30 August 2013

This is Tokyo

Tokyo. Overhead power lines. Iconic. Can you spot the guy repairing them?

29 August 2013

Crow art

I spotted this in a pedestrian underpass in Yoyogi.

27 August 2013

Black Thunder!

This chocolate is called Black Thunder (ブラックサンダー) or Kuroi Raijin (黒い雷神). Raijin is, of course, the god of thunder. It consists of chocolate, cocoa-flavoured cookie bits and crisped rice, and it's been such a success story that a book has been written about its history. (It started small, became popular among university students, really took off when it sponsored the Japanese men's gymnastics team at the 2008 Olympics and Kōhei Uchimura started endorsing it.)

It's very nice. It will be my reward when I return from my annual health check, which is due at four. You're not supposed to eat for eight hours before this check, in other words, today is my mini-Ramadan. I'm not really hungry, but I can hear this chocolate calling my name!

26 August 2013

Cute groping?

This is the latest anti-chikan (groper) poster at a train station. I was going to grumble about Japan's tendency to cutify everything, but then I hesitated: is this poster cute or is it simply a graphic depiction? I've been here so long that my "inappropriate cuteness radar" has been corrupted.

PS: That little critter thingy with the blue hat is Pipo-kun, the police mascot. 

23 August 2013

Underpass art

I spotted this underpass art in Yoyogi.

Cool couple

kappa chasing his dinner

It looks as if the groom is wiping tears off the bride's face? We trust it's tears of happiness.

22 August 2013

Duck! Crows!

Tokyo's crows must be the scariest birds in the universe. They're highly intelligent and have a beautiful glossy coat, but they also have lethal beaks and malicious eyes. They fear nothing. You see signs warning you against crows all over the city: at the University of Tokyo, where I took this photo; and inside Shinjuku Station (yes, inside), where Dru took this photo.

Tōdai's glorious ginkgos in their summer finery. Not a good photo, since I snapped it with my smartphone while walking, but aren't the trees beautiful?

Look at that green! The tower, incidentally, is Tōdai's famous Yasuda Auditorium.

18 August 2013

Ru loves trees

These photos were taken at Koishikawa Botanical Gardens in Tokyo, Ōkunitama Jinja in Fuchū and Nikko in Tochigi. We're in the hottest part of summer right now, with temperatures constantly in the mid-thirties and even night-time temperatures close to thirty. No worries: just looking at these trees makes me cool down.

15 August 2013

For Lina and Massimo

This one is for Lina and Massimo, to show you what South African watermelons look like. Compared to Japan's perfectly round, perfectly shaped, perfectly coloured watermelons, they're downright ugly – bumpy, splodgy, asymmetrical  but cut into one and eat its sweetness, and you'll know true perfection.

Huuuge. Watermelon prices, as far as I remember, vary between ¥200 and ¥500,
depending on the size.

The shop is called Die Bloubakkie, i.e. small blue truck.

You can get seven mielies for ¥200. Darn, I'm homesick! :(

Uh-oh. How do I translate this?
"Enjoy laughing and relaxing/hanging out (at home) with friends."

11 August 2013

Häagen-Dazs butterscotch cookies

I have a new favourite Häagen-Dazs flavour: butter cookie and caramel scotch, or in English English, butterscotch cookies. It has a thick layer of cookies on top, a generous dollop of caramel and delicious cool vanilla ice cream.

PS: You need to understand that my standard summer breakfast is mugicha, lunch is watermelon and dinner is ice cream. What about chocolate? Oh, that's every 23 minutes in liquid, ice or solids.

9 August 2013

Ru loves roofs: Matsuchiyama Shōden

Can you see the money bags? It's a symbol of the temple, which is believed to bestow wealth. Hasn't worked for me yet, despite many visits. Sigh.


7 August 2013

Passport notebook

It looks like a Japanese passport, but it's actually a notebook. I bought it at Maruzen Books. Can you spot the difference between this notebook and a real passport? The real McCoy (the real Suzuki?) is a darker red and the kanji look slightly different.


The real Suzuki from Wikipedia



6 August 2013

Happiness is Marmite!

Actually, happiness is a friend who not only forces her sister to schlep Marmite all the way from England when she comes for a visit, but adds fresh vegetables from Akita and dried apricots from South Africa (found in a Tokyo supermarket!) and tea biscuits (we call them Marie biscuits in SA) to the collection. Thanks, Cecilia and sis and okaasan!

PS: What makes this gift even more special is that Cecilia is from Australia, and that means Vegemite. Marmite and Vegemite are supposed to be mortal foes. (^-^)

It's a massive Marmite! I put it next to books to show you how big it is.

Some of the fresh vegetables and other goodies. Yum yum nom nom!

南アフリカ = Minami Afurika = South Africa. South African dried apricots are soft and don't contain any added sugar. (Japan, or Asia?, loves to add sugar to its dried fruit.)

5 August 2013

Akihabara sunflower

Look what I found in Akihabara: a sunflower growing in a small patch of soil! It was so unexpected that I stopped to take a photo with my phone, although it was dusk. It's just past Yodobashi Camera in the direction of Okachimachi.

3 August 2013

The perfect dinner

Ice cream and umeshu (plum liqueur)

2 August 2013

This damn cat!

My pet hate Hello Kitty stalks me everywhere, even when I innocently buy some fresh fruit at Lawson. What's it about? If you collect enough stickers, you get a free ハローキテプレート or Hallo Kitty Plate. Link here. My three stickers got dumped into the trash can with jubilant joy.

1 August 2013

The poisoned apple

My first reaction was irritation that all products for women in Japan have to be cutified. Then I looked again, and upon reconsideration I've decided this is quite clever: a nerdish Snow White with a pair of glasses holding a poisoned apple.