Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Just a building under construction or an art work?

This building is under construction and covered with grey nets. The nets can prevent the falling stuffs, like small pieces of material and some tools, go outside the site and people walking in a street injured.

This wrapping reminds me of art works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

They have wrapped a variety of stuffs, from the old building of parliament in Berlin to the Roman wall. They had changed just wrapping into an mean of art.

Monday, October 30, 2006

How to become a millionaire in Japan!!

These autumn leaves with some green dots are sold for decorating Japanese cuisine and seem not so cheap. (I don't know the price.)

Every time I go to the park with many trees since I took the photo, it seems to me that the leaves on trees will be money.

Perhaps you might become a millionaire after you pick up colorful leaves and sell it:-)

Dried small fish: Niboshi

These are called niboshi, dried small fish and are roughly the same size as one's forefinger.

These are used for preparing stock, umami, to make miso soup, udon noodle or some Japanese foods.

Three major dried foods are used for extracting the essence of umami:
1. Boiled and dried bonito shaving, called katuobushi, is used mainly around Tokyo.
2. Dried kelp is used around Kyoto and Osaka.
3. And these niboshi is used in western Japan.

Of these foods, I like this niboshi because I had been in western Japan.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


What do you think about these?

These are called wasabi, a kind of spice, and are mainly used for sushi and sashimi, sliced raw fish.

In sushi, a little wasabi is put between neta, sliced raw fish, and syari, rice with vinegar. People eat sashimi with soy sauce and a little wasabi.

The paste of wasabi is usually package in tube. But fresh wasabi, grated by metal or sharkskin grater, is much better and tasty than the paste.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Why not taking Sento, public bath, if you go to Japan?

Do you happen to see the mark on the top of this sign board?

This mark shows Onsen or Sento and both are public bath. The hot water in Onsen contains some minerals and very good for health. And the water in Sento is just the tapping water or well water.

In Onsen and Sento, unlike Germany or Switzerland, people don't wear anything. People are all in buff just like taking a bath at home.

If you go to Japan, why not try Onsen or Sento? But be careful for men not to enter the bath for women and vice versa.

Here is 12 steps to enjoy the bath and six rules to enjoy the bath.

12 steps to enjoy the bath (I think that it is a usual way.)
Necessary stuffs: soap, towel, shampoo and some changes
1. Take off your shoes at the entrance and put them in a shoe box.
2. Pay the fee.
3. Put off your clothes in dressing area and put them in a small box with key.
4. Go to bath area with towel, soap, shampoo and something to wash with.
5. Wash yourself a little with hot water, sitting on a tiny chair in front of faucet.
6. Soak yourself in a hot bath. (it is 42-43 degrees centigrade (or 107-109 degrees Fahrenheit) in Tokyo and a little low in Osaka and Kyoto.)
7. Wash yourself with soap and shampoo in front of faucet after soaking.
8. Soak yourself in a hot bath again.
9. Splash not-so-hot water on your body not to break a sweat, if you want.
10. Return to the dressing area after you wipe yourself off.
11. Change into something new.
12. Go out to drink beer!!

Six rules to take sento, public bath
1.Take off your underwear when taking into bath space.
2.Wash yourself before getting into the tub.
3.Keep your towel out of the tub.
4.Don't use the shower while standing up, but use it while sitting down on the tiny chair.
5.Don't wash your clothes or underwears in the bath area.
6.Wipe yourself off before going out to the dressing area.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Leaves are getting red...

Leaves are getting from green to yellow or red. The change reminds me getting cold.

We had a series of rain last three days and then it is getting colder especially in the morning and at night.

The colder it is, people here want something hot to eat.

The three popular hot eatings here are:
3. "Hot Sake"

I like all!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Akihabara on weekend

Here is Akihabara, the biggest electric shopping district in Tokyo.

The streets there is free of vehicle on weekend and many people are wandering about the streets. Some of them are people from other countries and they usually would like to buy electric appliances, such as single-lens reflex cameras, video cameras and so on.

Now, here is an interesting data.

There are, perhaps as you know, many duty(tax) free shops in Akihabara.

These shops are most popular among people from Scandinavian, just like Norway, Sweden and Finland. Though they are not so many in Japan.

At first I didn't know why people from Scandinavian like "duty free" shop very much.

Do you know why?

Because their consumption tax rates are very high, more than 20 percent, and they seem to attract the word "duty free" very much, a newspaper said.

By the way, our consumption tax rates are now five percent.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

nice art works in a gallery

These are nice art works, I'd think.

These are displayed in "House of Shiseido", a small gallery of a leading cosmetic company in Japan. This company have been selling cosmetics more than 100 years.

Perhaps this gallery may display many kinds of their old cosmetics, but I don't know exactly.

Here is the tiny realm of beauties for women.

Monday, October 23, 2006

typical scenery in Tokyo: Ginza, Tokyo 2

This is a typical shopping district in Tokyo on weekend.

The district is getting cheerful as Christmas is coming.(Though it is two full months later.)

By the way, I had believed in Santa Claus and had believed that he gave every children nice presents by himself until 12 years old. As soon as I woke up on Christmas Day, I found what I had wanted next to my pillow. But to tell the truth, I had pretended to believe in Santa Claus:-) Because I was not able to get the present from my parents:-)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

petite envelops

They are tiny envelops, called pochi-bukuro, smaller than a cigarette box. This is used for giving a tip to one staff in charge of your service when staying at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese hotel. And for giving children otoshidama, some money, in the New Year. Adults are incredibly to give the related children some money in the New Year. It is a better habit for Japanese children than "trick or treat" in Halloween. (Japan has not had a habit of "trick or treat" yet but has had a habit of giving children Christmas presents.)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A red clip

Here is Ginza, one of the biggest shopping districts in Tokyo.

A sigh board on the left is the one of stationery shop, called Itoya. A red paper clip have been the trademark of this shop for a long time.

Perhaps as you know, an young American, Kyle MacDonald, traded one red clip for a house. He started with one clip and 14 trades later, trade for a house.

How many times does it take to change this big clip for a house?:-)

lost in translation

This is an intersection in front of Shubuya Station, one of the busiest places in Tokyo.

By the way, here are three sign board. Two of them are the cell ad and the rest is the hair dressing ad.

We can watch TV with some cells. It may be better to watch and check some sports.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Vacuum tubes

These are vacuum tube, or valve and were used in radio till 60'. Still now a shop in Akihabara, one of the major shopping spots in Tokyo, is dealing in them. I have seen the real vacuum tube for the first time and they are as big as 350ml can.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Not beer exactly...

Sorry for being an unclear photo because it was shot by cell phone with low graphic mode camera.

These are sort of beers and not beers exactly.

By the way, beers in Germany are different from the ones in Japan. Beers in Germany are made from only malt, hop and water; however, the ones in Japan contain corn or rice beside.

So the authority in Japan regards beers as drinks, made of more than 67% of malt, unlike 100% in Germany.

Next, what is the difference between Japanese beers and "sort of beers"? They contain less than 67% of malt. These flavor is just like beer, but not so tasty as a real beer.

Why isn't malt so popular? Because the tax rate varies up to the percentage of malt in beer. The less percentage of malt, the less tax rate.

Here is an example:
A beer of 350 ml is 218 JPY and 78 JPY out of 218 is tax.
Sort of beer, less than 25% of malt, of 350 ml is 145 JPY and only 37 JPY out of 145 JPY is tax.

In short, the tax of the beer is twice than that of "sort of beers".

The companies make malt less in beer since they want to sell them at low price.

Here is the real problem....
Now "sort of beers" are getting popular in Japan since they are cheaper. So the tax income of beer is getting low. Then the government have largely raised taxes on "sort of beer", on May this year! (Strictly speaking, it means that some of "sort of beers" and most are the same tax rate) Incredible!! Though I do not like beer so much...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Miso soup

These are the sources of miso soup, a traditional Japanese soup and the soup is indispensable for our daily life, as well as daily photo:-) To make a miso soup, the source and dashi, umami, should be mixed up, then two or three kinds of foods are put into it. The foods are usually diced tofu, cut seaweed, diced Japanese radish, nameko mushroom, cut deep-fried tofu, sliced long green onion and so on. I like the combination of tofu, nameko mushroom and long green onion.

By the way, a traditional breakfast in Japan is, for example, boiled rice, miso soup, grilled fish, fermented soybeans, called natto, and pickled vegetable. But I usually have curry rice with chopped cabbage for breakfast.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Kiosk

Here is a platform at one of the busiest stations in Tokyo. It is very busy in the morning.(The photo is shooted in the afternoon.) On both sides of the platform are coming trains every two or three minutes during rush hour. During that time, the inside of the trains are too jammed to fail to fall one's hand bags with no hands....

By the way, this shop, a Kiosk, sells many kinds of stuffs, from newspapers and magazines to food and drink. Now, most of the clerks have a professional skill. They can hand over the change very fast after taking money. It looks like a little magic!


It is a clip of Sony's commercial message. I post it though I am not related to Sony at all and won't promote Sony. Because I just love this CM with bossa nova music clip.

The other side of a modern office district

This area, called Shio-dome, is one of the biggest skyscraper area in Tokyo and contains luxury hotels, together with some TV broadcasting, advertising, cosmetics, airline companies.

This is basically business district while this has some sightseeing spots. With so many people, they are always running short of restaurants. So people there need to wait for lunch in front of restaurants. Or, they need to go other district just to have a lunch.

They are called "Shio-dome refugees".

PS. I would think that big business chances are waiting in Shiodome because of lack of restaurants.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


This is one of my favorite fruits tarts, sold at a shop "Qu'il fait bon" in Tokyo.

Fruits on the tarts is so fresh and delicious. Plus, you can enjoy the fruits themselves since the tarts contains less added sugar.

By the way, Japanese cake shops often use English or French in their name of shops perhaps because they bolster the image of the shops.

Today is Saturday.
Have a nice weekend with a cup of tea and some cake:-)

Friday, October 13, 2006

A traditional street performer

Standing ramen bar

This is a ramen snack bar outside a fishing market.
You are to eat ramen, standing by a table outside the shop.
Things are humming near the market and I like it.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

brand shops


Four luxury brand shops are amazingly on every corner of just only a intersection in Ginza, a town in Tokyo.

Louis Vuitton is the most popular shop of these shops, especially among young women in 20's or 30's. When I get on a train in Tokyo, I often see women with a Louis Vuitton bag of checkered pattern. They says it costs more than 1,000 US dollars...

By the way, there are 12 Louis Vuitton stores only in Tokyo. Speechless...

If I had 1,000 US dollars at my disposal in my college days, I would spent money to go on a trip abroad with some traveling bag, not Louis Vuitton's.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


This is an entrance of Japanese restaurant.
A white cloth, called noren, is hung on the top of the entrance.

When you can see a noren from outside, a restaurant is open. But when you cannot see it, this is closed.

A noren is hung only on the top of sliding door of Japanese traditional restaurant. This is hung on for taking a small pause before entering inside. This small pause is called "ma" in Japanese.

Monday, October 09, 2006

a kitchen knife shop

This is a shop for steel kitchen knives and a young staff sharpens the edge of a knife on a whetstone. The shop sells knives for vegetable, meat, fish and multiple purposes.

Now more people are buying stainless knives instead, but I think that steel knives are still better though poor maintenance will have them rusted.

The full moon in Tokyo

zsolt photo inspires me and I took the picture. October is the best season for seeing the moon of all the year since it is less humid and mild weather.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Saturday in the park I think it is the seventh of october...

It is a clear sky!!

This is Hama-rikyu Park, in the middle of Tokyo.

This used to be a villa for Shogunate, former rulers all over Japan. Now it is a park, full of pine trees and surrounded by many skyscrapers. Pine trees have been thought to be noble ones and were often planted in Shogunate's and Imperial's residence. A big pond has still remained and people can enjoy some tea in a house near a bridge.

In the park I can see trees of green, skies of blue, and clouds of white, but cannot hear babies crying.

Anyway I think to myself, what a wonderful day!

PS. Personally I like "Saturday in the park" by Chicago and "What a wonderful world" by Louis Armstrong though it is a little classic:-)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Daily scenery at 5:30, 5:40 and 13:30 in a market

before an auction of tuna fish, 5:30

in the middle of the fish auction, 6:00

after the market is closed, 13:30

a popular chocolate shop in Tokyo

Tokyo has many chocolate shops from all over the world.

Pierre Herme, Michel Chaudum, Godiva, Jean-Paul Hevin, La maison du chocolat, teucsher....

Of all the shops, Pierre Marcolini is the best, I think, and very popular. Every weekend people are waiting in a line for enjoying some kinds of parfait in his cafe shop, close to his chocolate shop.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Google Map?

I took these pictures from a tall building near my apartment.

This is a downtown in Tokyo.

This is a office area in Tokyo.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Not really my cup of tea...

This is called "figure", dolls of some cartoon's actors. These are sold to adults who love cartoons, called otaku. Some otaku shops are in Akihabara, but it is just another side of this town, or Japan.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A root of Akihabara, the most famous electric town in Japan

Akihabara town is famous for tons of electric&PC shops and otaku, people who love cartoon, shops.

Originally some shops dealing in electronic parts have formed this town. These shops have sold many kinds of electron elements for people to make radios or computers on their own.

Then electric and PC shops were increasing and now some shops turn to sell cartoon-related goods.

These picture is the roots of this city and we can see that kinds of stores only in this town in Japan.

(tomorrow picture will be about otaku culture)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Just ordinary scenery


Between iron bridges are many electric wires and over the wire are towering some buildings.
It is a typical Tokyo scenery, made of iron, electric and concrete.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tokyo never stops making bulidings...

Some foreign hotels are now being built in Tokyo, Ritz-Carlton in Roppongi and The Peninsula in Hibiya. The right building in the photo will be The Peninsula Hotel.

On this side is a moat, surrounding the Imperial Palace. Many trees surrounded the moat and a road along the moat, about five kilo meters in circuit, is better for jogging.

Anyway, many building in Tokyo are still now built like a crowd of bamboo shoots in bamboo groves of spring.