April 30, 2010

Bamboo Fence

(In Kuramae.)

I have no idea what this space is for. They say that a bamboo grove is the safest place to run in the event of an earthquake (the thick, entangled roots make the ground firm), but if one hit this place, the bamboo would simply fall to the ground like a bunch of pickup stix.

Not Old School, Just Old

A senbei (rice crackers) store in Kuramae. You can't call it old-fashioned if everything is simply old.

Few shopkeepers would have the patience to maintaining the store's system of measuring and storing the senbei. More power to them for retaining a certain elegance.

Spicy Soy Sauce Tabasco

An ultracheap supermarket in Kappabashi selling food-related items in bulk for restaurants (and thrifty regular folk). I'd be surprised if any of my Japanese friends know about this spicy shoyu (soy sauce) Tabasco; the only Tabasco prevalent in Japan is red and used on Italian food.

A Parade of Koi

A temple in Tawaramachi.

In Kappabashi, a kappa (a mythical sinister water creature) carries his own carp streamers.

Same goes for this old man, standing guard in front of a Korean restaurant in Iidabashi.

April 25, 2010

Scarecrows for Rats

At first glance, just another cat on Tsukishima Monja Street. But this one isn't made of hair and skin and bones, just porcelain.

This isn't a display of someone's kitsch taste; the fake cat serves to scare off rats and also discourages dogs from urinating on the walls.

Real cat.

April 20, 2010

Chirping out a Welcome

A clothing boutique in Kamiyamacho. The latest addition to the store is the sky blue-and-lemon yellow parakeet perched near the entrance. It was definitely a people person, completely ignoring the magenta head replica that I'm guessing serves as a stuffed animal of sorts.

This bird looked like it had been painted with washes of watercolor. Someone should make a print based on those colors. If parakeet feathers weren't so small, they'd probably be used on ladies' hats and hunted to extinction.

Forlorn No More

One year later, the old beagle has company and an old woman feeding him chunks of bread.

April 18, 2010

April 16, 2010


(The Takatanobaba rotary.)

The Japanese Communist Party gathers in Takatanobaba in hopes of influencing young minds.
Fat chance. The rotary meeting spot was packed with students from various societies on their way to nomikai (drinking parties). Their banners were more visible than the actual politicians', and no amount of bullhorn-tooting could break through their apathy.

April 8, 2010

Report Your Baby

Father, mother, and little boy talk inside a koban (police station), leaving their months-old baby outside in the fierce cold.

Chopsticks by Design

Craftily arranged chopsticks in an izakaya in Akasaka.

It's the kind of thing Martha Stewart would be all over.

April 4, 2010

Shadow Blossoms

In Waseda, along the Kanda river. The shadows of the sakura blossoms made it appear as though there were twice as many trees than they were. As if the sakura weren't blooming abundantly enough!

Sakura for the Animals

In Waseda, along the Kanda river.

Turtles, basking.

Feasting on Blossoms

(In Waseda, along the Kanda river.)

I don't know what this pigeon has been eating, but its head is much too small for its body.

April 1, 2010

You Can Spot Them Anywhere

Trees suddenly increase in visibility in spring. A tree you pass by every day without notice suddenly becomes worthy of acknowledging because it's a sakura tree.

Same tree, different angle.