General Nogi’s house – symbol of the end of an era

On September 13, 1912, shortly after the funeral cortege of the Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) left the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, General Maresuke Nogi (1849-1912) and his wife, Shizuko (1856-1912), committed ritual seppuku in the general's room of their house in Tokyo's Akasaka district, not far from the headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Army.  Although it … Continue reading General Nogi’s house – symbol of the end of an era

Origami Kaikan: a chance to explore the folds and layers of paper

It is often observed that Japan borrows ideas and technologies from various sources, adapting them to suit Japanese needs and sensibilities, essentially making them Japanese.  Paper, one of Japan's earliest borrowings from China, is no exception. Japanese paper is nothing short of amazing.  Traditional hand-made washi paper is lovely and soft; fun to make and … Continue reading Origami Kaikan: a chance to explore the folds and layers of paper

Nittele Big Clock: a Ghibli-inspired clock like no other

Who doesn't love a performing clock, with various figurines that dance or move at appointed times throughout the day?  In Tokyo there are a number of such clocks, including the Marionette Clock at Ebisu Garden Place and the Mullion Musical Clock outside the Hankyu Men's Store in Yurakucho.  But perhaps the busiest and most intricate … Continue reading Nittele Big Clock: a Ghibli-inspired clock like no other

Never get tired of recycling at Nishi-Rokugo Park

These days we hear a lot about recycling to reduce waste and ease pressure on the environment.  Nishi-Rokugo Park, also known as Tire Park, is a great example of turning waste items into something both useful and fun. In this suburban playground/park, more than 3,000 tires are repurposed into whimsical shapes and playground equipment to … Continue reading Never get tired of recycling at Nishi-Rokugo Park

The not-so-Lucky Dragon – “fallout” from nuclear testing

On January 22, 1954, a 25 meter long wooden fishing boat named Dai-go Fukuryu-maru (in English "F/V Lucky Dragon #5") set sail from Yaizu, a fishing port in Shizuoka, Japan, with a crew of 23.  The boat was scheduled to be at sea for approximately two months, making a clockwise sweep around an area of … Continue reading The not-so-Lucky Dragon – “fallout” from nuclear testing

Kanda Matsuri: a major spectacle not to be missed

Every two years, in odd-numbered years, Tokyo sees one of the three largest festivals in Japan, the Kanda Matsuri of Kanda Myojin Shrine.  This year, the biggest, most spectacular part of the festival is this week-end:  May 11 and 12.  Saturday, May 11 is the main procession, when Kanda Myojin's o-mikoshi, portable shrines, are paraded … Continue reading Kanda Matsuri: a major spectacle not to be missed