Monday, June 29, 2009

square watermelon, $150

My nephew Patrick, 12, checks out a square watermelon at the fancy fruit store near Shibuya crossing. That's a Hanshin Tigers baseball cap he's wearing...

Friday, June 26, 2009

neko cafe in Akihabara

At JaLaLa, you can pay to play with a kitty-cat.
This is Curl. He's from America, and looks just like Finnegan, the orange tabby our family abandoned when we moved to Japan. Or, I should say, turned over to the competent care of the boys' Nonna in St. Louis.

And this is Anne, the friskiest of the bunch when my 12-year-old niece and I were there last Sunday.

All the cats are pictured and profiled on the wall.
The place is tiny. Upon arrival, a friendly human staff member briefs you on how to properly wash and disinfect your hands before touching the felines, and runs through a list of rules printed (in English) on a single laminated page.

For one thing, you're not allowed to pick a cat up without asking first. ("If you want to hug, please tell us and we will help you.") They choose which cat to place in your lap. They do not guarantee, however, that the cat will remain there.
The rule sheet also instructs if a cat is sleeping, that you touch her softly and not wake her up. Oh, and you can't abuse the cats either. ("Please refrain from treating them as they don't like...")

These rules seemed reasonable to us.

It cost 800 yen (about $8) total for one adult and one child to spend 30 minutes in the place, tea included.

Small groups of adults stopped in while we were there. I had read that these places are popular with lonely people who yearn for a pet cat of their own but for one reason or another can't have one (most likely because the landlord forbids it). But the folks we saw seemed like regular old cat lovers, quietly sitting and chatting and enjoying their tea and the furry company.

I would totally go back there. I think Emma would too.

But do you have any deltoid?

The all too literal English menu at Jinya, a Japanese grill joint in Ebisu notable for the flaming torches out front (if not stellar food) notes that the item on the left, listed as a chicken "arm," resembles "the bicep of a human."

Mizuno window display in Jingumae

I always run in my black knee highs.

Friday, June 19, 2009


My niece and nephew, here visiting from California this week, pose with Gundam, star of a 1979 Japanese TV series said to have pioneered the real robot era of mecha anime. (I just copied that from the wikipedia page.) The name Gundam actually represents a whole franchise; the statue, recently erected in Shiokaze park in Odaiba (not far from the Statue of Liberty) to commemorate the series' 30th anniversary, is a 59-ft. replica of the original concept/character known as Mobile Suit Gundam, or Mobile Soldier Gundam -- think Iron Man, but on a much larger scale. (The thing is controlled by a human pilot, from the cockpit inside the torso, and there's a camera inside the head.)

I don't know how long it will be up, but it's worth a look.
At night, it lights up!
(Photo from pink tentacle)

statue of liberty in Odaiba

In 1998, France loaned Japan its bronze replica (America's gift to Paris in 1889) for one year. The Japanese loved it so much that after they gave her back to the French, they had a copy made, and so here she stands.
That's Tokyo Bay and the Rainbow Bridge behind her

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

my dentist is across the road from Tokyo Tower

And yet I still have not been to the top.

lazy Sunday

Playgrounds in Tokyo can be a bit sad -- ancient equipment, loose dirt as ground cover -- but this little one near Ebisu Garden Place seemed, I dunno, almost cheery when we stopped by a couple days ago. Of course the trees are a lot greener now that summer is here (check out that trellis) but it also looked like somebody painted. That's Dylan on the slide.

silly purchase of the week

I bought myself this cheap pair of geta from a shop I happened to walk by in Azabu Juban called Koizumi footwear.

The shopkeeper tried to tempt me with these (maybe because the ones I picked out are really for guys -- most of the geta and more formal zori designed for women are too narrow for my feet) but they were 3x the price, and I sort of pitched forward with every step. Their style is more authentic-traditional Japanese because of the two "teeth" on the bottom.

This pair, featuring a black velvety thong, cost even more, perhaps because each sandal was carved from a single piece of wood. Cloppetty-clop!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

heartfelt sorrow at the ATM

Photo by Katy Dix (that I stole off facebook!)

Monday, June 1, 2009

little piggies at the market

Andersen's bakery shop

city kids

Missha cosmetics shop in Shibuya

The M Shimmering Ball Blusher comes in two shades: pastel glow and berry glow...