July 12th, 2005

Moon Viewing in Tokyo

Does anybody know whether there's a spot in Tokyo that a wandering pedestrian might reasonably reach, from which he would be able to see the moon setting? (He doesn't need to see it fall below the horizon, just to be able to determine that it's near setting.) It's probably between two and three in the morning, if that makes any difference; but this is a character who could manage to wander into closed parks or temple grounds without really noticing that they were supposed to be closed, or having security notice him. If there is such a spot, what's the neighborhood like, roughly?

And if there isn't, how about in Nagasaki?

(I've looked in the obvious places, but oddly, travellers to Japan don't seem to routinely want to know whether they can watch the moon set, and from where.)

Thanks!
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Japanese crafting and construction questions

I'm working on a story involving an Edo period relic...a wooden mask. What sort of wood would have been used in that period for carving?

Likewise, would that time period have carved stone boxes (something that could hold said mask)? I'm not even looking for fancy materials like jade or lapis lazuli...marble would be fine?

And now onto modern times in Japan. Here in America, they sometimes take a cornerstone of a new building and make it into a time capsule. Is there a similar practice in Japan?

Durability of paper

In one of my stories, there's an important manuscript that's recopied each time it degenerates far it enough that reading it might damage it enough that text could be lost - when the paper starts to crack and crumble or rot, basically. I need a good average number for the time between copies so I can figure out about how many copies have been made so far.

It's a fantasy society without advanced technology, so complicated chemical treatments for the paper aren't possible. They've been making paper for a long, long time though, so they could have picked up other tricks to increase its longevity. The manuscript's caretakers use the best paper for the purpose that's available, and they store it carefully and don't handle it often.

Any ballpark figures?

Edit: Oops. The climate is coastal desert, so while it can be humid, it's not as humid as a coastal rainforest. The temperature where the book is stored doesn't vary that much since it's inside rather thick stone walls. No sun or elements. (See, they're careful.)

As for ink, they'd naturally choose the one that will last the longest.

City Hall marriage ceremony

I need information on what exactly happens during a City Hall wedding. Google is full of useful tips on when, where, who to bring, how to buy a marriage license etc. but I need the actual ceremony.

Does the judge/clerk/official speak? Read from the bible or some kind of legal document? Are witnesses asked to sign during the ceremony or after? When would the bride and groom exchange vows? Etc.

This wedding would be taking place in California, if that makes a difference.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!