May 072010

Next to the Shimo-Kitazawa station I noticed this cool poster of the Japanese “chiptune” band YMCK. It displays a pretty accurate depiction the Shimo-Kitazawa station and the surrounding area, illustrated in cute computer/video game design. The railroad crossing on the right side really is one of the bottlenecks for traffic here, and occasionally it can take quite some time until you will be able to cross the tracks in rush hour train schedule. Since this neighborhood is a center for the more alternative music styles, I guess it is a pretty neat idea to advertise here with a custom-made banner.

 Posted by at 20:46
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 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