June 29, 2010

Free Show

(A supermarket in Edogawabashi.)

A huge bluefin tuna, inexplicably wheeled out to the supermarket floor by an employee and left there for customers to gawk at. Despite our massive consumption of tuna, it was difficult to reconcile the sight of an actual fish with the red tuna sashimi we usually see sold in plastic trays.

More than one curious customer walked up to the fish's gaping mouth and peeked in. Because its tail had been cut off, you could see out the other end.

June 28, 2010

Good for Chicken Lovers, Bad for Business

On Kagurazaka street. A restaurant during weekdays morphs into a yakitori (chicken on skewers) stand on weekends, when the main street is closed to traffic. The sight of hundreds of yakitori was mouthwatering, and they tasted delicious. However, when I passed by the stand again a couple of hours later, the chicken was still plentiful and looked as inviting as ever. Good for the eyes, but perhaps not for the shop: it meant they weren't able to sell nearly as much as they'd anticipated.

June 27, 2010

The Blinding Doorway

(In Edogawabashi.)
What's up there?

In the bottom right corner, a white cat with an oddly squashed face.

Mona Lisa Sighting

(In Kagurazaka.)
Mona Lisa, hiding in plain sight.

June 24, 2010

An Alternative to the Greeting Cat

Greeting dogs on the door of an information center in Urayasu. The dogs have a retro look unrelated to their being made from origami; they look like cartoon characters from the 1960s.

June 23, 2010

Imaginary Threat

(In Omotesando.)

Or perhaps a scene out of Watership Down.

Paper Phalanx

(A Ginza jewelry store.)
An army of origami frogs, swans, and cranes, all privy to a fairy-tale romance.

June 22, 2010

Tiny Dancers

Cutout ballerinas decorate the tiny window displays at the Shiseido Parlour in Ginza.

June 17, 2010

The Glass-lined Road

Looking up into the depths of the Hermès Ginza building.

Joshua from New York, but Not Very Progressive

A hair salon in Ginza calls itself Joshua from New York but has the gall to refuse all customers who cannot speak Japanese.

June 13, 2010

Big Brother Watching You Get a Buzz

"We're watching you 24 hours."

(The kanji on the bottom right of the machine) "Liquor."

Despite the extreme creepiness, I doubt there are any consequences to being filmed on camera while purchasing a can of beer. Not unless the video is being surveilled by people who have immediate access to the police. However, if the police don't want to have to go after a 15-year-old buying drinks, Japan could simply get rid of vending machines selling alcohol. It's not like we don't have 24-hour conbini selling the same things.

June 11, 2010

Sky Tree Hype

Tokyo Sky Tree, the new Tokyo Tower. Currently undergoing construction and set to be opened in spring 2012, the tower will provide digital terrestrial tv broadcasting coverage as well as serve as a cultural hub. As can be seen from this photo taken from the Shin-Kiba Station platform, the tower is clearly far from complete.

The hype for this thing has been underway for quite a while now. Above, in a train ad, a watercolor rendering of the tower gently reminds us of its existence. There is another ad for the tower in the background.

This one offers sightseeing tours to the unfinished tower. Much of the promotion for the Sky Tree features misleading computer-generated images of the tower in its completed state. Already, cities in the surrounding area such as Asakusa have started using the image on street banners and other forms of town promotion. There is something exhausting about seeing so much energy poured into hype for this tower. Ordinarily I would worry about tiring out the audience through too much visibility, but the Japanese public has most likely developed filters for this kind of advertising saturation.

June 6, 2010

Wild in the Head

The Suidobata Public Library.

I can't think of a more apt way to invite people to join the world of books.

June 1, 2010


Kogomi, or ostrich fern sprouts.

They appear on menus for Japanese cuisine in the spring, but it's unusual to see them sold in supermarkets. This was from the farmer's market in front of Santoku (a supermarket chain) in Koishikawa.