Monday, April 23, 2012

how the pros do it

Mizuho and I watched Ayumi Morita of Japan defeat Tamaryn Hendler from Belgium 7-5, 6-2 in Round 3 of the FedCup, held Sunday at Ariake Coliseum. We took the Rinkai line to Kokusai-tenjijo station, which basically drops you right there, near the tennis park.

I loved how, each time Morita would win a point, the crowd would "clap" by banging pink plastic inflatable thunder sticks together (when the men play, the sticks are green). 

It was later reported that Morita's win assured Japan's return to the World Group for the first time since 2007. "I'm very relieved that I won," Morita was quoted saying in one news report. "This is one of the best victories in my career."
See how happy we are for her?

Monday, April 16, 2012


Every April, Narita - the city, not the airport - hosts a spring drum festival that draws crowds to its narrow shopping streets and the beautiful grounds of the Buddhist temple Naritasan Shinsoji. It takes 10 minutes by train to get there from the airport and you can walk into the heart of the place from the station. We spent the afternoon there on Sunday, having just returned from 10 days in Vietnam. The town was thump-thump-thumping with a steady lineup of public taiko performances.

Here's a shot of Terry (in baseball cap) and Conor (to his right) following some other visitors up the temple hall steps. I love the sun visor on the lady leading the pack.

In a side courtyard, jizo statues. I've seen many in my time here but never with this many bibs.

Japanese parents mourning dead children are said to dress these statues and leaving food offerings (packaged snacks mainly) as a way of caring for them, in the hopes that the bodhisattva will protect their offspring's spirits in the underworld.

Rope sandals are another type of offering.


Wouldn't ya know, the Narita city mascot is an airplane. Or is it half-bird, half plane?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nakameguro, pretty in pink

Score! Dee & Tracey photograph the boys by the canal
with Nonna too

 Careful where you point that thing...

One of my favorite spots in all of Tokyo

The narrow lanes that run alongside the Nakameguro canal will be teeming with people this weekend now that the blossoms are out in (almost) full force. We were lucky to be there yesterday, on a relatively quiet Wednesday. The restaurants have already set up special takeaway operations out on the sidewalk and other food vendors (chicken shwarma truck!) have moved in for the occasion.