Boys will be boys – the Japanese fascination with Manneken Pis

What is it about Manneken Pis--the statue/fountain of a little boy peeing--that makes it so popular in Japan? While the original is in Brussels, Belgium, Japan hosts no fewer than seven replica statues and innumerable effigies. For many Tokyo commuters, they can catch sight of the little guy daily at the south end of JR … Continue reading Boys will be boys – the Japanese fascination with Manneken Pis

Underground Mysteries: a Tokyo scavenger hunt

Who doesn't love mysteries, puzzles and a good scavenger hunt?  Ever year, Tokyo Metro, the larger of Tokyo's two subway systems, hosts "The Underground Mysteries", a scavenger hunt featuring their subway stations and the neighborhoods surrounding them.  This year, the game is now on, and continues through January 31, 2019.  You've got to try it! … Continue reading Underground Mysteries: a Tokyo scavenger hunt

Ota-ku in art: scenes portrayed by writers and artists

There are so many wonderful museums across Tokyo and across Japan.  Sometimes one finds the greatest treasures in the smallest of them. The current special exhibit at the Ota Folk Museum, "Ota-ku in art: scenes portrayed by writers and artists",  is one such treasure. The exhibit, on the second floor of the museum, features woodblock … Continue reading Ota-ku in art: scenes portrayed by writers and artists

Art Deco’s Exoticism On Display

One could argue that Art Deco, which takes its name from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925, is a European--particularly French--style.  But one of the distinctive features of Art Deco is the way in which it drew on influences from around the world, particularly Africa and the … Continue reading Art Deco’s Exoticism On Display

Tokyo Parks and Gardens Free on “Citizen’s Day”

October 1 is celebrated as "Citizen's Day" in the Tokyo Metropolitan District.  This year (2018), in honor of the day, there will be various special events dotted around the city, but more importantly for tourists and those who can spare the time, a number of Tokyo parks, gardens, and museums ordinarily closed on Mondays will … Continue reading Tokyo Parks and Gardens Free on “Citizen’s Day”

Jiyugaoka’s Kumano Shrine festival – celebrating the harvest

Jiyugaoka has a reputation for being a trendy area to shop, dine and relax with friends.  Its narrow brick or stone-paved laneways lined with shops and eateries are inviting to pedestrians.  One could spend hours meandering here. This week-end (September 1-2, 2018), however, suburban Jiyugaoka returns to its agrarian roots as its local shrine celebrates … Continue reading Jiyugaoka’s Kumano Shrine festival – celebrating the harvest