Casting around in Tsukudajima

| May 29, 2011

Casting around in Tsukudajima

From Tsukishima Station on Tokyo’s Oedo subway line, I launch myself northward toward Tsukudajima. A mere sandbar in the early days of the Edo Period (1603-1868), Tsukudajima long ago began to be expanded with boulders and landfill on the way to creating the area ...

Gaming Moto Azabu

| Apr 24, 2011

Gaming Moto Azabu

Rather than dwell on the dark side of life at this time, I decide to get my game on by heading to a store just off Azabu-Juban’s main shopping street in central Tokyo’s Minato Ward. Max Game, at the foot of Kurayamizaka (Dark Slope), ...

Notes from the underground

| Feb 27, 2011

Notes from the underground

When my yoga class was canceled recently, I decided to explore Yoga instead. Yoga, in southwestern Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, was once a post stop on the old Oyama-Kaido pilgrims’ road between the shoguns’ capital of Edo (now Tokyo) and temples in the Mount Oyama ...

Aoyama warmth beats the cold

| Jan 30, 2011

Aoyama warmth beats the cold

Kotto-dori (Antiques Avenue), a pin-straight link between Aoyama and Roppongi avenues in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, was once a melange of pricey boutiques and high-end antique stores. Word has it that the street is going through changes, so I set off to see what’s up. ...

The narrow roads of Senju

| Jan 9, 2011

The narrow roads of Senju

In the frantic yearend season known as shiwasu (lit. “teachers running”), when even dignified people grow harried, a friend invited me to play hooky from the madness and take a ramble together around her Tokyo neighborhood. Since the gift of time together is a ...

'Candy man' conjures up art to eat

| Dec 19, 2010

'Candy man' conjures up art to eat

Children and adults swarm the sanzun (small street cart) of Takahiro Mizuki as he creates traditional ame zaiku (candy sculptures). Plucking out a chunk of scalding mizuame (boiled starch sugar) from a specially heated box at his stand, he bobbles it from hand to ...

| Nov 28, 2010

Eats, shoots and leaves in Hakusan

It’s hunting season in Tokyo. I kit up and trek out to the Hakusan area of Bunkyo Ward, hoping to shoot (with camera) the wild shades of autumn. Of all the bright leaves I plan to bag, origami papers are last on my mind. ...

Crafts meet art in Nihonbashi

| Oct 31, 2010

Crafts meet art in Nihonbashi

Perhaps all writers love paper — it’s in our fiber, so to speak — and when it comes to paper, Japanese washi rules. So, off I head to Ozu Washi store in central Tokyo’s Chuo Ward to take a class in how to make ...

Moving pictures of Shibamata

| Sep 26, 2010

Moving pictures of Shibamata

I change trains three times before boarding one of Tokyo’s shortest lines, the 2.5-km Keisei Kanamachi. I’m bound for Shibamata, which isn’t precisely a backstreet, but it’s tucked so far from most major thoroughfares in the back-beyond of Katsushika Ward that I imagine it ...

Brilliant facets of Nishi-Ojima

| Jul 25, 2010

Brilliant facets of Nishi-Ojima

Setting off to explore Nishi-Ojima (West Large Island) and Kita Suna (North Sand) in Tokyo’s downtown Koto Ward, I know better than to expect a seaside resort. Sure enough, where I emerge from the Toei Shinjuku subway at Nishi-Ojima Station, I spy neither ship ...