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In-between preparations and after our performance, I was able to enjoy the adorable place I slept: the top floor of a gallery run by the writer, critic and collector Okura Hiroshi (gallery).  Quite quickly I became fond of Inoue Miyuki who worked there.  Her children were perfectly adorable! Meanwhile, I was able to explore the city and the many sweet shrines and temples nested between streets and experience some of the amazing artworks that were scattered around the city as part of the “Niigata Water and Land Art Festival”.  Although the festival is now closed, I look forward to returning to Niigata in April, to reunite with my new friends and explore the surrounding area more profoundly. This is a great city!

The Gallery (or "Hotel Ookura")

books, books and more books...I wish I could have stayed for days just to look through them all...

little knick-knacks were lovely

it's good luck to clean!

she overlooked the apartment, perhaps a kind of "caretaker"?

I was in love with this little design for the light...then, walking around Niigata, I actually found the artist's shop! Her name is Saori Hirai.

For Liam, this is a Manga character, but I don't know his name... anyone else know?

Another one for Liam, this guy looks very funny!

For José Luis: yes, I AM living a kind of "Alice in Wonderland" experience!

Where I ate lunch...very cute

Hakusan Park

Hakusan Park, Winter

stone animal

Ok, there's a theme with these photos and one of them are the "Guardians" of the Shrines. I really love these guys. Have you noticed what is different between each one yet?

what's the difference?

These are "tigers" but to me, they look like half-skunks, with their tails up so high!

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