Tokyo’s obsession with cats. ‘Hello Kitty’, cat-ears in pop culture, maneki neko lucky cats, the home of the original cat cafe – Japan is seemingly obsessed with moggies, and Tokyo is no exception. There are temples dedicated to cats. In a small corner at Gotokuji there are hundreds of lucky cat figures, their little arms raised in greeting. Small ones perched on stone ledges, looked … Continue reading Hello Kitty!
Eating Out in Tokyo. There are shops selling them on nearly every corner. Movies have been made about them. They’ve got Michelin stars. There are even museums dedicated to them. Jim could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m talking noodles. Noodles – simple bowls full of goodness – seem quite complicated to me. There’s such a lot of choice. Ramen, udon, soba… At … Continue reading Noodles!
Written on a piece of cardboard and propped in the sales kiosk: ‘Tickets for Today Sold Out’. It was hard to believe. At 11.00, the hall was practically empty. Just the odd person eating Bento and a couple of bodies seemingly sleeping on the red-cushioned box seats that covered the ground floor. The sumo, though, was in full swing, and had been since 08.30 in … Continue reading The May Sumo Tournament.
Buildings dwarf people natural rhythms extant rigid rules govern Continue reading Tokyo Haiku.
Tokyo could make a (window) shopaholic out of me. I don’t want to buy, but I like looking. Ginza is high-end shopping. Bulgari, Cartier, De Beers, Sony, Nissan, Apple, but it was Ito-Ya stationery store that did it for me – these means to a creative end are artworks in themselves. Ink pens and glass pens. A pen care center. A paper concierge. Paper in … Continue reading Reflections In Ginza.
We’d been waiting for April 1st. Not for the blossom but to be able to buy our Grutto pass – a discount coupon booklet which would unlock the world of Tokyo’s museums and art galleries. Our first venture was to the small Amuse museum – a museum/shop complex – the whole of Tokyo is like a Russian doll – in a small building near Senso-Ji. … Continue reading Bodo. Gone But Not Forgotten.
It’s a four hundred year old festival. And it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen anywhere before. Even for Tokyo it takes some beating in the weird stakes. As always for these sort of events, getting hard info. was a bit of a struggle. The place was a given. Behind the main temple hall of Senso-ji, but timings were harder to come by. 10.20 and 14.20 … Continue reading Cry Baby.
Eye popping shopping in Kappabashi-dori – Tokyo’s kitchen town. We keep getting drawn back to Asakusa time and time again. Not only is it the home of fascinating Senso-ji, there’s a warren of narrow streets, indoor shopping arcades, and great street food. It’s busy, noisy, and sometimes frustrating, but there’s always something to see – traditional weddings, rickshaws, kimonos – and kitchenware. Kappabashi-dori is a … Continue reading I Can’t Believe It’s Not Real.
The young couple outside the metro station paced back and forth. He looked bewildered. She looked impatient. After a couple of minutes she bounded up – ‘you wouldn’t happen to know where Azumazeki Beya is, would you’? Like us, they were hoping to watch morning sumo practice. It wasn’t far. Just a short walk, but during the course of conversation I learned that they’d already … Continue reading Watching Morning Sumo Practice.
We’ve been here for five weeks. And all that time Sakura fever has been with us. At the beginning of March there was a flurry of sakura packaging, flavours and food. Beer suddenly got pretty in pink. Starbucks sold cherry blossom cream latte and frappuccino. Traditional rice cakes were wrapped in cherry blossom leaves and garnished with slivers of dried cherry blossom. Blossom was everywhere … Continue reading Tokyo – Pretty In Pink.