Changing times in Setagaya's Shoin Jinjamae

Travel | BACKSTREET STORIES Nov 3, 2017

Changing times in Setagaya's Shoin Jinjamae

There's something alluring about the suburban stops between Sangenjaya and Shimotakaido stations, which has been serviced by the Tokyu Setagaya tramway for the past 110 years. Low-rise buildings and modest platforms tick by as the tram trundles at a leisurely pace westward from where I ...

Drinking to health and history in Kagoshima

Travel Aug 25, 2017

Drinking to health and history in Kagoshima

Passengers flying into Kagoshima Airport in Kyushu pass over verdant mountains and lush agricultural fields just before landing. This rich terrain, fertilized by ash from a nearby active volcano, partially explains one facet of the prefecture's reputation: Kagoshima is famous for healthy cuisine. Centuries-old seaports ...

More than fare trade: backstreet by taxi

Travel | BACKSTREET STORIES Mar 25, 2017

More than fare trade: backstreet by taxi

A combination of rain showers and tax prep in March signal Tokyo's segue into spring. Cherry blossoms are nearly in bud, but cold, damp days of crunching fiscal figures can put people in dour moods. After wandering a wet backstreet, absorbing little more than precipitation, ...

East of Meiji Shrine, west of Jingu Stadium

Travel | BACKSTREET STORIES Feb 25, 2017

East of Meiji Shrine, west of Jingu Stadium

It's a brisk February day, with a neoprene blue and cloudless sky. I alight at Harajuku Station and head northeast, threading narrow alleyways filled with cute guys and kawaii gals browsing boutiques. Full disclosure: I'm in search of the creative marketing agency UltraSuperNew. Its upcoming ...

Good fortune in the Tokyo suburbs

Travel | BACKSTREET STORIES Jan 28, 2017

Good fortune in the Tokyo suburbs

The Tokyu Setagaya Line, a sweet little tramline, makes stops between Sangenjaya and Shimotakaido stations. A mere 5.1 kilometers long and one of only two trams left in Tokyo (the other being the Toden Arakawa Line), the Setagaya Line boasts a sleek fleet in ...