (24 in.)/day) is due to a unique rhizome-dependent system, but is highly dependent on local soil and climate conditions. They are of economic and high cultural significance in East Asia and South East Asia where they are used extensively in gardens, as a building material, and as a food source.
There are more than 70 genera divided into about 1,000 species. They are found in diverse climates, from cold mountains to hot tropical regions. They occur across East Asia, from 50°N latitude in Sakhalin through to Northern Australia, and west to India and the Himalayas. They also occur in sub-Saharan Africa, and in the Americas from the Mid-Atlantic United States south to Argentina and Chile, reaching their southernmost point anywhere, at 47°S latitude. Major areas with no native bamboos include Europe and Antarctica.
The shoots (new bamboo culms that come out of the ground) of bamboo are edible. They are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths, and are available in supermarkets in various sliced forms, both fresh and canned version. The shoots of the giant bamboo contains cyanide. Despite this, the Golden Bamboo Lemur ingests many times the quantity of toxin that would kill a human.
The bamboo shoot in its fermented state (called khorisa) forms an important ingredient in the cuisine of Assam.
In Indonesia, they are sliced thin and then boiled with santan (thick coconut milk) and spices to make a dish named gulai rebung. Other recipes using bamboo shoots are sayur lodeh (mixed vegetables in coconut milk) and lun pia (sometimes written lumpia: fried wrapped bamboo shoots with vegetables). The shoots of some species contain toxins that need to be leached or boiled out before they can be eaten safely.
Pickled bamboo, used as a condiment, may also be made from the pith of the young shoots.
The sap of young stalks tapped during the rainy season may be fermented to make ulanzi (a sweet wine) or simply made into a soft drink. Zhuyeqing jiu (竹葉青酒) is a green-coloured Chinese liquor that has bamboo leaves as one of its ingredients.
Bamboo leaves are also used as wrappers for zongzi, a steamed dumpling typical of southern China, which usually contains glutinous rice and other ingredients.
The empty hollow in the stalks of larger bamboo is often used to cook food in many Asian cultures. Soups are boiled and rice is cooked in the hollows of fresh stalks of bamboo directly over a flame. Similarly, steamed tea is sometimes rammed into bamboo hollows to produce compressed forms of Pu-erh tea. Cooking food in bamboo is said to give the food a subtle but distinctive taste.
In Sambalpur, India, the tender shoots are grated into juliennes and fermented to prepare kardi. The name is derived from the Sanskrit word for bamboo shoot, "karira". This fermented bamboo shoot is used in various culinary preparations, notably "amil", a sour vegetable soup. It is also made into pancakes using rice flour as a binding agent. The shoots that have turned a little fibrous are fermented, dried, and ground to sand size particles to prepare a garnish known as "hendua". It is also cooked with tender pumpkin leaves to make sag green leaves.
In addition, bamboo is frequently used for cooking utensils within many cultures. In modern times, some see bamboo tools as an eco-friendly alternative to other manufactured utensils.
【Active Volcano】 （活火山） A popular way of classifying magmatic volcanoes is by their frequency of eruption, with those that erupt regularly called active, those that have erupted in historical times but are now quiet called dormant, and those that have not erupted in historical times called extinct. However, these popular classifications—extinct in particular—are practically meaningless to scientists. They use classifications which refer to a particular volcano's formative and eruptive processes and resulting shapes, which was explained above.
There is no real consensus among volcanologists on how to define an "active" volcano. The lifespan of a volcano can vary from months to several million years, making such a distinction sometimes meaningless when compared to the lifespans of humans or even civilizations. For example, many of Earth's volcanoes have erupted dozens of times in the past few thousand years but are not currently showing signs of eruption. Given the long lifespan of such volcanoes, they are very active. By human lifespans, however, they are not.
Scientists usually consider a volcano to be erupting or likely to erupt if it is currently erupting, or showing signs of unrest such as unusual earthquake activity or significant new gas emissions. Most scientists consider a volcano active if it has erupted in holocene times. Historic times is another timeframe for active. But it is important to note that the span of recorded history differs from region to region. In China and the Mediterranean, recorded history reaches back more than 3,000 years but in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada, it reaches back less than 300 years, and in Hawaii and New Zealand, only around 200 years. The Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program's definition of active is having erupted within the last 10,000 years (the 'holocene' period).
【Extinct Volcano】 （死火山） Extinct volcanoes are those that scientists consider unlikely to erupt again, because the volcano no longer has a lava supply. Since "supervolcano" calderas can have eruptive lifespans sometimes measured in millions of years, a caldera that has not produced an eruption in tens of thousands of years is likely to be considered dormant instead of extinct. For example, the Yellowstone Caldera in Yellowstone National Park is at least 2 million years old and hasn't erupted violently for approximately 640,000 years, although there has been some minor activity relatively recently, with hydrothermal eruptions less than 10,000 years ago and lava flows about 70,000 years ago. For this reason, scientists do not consider the Yellowstone Caldera extinct. In fact, because the caldera has frequent earthquakes, a very active geothermal system (i.e. the entirety of the geothermal activity found in Yellowstone National Park), and rapid rates of ground uplift, many scientists consider it to be an active volcano.
【Dormant Volcano】 （休火山） It is difficult to distinguish an extinct volcano from a dormant one. Volcanoes are often considered to be extinct if there are no written records of its activity. Nevertheless volcanoes may remain dormant for a long period of time, and it is not uncommon for a so-called "extinct" volcano to erupt again. Vesuvius was thought to be extinct before its famous eruption of AD 79, which destroyed the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii. More recently, the long-dormant Soufriere Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat was thought to be extinct before activity resumed in 1995. Another recent example is Fourpeaked Mountain in Alaska, which prior to its eruption September 2006 had not erupted since before 8000 BCE and was long thought to be extinct.
In Japan, Ksitigarbha, known as Jizou, or Ojizou-sama as he is respectfully known, is one of the most loved of all Japanese divinities. His statues are a common sight, especially by roadsides and in graveyards. Traditionally, he is seen as the guardian of children, particularly children who died before their parents. Since the 1980s, he has been worshipped as the guardian of the souls of mizuko, the souls of stillborn, miscarried or aborted fetuses, in the ritual of mizuko kuyou (水子供養). In Japanese mythology, it is said that the souls of children who die before their parents are unable to cross the mythical Sanzu River on their way to the afterlife because they have not had the chance to accumulate enough good deeds and because they have made the parents suffer. It is believed that Jizou saves these souls from having to pile stones eternally on the bank of the river as penance, by hiding them from demons in his robe, and letting them hear mantras.
Jizou statues are sometimes accompanied by a little pile of stones and pebbles, put there by people in the hope that it would shorten the time children have to suffer in the underworld. (The act is derived from the tradition of building stupas as an act of merit-making.) The statues can sometimes be seen wearing tiny children's clothing or bibs, or with toys, put there by grieving parents to help their lost ones and hoping that Jizou would specially protect them. Sometimes the offerings are put there by parents to thank Jizou for saving their children from a serious illness. Jizou's features are commonly made more babylike to resemble the children he protects.
As he is seen as the saviour of souls who have to suffer in the underworld, his statues are common in cemeteries. He is also believed to be the protective deity of travellers, and roadside statues of Jizou are a common sight in Japan. Firefighters are also believed to be under the protection of Jizou.
Nikko Toshogu Shrine is most famous for honoring Tokugawa Ieyasu but there are numerous Toshogu Shrines throughout Japan. The Toshogu found in Kawagoe is one of the three major Toshogu Shrines in Japan called, "Semba Toshogu Shrine".
In 1616, Tokugawa Ieyasu died in Sunpu (present day Shizuoka Prefecture) and the remains were carried from Shizuoka to Nikko Mountain. On the way, a four day Buddhist memorial service was held by Tenkai Daisoujou at Kita-in Temple. As a result, Toshogu Shrine was built in 1633 on the southside of Kita-in Temple.
Five years later in 1638, "The Big Fire of Kanei" burned down everything except for the Kita-in Mountain Gate. When Tokugawa Iemitsu declared the restoration of Kita-in Temple, the reconstruction of Toshogu began first and was completed in 1640. The Honden Main Shrine with its brilliant colored lacquer ornaments, and Karamon Gate, Mizugaki Fence, Haiden Front Shrine, Heiden Side Shrine, Zuishin Front Gate, stone Torii Gate are all recognized as important cultural assets. The pillars found in the shrine pavilions have elaborate carvings that suit Toshogu Shrine. Inside the main shrine, a statue of Ieyasu can be found. Among the cultural assets are the pictures of Sanjyu Roku Kasen Egaku and 12 sided Taka Egaku.
"Gohyaku Rakan" means the Five Hundred Rakan Buddhist Saints. They were the immediate disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni, who actually lived in old India in the sixth century B.C. He was born to the Royal Couple of a small nation in India. That means he was the crown prince.
Shakyamuni often wondered why the life was full of sufferings in his youth. The suffering of birth, the suffering of sickness, the suffering of aging and the suffering of death. At the age of 29, he decided to set out on a journey to search for the answer to that question. He performed the extreme asceticism that no one had ever done before him, he said. He tortured himself in various ways day and night, night and day eating only a grain of rice and a grain of sesami a day.
Shakyamuni finally found the answer to that question after six-year hard discipline and became the enlightened one. And those five hundred monks followed him faithfully and they finally became saints, Rakan. It means the One to be Respected.
Along the approach to the Image of Buddha Sakyamuni, which is in the center of the enclosure, stand the statues representing the Ten Greatest Disciples of Buddha and the Sixteen Great Disciples.
The most popular part of Kitain is the enclosure that holds the 500 Statues of Rakan. As the name indicates, these lichen-covered stone sculptures depict rakan, which in early Buddhism were saintlike figures, somewhat like bodhisattvas in later Buddhism. The modestly named 500 Statues (there are actually 540) are meant to represent the full range of human emotion, and it is said that if you enter the enclosure in the dead of night and touch all the statues you will find one that is warm. Mark it, return in the morning and you will discover the statue that most resembles yourself.
Tenkai (1536 – 1643) was a Japanese Tendai Buddhist monk of the Azuchi-Momoyama and early Edo periods. He achieved the rank of Daisoujou, the highest rank of the priesthood. His Buddhist name was first Zuifuu (随風), which he changed to Tenkai in 1590. Also known as Nankoubou Tenkai (南光坊 天海), he died in 1643, and was granted the posthumous title of Jigen Daishi (慈眼大師) in 1648.
Tenkai was at Kita-in (北院) in Kawagoe in 1588, and became abbot in 1599. He was on the staff of Tokugawa Ieyasu, and served as a liaison between the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Imperial Court in Kyoto. One of his projects was the rebuilding of Enryaku-ji, which had been devastated by Oda Nobunaga. He also revitalized Kita-in, and changed the characters of its name to "喜多院". Nearing death in 1616, Tokugawa Ieyasu entrusted Tenkai with his last will regarding matters of his funeral and his posthumous name. Tenkai selected gongen rather than myoujin, and after death Ieyasu became known as Toushou Daigongen.
Tenkai established Kan'ei-ji in 1624.Tenkai continued to serve as a consultant to the next two Tokugawa shoguns. In 1624, retired shogun Tokugawa Hidetada and ruling shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu asked him to establish Kan'ei-ji, a Buddhist temple to the northeast of Edo Castle in Ueno.
There are several theories concerning his early life. Some fiction writers postulate that he was in actuality Akechi Mitsuhide. It is not certain whether Mitsuhide died at the Battle of Yamazaki or not, and some suppose that he survived and began a new life as the priest Tenkai.
Hie Shrine was designated as a First Class Government Shrine before the Second World War, and was a highly respected place of worship for the people of Tokyo.
The deity enshrined is Oyamakui-no-kami, the god of Mount Hie in Shiga prefecture. This deity is more commonly known as Hie-no-kami. Hie Shrine derives its name from this deity.
Since the Heian Period, many branch shrines of the Hie Shrine in Shiga prefecture were built throughout Japan.
The history of this Hie Shrine goes back to the beginning of the Kamakura Period when a man named Edo built a Hie Shrine for the guardian deity of his residence on grounds of the present Imperial Palace.
In 1478, Ota Dokan constructed Edo Castle on the site of the present Imperial Palace. He also erected a Sanno-Hie Shrine in the compound for a guardian deity of the castle.
The Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu began ruling Japan from Edo Castle. He also became a patron of the Hie Shrine and worshipped the deity as the protector of Edo, the old name for Tokyo. The citizens of Edo also had the strongest faith in Hie Shrine, which enshrined the guardian deity of the Shogun.
In 1607, the shrine was moved outside of Edo Castle to Hayabusa-cho, near the present Kokuritsu Gekijo National Theatre. This allowed the citizens of Edo to visit and worship at the shrine. In 1657, Hie Shrine and much of Edo was destroyed by fire. However, in 1659, Shogun Tokugawa Ietsuna rebuilt the shrine at its present location.
The shrine buildings were constructed in the Gongen-Zukuri style with vermilion-lacquered finishings. The Gongen Zukuri style consists of a complex roof system in which the Haiden hall of worship and Honden inner sanctuary are connected. The Heiden offering hall, Haiden hall of worship, Honden inner sanctuary and Roumon gate were so magnificent that they were authorized as National Treasures.
Regrettably, the shrine buildings were burnt down in the bombing of Tokyo during the World War II in 1945. The present shrine buildings were constructed in 1958 with contributions from numerous parishioners and worshippers.
Kawagoe city is known locally as "Little Edo" (Koedo) after the old name for Tokyo, "Edo". Kawagoe castle was the headquarters of the Kawagoe Domain and occupied by close aides of the Tokugawa shogunate. Most of the buildings were dismantled in the 1870s but some remained or were relocated.
Before it was merged with Saitama Prefecture in 1873, it was the capital of Kawagoe Prefecture (1871) then Iruma Prefecture (1871–1873).
The Bell of Time (Toki no kane) is a bell tower originally built by the order of Sakai Tadakatsu between 1624 and 1644. The present structure goes back to 1894, a year after the Great Fire of Kawagoe. It is a three-story tower measuring 16 meters in height. The tower has been telling time to the city's residents for 350 years and has been deemed as a symbol of the city. Currently, the bell can be heard four times a day (6 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m.).
The Confectionery Row (Kashiya Yokochou) is a small backstreet alley where a dozen stores sell old-fashioned cheap sweets and snacks, most of which are priced at less than 50 yen. The location was known as a neighborhood where scores of confectionery manufactures lined the alley. Many tourists come here to enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere of the early Showa period.
The Kurazukuri Street (Kuradukuri no machinami) is a section of a street lined with traditional warehouses constructed in a style called kurazukuri and maintains the old outlook of what the place was like during the Edo period. The city of Kawagoe started seeing kurazukuri-style warehouses in the aftermath of a great fire that consumed one-third of the old Kawagoe in 1893. Within and beyond the Kurazukuri Street, many warehouses from the 18 and 19 centuries can still be seen. The Kawagoe Kurazukuri Museum is located in a traditional warehouse built in 1893 and allows its visitors to walk around inside and experience the life of Edo merchants.
Lampyridae is a family of insects in the beetle order Coleoptera. They are winged beetles, and commonly called glowflies or lightning bugs for their conspicuous crepuscular use of bioluminescence to attract mates or prey. Glowflies are capable of producing a "cold light", containing no ultraviolet or infrared rays. This chemically-produced light, emitted from the lower abdomen, may be yellow, green, or pale red in color, and has a wavelength from 510 to 670 nanometers.
There are more than 2,000 species of glowfly found in temperate and tropical environments around the world. Many species can be found in marshes or in wet, wooded areas where their larvae have abundant sources of food. These larvae can also emit light and are often called "glowworms", particularly in Eurasia. In the Americas, "glow worm" also refers to the related Phengodidae.
Light production in glowflies is due to a type of chemical reaction called bioluminescence. This process occurs in specialised light-emitting organs, usually on a glowfly's lower abdomen. The enzyme luciferase acts on luciferin, in the presence of magnesium ions, ATP (adenosene triphosphate), and oxygen to produce light. Genes coding for these substances have been inserted into many different organisms. Luciferase is also used in forensics, and the enzyme has medical uses.
Bioluminescence is a very efficient process. Some 90% of the energy a glowfly uses to create light is actually converted into visible light. By comparison, a light emitting diode with a luminous efficacy of 150 lm/W, can convert just a little over 20% of the total energy used to visible light.
Tropical glowflies, particularly in Southeast Asia, routinely synchronise their flashes among large groups, an example of biological synchronicity. In some fields, this phenomenon is explained as phase synchronization and spontaneous order. At night along river banks in the Malaysian jungles (most notably found near Kuala Selangor), glowflies ("kelip-kelip" in the Malay language or Bahasa Malaysia), synchronise their light emissions precisely. Current hypotheses about the causes of this behavior involve diet, social interaction, and altitude. In the United States, one of the most famous sightings of glowflies blinking in unison occurs annually near Elkmont, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains during the first weeks of June. Congaree National Park in South Carolina is another host to this phenomenon.
Shibusawa Eiichi was a Japanese industrialist widely known today as the "father of Japanese capitalism". He spearheaded the introduction of Western capitalism to Japan after the Meiji Restoration. He introduced many reforms including use of double entry accounting, joint stock corporations and modern note-issuing banks.
He founded the first modern bank based on joint stock ownership in Japan. The bank was aptly named The First National Bank (Dai-Ichi Kokuritsu Ginkou, now merged into Mizuho Bank) and had the power to issue its own notes. Through this bank, he founded hundreds of other joint stock corporations in Japan. Many of these companies still survive to this day as quoted companies in the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which Shibusawa also founded. The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry was founded by him as well. He was also involved in the foundation of many hospitals, schools, universities (including the first women's university) and charitable organizations including the Japan Red Cross.
Another notable aspect of Shibusawa's career is that, despite being the founder of hundreds of corporations, he refused to maintain a controlling stake in these corporations, effectively preventing himself from forming a zaibatsu. What is known as the Shibusawa zaibatsu was a holding company to look after his estate for his family. The Shibusawa Zaibatsu did not hold any controlling stake in any companies. Despite his lowly origin as a farmer, he was granted the title of Viscount, while all other zaibatsu founders were awarded the title of Baron. He was also awarded Shounii, Second Honour under the ritsuryou rank system, which is usually given to high ranking nobility and prime ministers.
In addition, Shibusawa made efforts to promote exchange of goods and goodwill across national boundaries through private-sector diplomacy. Numerous guests from overseas visited the Shibusawa residence in Asukayama, Ouji, where they talked candidly with him.
Nanbangashi is a variety of sweets derived from Portuguese or Spanish recipes, the popular sweets are "Kasutera" named after Castile and "Kompeito" named after Portuguese word confeito, which means a sugar candy. These "Southern barbarian" sweets are on sale in many Japanese supermarkets today.
Soon after the first contacts in 1543, Portuguese ships started to arrive in Japan. At that time, there were already trade exchanges between Portugal and Goa (since around 1515), consisting of 3 to 4 carracks leaving Lisbon with silver to purchase cotton and spices in India. Out of these, only one carrack went on to China in order to purchase silk, also in exchange for Portuguese silver.
Accordingly, the cargo of the first Portuguese ships (usually about 4 smaller-sized ships every year) arriving in Japan almost entirely consisted of Chinese goods (silk, porcelain). The Japanese were very much looking forward to acquiring such goods, but had been prohibited from any contacts with China by the Emperor of China, as a punishment for Wakou pirate raids. The Portuguese therefore found the opportunity to act as intermediaries in Asian trade.
A Portuguese carrack in Nagasaki, 17th century.From the time of the acquisition of Macau in 1557, and their formal recognition as trade partners by the Chinese, the Portuguese Crown started to regulate trade to Japan, by selling to the highest bidder the annual "Capitaincy" to Japan, in effect conferring exclusive trading rights for a single carrack bound for Japan every year. The carracks were very large ships, usually between 1000 and 1500 tons, about double or triple the size of a regular galleon or a large junk.
That trade continued with few interruptions until 1638, when it was prohibited on the ground that the ships were smuggling priests into Japan.
Portuguese trade was progressively more and more challenged by Chinese smugglers on junks, Japanese Red Seal Ships from around 1592 (about ten ships every year), Spanish ships from Manila from around 1600 (about one ship a year), the Dutch from 1609, the English from 1613 (about one ship per year).
"Iki" is a traditional aesthetic ideal in Japan. The basis of iki is thought to have been formed among commoners (chounin) in Edo, pre-modern Tokyo. Among those who are not familiar with Japanese culture, some tend to misunderstand iki as simply "anything Japanese." Iki, however, is one of Japanese aesthetic ideals and requires specific conditions. Samurai are typically thought as devoid of iki. The term got its widespread in modern intellectual circles of Japanese through the book The Structure of "Iki" (1930) by Kuki Shuuzou.
While other Japanese aesthetic ideals, such as wabi-sabi, are almost extinct in today's Japan, iki is widely applied today. An average modern Japanese would find it difficult to translate what wabi-sabi means into English, because its definition relies on certain cultural assumptions. Wabi-sabi continues to influence Japanese culture, although its influence is far less than in pre-modern times. On the other hand, iki is commonly used in conversation or publications.
An iki thing/situation would be simple, improvised, straight, restrained, temporary, romantic, ephemeral, original, refined, inconspicuous, etc. An iki person/deed would be audacious, chic, pert, tacit, sassy, unselfconscious, calm, indifferent, unintentionally coquettish, open-minded, restrained, etc.
An iki thing/person/situation cannot be perfect, artistic, arty, complicated, gorgeous, curved, wordy, intentionally coquettish, or cute.
Iki can be used for almost anything, but especially for people (and their personality and deeds), situation, architecture, fashion, design, etc. It always describes something to do with people, or their will. Iki is not found in nature itself, but can be found in the human act of appreciating the beauty of nature.
Odawara Castle is a landmark in the city of Odawara in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It was the stronghold of various daimyo during the Muromachi period of Japanese history. From 1495 onward, five generations of the Late Houjou clan held the castle. Odawara Castle had very strong defenses, because it was situated on a hill, surrounded by moats with water on the low side, and dry ditches on the hill side, with banks, walls and cliffs located all around the castle, enabled the defenders to repel attacks by the great warriors Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen. However, Toyotomi Hideyoshi took the castle in 1590, and awarded the holdings of the Houjou to Tokugawa Ieyasu, who in turn installed the Okubo clan at Odawara.
During the Edo period, Odawara's strategic location on the Toukaidou, between mountainous Hakone and Sagami Bay, gave it great strategic importance. As the home to Odawara-juku, the castle controlled the Toukaidou between the Tokugawa headquarters at Edo and the stations west of Hakone, including Sumpu, Hamamatsu and Nagoya.
Eventually, Odawara Castle was destroyed by Meiji government. However, present Odawara Castle was rebuilt in 1960. It serves as a museum and is designated as an important historical monument. Today, a reproduction of the castle stands high on a hill above Odawara.
Japanese traditional formal attire generally displays the mon of the wearer. Commoners without mon often used the mon of their patron or the organization they belonged to. In cases when none of those were available, they sometimes used one of the few mon which were seen as "vulgar", or invented or adapted whatever mon they wished, passing it on to their descendants. It was not uncommon for shops, and therefore shopowners, to develop mon to identify themselves.
Rules regulating the choice and use of mon were somewhat limited, though the selection of mon was generally determined by social customs. It was considered improper to use a mon that was known to be held by someone else, and offensive to use a mon that was held by someone of a high rank. When mon came into conflict, the lower-ranked person sometimes changed their mon to avoid offending their superior. The mon held by the ruling clans of Japan, such as Tokugawa's hollyhock mon and the Emperor's chrysanthemum mon, were legally protected from unauthorized usage.
There are no set rules in the design of a mon. It most commonly consists of a roundel encircling a figure of plant, animal, man-made, natural or celestial objects, all abstracted to various degrees. Religious symbols, geometric shapes and kanji were commonly used as well.
Similar to the blazon in European heraldry, mon are also named by the content of the design, even though there is no set rule for such names. Unlike in European heraldry, however, this "blazon" is not prescriptive - the depiction of a mon does not follow the name - instead the names only serve to describe the mon. The pictorial depictions of the mon are not formalized and small variations of what is supposed to be the same mon can sometimes be seen, but the designs are for the most part standardized through time and tradition.
The degree of variation tolerated differ from mon to mon as well. For example, the paulownia crest with 5-7-5 leaves is reserved for the prime minister, whereas paulownia with fewer leaves could be used by anyone. The imperial chrysanthemum also specifies 16 petals, whereas chrysanthemum with fewer petals are used by other lesser imperial family members.
Japanese heraldry does not have a cadency or quartering system, but it is not uncommon for cadet branches of a family to choose a slightly different mon from the senior branch. The princely families (Shinnouke), for example, each uses a modified chrysanthemum crest as their mon. Mon holders may also combine their mon with that of their patron, benefactor or spouse, sometimes creating increasingly complicated designs.
Mon are essentially monotone; the colour does not constitute part of the design and they may be drawn in any colour.
Odawara is a city located in Kanagawa, Japan. The city was founded on December 20, 1940. Odawara has had a sister city relationship with Chula Vista, CA for over 25 years. Odawara also has an active friendship with Manly, New South Wales in Australia, which includes an annual mutual student exchange program for secondary school students.
Odawara-juku's strategic location on the Toukaidou, between mountainous Hakone and Sagami Bay, has given it a key role in Japanese history. Prior to the Edo period, Odawara Castle was the stronghold of the Late Houjou clan warriors. During the Edo, its castle controlled the Toukaidou between the Tokugawa headquarters at Edo and the stations west of Hakone, including Sumpu, Hamamatsu and Nagoya. Today, a reproduction of the castle stands high on a hill above the city.
The epicenter of the Great Kantou earthquake in 1923 was deep beneath Izu Ooshima Island in Sagami Bay. It devastated Tokyo, the port city of Yokohama, surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka, and caused widespread damage throughout the Kantou region. Ninety percent of the buildings in Odawara collapsed immediately, and fires burned the rubble along with anything else left standing.
On August 15, 1945, Odawara was the last city in Japan to be bombed by Allied aircraft.
Besides Odawara Castle, this area is a major transit point for the Hakone hot springs resort area. Enoura, a coastal district in Odawara known for its pristine sea, has an abundance of kumamomi, a type of fish which prefers clear and clean water. Sea turtles are also sometimes present there. Because of the clear water and plentiful undersea life, many people come to Enoura for diving.