November 28, 2011

Tonogayato Gardens

It's the time of the year for foliage viewing -- almost. According to Yahoo's red-leaf tracker, last week was still a bit to early to see the leaves in all their glory. But that didn't stop the crowds from coming out to the prime leaf-viewing spots. These photos were taken at Tonogayato Teien (Tonogayato Gardens) in Kokubunji.

Originally built in the early 1910s as a vacation home for the eventual vice president of the South Manchuria Railway Company, by 1929, the gardens had passed on to a family related to the Mitsubishi conglomerate. After being purchased by the Tokyo Metropolitan government in 1974, the parks were designated a cultural asset in 1998.

The use of the yukizuri technique, in which ropes are used to prevent delicate branches from being crushed by snow, has the effect of making the tree look like a Christmas tree.

This is actually a reflection of the tree seen in the pond. The photo is also upside down, which makes for an interesting "Whoa, gravity!" effect.

From the pond, you take a number of steps up to the Koyo-tei teahouse, seen slightly on the upper left corner. Koyo means "red leaves".

It's there that the leaves can be appreciated in all their glory (and you don't have to stand around to do it).

Storefront Dogs Get Ready for Christmas

 (In Hatchobori.)
I never noticed how many cafes and stores place dog statues in front until they started wearing Christmas capes.

 (In Hatchobori.)
 This was in front of a drugstore.

Notice how the dog in the upper corner is wearing a Santa hat.

In front of Han Nari, a dog accessories store in Shirokane Takanawa. In retrospect, I shouldn't have been surprised to see this here.

A sort-of art gallery in Kokubunji. Real dogs never really seem to get into the Christmas spirit.

But at least he is perfectly attired for the season.

November 22, 2011

On a Good Day

Mejirodai Athletic Park on a 23 degree Celsius mid-November Sunday. The park has an area for softball or soccer, a footsal pitch, and tennis court. Reservations are needed to use these spaces, and those who reside or attend school in Bunkyo-ku get preferential treatment.

Here, some kids play with the fountain after a softball game.

Under the Highway

The highway near Mejiro-dori, another example of efficient urban planning. One section is used as a park/training space for both kids and adults, another serves as a parking area.

At 30,000 yen a month, though, it's quite pricey.

And surely the renters cannot get behind this.

The cats living near this space receive better treatment than the homeless.

Anpanman & Snoopy Grave Marker

 A store that deals with stone materials, i.e., a store that produces grave markers. They've attempted to show their range here, but rendering these kiddie icons in the same color and texture of stone that you see in cemeteries is chilling, to say the least.