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!
Ask almost any Tokyoite and they’ll tell you ‘I’m not religious’. ‘Don’t ask me if I’m Shinto or Buddhist. I’ll be very embarrassed’, said our guide in Asakusa. But shrines and temples litter the city – they are everywhere, in the corners of car parks, on busy streets, down alleys, surrounded by high towers and modern buildings; we come across them in the most unlikely … Continue reading Religious Atheists.
How difficult it is to pick highlights out of a packed year. So many places big and small. Countless seemingly inconsequential moments of happiness. What I see is not a destination but a detail – a colour, a shape, an expression. Housesitting interspersed with trips to far flung lands. Animals. People. Friends. Food. Joy. Learning, always learning. I give thanks for it all. 2017 was … Continue reading Happy New Year.
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.
‘You’ve got to do it, haven’t you?’ We were standing outside Daiwa Sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market at 5.30 in the morning. Not only were we standing outside, we were waiting in line, and waiting in line to eat sushi for breakfast. Surreal. It was Jim’s idea and I was just rolling with it. We’d been up since 02.30. Tsukiji requires serious effort. We’d met … Continue reading Tsukiji.
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.