Japanese beach becomes an Instagram sensation.

Chichibuga beach on Shikoku island was barely known until photographs of stunning sunsets started to appear on social media. Now visitors flock to capture images of the fiery sea and skies at dusk
Isabel Choat
Chichibuga beach at sunset, Mitoyo, Kagawa prefecture, Japan. Photograph: Akiyoshi Kuramoto
People were running down the beach. Not for exercise but to get into position before the sun slipped below the horizon. I hurried along, swept up by the sense of urgency.
Mini tripods were lined up on the sand at the water’s edge, and selfie sticks were held aloft. Groups of friends, silhouetted against the pink sky, were trying to synchronise their star jumps, while women instructed their boyfriends on exactly how to photograph them as they stared into the sea.
One woman posed holding her pet dachshund. The entire beach was a mass Instagram shoot.
Chichibuga is a 1km-long, pancake-flat sandy strand overlooking the Seto sea on the north coast of Shikuko, the smallest, most rural of Japan’s four main islands.
Never heard of it? That’s hardly surprising.
Lying between the biggest island, Honshu, with its blockbuster cities (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima) – not to mention stunning alpine landscapes – and the southernmost island of Kyushu (often called the most beautiful), Shikuko is overlooked by international visitors.
Source: The Japanese beach that became an Instagram sensation | Travel | The Guardian

The World’s Oldest Surviving Pair of Glasses, c. 1475.

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The On-Line Museum and Encyclopedia of Vision Aids believes the Glasses above are the world’s oldest surviving pair of glasses.
Dating back to the 15th century, the glasses belonged to the Eighth Shogun, Yoshimasa Ashikaga, who reigned from 1449 to 1473, during the Muromachi period of Japanese history.
Both the glasses and their accompanying case were made of hand-carved white ivory.
Glasses were actually first invented, however, in Italy (some say Florence, to be precise) in 1286 or thereabouts.
In a sermon from 1306, a Dominican friar wrote: “It is not yet twenty years since there was found the art of making eyeglasses, which make for good vision… And it is so short a time that this new art, never before extant, was discovered.”
In the mid 14th century, paintings started to appear with people wearing eyeglasses.
Read on further via The World’s Oldest Surviving Pair of Glasses (Circa 1475) | Open Culture

Tashirojima, ‘Cat Island’.

On the island of Tashirojima, the cats outnumber people, and the people like it that way and it’s no accident.

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The cats n Tashirojima, or what has become known as “Cat Island,” in Japan have come to be the island’s primary residents. Cats have long been thought by the locals to represent luck and good fortune, and doubly so if you feed and care for them.

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Thus, the cats are treated like kings, and although most are feral because keeping them as “pets” is generally considered inappropriate, they are well-fed and well-cared-for.
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Despite this, luck and fortune hasn’t exactly come to the human residents of “Cat Island.” In the last 50 years, the human population of the island has dwindled from 1,000 to fewer than 100.
As more and more people have shunned the island as it became dominated by felines, the people that have remained have become ever more protective of the cats.
Currently, dogs are not allowed on the island to protect the well-being of the cats – and presumably any dog foolish enough to venture onto an island full of feral cats.

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The cats may end up bringing luck after all, however. Tourism has been picking up as the island has become an attraction for curious travelers, thanks to all of those cats.
via Tashirojima – Cat Island | Atlas Obscura.

Photos from late 19th-Century Japan.

Samurai in Armour
In 1881, after working for many years with the European photographers Felice Beato and Baron Raimund von Stillfried as a photographic colourist and assistant, the Japanese photographer Kusakabe Kimbei finally opened his own workshop in the Benten-dōri quarter of Yokohama.
He’d soon establish himself as one of the most respected and successful Japanese photographers of his generation, opening another studio in Yokohama’s Honmachi quarter in 1889, and also a branch in the Ginza quarter of Tokyo.
The selection here is from the collection held by The Getty in Los Angeles, focusing mostly on work from the early part of Kimbei’s career.

Flower Kept Alive by Putting in Water; Kusakabe Kimbei (Japanese, 1841 – 1934, active 1880s – about 1912); Japan; 1870s – 1890s; Hand-colored albumen silver print; 20.3 x 26.6 cm (8 x 10 1/2 in.); 84.XA.700.4.30

Playing Samisen, Tsudzumi, Fuye and Taiko; Kusakabe Kimbei (Japanese, 1841 – 1934, active 1880s – about 1912); Japan; 1870s – 1890s; Hand-colored albumen silver print; 20.3 x 26.3 cm (8 x 10 3/8 in.); 84.XA.700.4.19

Source: Kusakabe Kimbei’s Photographs of Late 19th-Century Japan | The Public Domain Review

After the Bomb, Hiroshima.

cc552cd1-1550-4f23-8ba2-a15e7a22c405-2060x1619Takeoka Chisaka, Hiroshima, Japan
One morning in August 1945, I was walking home from the night shift at a factory in Hiroshima.
As I reached my door, there was a huge explosion.
When I came to, my head was bleeding and I had been blasted 30m away. The atomic bomb had detonated.
When I found my mother, her eyes were badly burned.
A doctor said they had to come out, but he didn’t have the proper tools so used a knife instead.
It was hellish. I became a peace-worker after the war.
In the 1960s, at a meeting at the UN, I met one of the people who created the atomic bomb.
He apologised.
Read on and see more via ‘The Hiroshima bomb detonated 3km from my house’: veterans around the globe tell their extraordinary war stories | Art and design | The Guardian.