May 042010
 



 
This Golden Week Tuesday I went to the Inokashira Park in Kichijōji. It was pretty crowded and lots of entertainment and photo opportunities were provided. The central features of the park are the large Inokashira Pond and a small temple dedicated to the love goddess Benzaiten. Paddle boats and row boats are offered for riding on the lake and were very popular. However, there is said to be a spell over the park by the vengeful Benzaiten, bringing love affairs to an untimely finish. To make this one a self-full-filling pro­phecy, appa­rently young people choose a boat ride as a place to tell their significant other that they want to break up. So be warned if your boy- or girl­friend wants you to take a ride on the pond…

On this day there was an art market with many vendors selling postcards, illustrations and other self-made artworks. There were also performers entertaining the crowds, playing puppets or telling stories. One mime was using simple accessories to perform famous pieces of art as some kind of DIY open-air museum. He also incorporated members of the audience for some pieces. Unfortunately, I did only see part of his performance, but I did grab a shot of him presenting the classical Madonna and Child theme with a surprised young man.

People riding row boats and swan-like paddle boats on the Inokashira Pond.
People riding row boats and swan-like paddle boats on the Inokashira Pond.
Children playing in the playground of the Ino­kashira Park. I have no idea why the young boy is sticking out his tongue, perhaps he is just eager to use the slide.
Children playing in the playground of the Ino­kashira Park. I have no idea why the young boy is sticking out his tongue, perhaps he is just eager to use the slide.
Japanese mime performing the "Madonna with child" theme in front of an amused audience.
Japanese mime performing the "Madonna with child" theme in front of an amused audience.
 Posted by at 17:25
May 032010
 



 
Despite being not a bicycle-friendly city, there are more than enough cyclists in Tokyo, which means that there are many bicycles here with little space to park them. So around the bigger train stations there are dedicated areas for bicycle parking. This picture was taken at the underpass at the JR Shibuya station and it shows bicycles parked in their parking clamps. Also note the narrow bicycle lane and the homeless colony on the opposite side.

 Posted by at 20:20
May 032010
 



 
Now this is individualism in Japan! Not only has someone bought a foreign car (instead one from a trusted Japanese manufacturer), it also is a real vintage oldtimer. On top of it all the color is shocking pink. But apparently the owner has had some problems with it… or did some mischievous neighbor smash in that side window…?

 Posted by at 18:14
May 022010
 



 
Well, the exotism of Japanese food companies sometimes goes a bit too far. Naming their pasta after the famous Italian coffee drink just seems ridicioulus to me, but obviously it didn’t stop them. So enjoy your Espresso Pasta, available in several distinct flavors!

 Posted by at 18:57
May 022010
 



 
This beautiful cat was met in 初台 (Hatsudai, Shinjuku-ku). He might look a bit wary on this photo, but this tomcat was actually quite friendly and not shy at all. While most street cats are rather scared and will not let you near them, this kittie enjoyed being petted. I just hope he has a long, healthy life!

 Posted by at 17:46
May 022010
 



 
The 2010 FIFA football world cup is approaching and although the Japanese team is not actually a serious contender, this doesn’t stop the people here from expressing their excitement. A local Izakaya restaurant has placed this interesting arrangement on the sidewalk next to their entrance, wishing the Japanese players the best of luck (がんばれ!ニッポン).

 Posted by at 17:01
May 012010
 



 
What a combination! Lime and grapefruit juice with… salt? This ソルティ・ライム seems to be a rather new creation by Kirin and while their “world kitchen” (世界のKitchenから) line of beverages includes some tasty offerings, I am not sure about this one. Probably good for your health, though…

 Posted by at 20:28
May 012010
 



 
In the Japanese language an “n” (ん) followed by a “b” or “p” consonant is always pronounced as an “m” sound. For example, although it is actually written kanpai, the Japanese equivalent of “cheers!” is pronounced “kampai!”, of course. There is no single “m” consonant, in fact, there is only the ん as sole single consonant (which is not necessarily followed by a vowel).

This may lead to some confusion when Japanese transliterate foreign words in the Latin alphabet (romaji). So that’s why this “Zonbie” sticker near Shimo-Kitazawa station gave me a chuckle — Japanese street poster artists trying to be cool and Western, but still couldn’t shake off their Japanese way of thinking about language.

 Posted by at 20:00
May 012010
 



 
Shops in Tokyo try many things to stand out from their competition. Adding some kind of creative costume or headdress to their outdoor mannequins is not uncommon for stores catering to the younger crowd. This deerhead-mask wearing figure was photographed in Shimo-Kitazawa. It is still one of the more tamer results trying to get the attention of passers-by.

 Posted by at 19:40