Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hello Mother Nature

The typhoon was upon us...maybe still is. It hit the greater Tokyo area around 3pm today. Most of the trains and some subways were not operating for some time in the evening but I think they are starting to move again.

The rain was pouring for a while...I love seeing the rain clinging to the windows.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Here Comes The Rain Again

Why yes, that was me crouching low in between wet bicycles...trying to juggle my bag, camera, and umbrella while keeping my balance.

And I apologize for not posting or commenting on everyone's blogs this weekend. They say time flies but it's zooming past me lately. I will definitely catch up with everyone by tomorrow. I promise.

There is another hurricane coming our way and it was raining all day today. Which is how I ended up getting weird looks while trying to take this photo. I wanted to get all the people holding umbrellas.

Anyways, hope you are all having a good start to the week!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mighty Good Man

I took this with my cellphone but I just wanted to introduce the very nice policeman that works at one of our local police stations.

My friend from grade school was visiting last month and noticed on the day his flight leaves that his passport was gone! It was one of those moments when you really don't know what else to do but panic. Actually I don't even remember if my head got around to panic. It went blank...then zipped forward in full speed to try to figure out what we should do. But anyways, one thing led to another and we ended up in this little police station that consisted of a work desk, a couple of chairs, and this policeman.

We hit the jackpot. Actually we had to go to a different central police station to fill out the necessary forms...but this policeman was so helpful in every way. He called around to figure out exactly what we needed, gave us important phone numbers to remember and the information regarding what we should do. On top of that, he called us the next day because he was worried and wanted to see if we were able to get everything done. Isn't that the sweetest thing?

I've always admired public servants but I especially have a soft spot for this very nice policeman.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stand and Browse

One of my favorite bookstores is Book1st inside the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower.

They not only have a wide variety of books I can actually read (i.e. english books), but as the bookstore is located inside a school building of a designer school, they have a lot of art and design related books and magazines you wouldn't find in a regular bookstore. I especially love their photography book corner, which is usually where you'll find me when I need to kill time in Shinjuku.

I spotted this cute book called "Tokyo On Foot" the other day. It is a book filled with various tidbits about Tokyo, seen through the eyes of a French man and his drawings. Very interesting and lovely to look at...the colorful pages sort of reminded me of Evelyn and her drawings!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dare To Move

Guess what?

Some of our escalators that have not been used since spring this year, due to the power conservation this summer, has started to operate again! It's funny how weird it is to actually see these escalators move.

Don't you love the top photo and how they used a whole bunch of yellow tape to stop anyone from using the escalator? As if the sign weren't enough.

But I guess now that the major heatwaves season is over, we'll be seeing less of these signs around the city. Or at least until the winter comes and we'll all be using power again to keep warm.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Shake It Up

Shakey's is a pizza parlor that came to Japan from the US in 1973. They provided all-you-can-eat pizza when it was still a rare dish to serve and contributed to the growing popularity of pizza in Japan.

It's usually filled with families and young couples who come here to eat the various pizza they serve. They even have dessert pizzas. Ironically, I don't come here often but when I do, I tend to always go back for their fried potatoes. So good!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Day of Remembrance

Another photo from the Peace Festival at Ochiai Park.

There was free yoga lesson for anyone who wanted to participate. I'm don't do yoga often but I think they were learning the basic "half-moon" pose here. They also had very relaxing music playing in the background and everyone was taking their time to stretch their bodies and calm their minds. Or at least, that's what the instructor wanted them to do. It was really a great day to do yoga outside.

I don't have a TV anymore so I haven't seen the news, but it seems like today is a day of reflection, for not only all of us in Japan who are looking back on exactly half a year from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that affected so many of us here, but also for many people who are remembering the 9.11 terrorist attack in New York 10 years ago, where 24 Japanese lives were also lost. I believe that we need to reflect in order to move forward...and I hope we will continue to move forward in the right direction.

Friday, September 9, 2011

There She Stands

If you ever come to Shinjuku, you won't want to miss climbing up the Tokyo Metropolis Government Building and getting a view of the city from their 45th floor observatories (there are two, North and South). 

This is the view from the North observatory. If you look above the city you can actually see a shadow of Mt. Fuji. It's very rare to get a clear view of our tallest mountain during the hot and muggy summer season, but in the winter the air gets clearer and Mt. Fuji can often be seen from Shinjuku!

Speaking of Mt. Fuji...did I mention that I climbed it in August?

Mid-July to late-August is the peak climbing season for Mt. Fuji. I went with my sister and friends this summer for the first time. We started climbing at night, which is the norm for people hoping to see the sunrise  at the top. The climb was pretty hard and we took a lot of breaks along the way. But we made it to the top, just as the sun was rising, and it was beautiful sight to see. 

I thought I'd share some photos with you here.

The last photo is a stamp I got on my climbing has the date of the climb engraved in it, which just happens to be my birthday! Don't think I'll be forgetting this day anytime soon!

Hope you had a wonderful week and enjoy the weekend ahead of you! Happy weekend everyone!

Enjoy looking at more beautiful skies all around the world here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hand in Hand

 This is another photo from the Peace Festival at Ochiai Park I posted a couple of days ago.

Some of you may remember a photo of the event where long pieces of cloth, which were traditionally dyed, were hung over the river to dry. Well, the group was also at the Peace Festival to make a cloth dyed (or likely painted) with hand prints to hang at next year's event!

It seemed like everyone was having fun choosing a color and then deciding where they wanted to put their hand print. This is definitely what I would call hands-on art...messy but fun!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Firework Of Flowers

Summer is almost over...which means the fireworks season is over too.

I thought I'd post this little flower because it reminded me of fireworks. We have firework festivals almost every weekend somewhere in Tokyo or the surrounding prefectures. This year some of the annual festivals were cancelled due to the power conservation and out of respect for the people who passed away during the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. But many people who were affected by the disaster urged everyone to continue with the firework festivals so we could all raise our spirits and find the energy to head toward a quick recovery. So many of the festivals were held and hundreds of people gathered along a river or on a field to watch the spectacular show in the sky.

I really love how the boom of the firework shakes every bone in your body. What about you?

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Dark Night

I took this photo of the skyscrapers in West Shinjuku last week when the big typhoon was heading our way. It felt very eery. Kind of reminded me of Gothom City...I wouldn't have been surprised to have seen a bat-signal in the sky.

As for the typhoon, it seems to have been downgraded to an extra tropical cyclone in the Sea of Japan (or East Sea) this afternoon. It has left behind much damage to Western Japan, especially the prefecture of Wakayama. There are various reports but as of this morning there were 27 people dead and 51 people missing across six prefectures. Many more houses have been lost or damaged. My heart goes out to the people who have lost loved ones or their homes.

We have typhoons every year and I would have guessed that we're a country that is well prepared for typhoons. But we are also a country that has many mountains and soft land. And the ground can only take so much rainfall. I can only hope the thousands of people who are still stranded without electricity from landslides or flooding are rescued soon.

I can't help but feel like this year the world has seen more natural disasters than any year before. I'm not sure if I feel this way because Japan was one of the affected countries or because of the fact that we have so much information now that it just seems like there are a lot more disasters happening. But whatever the reason, I really feel like we all need love and peace more than ever.

I wonder if I can bat-signal for this as well.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Love and Peace

Not all festivals we have here are traditional Japanese festivals.

This was at the Peace Festival at Ochiai Park last week. They had booths with organic food and other natural goods. There was also a stage with live music. This guy was playing an instrument I've never seen but the music was soft and soothing. There were many people sitting around the stage listening to him play.

Friday, September 2, 2011

River Deep

This is a part of Kanda River that was used as the outer moat of Edo Castle, which is now the Tokyo Imperial Palace.

Kanda River is a 24.6km river that flows through 9 cities of Tokyo, including Shinjuku. It was unfortunately also known as a river that would always overflow when a typhoon came. But in the 1980s they implemented a flood control system through underground regulating reservoirs and diversion channels, which drastically brought down the chances of any flooding. Thank goodness!

Hope you are all having a wonderful Friday and enjoy your weekend to come!  

Enjoy looking at more beautiful skies all around the world here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Some Like It Hot

Okay. I may have spoken too soon.

Today was one of the most humid days we've had in a while...and I am beat. It's very much still summer.

Well actually the humidity is probably due to the big typhoon headed our way. They say it's suppose to hit Japan tomorrow, unless it veers off somewhere. But whatever the reason, it is still mighty humid here.