25 April 2011

24 April 2011

Rikugien 六義園

The cherry blossoms have come and gone, but already Tokyo's parks have new delights: young maple leaves and jewel-coloured azaleas (つつじ or tsutsuji in Japanese). These photos were taken in Rikugien 六義園 in Komagome 駒込。

14 April 2011

Tokyo City View

These photos were taken at the Roppongi Hills complex and from Tokyo City View, the observation deck on the 52nd floor of Mori Tower. 

That tall building at the back is Mori Tower.

Maman, the giant spider sculpture by French sculptor Louise Joséphine Bourgeois 

Cherry blossoms 2011 - Yanaka Cemetery

This is the last cherry blossom collection of 2011. They've come, they've gone, 物の哀れI returned to Yanaka Cemetery on 11 April. The trees were already past their full bloom, but that meant I could walk in "cherry blossom rain" as the petals fluttered to the earth. The cemetery was very quiet - apparently people decided that even if it was acceptable to have a hanami in a public park, it was not OK in a cemetery, not this year.

Tiny survivor

People are not the only victims of the tsunami. I hope this kitten was rescued by a kind-hearted person.

Photo credit: http://blog.livedoor.jp/himasoku123/archives/51616550.html 

10 April 2011

Cherry blossoms 2011 - Ueno Park revisited

The park authorities have requested Tokyo-ites to exercise self-restraint during the hanami season, but this video of an Iwate sake brewer asking people to celebrate with Iwate sake has gone viral, and other small businesses have also asked restraint with the self-restraint. When I went to Ueno Park on the 4th, it was very quiet. When I returned this morning, it was so busy that I could barely move. I don't think it is only self-control that has been abandoned. It was a warm-ish Sunday and the blossoms have opened fully, in other words, it was perfect hanami weather. I stopped at Ueno Station on my way back from Ōmiya Park, thinking I'd walk around Shinobazu Pond. That was a mistake. Ueno Station was a pandamonium: the whole world had arrived to view not only the blossoms, but also the two new pandas at Ueno Zoo. There were special announcements at the station: "If you are here to see the pandas, please use the Park Exit and keep right." I took a few photos but fled fairly quickly. I love Tokyo. I don't love its weekend crowds.

Cherry blossoms 2011 - Ōmiya Park

I have my favourite sakura spots that I try to return to – Chidorigafuchi, Inokashira Park, Kanda River, Ueno Park – but I also try to find a new place each year. This year's big discovery is Ōmiya Park (大宮公園 Ōmiya Kōen). This huge park of almost 70 hectares just north of Hikawa Shrine is regarded as one of the 100 best locations for cherry blossoms in Japan, and I admit, I was impressed. It's a down-to-earth family-friendly no-frills-or-fuss park with hundreds of trees and dozens of food stalls, easily accessible via Ōmiya Station (Keihin-Tōhoku Line or Takasaki Line from Ueno Station) as well as Kita-Ōmiya and Ōmiya Kōen (on the Tōbu Noda Line from Ōmiya Station).

Family transport in Japan

9 April 2011

Another red dawn

Photo taken 7 April 2011, 05:36

8 April 2011

Asians in the library

The flower of white American womanhood discusses Asians in the library and "that tsunami thing". There's nothing to add, except to say that Jimmy Wong can ching chong me any time.

Cherry blossoms 2011 - Shinjuku Gyoen and Yasukuni Shrine

I went to Shinjuku Gyoen and Yasukuni Shrine on 7 April, an overcast day that was not ideal for photos. Shinjuku Gyoen was packed and many people enjoyed hanami; Yasukuni Shrine has cancelled all official events and was much quieter than usual.

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

Redoing makeup in Shinjuku Gyoen

Daffodils in Shinjuku Gyoen

A stone lantern in Shinjuku Gyoen that tumbled during the quake

Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine

A sign at Yasukuni Shrine asking for self-restraint

Hanami in a small park in the shitamachi