Tuesday, September 29, 2009


The mother of all 100-yen shops ("hyakkin") is in Machida. Five floors -- 71,000 sq. ft. -- of cheap stuff, including...

faux Croc stick-on nail "clothes"

mannequin heads

garden dwarfs

fake flowers (can you see the dewdrops? clear hard plastic)



fake "decorative interior" vegetables

hair gel



potato chip rings

food bags

plastic jewelry



in my shopping basket: notebooks (the cover lines: "Memorandum: Write Things Down" and "Keep your Dreams"), butterfly temporary tattoos, teacups, a creamer and caramels

Karen bought a dozen butterfly nets

the inside-the-elevator guide to what's on each floor

the five ladies I shopped with, 3 from Australia, 2 from New Zealand. (I grilled the Kiwis about the South Island, as we are headed there later this month!!!)

Terry, Tokyo Crusader

moments before being taken down by the 8-man for U.S. Navy

10 seconds before scoring a try

Sunday, September 20, 2009

off to school

outside our Hiroo apt. blg., 7:45 am, Monday, Sept. 14, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

T-shirt for guys

Harajuku shop window

Tokyo Metro asks that you control yourself

and save the chin ups for the "athletic club"

Smile Art

a shop in Yanagibashi, Taito-ku

neighborhood news

This week I noticed this new restaurant on the corner of Meiji dori and Komazawa dori (a.k.a. Shibuya-bashi, at the Hiroo/Ebisu border). Or maybe it's still the same place that was there, only with a new facade (and wordy plea for business). In any case we are eating there next Friday night. We are youngsters, after all.
"Is Japanese tradition fresher to you than foreign cultures. Hey youngster, stop by and have some fun. Respect the old ways and develop the new. Isnt that whats interesting."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

bet the leaflet has a cartoon illustration

Tokyo police act on train gropers
By Roland Buerk
BBC News, Tokyo

Tokyo police have begun a week-long crackdown against the twice-daily scourge of gropers on commuter trains.

Undercover teams have been deployed on some lines in a bid to catch molesters in the act on crowded trains.

Last year more than 6,000 people were arrested on suspicion of groping or taking unsolicited photographs.

According to one survey, nearly two-thirds of young women have been groped on public transport. Some train lines have introduced women-only carriages.

Tokyo police have begun what is being described as a "groping prevention week".

There are conspicuous extra police patrols in stations handing out leaflets, and undercover teams have been deployed on trains to try to catch men in the act.

Gropers can be imprisoned for up to seven years in Japan.

Local reports say the police are particularly concerned that gropers are using the internet to co-ordinate their activities and form gangs.

Several suspects arrested in recent months are said to have told officers they had targeted particular train lines because of recommendations they had read on websites.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/09/14 11:23:21 GMT


Monday, September 14, 2009

waiting for the big one

According to news reports, an earthquake of catastrophic proportions is "decades overdue." In fact I read in one AFP article that The Earthquake Research Committee warns of an 87% chance that a magnitude-8 earthquake will strike the Tokyo area -- the Kanto plains, home to Tokyo's vast urban sprawl (with a population of 35 million, it's the largest urban area in the world) -- within the next 30 years.

Another fun-fact (lifted straight off AFP): Japan, located on the tectonic crossroads known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire" and dotted with volcanoes, is one of the world's most quake-prone countries, and Tokyo is located in one of its most dangerous areas.

As they say at the British school, Crikey. (Lots of Ozzies at BST.)

I must confess I don't really think about the earthquake threat very much, but as it was the topic of conversation at my last book club meeting (we did discuss the book -- Robert Harris' The Ghost, which most of us agreed was entertaining if not terribly deep) I decided to dig up the earthquake prep kit that Terry ordered from his employer shortly after we arrived here, about 18 months ago, and make it more accessible. Or at least take a look at the contents. It now sits on our kitchen counter, ready to go.

I was delighted to discover that the kit included this fireproof, stylishly metallic rucksack (my friend Mizuho says the kanji printed on the pocket means EMERGENCY BAG) into which I have tucked a Swiss army knife, some beef jerky, a few granola bars and several bags of nuts, along with the other items that came with it: tweezers, Qtips, gauze, scissors, a length of rope, a flashlight and batteries, a whistle (in case I am trapped in rubble and am too weak to shout out for rescue? will I be Kate Winslet in Titanic?), a votive candle and matches, work gloves, a blue tarp, a plastic rain poncho, two tins of rice crackers and a single bottle of Mt. Fuji mineral water.

I added the case of six 2-L bottles. It makes a handy shelf for the pack. Mizuho says I should buy a portable toilet, but I'm not sure it would fit in the bag.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

didn't see these in CVS...

When I went home to New York for the summer I brought with me a few packs of these panty liners-for-armpits and gave them away to friends, though I'm still not sure they were received in the same spirit in which they were given (as in, ha ha, aren't these a hoot? as opposed to um, maybe you should consider using these...).

Wish I had seen the sleeveless version sooner. Genius.

(drugstore sidewalk display, Shibuya)


The public restrooms in Shinagawa station have these nifty displays that point out which lavatories are currently unoccupied.
This, above, is the Ladies' toilet guide. Terry reports that the one in the men's room is a bit different, in that it includes urinals, and does not have the shelf-and-mirror area for fixing makeup and hair, represented here by a backwards L of little black squares (stools, so you can sit while you fuss). A line of sinks, each with its own motion-sensor-triggered hand dryer, runs the length of the stall room.

one need never go thirsty here

Something I sorely missed while back in the U.S. for the summer:
...especially when we were in Athens, Georgia, watching my sister play ultimate frisbee, miles from any obtainable beverages other than whatever you thought to bring from home.