Perky and anorexic doll does not make hot-house strawberries appealing or natural looking



Rika-chan, a Japanese Barbie, is promoting these fresh strawberries on the packaging. Seeing that image makes me wonder if there are any humans involved in the production or consumption of these winter “fruit products.”

Summer Balcony Details: Sunflower sprouts in ceramic pot



This is the start of my summer balcony details series. A close look at some of the flowers, foliage and edibles of summer. First, a pot of micro-sunflowers, grown from Hiyoko’s seeds from Europe. The leaves looks so fresh.

A solitary thrill to leave the apartment in fresh snow


I am a bit of a shut-in during winter, but there’s something exciting about leaving the apartment lobby and entering fresh snow. It’s a solitary thrill.

Fresh off electoral defeat, tanuki hosts Santanuki party in Koenji this Friday. Please come.


金曜日、12月21日、20時半から、タヌキのサンタさんと、パーティをしましょう。高円寺のDynamoで待っています。プレセントがいっぱいですよ〜。@dynamo_koenji に感謝です。

Please come to Tanuki’s first ever Koenji Xmas party this Friday at Dynamo, a skate-board bar with felafel! Thanks @dynamo_koenji.

Friday, December 21, from 8.30 pm

Koenji Kita 3-1-1, Asahi building 1F

Dynamo’s website


Daffodils are very cheerful. Changing out the ceramic flowerpots.


It was nice to re-pot my favorite hand-made ceramics with fresh flowers. I love daffodils for being so cheerful, with a high contrast between fresh green leaves and yellow buds.

Leap Day snow falling on the Sobu line train


Leap Day in Tokyo saw a surprising amount of snow, falling in large gobs from the sky and from roofs. Someone tipped me off that the trains are less impacted than the underground subway, and that snow slows the city less than rain. I took photos of a routine trip from my home.

The snow helped me see Tokyo again from a fresh perspective.

Ojizosama sporting fresh hats, bibs, and colorful pinwheels


There must be hundreds or even a thousand ojizosamas at Sangendatsu-mon temple in Shiba-koen. Maybe because of summer obon, a time to communicate with the deceased, that they have fresh hats, bibs, and colorful plastic pinwheels. I love how all the pinwheels are pointed at the statues and not the people who walk by them. Close to Tokyo Tower, the parks and temples have wonderful mature trees and moss.

Nouka no daikokoro: Locavore restaurant

Nouka no Daikokoro in Shinjuku

A new branch on Nouka no daikokoro (農家の台所), literally the Farmer’s Kitchen, has opened in Shinjuku, and is extremely popular. Housed on the fourth floor of a new tower, the restaurant brings a farm experience to urban resident with local food, an unusual interior, and information about local farmers.

Above the open kitchen and salad bar hang posters featuring the farmers who are growing the incredibly fresh vegetables being served. The posters are designed to look like election campaign posters, and the signage, including hanging cloth banners, introduce food producers to food consumers.

Farmer's Kitchen

The unusual farm experience begins with the entrance. Customers enter the restaurant through a large walk in refrigerator full of fresh produce for sale. If the wait for a table is too long, you can also buy a 700 yen (US$8) bento salad lunch and take it to nearby Shinjuku Goen.

Inside, the interior is an odd mix of a futuristic space (silver squishy floor and sleek counters) with a traditional space of tatami mats and low tables, and another utilitarian area of counters and tables near the salad bar. The first room has a papaya tree growing in a sleek tube, and the middle room a greenhouse with shelves of green peppers.

Nouka no daidokoro papaya tree

The vegetables were some of the tastiest I have had in Tokyo, and the lunch price very reasonable (800 yen for lunch set, 400 yen additional for raw salad bar). If you can’t get a reservation, it’s best to come late for lunch or early for dinner.

Farmer's Kitchen