Governments

Costumed superhero cleans up debased Nihonbashi, once the center of all Japan

mangetsuman_portrait_giving_me_candy

満月マンというスーパーヒーローの仕事道具は、ほうきとちり取りです。暑い日でも、支持者と一緒にほうきとちり取りを持ってきます。昔は、日本橋は日本国道路元標でしたが、オリンピックの開発後は、とても品格がなくなってしまいました。満月マンのおかげできれいになりそうです。どうもありがとう。m(_ _)m @mangetsu_man

This superhero’s tools are a broom and a dustpan. Mangetsuman even works on the hottest summer days. He explains his vision came to him in a dream, and he inspires others to also assemble here with broom and dustpan.

Most of his fans get his superhero business card. He gave me a micro-box of lemon drops. Special!

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Blame the last Olympics for the freeway running on top of Nihonbashi bridge. Mangetsuman, a costumed cleaning superhero, armed with broom and dustpan, had a dream one night and decided to take on the mission of cleaning up the bridge.

A glimpse of 1964 Tokyo Olympic stadium with unusual landscape

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五つのツツジはオリンピックの五輪を表しているのでしょうか。1964年に使った国立代々木競技場のランドスケープはちょっと不思議ですが、石垣の上はのんびりするのによさそうです。

Do you think the five azalea bushes represent the Olympic rings? It’s an odd landscape, but the wall seems like a popular place to hang out.

 

The lifeguard also talked about tsunami on loudspeaker

tsunami_evacuation_route_kamakura_yuigahama_kamakura

海で泳いでいるときに、ライフガードから津波についての連絡がスピーカーでありました。道路にシンプルなグラフィクのサインもあります。正確な情報が書かれています。アメリカでは、海抜のことをあまり考えません。

This tsunami evacuation sign on the street combines a super-simple graphic with a lot of detailed information with above sea level data and distance to safe gathering space.

What kind of message is “Do not frighten others” at the beach?

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鎌倉と逗子の新しいビーチのルールの中に、「人が怖がることはしない」がありますが、とても曖昧では? 刺青を禁止する新しいルールをすでに破っている人が多いを見て、嬉しかったです。それから、日本で「飲み過ぎる」というコンセプトはあるのでしょうか。

Revised beach rules in Kamakura and Zushi include new signs with absurd rules, including cover tattoos and do not drink too much. I was happy to see the tattoo rule being flaunted, and really, in alcohol-soaked Japan, who is going to define “drink too much”? The “Do not frighten others” is the most ambiguous.

In Tokyo, even the apocalypse has a cute mascot

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東京では、災害にもかわいいマスコットがあります。最初、クジラだと思いましたが、ナマズでした。舌の形が心臓です。

At first, I feared that in event of major disaster, whales might appear on this large boulevard in my neighborhood. No, it’s a catfish. Apparently, catfish sense impending disaster. Of course, the catfish’s tongue is heart shaped.

A city view without people

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東京にはディストピアな場所もあります。例えば、このオペラシティーの前の交差点。よく自転車で通ります。
Often I bike under this maze of freeways, and sometimes I look up and see the Opera City tower rising 50 floors above. A city view without people and plants seems sad to me.

Extra deep lot, high above the access road is Russia’s embassy grounds

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だれかなかに入ったことがありますか。ロシア大使館の緑の濃い庭に遊びに行きたいです。道より高いところにあって、警察が警備しています。アフガニスタン大使館と東京アメリカン・クラブと同じ坂にあります。

With a guard booth just meters from the entrance to the Tokyo-American Club, the Russian embassy grounds are secure, ample, and inaccessible. I wonder what creatures are living there.

Unlikely nation has ostentatious “Greek-style” mansion on posh hilltop

embassy_afghanistan
東京のアメリカ・クラブの隣にあるこの贅沢な邸宅は、意外な国の大使館です。アフガニスタンです。神谷町で。

On a hilltop at the end of a dead-end street sits this bulky mansion and ample parking pad that is the Embassy of Afghanistan. It’s next door to the elite expat Tokyo-American Club. Near Kamayacho, where I rarely venture.

Atami, a nearby onsen town uses nature characters to appeal to tourists

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熱海で、自然をモチーフにしたキャラが観光客を呼ぼうとしています。新幹線で、東京から一時間未満で来れます。車のない若い人を引き寄せて、町づくりができるでしょうか。

These woodchucks with their ice cream cones and hair ribbons are irresistible. I also like the heavily shadowed angel fish which decorates a car parking tower also sponsored by “Happy & Sunlight” pachinko. With the ease of public transportation from Tokyo, I imagine Atami is ripe for reinvention for the post-automobile young people.

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Giant machine cleans the streets near my house

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なぜか分からないけど、道路を掃除している巨大な車を見たら、ワクワクしてしまいます。

I’m not sure why, but I feel excited watching this giant machine in action at night.

Tanuki again inserts himself into Japanese electoral politics. Who would you trust most?

94760004もう一度、タヌキさんは日本の選挙に立候補します。誰を一番信頼できますか。

Will tanuki receive more votes than last election?

Only recent human history: American, Japanese, American, Japanese ownership of Ogasawara

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小笠原の人間の歴史は二百年くらいしかありません。第二次世界大戦のトンネルもアメリカの教会まだあります。

What’s surprising about Ogasawara is that there are no indigenous people. First settled in the mid 1800s by Americans who departed from Hawaii, the Japanese seized it during their colonial expansion, retaken by the United States after World War II, and then returned to Japan in the 1970s.

There are numerous reminders of the war. Inside the many hills you still see dank tunnels created for the island’s defense. Apparently there was no land war here, unlike (somewhat nearby) Iwo Jima. There’s also this incredibly forlorn-looking, Saint George church in the main port village. I love how the entry walkway does not meet the current sidewalk.

It’s odd to be in a place with such little human history. The English name for the islands, Bonin, is a mispronunciation of the Japanese words “no people” (bu nin, or mu nin).

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Arakawa river red floodgate with cherry trees in full bloom

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パナマ運河で働いたことのある日本の技師が荒川運河と水門を1920年代に建てました。花見にとても良い場所です。

A Japanese engineer who had worked on the Panama Canal created this important floodgate and canal alongside the Arakawa River in the 1920s. The red paint and the cherry blossoms make it scenic as well as functional.

UPDATE: Above is the film version, which took awhile to be developed. The colors seem much richer than the digital iPhone image below.

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