September 29, 2011

Private Public Beach

The view of the ocean on the away to Youka Public Beach, about 15 minutes' walk from Futomi Station in Chiba's Boso Peninsula.

To get to the actual beach, you have to go down this suspicious-looking path...

And go down this incredibly rickety set of stairs. If too many people used this at once, it would definitely break. You would not want to land on the rocks below.

And then, the beach. This must be a locals-only place because the afternoon I was there, the only people I saw within 200 meters of this place were locals. I had the beach to myself.

Hawks flying above, a welcome reprieve from crows.

Nautical Nostalgia

Yagyu, a small restaurant near Futomi, a small town in the Boso Peninsula. I wound up at the train station by pure chance and needed a place to eat. This restaurant ended up being an unplanned surprise.

The first thing you notice about the place is its sense of style. This isn't merely a place that has been open for the past 40 years, it's almost like a curio shop masquerading as an eatery. The decor, the physical space, and the dim light filtering through made me wonder if the owner's intent was to recreate the feeling of being on a boat. The proportions of the benches and the table in the above photo reminded me of a cabin.

Old clocks line one wall, amid other parphenalia.

Even the spoons on the wall (behind the old-looking blender) look like they belong on a ship. The machine on the left is to make kakigori (shaved ice).

The available kakigori flavors were tacked up on the wall, along with an old kite and a gourd.

Here is milk-flavored shaved ice. Milk as in condensed milk.

A nice finishing touch on the ceiling.

September 26, 2011

Kamogawa Beach

Maebara Coast Beach, a few minutes' walk from Awakamogawa Station on the JR Sotobo Line. Japan's tendency to use breakwaters near oceans and bays may not be pleasing aesthetically, but you have to admit that they have their uses. Since I visited a couple of days before a major typhoon that ended up shutting down most of the subways and train stations in the Tokyo Metropolitan area (not an east feat), the waves were something fierce. The only area that was safe for swimming was before the breakwaters.

This was a known surfer's beach, but the strong waves on that weekend proved absolutely irresistible to surfers.

The waves getting fiercer as the day goes on.

Cold showers were available in the park adjacent to the beach, but someone had set up a warm-water shower booth for 100 yen a wash. I hope they have lights in that thing.

The town's bus stop, with a refueling stand and toilet around the corner.

Sushi by the Sea

Sushi Sasamoto, a sushi shop near Awa-Kamogawa Station. Located in the Bōsō Peninsula, it seems that most train stations in the area are only a few minutes' walk from the Pacific Ocean. Needless to say, the fish was very fresh.

Outside the restaurant, chili peppers left out to dry in the sun.

Little wooden boxes with people's last names on the top right corner, and names of flowers on the bottom left. I'm guessing these belong to regulars, and are used to drink sake.

September 25, 2011

Salmon Milt: Pretty in Pink

Milt (shirako) is one of those foods that's nice and dandy so long as you don't figure out what it is. It's actually fish sperm, in this case, of salmon.

Washed and then steamed with cooking sake, it tastes like sausage.

September 20, 2011

Bowing Down on You

 The Japan Animal College in Koenji. At a loss for words.

Baby Boy Fashionista

In Koenji, a little boy getting a leg up on fashion: straw fedora, multi-colored strappy sandals, rabbit purse. Here comes hipster boy!

Polk Street Action

Walking back and forth Polk Street in San Francisco yielded the following photos:

Interior Visions, an art gallery cum antiques shop. I was quite intrigued by the awfully hippy soldier manning the door.

The black-and-white checkered floor sets things off nicely.

A view from the rear of the store.

I thought the chirping noises were an affectation until I saw these parakeets in the antique birdcage. The fresh vegetables they had stuck through the bars smelled strangely good. Must be organic.

 The small cards detailing the product and price were a lovely touch.

Crunch Fitness, housed in the former Alhambra movie theater. If Castro Theatre were ever turned into a gym (or anything else for that matter), I would riot. It seems, however, that they tried to preserve as much of the theatre as was feasible -- not just what you see on the exterior, but inside as well. So wrong that it's right?

A Chinese-run dry cleaners.

The adorable-looking Hungrybunny, unfortunately closed on Mondays. They seem to sell cooking-related books and objects.

Optical Works, a store selling vintage glasses frames that crosses the line between hip and trying too hard.

Bow Wow Meow, a "pet specialties and grooming" shop with some mighty good decorations.

This store wasn't the first to pair stuffed dog animals and inflatable tubes, believe it or not.

A store in Cow Valley one-upped them. The public water bowls -- a good idea or unhygienic?

A bulldog passes the time by watching TV inside a gym.

Thai Spice, servers of the best Tom Yung Koong (and be extension, best Asian food) I had in San Francisco.          

September 17, 2011

The Crookedest Street in the World

If we could find a way to bring Lewis Carroll back to life, I would want to transport him to San Francisco. I have a feeling he would appreciate the madcap up and down streets, and take a mathematician's interest in the curves of Lombard Street.

In a park a block away from the top of Lombard street, a reminder of Harvey Milk's legacy. The pooper scooper law (passed in 1978) that he made part of his campaign, referenced in a lighthearted sequence in 2008's Milk.

 At the top of the Crookedest Street in the World.

The building in the distance is Coit Tower.

Gingerly making the turns to combat the 27-degree downhill grade.

Down Castro, Up Haight

Seen on Castro Street: a university student, collecting donations to keep his school's wrestling team from going defunct...

...the button section in a store that sold all things a little unique and a little quirky...

...anatomically blessed Ken-like dolls on display...

...and a succinct welcome to the neighborhood: "It's Castro, bitch!" There is also a nice nod to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on the left.

A drag queen (or two), hosting a fundraiser at Cocomo's Boutique.

Literal, but in the commercially appropriate way.

The Victorian-style houses of San Francisco are generally pastel-colored, but here in the Haight area was a more colorful take.

A reminder that ivy-covered houses aren't always the result of neglect.

Spray-pointed koi in front of a clothing store, next to a fortune teller.

From Peet's Coffee and Tea. Do they do this for all their customers?