Walking and transit

Finally drying out after long rainy season

train_doors_closing_chuo
長かった梅雨の後、最近は雨が降っていません。曇った日に、夏の色がもっと楽しく見えます。

Summer colors and umbrellas make a grey day more cheerful.

My banana tree came from this sidewalk flower shop

flower_shop_nakano_south

この歩道にある花屋さんから、バナナの木が来ました。家まで、持って歩きました。

In Nakano, of course. I carried the tree home.

Nakano and Koenji are nowhere in the new Tokyo Metro tourist poster

map_metro_tourism_olympics

外国人の観光客のために、シンプルな東京メトロの新しい地図ができました。観光客は山手線ばかりを使ってしまいます。中野と高円寺が入っていません。

Tokyo Metro, in one of its first large communication efforts for foreigners, has helpfully simplified Tokyo transit for those ready to go beyond the Yamanote JR loop line and the Sobu-Chuo metro commuter lines. Cool Tokyo, Night Life, Metropolitan Luxury, and Cultural Fusion are newly invented geographies with some suggested destinations.

I am secretly glad not to see Nakano and Koenji on the map. We can be “off the radar. I also wonder how well the tiny interactive Journey Planner works. The initial screen looks like the map threw up on itself in four languages. I guess it’s a start.

map_metro_tourism_olympics_UIs

Put out the tobacco, Tokyo. Enough already.

stop_smoking_nakano_station_underpass_kids

最近、中野駅のガード下で見かけました。子供の象が大人の象にタバコをやめた方がいいと教えています。良いアイデアだと思います。

Recently featured in the Nakano JR station underpass, this kids drawing uses elephants to persuade adults to stop smoking. The kids are right. Enough already!

“Have you seen my rice field?”

rice_bucket_tatami_shop

「私たちの田んぼを見ましたか」と聞かれました。畳屋のオーナーは歩道に置いたバケツで稲を育てています。Shibaura HouseのKanto Tour Guideの途中で偶然に会いました。家の畳を変えようかと考えています。

On Shibaura House’s Kanto Tour Guide in Suginami, we saw an open door and a man making tatami mats above the garage. The friendly proprietor of Haketa Tatami shop in Shin Koenji told us that his family has had this business in Suginami for decades, starting with his father. In addition to showing us his craftsmanship, he asked us whether we had seen his “rice field.” It’s in the white bucket, to the left of the shop sign.

I also learned that tatami mats should be changed every 3 or 4 years. Ours are coming up on 6 years, so maybe it’s time to order a new set?

tatami_shop_making

Shibaura House’s Kanto Tour Guide makes a stop at my favorite tonkatsu restaurant

tonki_kanto_tour_guide

Shibaura Houseの依頼で、Kanto Tour Guideの杉並ツアーを書きました。先週、そのツアーを実際に一緒に歩いてみました。最初にとんきという一番好きなトンカツ屋で昼食を食べました。Kanto Tour Guideについては、こちらへどうぞ

Shibaura House asked 10 foreigners living in Kanto to design half day and one day tours, primarily for Japanese to re-discover their country with a new perspective. I wrote a short guide for Suginami, starting with my favorite Higashi Koenji tonkatsu restaurant named Tonki. Shibaura House even made a small tour group flag. I think the chef was surprised by our visit. Afterwards, we visited Amp Coffee, cookie shop Steka & Mojl, Kuge Crafts (手仕事屋久家), and the Suginami Childrens’ Traffic Park near Zenpukuji river.

There’s some great photos on Shibaura House’s Facebook page. Also here. More information about all 10 tours on their website.

Up close with baby-faced giants

sumo_3_taxi_ryogoku_stn
ベイビーフェイスの大きな人を近くで見て、目が回りました。力士の浴衣が素敵ですね。

Sumo wrestlers boarding taxis at Ryogoku during the May Tokyo tournament. Impeccable yukatas.

 

Is this Shinjuku sidewalk “nanohana” edible?

nanohana_flower_sidewalk_nichome_shinjuku
これは食べられますか。新宿二丁目の歩道で、菜の花が自然に顔を出しています。

It’s spring, and vegetables are growing spontaneously on Tokyo’s sidewalks.