Thursday, April 26, 2007


To Roppongi hills for the evening and what did we find ... another sighting of Maman ... Louise Bourgeois' huge spider!

... and an endless queue for what?

... the half moon was up

... and the towering apartments

... the half-moon still in evidence

... with their bold colours

... and some very good yum cha (thanks Mary!)

Climbing Takao-san

We took the train from Takao to Takaosanguchi and then caught the cable car (with 2 or more classrooms of school children)

from the top we took route 6 on the way down

until we were back in Takaosanguchi

where we grabbed a bite to eat!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Nishi-Hachioji: food

by the time we reached Nishi-Hachioji it was late afternoon so we hopped on a train to Hachioji to do some shopping ... then it was train back to Nishi-Hachioji to sample the wondrous Nepalese curry in the Noi-Ya bar

avocado salad ...
chicken salad ...

rice and chicken curry

at the curry bar we found an old friend from Okinawa and caught up a bit with a long discussion about the difference between Chinese and Japanese dumplings ... he told us that the gyoza we were so fond of came originally form China but had evolved in Japan after the war

Takao: food

We decided to walk from Takao to Nishi-Hachioji along the road to Shinjuku and had not even reached the first crossroad when a very modern looking restaurant caught our eyes ...

prawn dumplings ...

Takao: cherry blossom

The landlady of our hotel led us on a walk up into the hills of Takao to see the cherry blossom ... a whole valley seems to have been set aside to show the hundreds of varieties ... the rain and winds had blown much away but still there was a feast

and now ... the famous GREEN blossom!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hachiko: the tale of a dog

The year was 1925. Every morning, Professor Ueno Eizaburo walked to Shibuya station accompanied by his loyal dog, Hachi, nicknamed Hachiko. Hachiko didn't accompany his master to his teaching job at the Imperial University (now known as Tokyo University), but when Professor Ueno returned every day at 3pm, the dog was always at the station waiting for him.

However, on May 21 of that year, Ueno died of a stroke while at the university. Hachiko went to Shibuya as always to meet his master, but 3 o'clock came and went, and the professor didn't arrive. So Hachiko waited. And waited.

The Akita must have known something was wrong, but nonetheless he returned to the station every day at 3 o'clock to meet the train. Soon people began to notice the loyal dog's trips made in vain to meet his master. Ueno's former gardener, the Shibuya stationmaster, and others began feeding Hachiko and giving him shelter.

Word of his unaltered routine spread across the nation, and he was held up as a shining example of loyalty. People travelled to Shibuya simply to see Hachiko, feed him, and gently touch his head for luck.

The months turned to years, and still Hachiko returned to Shibuya station daily at 3pm, even as arthritis and aging took their toll. Finally, on March 7, 1934 - nearly ten years after last seeing Professor Ueno - the 12-year-old Akita was found dead on the same spot outside the station where he had spent so many hours waiting for his master.

Japan: Folk Crafts Museum

An interesting man-hole cover ...

... a wall decoration

... and an impressive gate on the way to the museum

Pictorial Banners in the Edo Era

The use of banners (Nobori) are universally popular, but there is no other country that uses them as extensively as Japan. Even today, banners are used for business advertisement, show business, festivals at temples and shrines. Iris banners with carp streamers are used for Boy's Day (now Children's Day) Festival, the fifth of May.The charm of the pictorial banners lies in their bold composition of vigorous strokes and strong colors. But this is merely the beginning.

Segment of mid Edo-period Nobori (Crane Motif)

Segment of mid Edo-period Nobori (Crane Motif)


Castle textile (Tsutsugaki Technique), Late Edo Period

MINGEIKAN - Folk Crafts Museum