Archive for December, 2005

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Singapore, Paris, Mumbai


Metroblogging Tokyo has a new Metroblogging neighbor in the Asia/Pacific neighborhood: Singapore. Other blogs in the neighborhood include Bangkok, Hawaii, Manila, and Melbourne.

Singapore, welcome!

Two others cities have also recently been added: Paris and Mumbai (former Bombay).

Paris joins a list of Metroblogging cities in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region that includes Berlin, Birmingham, Dubai, Istanbul, London, and Vienna.

Mumbai joins a list of Metroblogging cities in South Asia that includes Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore.

And Mumbai is city number 40 for Metroblogging — a big milestone.

Visit Metroblogging Singapore to see a photo and writeup on the Botanic Gardens. Stop by Paris to see a spooky photo of a Paris hinterland. And head over to Mumbai to read a funny piece about honking (which the writer, Arzan Sam Wadia calls “the national pasttime”), and to find out why Sakshi Juneja thinks the movie Bombay should be banned in Bombay.

Mamido Burger

mamido 004

Here is another Japanesey stand which is called “Mamido Burger“.I got fish burger and mamido french fries.
….don’t say it is Japanese small portion meal. Because it is not meal. It is sweets!
buns are cake, sauce is whipped cream and the fish is fried mashed bananas. Friench fries are fried custard cream.
If you like sweets, just drop by at least once.

mamido 001

7-11 oden

You won’t find this in a 7-11 in Detroit. This is a self-serve oden unit at a 7-11 near my place. Many convenience stores have oden during the winter. It’s a kind of soup. With stuff. Good warm winter fare.

How not to fill out a job application


The Japan TImes reports that a 28-year old Tokyo resident named Hiroki Okano celebrated Christmas Eve by sitting down at his computer, going to the Starbucks website, and filling out a job application with phrases such as:

I’ll set fire to all of your stores in Shibuya on Christmas Day and kill all of your employees.

Starbucks apparently decided that they didn’t have need for his particular skills, and passed his application on to the Tokyo police department. The police read through the application and apparently interpret the above bit as, well, a threat or something. So they pay Okano a visit at his home (being the conscientious applicant that he is, I assume he probably put his real address on the application), and after talking with him, they arrest him.

So, this Christmas ended a little sadly for Hiroki Okano. But his story touched my heart in a way that made me want to find out more. I spent a little time and managed to find a copy of the full text of the application he submitted.



Mixi Xmas logoMixi is a popular social-networking site (like Orkut or Friendster except that is doesn’t suck) that’s based here in Japan, though anybody anywhere can join it. (I think there are actually a significant number of people living outside of Japan who are using it.)

I think you can only join it by invitation from somebody who already belongs. And the interface is all in Japanese, so if you can’t read Japanese, it would probably be a bit tough to navigate through. But if you do join it and spend some time wandering around there, it can give you some insight into popular culture here.


Christmas, Ghosts, and Loneliness in Tokyo

Ghost of Christmas Yet to ComeIt’s Christmas Day here, and finding myself alone with time to do
a little wandering, I drifted into a quiet place where I
remembered spending some moments before. And I thought how fitting it seems to find myself in this place, on Christmas Day, in Tokyo.

The place exists only immaterially, so you wouldn’t need to come
to Tokyo to see it, and won’t find it here even if you did come.
But because it is situated in the same virtual world where you’re
reading this page, you can — without leaving the corporeal place
where you are now — visit it yourself.

It’s located here:

Ghosts of Tokyo: A visual haiku (2003)

What you’ll find there is a series of 50 photos in “book” form —
“A photographic poem on the city and its ghosts”.

The creator of “Ghosts of Tokyo”, Olivier Thereaux, describes it this way:

This book started as a project to document the “other” face of
Tokyo, by walking around the Yamanote, the ultra-busy circular
train line often thought of as the heart (or more appropriately,
the crown) of the city, and taking pictures of the areas between
the stations, when the common images were too often close to the

Those photos capture well the mood of a few of the kinds of places
you might find if you stray off the trail a bit in Tokyo — some
lonely places where your thoughts may start to turn inward a

“Ghosts of Tokyo” is such an apt title for that book, and coming
across it again today made me think of another book about ghosts,
Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.


Merii Kurisumasu!

Merry Christmas from Tokyo, where the Rainbow Bridge is lit up in rainbow colours this Christmas Eve.


Yes, it snowed briefly our area of Tokyo yesterday; the cold is finally here.
And so is the ski season: Gala Yuzawa is already open, with depth of 180cm, according to Snow Japan.
Hopefully this could be a good year; quotes from Snow Japan:

I have lived in this region for 15 years now, and I can’t remember there being so much snowfall in one go before New Year. This is a really good start to the season.

It goes without saying of course that when the clouds eventually clear up, it is going to be epic conditions all round. This is like no other mid-December in recent times.

DAF 2005

The Digital Art Festival 2005 opened in the Ariake area of Tokyo on Friday and runs until tomorrow (Tuesday Dec 13th). The exhibits are interactive and the artists are on-hand to show you how to play with their creations.
I went along on Sunday and turned myself into a drum machine by wearing special rings on my fingers and

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