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Blog entry by posted 07-16-2007 12:11 PM 949 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch


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View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4233 days

#1 posted 07-16-2007 01:06 PM

Hi Jojo;
—-keep the writing and photos coming!

I’m looking forward to this as you un-fold before us the art of wood in Japan as pertaining to shrine and temple building. We do, or I sometimes do timber framing here in New England….’English Barns’ and then when those other ‘Englanders’ come over here to look around, they call our two hundred year old barns, ‘urban renewal’. And then when I study the aspects of timber framing in Japan, I am totally amazed with the thought and skill that went into all those angles. From what I understand of ‘wood joinery’, I would say that it’s those joints in the wood or behind the wood that make up for the non-use of nails or mechanical fasteners. Much of what is used as to making a piece of wood art stay together, will never be seen by human eye. Therefore if one wants to strike at their ego, practice those hidden aspects of wood joinery and if one wants to inflate the ego….well, there is always the dovetail joint.

I noticed in your profile that you are a woodworker and even though without a shop at this moment, might I ask what type of woodworking you do? And yes, as you have stated….’wood joinery’ is an art!

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4188 days

#2 posted 07-16-2007 01:58 PM

masters indeed

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4114 days

#3 posted 07-16-2007 06:00 PM

Simply amazing… forgot to mention earthquakes Jojo. They would be extraordinary in any location, but the fact that they still stand in the most earthquake prone country in the world is unbelieveble.

-- Bob

View woodspar's profile


710 posts in 4127 days

#4 posted 07-16-2007 06:02 PM

Wonderful joinery. Thanks for posting.

-- John

View 's profile

593 posts in 4000 days

#5 posted 07-16-2007 06:45 PM

Bob, you mean the earthquakes like the one we had today? ;o)

While I was actually writing the blog entry the entire house started to shake. Very mild though, it was a quickie that only scored a mere 3 in the japanese scale… because it was just a rebound of a much bigger and nastier one that the Niigata Prefecture (North of Tokyo) had suffered this morning. As a matter of fact, they have endured a big jolt (a grade 6) and, during the subsequent hours, more than 49 smaller series of “waves” (around grade 3). As of now, the casualties count is around 7 persons. Huge landslides, trains popping out of the tracks and all the usual stuff. If you look at one of my comments in my workshop you’ll see that I mentioned this fact in an answer to Bill.

Now that I think, a few months ago there was a good one too in the vicinity of this ensemble of temples were the pictures were taken, like 60 miles away. Of course, they haven’t accused it at all. This guys know how to build things.

I still have more pics to post and, once the rainy season officially ends (it’s expected to do so this very same week), I will go hunting for more amazing things for you guys.

Meanwhile if you want to know more about this particular temples check this out: The pictures are from the building appearing on the front page. I guess most of you will be happy to follow the blue button if you want to be able to read something. ;)

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4064 days

#6 posted 07-16-2007 08:02 PM

Wow, what an amazing display. Thank you for showing this!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4188 days

#7 posted 07-16-2007 09:10 PM

big or small—that is scary stuff. and 7 or 7000, it’s sad :(

the temples are magnificent. So impressive.
Can only imagine what it must be like to see them in person.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View 's profile

593 posts in 4000 days

#8 posted 07-17-2007 01:52 AM

This is oh so true Debbie!

Unfortunately though, you end up getting used to anything. It’s called the survival instinct of the species. :o( Luckily the country is very well prepared against these kind of disasters. I’d hate to see the same thing happening in any of the third world countries that surround us (yeah PC is not my cup of tea) were the same event would result in thousands of people dead and infinite material damages. Mind you, we are shy of 130 millions -almost half the population of the US- tightly packed in an area that’s roughly the size of California… and the 40% or so is rural. Make your numbers! :o(

In the last 12 months I’ve felt 8 or 9 earthquakes and a couple of typhoons (hurricanes) more or less directly… and the Kansai region were we are experiences around 20 times less shakes than the Kanto (Tokyo) area…

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4024 days

#9 posted 07-17-2007 02:09 AM

Thanks for the photos and blog entry – this is enjoyable. Is that White Oak?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View 's profile

593 posts in 4000 days

#10 posted 07-17-2007 02:35 AM

I’m actually not sure Dorje, as this wood is more than 400 years old and oak is not the most predominant species utilised here. Most of the wood used in construction or woodworking comes from endemic species. Even the pine trees are different here!

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4342 days

#11 posted 07-17-2007 04:37 AM


View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4024 days

#12 posted 07-17-2007 06:22 AM

Sure looks like an open grained hardwood…I tried looking for more info – no luck though! I hear what you’re saying about certain trees having different qualities dependent upon where they grow and what have you…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View 's profile

593 posts in 4000 days

#13 posted 07-18-2007 07:32 PM

You know the small bonsai pines? Well, a lot of the big ones look the same here. Only that naturally, without any human intervention. It’s due to the fact that they often grow up hanging in a step hill with a poor soil and rocks everywhere, while the strong winds and snow force them in tortured shapes. So they tend to have tighter grain because of the slow rate of growth in those meager conditions.

On course, all this is not applicable on every case but it helps. This and the fact that the country remained hermetically closed to almost any exterior contact or international trade until 150 years ago. So many species are endemic and haven’t been mixed with other places variations of the same tree.

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