Wednesday, January 29, 2014

bunking with the royals

I am hoping to have a close encounter-by-proxy with Japan's Prince Akishino and his wife Princess Kiko. They're in Lima this week, staying in the same hotel as my husband, who's there on a consulting gig. The purpose of the royal couple's visit is to commemorate 140 years of diplomatic ties between Japan and Peru. (Prince Akishino is second in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne - his older brother, Crown Prince Naruhito, has one child, a daughter, so it is Akishino's son who is third in line.)

So far no confirmed sighting, though Terry has noticed an unusual number of Japanese moving through the hotel lobby - the security detail, or other members of the royal entourage, perhaps. In the meantime, this photo will have to do.
 Photo credit: Andina, for Peru This Week

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dispatch from England

My friend Anna grew up in Arkansas, spent a decade of her adult life in Asia (Hong Kong and Tokyo mostly) and now lives in the UK. She writes:

10 Things I Miss Most About Tokyo

1. Needing sunglasses. Ever.

2. The vegetables. Even if they were radioactive. Oxfordshire's can be quite repetitive: broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, oooh! a carrot!

3. Ian's commute lasting 20 minutes, not 2 hours: file under ‘trains that run on time.’

4. Seasons - although last summer almost made up from the gloomy spring. Oxford is colder than London, and Ian & I joke that Tolkien wrote from life (Laura has a teacher who is a proper hobbit) and I know exactly where C. S. Lewis came up with the White Witch's Endless Winter.

5. Ito-ya and Tokyu Hands. Remember that room with all the little screws & bolts?

6. Other expatriates & my Japanese friends. (Maybe this # should have been first?) Monica Anstey!

7. Groovy shops. Plus the vending machines…

8. Weird signboards in English (although "Bellyful of Tasty" in Oxford's train station almost counts).

9. Skiing in powder, not ice crystals.

10. Dressing up. I spend my entire life here in mud-spattered cords & Wellies.

11. Driving. I've forgotten how. (Again.)

Anna at a little Shinto shrine in Taito-ku in March 2012, the day she and I took the "Ghosts and Goblins of Old Tokyo" tour: