Archive for the ‘Tokyo Rocks’ Category

Tokyo Metblogs is revived again

Hi, I’m Yu Ming and I’m a new blogger for the Tokyo edition of Metblogs. I’ll be posting on what’s going on in Tokyo, interesting places to visit, and anything quirky in that Japanese way all of us Japanophiles love.

Even though I’ve been here for two years now, I still get a bit starry-eyed when I see the William Gibson-esque skyscrapers right next to ancient Zen temples. Japan is a living, breathing oxymoron that’s a fascinating creature to watch whom no one can quite figure out.

I’m familiar with the city and can get around without a glitch, but it is a huge metropolis and I’ve still got loads to discover. So come with me and follow my exploration of this adopted home of mine and hope you enjoy the ride. Feel free to give me feedback or ask me a question about Japan.

Party for Peace

Tonight June 26 in Shibuya and next Sunday July 1 in Ebisu, there will be dance parties for people who like music and Article 9 of Japan’s peace constitution. Read more on the website.


May Zen

After the Golden Week holidays, May comes along, and suddenly peple in Tokyo start feeling weary. There is a kind of existential dilemma, trying to live in the greatest concrete jungle in the world: consume, or get consumed. So you try to survive. You try to just get by. In May, you get wonderful thunderstorms: then the next day is sunny and lovely (and you would go to the beach if you were anywhere else on Earth). Today we had 23 degrees or so, that’s nice.

So, guys, keep on posting. Let’s tell people in other cities what it is like to live and work in Tokyo. It is special.

When I was in the zen temple, they told me to “cut, cut, cut”. It meant, do not have any attachments. Don’t be caught up by stuff. Cut all that, and see reality. Focus on your breathing. That is zen. I think that kind of experience is always with us, as we wake up, take a shower, eat our rice and miso soup (or muesli or cereals, it doesn’t matter), go to work on a crowded train.

“Cut, cut, cut”. Don’t be caught up in emotions about “how you feel” and how great it is or how terrible it is. Just do it. Go with the flow. Breathe…

250+ Reasons why we still love Tokyo

Sajjad Zaidi, gone now from Tokyo, but hardly forgotten, dug up a gem of a list: 250+ Reasons why we still love Tokyo. Though showing its age a bit, (Ryutaro Hashimoto used to be the prime minister, before Obuchi and our current guy, What’s-his-name, with the hair,) the list is still pretty accurate. If you haven’t seen it, go take a look.

Sajjad Zaidi’s Blog

12. Automated taxi doors
13. The most valuable coin in use in the world: �500
34. Great friends
35. Officers of the law can be neutralized by stealing their bicycle pumps
44. �100 shops
45. Tanning salons with names like “Black People”
55. Tell-it-like-it-is cigarette brand names like “Short Hope”
62. The little old lady in Yaesu wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with: “Get It While It’s Hot!”
67. Special high-tech, no-tatami apartments for foreigners for �2 million a month
68. Special low-tech, no-toilet apartments for foreigners for �20,000 a month
91. Slippers in the office
107. Vending machines that take notes of any denomination
115. The adrenaline rush that comes with having a wallet handed back with the month’s rent still inside
159. The sheer number of nationalities, in spite of the failure of the official internationalization policy
176. Seaweed Pizza
193. We can die and never feel we’ve missed anything on TV
194. Statistically, the nearest convenience store is an average 4 minute and a 30 second walk away
199. We never have to rent an Arnold Schwarzenegger video: at least one movie is on TV each week
239. Heated toilet seats
254. The art of reading a newspaper on a crowded train

こどもの城 (Children’s Castle)

Kodomo no shiro I’m not sure that I would say Tokyo is a particularly great city for families with kids, but there is a least one really outstanding place for kids here: kodomo no shiro (National Children’s Castle – こどもの城) in Aoyama. (The photo at the right is a view from just inside the front door, looking out.)

Kodomo no shiro is (for lack of a better description) a sort of “activity center” for children (from infants on up through middle-school age). I have been taking my daughter, Satori, there once a month or so for the last four years now. It is one of her favorite places to spend time. She’s seven years old, and likes even it more now then ever. When we go there, we usually stay for 4 or 5 hours, and she never gets bored there.

It is located right on Aoyama-dori, about a 10-minute walk from either the Shibuya JR station or from the Omotesando subway station. It’s relatively inexpensive (the entrance fee is 400 yen for children, 500 yen for adults). And you can easily spend the whole day there. You may have to — your children won’t be in a big hurry to leave once they get there.

If you want more details about exactly what there is to do at kodomo no shiro, read on.

Nighttime Road construction + Flamethrower = Fun

flamethrower-small.jpg I snapped this photo in Harajuku, right on Ometesando, on my way back from last month’s JapanBloggers meetup. I’ve never before seen road construction done with the aid of a flamethrower. But after encountering it this first time, I definitely would like to see it more often.

If you are a fan of nighttime road construction, Tokyo is the place for you. You don’t have to go far anywhere at night to find some serious road construction (or destruction) going on. Sucks for people who are trying to get around town at night, I guess. But I don’t care because I don’t drive any more (I sold my pickup truck after my rifle rack & rifles got stolen outside of the Kabukicho Baptist Church).

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