Nippori Shopping Street – A Shotengai Worth a Visit

Jun 1st, 2009 | By | Category: Shopping, Tokyo and Vicinity, Travel

Along the street marking the border between Yanaka and Nishi-Nippori lies a quaint shopping street (shotengai) that is home to a number of food vendors, restaurants and shops.  It’s not a typical destination for most Tokyo tourists but bustles with activity nonetheless and the area is worth a visit for not only the shopping street […]

Train Station Tunes in Japan

May 21st, 2009 | By | Category: Lifestyle

Did you know that in Japan many train stations have their own tune that is played just be before the doors of the train close?  Call it a signature tune or a theme song…the Maihama Station on the Keiyo line is the stop for Tokyo Disneyland and the tune you hear is It’s a Small […]

100 Views of Edo – Then & Now

May 18th, 2009 | By | Category: Lifestyle

Ando Hiroshige produced and estimated 5,400 ukiyo-e in his lifetime (1811-1858) and his most famous works, also his last series, are knows as 100 View of Edo (now Tokyo) in English, Meisho Edo Hyakkei in Japanese. The beautiful images offer insight into what the city of Tokyo looked like in before Japan embraced all things […]

Hungry for Fish? Local Fish Markets Across Japan

May 1st, 2009 | By | Category: Food, Shopping

There are over 900 local fish markets around Japan and most of these local markets are much more relaxed when compared to the center of the fish universe in Tokyo at the Tsukiji Wholesale Fish Market. For one thing, the scale of the markets don’t compare to Tsukiji and you don’t have to be worried […]

Sometimes Things Move Slowly in Japan

Apr 22nd, 2009 | By | Category: Lifestyle

With the records breaking speeds attained by the Shinkansen (bullet train), the ever on-time performance of the train system in Japan and the hoards of people moving around the country’s major cities at a seemingly breakneck pace you would think that everything in Japan is done efficiently and speedily but that’s not always the case. […]

Noren – Elegant Entryway Curtains from Japan

Apr 17th, 2009 | By | Category: Lifestyle

Traditionally used to protect the entrance to stores and homes from the sun, wind and dust from the streets, noren are no longer an absolute necessity but a lovely tradition that is kept alive by shop keepers, restaurateurs and home owners in Japan. Noren are the split curtains that gracefully adorn the doorways of Japan […]

Taking No Chances – A Pair of Neko

Apr 7th, 2009 | By | Category: Photo Gallery, Shopping

The maneki-neko comes in many forms with the most common being a red and white ceramic cat with a lucky medallion around its neck.  These two neko, spotted along Yanaka Ginza, are decidedly more realistic and very kawaii (cute) when compared to their traditional counterparts. Maneki-neko with raised paws are displayed to ensure a prosperous […]

Fashion Forward or Fashion Faux Pas in Shibuya?

Mar 25th, 2009 | By | Category: Lifestyle

An aimless stroll though the windy and hilly streets of Shibuya led me towards the entrance plaza of Yoyogi Park where the street fashion that the area has come to be associated with is ever present.  The area is well known for it’s youthful vibe and funky fashion sense.  From a western perspective the fashion […]

A Frustrating Taxi Ride in Tokyo

Mar 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Lifestyle, Tokyo and Vicinity

Put two foreigners with limited Japanese language skills into a taxi in Tokyo and frustration is almost certainly coming along for the ride! One evening, after a relaxing dinner at a great restaurant, my husband and I decided that rather than take a bus or train back to our home we would splurge on a […]

Marshmallows for White Day in Japan

Mar 12th, 2009 | By | Category: Lifestyle

White Day is a holiday that originated  in Japan and is the country’s answer to Valentine’s Day.  Women in Japan are the only ones giving the gifts on Valentine’s day but on White Day, celebrated each March 14th, the men reciprocate. So what’s a guy to give his honmei (true sweetheart) on White Day?  Traditionally […]