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...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

BST boy

A Happy Habit indeed

We gave Conor a box of lollipops from See's shop in Harajuku for his birthday last week, right before taking him to dinner at Barbacoa, where you can feed your face with all cuts of meat.

Not sure if this is the pork loin, or the leg of lamb, or the roast beef... but it all came 'round eventually, along with garlic steak, pepper steak, roast chicken and sausages. Did I mention the ribs?

Dylan tried -- but did not care for -- the quail eggs from the salad bar.

'No, no I couldn't possibly have any more...well, alright, maybe just one more hunk.'

Our firstborn carnivore topped off his megameal with this special birthday dessert plate. (Though he was mortified when three waitresses came over to sing Happy Birthday.)

Barbacoa Grill, just off Omotesando (north side) on the Harajuku 2-chome shopping street, offers an all-you-can-eat churrasco menu for half price on weekdays, if you arrive at 5:30pm (last order 7 pm). A great deal.

'tis the season

Japan loves Christmas, if mainly for the decorations. Seems Halloween gets the same respect.
topiary bedecked in tiny jack-o-lanterns, outside an office building on Meiji-dori in Ebisu

a seasonal specialty at Kobeya kitchen

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


For Tokyoites looking for a quickie beach getaway, Chiba beats Shimoda, hands down. It takes only 90 minutes to get there (by train, which is the only way we roll), so it's more convenient for a weekend (even just Sat-Sun) thing. And while the sand was a bit muckier ('white sand' it ain't) it didn't matter, because the water was beautiful and the hotel where we stayed --Sayan Terrace-- has a great big deck overlooking the seashore and the little stream/ditch area where our boys played for hours in plain sight. The rooms were nice and the rates are decent, and you can set up your own barbecue on the beach in front. The kitchen staff even grilled our leftover sausages for us for Sunday lunch, sparing us from having to set up the bbq again. (Thanks Lisa for conveying our request with your brilliant Japanese! My pathetic sukoshi-Nihongo plus sign language would never have cut it.)

Whoever's in charge of the hotel really should consider putting nice big gas grills out there for guests to rent. They should also sell platters of raw meat and other fixings out of their own kitchen. Who wouldn't pay a bit extra to avoid having to lug all that stuff out there? We didn't do any lugging as we had friends going by car, but if we went on our own, we'd be stuck ordering off the hotel restaurant menu (fine for adults, lacking for kids) or wandering into the town to find grub. As it turned out we had some very fine lamb chops (thanks to Kate) and some tasty steaks (U.S. prime sirloin from Cost-o-co Japan!) and some skewered chicken (thanks Clare and Louise) and lots of other stuff. When they weren't chowing down, the kids kept busy running around in the sand or in the drained pool (not as dangerous as it sounds).

This boutique hotel is located in Onjuku-machi, Isumi-gun, Chiba Prefecture, a 3 minute shuttle-van ride from the Onjuku JR train station (take the Wakashio Ltd. Exp. train from Tokyo station, then call the front desk and they come pick you up!). It's a surfing beach, so lots of day trippers who park on the little side streets, pull into their wetsuits and go.

Thanks to Clare for organizing, and thanks to the weather gods for clearing things up for us.

It was still drizzling when we arrived at Onjuku

Before long it had stopped raining, but I still found it too chilly to go in without a wetsuit that first day.

a pre-dinner game of (American) football

the flaming torches were one of Sayan Terrace's many nice touches

getting the fire started

6 kids play tag in the pool under Terry's watchful eye

Dylan and pal Charlie share a bag of Doritos on the deck

David, grillmaster, distributes the sausages

View from our hotel room late Sat nite

heading home on Sunday

OH and P.S., Onjuku has some sort of sister-city deal going with Acapulco, Mexico!
(sign posted by the Onjuku train station, facing the platform waiting area)

vending machine selling milk by the quart

across the street from the one selling batteries (see next)

vending machine selling batteries

Umegaoka area of Setagaya-ku

street sign in Umegaoka

But is the cigarette that this cigarette is smoking also smoking a cigarette?

how I loathe this ad

Lark's "mint splash" cigarettes

and the poster is up everywhere
(view from pedestrian crossover, Shibuya-bashi, looking north)

mod metro platform seating

Mizuho -- BST mum, local shopping guru, tennis champion -- waiting with me for the Fukutoshin line at Meiji-Jingumae station, heading to Shinjuku. It's a new line, completed only last year, which is why we get to wait for its trains in such style.