Mukojima Hyakkaen Garden, a place to find every bloomin’ thing

A few years ago some friends from the U.S. visited around this time of year. They had a wonderful time in Japan, but observed that they managed to visit Japan during the only time of year when nothing is blooming. Of course, it's the end of summer and most flowers have probably withered away in … Continue reading Mukojima Hyakkaen Garden, a place to find every bloomin’ thing

Celebrating the architectural wonders of Kuma Kengo

All eyes will be on the Japan National Stadium later today for the Olympics opening ceremony. The 68,000 capacity stadium, built especially for these Olympics, was opened in December 2019. It is the creation of favorite son architect Kuma Kengo. Kuma, who also teaches architecture, is especially known for the way in which his designs … Continue reading Celebrating the architectural wonders of Kuma Kengo

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

Japan’s Cutting Edge Cutlery

Anyone who's ever wandered into a kitchen knows how important a good knife is to food preparation. Arguably, Japanese kitchen knives, developed from Japan's long sword-making tradition, are the best in the world. Nenohi knives are among the most popular with professional chefs in Japan, even though the company is relatively young by Japanese standards, … Continue reading Japan’s Cutting Edge Cutlery

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