Flowers, the fount of knowledge at Kameido Tenjin Shrine

Early April sees the start of the Japanese academic year and for me as an academic, this seems the perfect time to seek out a Tenjin shrine and pay my respects. Tenjin is the deification of Sugawara no Michizane, a 9th century poet/scholar who, in his later life, served the emperor as a diplomat and … Continue reading Flowers, the fount of knowledge at Kameido Tenjin Shrine

Kion: Exquisite sake/cuisine pairings in Ginza

To enjoy fine food accented by good drink is the height of epicureanism. Kion, a small restaurant opening today in Ginza is dedicated to such pleasure. The name “Kion“ means “seasonal garden“ and the restaurant has taken as its mission serving set menu meals made with seasonal ingredients, each course set off by a carefully … Continue reading Kion: Exquisite sake/cuisine pairings in Ginza

Meguro’s Gyoninzaka – a different slant on Tokyo history

Heading west from Meguro Station it's all downhill, a descent into the Meguro River valley. Particularly dramatic is the descent on a narrow laneway accessed from the main exit of Meguro Station (on the southern side of Meguro-dori). This steep slope is known as Gyonin-zaka. A gyonin is a Buddhist ascetic, and apparently Daienji, a … Continue reading Meguro’s Gyoninzaka – a different slant on Tokyo history

The seven lucky gods of Fukagawa: Ensuring a good year to come

This article describes a seven lucky gods pilgrimage, a short walk popular in the New Year's season as a means to secure good fortune for the new year, something most of us especially want for 2021! The walk is an easy distance (less than 5 km.) and goes through one of Tokyo's oldest neighborhoods. (Archived … Continue reading The seven lucky gods of Fukagawa: Ensuring a good year to come

A closer look at some work of manga master Tezuka Osamu

Manga and anime are features of modern Japanese culture that have become popular worldwide. Many visitors to Japan seek out the manga culture and even actual places associated with manga, in a sense, seeking to bring the manga to life. While manga have been around as an art form since the late 19th century, arguably … Continue reading A closer look at some work of manga master Tezuka Osamu

Haneda Innovation City: combining technology and tradition

September 2020 saw the opening of an amazing new commercial complex just next door to Haneda Airport. It is called Haneda Innovation City and it is located above Tenkubashi station on the Keikyu and Tokyo Monorail lines. The complex of eleven stylishly low-slung buildings (eight have already been constructed) will be home to various types … Continue reading Haneda Innovation City: combining technology and tradition

Nakanobu Furusato Matsuri: neighborhood festival put on hold

As a general matter, Autumn is festival season in Japan. Alas, the pandemic has forced cancellation of festivals across the nation, some for the first time in centuries, others for the first time in decades. Since 1989, the Tokyo neighborhood of Nakanobu has hosted a "Furusato Matsuri" (hometown festival) on Nakanobu Skip Road, a 330 … Continue reading Nakanobu Furusato Matsuri: neighborhood festival put on hold

Kinema in Kamata: a piece of Japan’s cinematic history

One hundred years ago, two brothers, Shirai Matsujiro and Otani Takejiro decided to make movies. The brothers had already been in the entertainment business for 25 years, having started in 1895 with a Kyoto kabuki theater and growing their business from there to a chain of theaters with various kinds of live entertainment in several … Continue reading Kinema in Kamata: a piece of Japan’s cinematic history