Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas in New York!

an angel east of 30 Rock

Rockefeller Plaza's ice skating rink, Prometheus and the big tree

Saks Fifth Avenue

lobster stew at the Oyster Bar

Carolanne at The Pond in Bryant Park
(we didn't skate, it was too crowded and cold)

walking east on 42nd Street, looking at the Chrysler building

Grand Central Station

main concourse

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kurisumasu is coming

Limited Edition coffee cans celebrating Parco's 40th anniversary. (Parco is a shopping mall.) Read about the promotion here. Unfortunately I've left town and won't have a chance to play!

riding in style

this is the way back of a minivan taxi we hailed to school a couple weeks ago. seats recline!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Kiddyland xmas display

Spotted this Santa-C3PO on the same floor where you can buy Star Wars tenugui (among other collectibles)

Friday, December 11, 2009

road work

A construction crew blowtorches (seals?) the new surface of a left turn lane on Meiji dori.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's a gas gas gas...

We don't have a car here, but occasionally I will be riding with a friend when they need to stop off at the petrol station (hanging out with Brits all the time has really screwed with my vocabulary) and I'm always impressed by the experience. When the attendant sees you coming he leaps into action, guiding you to the precise spot where he wants you to pull in. He grabs the dangling nozzle (pure genius, pumping fuel from overhead) and sticks it in, and while the tank is filling up, he cleans the windshields for you. It's always full service at 'Dr. Drive', baby! Almost makes me want to get my license. Almost.

autumn leaves are hanging on

what you see when you walk out the front entrance to my friend Sophie's apartment building in Shoto...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

um... ho ho ho?

Roppongi Hills, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

team work on Cat Street

Reaching for the C.C. Lemon, the third-most popular soft drink in Japan after Coke and Pepsi. A 500 ml bottle contains 70 lemons' worth of Vitamin C!

swine flu boy

When you turn up at the pediatrician's office here and say your child has a fever, and probably the flu, they immediately put a mask over his face. Our school makes you stay home for 5 days, minimum, following a fever (they must be fever free for 2 days before they can return) and the same goes for siblings, even healthy ones. Conor was perfectly happy to spend an inordinate number of hours playing his DS over the course of his brother's illness...
Here they are in Dr. Che's waiting room on Nov 21 (everybody's all better now). Dylan's Doraemon socks match the Doraemon office slippers.

hair bands

Shopping for my niece the other day at Kiddyland ("For the Human Smile"; "Serving Happiness since 1946") I discovered yet another department in that 7-story novelty mecca that I had previously overlooked: the one with all the hair clips, hair ties, combs, barrettes and scrunchies. There were fuzzy things, furry things, lacy and glittery things; plaids, animal prints, metallics and skulls-and-crossbones. I did not buy a fake hair braid but I kinda wanted to.
I could work this look...couldn't I?

fashion watch

'tis the season... for pink shoes...

hair clips for 2000 yen

The vending machine outside Toni & Guy in Harajuku where I get my hair cut sells cans of hot coffee, milk tea, and hair products!

Friday, November 13, 2009

live band karaoke!

Terry singing Rock Around the Clock at Jan Ken Pon in Ebisu

so I was at the supermarket buying apples...

The bright red flesh of this dragon fruit - it's magenta, really -- belies its rather bland flavor. Closest thing to it is probably a kiwi. Whole, though, it made a nice centerpiece on our table for awhile. Then it stained my fingers.

autumn, chrysanthemum season

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Sat. Nov.9.09

festival day at Meiji shrine

Shichi-go-san (Japanese for 7-5-3) is an annual event here, when kids of said ages don their finest kimono and visit a Shinto shrine with their families to be celebrated and prayed for -- "to express their thanks to the tutelary deities" for their good health and to pray for future blessings, according to one official website.

We witnessed a bit of this last Saturday at the Meiji Shrine, one of three major Shinto shrines in Tokyo that see most of the action. (The festival date is actually Nov. 15, so I presume there will be more Shichi-go-san outings this weekend -- unless the weather is truly awful, and things have turned a bit cold and gray here...)

This young honoree really stood out, especially next to her mother and older sister who stuck with a more modern look. In other family groups, everybody was in traditional formal wear.

We didn't expect to see any wedding processions that day, but there they were: the happy couple walking under the big red umbrella, behind Shinto priestesses (in the bright orange bottoms) with Shinto priests out front.

the courtyard in late afternoon

A mother makes final adjustments before her daughter has her picture taken in front of some enormous chrysanthemums. (I wasn't the only shutterbug of no relation, horning in on the action.) Click on the image to enlarge it and you should be able to see just how high this little girl's sandals are. Fancy geta, with their fabric thongs and elevated -- and sometimes elaborately painted -- wooden soles (gold dragons covered the sides of one girl's pair), are particularly difficult to walk in, as they are sharply angled in the front.

Another wedding party, the bride in traditional white kimono and hood. The guy in the blue uniform, at left, keeps the path clear. My understanding is that couples are wed not in the main Meiji shrine building but in one of the smaller shrines off to the side. (The ceremonies here are private, unlike at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, where our friends Jen and Bill exchanged vows in front of family, friends and hundreds of strangers). The main shrine is blocked but not hidden; you can get as close as the coin boxes and the big taiko drum to wish for good health, happiness, fertility and fortune.

My favorite feature in the whole 200-acre compound, though, is this giant torii, a shrine gate made of 1,500-year-old cypress.

Our friends James and Dorothy from Boston lead the way out through the entrance by Harajuku station.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Deck the halls with... purple, pink, turquoise and chartreuse?

Here at Tokyu ("Play Home!") Hands, the Creative Life Store, you don't have to go all red and green and gold.

I'm not.

The Gap is ready.
The new Gap across from Harajuku station is a bright and cheery monstrosity featuring baby clothes designed by Stella McCartney, plus the usual piles of jeans, a good number of them in a size 0. And studded...

something old, something new

Fortune Cat with the girl from Big Love, outside Opening Ceremony, a department store in Udagawa-cho (Shibuya shopping district)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tokyo Metro: please put your face on at home

powder puffs as public nuisance

keeping Tokyo tidy

I've seen workers in this city scrape gum off the sidewalk, empty -- then polish -- the ash bins in public smoking areas, and wipe the handrails on metro station escalators (they just stand at the bottom holding a cloth to the thing as it loops around). Of course every fallen leaf or bit of litter is swept up forthwith...

Shibuya station, Hachiko exit

Monday, November 9, 2009

life's essentials

Saw Franz Ferdinand tonight (they were great!) with Mark and Claire; then it was on to Andy's Shin Hinomoto, a well-known izakaya tucked under the JR tracks in Yurakucho, for sashimi and tempura, grilled John Dory, sauteed asparagus and mushrooms and a glimpse of this fine T-shirt.
"Beer, Sex, Chips 'N' Gravy"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

photo of the day

school children on the 06 bus that runs along Meiji dori to Shibuya station, October 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Shibuya style watch

Today, like so many other days, I took a lot of pictures of other people's shoes. I snapped entire outfits from the back. But then after lunch -- I finally found the kaiten-sushi counter near Asbee's that my friend Rena told me about (120 yen per plate!) -- I got bolder. Rather than stalk my prey from behind, I stayed put on a shopping street not far from Shibuya crossing and captured full frontals, my iphone set to silent mode.

I think it's my best Tokyo Street Fashion series yet. My favorite is the girl in the gray beret and bright blue eyeglasses. The one in the purple plaid shirt, fuzzy fedora and pink Mary Janes with polka-dot socks is a very close second...