The Parks of Peace Island: Adventure, Relaxation and maybe a bit of History

Tokyo has been expanding itself into shallow parts of Tokyo Bay through landfill and land reclamation for four centuries. It is thanks to such expansion that Tokyo's southeastern-most ward, Ota-ku, can claim the largest area of any of Tokyo's 23 wards. One of those Ota-ku landfill projects was begun in the 1940s and by 1960 … Continue reading The Parks of Peace Island: Adventure, Relaxation and maybe a bit of History

Ota Market: Tokyo’s Pantry

Most people living in Japan and many visitors from overseas know that the world's largest wholesale seafood market is located in Tokyo. But how many know that Tokyo also boasts other wholesale markets equally useful for stocking the kitchens of restaurants and homes across the metropolis? There are, in fact, eleven wholesale markets scattered across … Continue reading Ota Market: Tokyo’s Pantry

Sparkling Winter Lights: an evening at the racetrack

While many in Tokyo bemoan the early time at which the sun sets during the winter months, there is consolation in the various winter illumination entertainments offered around the city. Trees lining streets sport twinkling lights and some amusement venues set up special illumination displays. From October to April, the Oi Racecourse (a/k/a Tokyo City … Continue reading Sparkling Winter Lights: an evening at the racetrack

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