Friday, 17 December 2010

Christmas lights

Well, it's finally starting to feel like christmas here - the air is getting frostier and the scarves and gloves are starting to come out. Last night I went and saw the illuminations at Tokyo Midtown. They were pretty stunning - a sea of little blue dancing lights covering an enormous expanse of lawn, with music and a light show.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Scarey Santa

I often pass a building on my way to the Tokyo American Club that is designed as a mock Viennese restaurant that often hosts wedding parties. They obviously felt the need to get into the festive spirit, but I fear they may have got it slightly wrong. The normally happy santas have turned into rather scarey ones. One looks like he's been slaughtered and is desperatley clinging on for dear life, while the other one looks like a perv, spying on young girls!

Kyoto dinner

For dinner we headed to Oku a lovely restaurant down the backstreets of downtown Kyoto. It had been recommedned by Wallpaper magazine and was sleekly in keeping with their design aesthetic. The food was amazing and we were were so glad to have found it....eventually...

Kyoto at night

Kyoto really comes alive at night and the twinkle of the lights and the colours of the foliage really was magical. It was amazing walking around the geisha district, soaking up the atmosphere of the autumnal evening.

Kyoto Photography Club?!

I couldn't resist taking a photo of what I can only think is the local photography club, with an interesting subject choice. Look how intent these men are at getting a good photo, and there are some impressive lenses there! This isn't the first time we've seen one of these "photography clubs". We've seen a few of them in Yoyogi park as well. Intriguing......

Kyoto Ladies

We were lucky to see some geishas while we were in Kyoto - their kimonos were amazing. We also got to see many locals dressed in slightly more low-key versions, out for afternoon tea I suspect....

Kyoto Colours

Neil and I headed down to Kyoto on saturday for the day. It was an early start, but we were really excited about going - we love taking the Shinkansen (bullet train). We had sadly missed the best of the autumn foliage, but there were still some amazing colours to be seen on the maple trees and I love the way they compliment the orange of the temples and fences dotted around the city.

Monday, 6 December 2010

December morality poster

Here is December's subway morality poster. Again, it's aimed at that pesky gaijin who doesn't know how to ride the train properly. I have to say, I'm still getting the hang of it. Luckily I don't have to ride the train too often during rush hour, but I did the other day and it was interesting....

The train had pulled into the station and the carriage was already pretty full. I stupidly thought there was no room left for me, but obviously the people behind me weren't having any of that, so there was the obligatory shoving to get on. I went with the flow and got on, turned to face the door like everyone else and then waited for the doors to close and seal us all in. Then, some bloke obviously saw the potential for room for at least one more, so stood in the doorway with his back facing into the carriage. I was bemused at this point as he clearly wasn't going to fit in. How naive I was. Before I knew it, he'd taken a deep breath and with all his might, shot his backside backwards at full force into the carriage, sent us flying, and thus made room for himself. I'm constantly bemused by the contradictions here. People can on one hand be so polite, and on the other, be plain rude!

Cuddly companions

I saw this car the other day and couldn't resist taking a photo. The owner obviously has a penchant for a certain cuddly toy. They even have a larger than life "friend" in the passenger seat and I love the way their bellies are pressed against the windscreen. Even the car looks like a toy. There are many of these "toy" cars around Tokyo. They don't look very aerodynamic, but apparently the smaller the car is, the less tax they have to pay and in a city where space is precious, it makes sense....

Mitake walk

We realised that we hadn't been out of the city for ages, so yesterday we headed out to Mitake, which is about an hour by train out of the city. It is a beautiful area and somewhere that we have been a few times before, but we decided to take a different route this time, that took us over three summits. Luckily we didn't quite realise how steep they were going to be, as I have a feeling we wouldn't have tried it if we'd known, but it was a truly stunning day - clean, fresh air and bright blue skies - and it was so refreshing being surrounded by the tall, proud cedar trees that flank the mountain. We stopped for lunch at the top of the first summit and tucked into a bento box lunch that we'd bought outside the station and it was perfect. I have to say, our legs were a bit wobbly as we made our way home and we must have been a sight on the train with our ruddy faces and lolling heads as we crashed out in the warmth of the train.

Saturday, 4 December 2010


I met this rather fetching fella the other day while I was ordering my latte from the local coffee guy. His name is Bazooka and he likes to skateboard.......