Monday, April 23, 2012

Hole in the Wall

Last month was filled with so many "Nomikai," which is what we call going out to drink and eat. It was the end of the fiscal year so we always have many nomikai to say farewell to coworkers who have been transferred or are leaving the company.

This was one of the random bars we found for our second stop of the night. It had an American theme with vintage posters and weird chandelier...which I really liked.

The owner said that they'd been operating for over 40 years. And depending on the night, they clear out a corner of the bar and have live music!

Plus their nachos were good, too!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Magical Moment

It is raining today...looks like many of the cherry blossoms will be blown away by the wind tonight. And it hasn't even been a week since I started posting these photos!

But I guess that is what makes these cherry blossoms so special. They tend to reach full bloom suddenly, and for a moment everywhere you look it's magical. Then before you know it, they're once again gone for another year.

But what a moment it is.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Swimming in Sakura

Giving you a slightly different view of the cherry blossoms along Kanda River, which is pretty much me still in cherry blossom mode but trying to trick you into thinking I'm showing you something else. Ha.

Anyways, the bridge I was standing on had a koi fish design on it. At first I thought they were just big goldfish, because our goldfish do get pretty humongous in our ponds, but you can tell it's really a koi fish from the little whiskers that they have.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tunnel of Sakura

It wasn't exactly blue skies outside when I took this but I kind of liked how retro the shot turned out. And it almost doesn't matter that you can't see the blue sky because there are cherry trees growing on both sides covering the river.

We were wondering what it would be like to climb down and walk in the river and see the cherry blossoms from below...wouldn't that be awesome?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sakura Season

Oh it has finally arrived...the cherry blossom season!!!

I've been waiting for it and it's finally here! Now it officially feels like spring and with the blue skies this weekend, I'm sure many people were enjoying seeing the pretty blossoms sway in the wind.

We call cherry blossoms "Sakura" here in Japan. It's a special time of year, despite the fact that it comes around every year, we get all excited and really anticipate this season. Mostly because we all want to eat and drink and be merry under the cherry blossoms, which we call "Hanami."

I'll probably be posting various cherry blossom photos in the days to come, as I assume most Japanese bloggers will be doing. But will try to mix it in with other photos so I don't sakura spam you!

Hope you are all having a great weekend!

Click below for more photos of wonderful bridges around the world!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Take A Seat

I have a thing for feet and love this shot of everyone sitting neatly on the train.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rain and Wind

Guess who got off work early today!!!

This morning was sunny but apparently an active low pressure system and front is moving in with strong crazy winds and many companies released their employees early today since the trains and subways could be delayed or halted for a period of time.

So here I am back at home in the middle of the afternoon. Good thing since my brain was starting to hurt a little with all the new information I've been accumulating since yesterday. I think I'll relax and enjoy the sound of rain and wind outside.

Looks like these little birdies are enjoying the shower, too!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Goodbyes and Hellos

Today was the last business day of this fiscal year.

I'm so bad at saying good byes...but this time around, I'm the one leaving my sector. And although my new position will only mean that I have to move a little bit down the office and I can still see everyone everyday, it's still good bye.

Spring means an end to many thing here in Japan. It's not only the end of the fiscal year for most companies but also the end of the school year, which means graduation season. It also means that these plum blossoms won't be around anymore either.

But along with good byes bring a new round of hellos, which is always a little nerve wrecking and at the same time a wonderful thing. So I'm looking forward to the fresh new start I'll be facing starting next week. I'm excited for April because it means many new hellos...and also the cherry blossoms all of us are looking forward to!

Are you ready for April?

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

White Blossoms

These plum blossoms were in full bloom a few weeks ago.

Plum blossoms are called "Ume (Ooh-meh)" and they are loved by many Japanese as they signal the start of spring.

Don't they look lovely against the sky?

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Yamanote

JR Yamanote Line is the railway that makes a big loop within the 23 wards of Tokyo and consists of 29 stations. This is what it looks like coming into Shinjuku Station.

One of the most used train lines in Tokyo, the Yamanote train comes every 2-4 minutes. If you've ever been to Tokyo, you've probably been on it at least once!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bare Branches

Hi Friends, how have you been?

I've been here in Shinjuku the whole time but wow...things got a little busy! Work is always a little chaotic in the spring, as most companies have their fiscal year end in March. Our company announced changes in personnel, which I hear is a very Japanese (do companies not shuffle their employees around in your country?), and it seems I'll be working in a whole new sector starting April. So I'm a little nervous and excited at the same time. Not to mention a little sad to be leaving my current position which was a lot of fun. But I'm optimistic my new position will be just as interesting!

Anyways, it's been raining off and on here in Shinjuku. It is definitely spring!

I've been taking black and white photos again since it's kind of dreary at times. I really liked how the bare branches were reflecting in the water puddles on my way to work the other day.

Is it spring where you are? Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Moment of Silence

Today we will observe a moment of silence at 2:46pm. 

Last year March 11th was a Friday and I was waiting for the subway with my boss at Nishi Shinjuku Station, planning to head to a forum, when the alarmingly loud buzzer sounded, signalling an earthquake to come. And it did.

Last Friday, I was once again standing at the same station with a co-worker, heading to the same forum that I ended up never reaching last year. This year, the subway came rolling into the station and we got on, heading to the forum.

But my heart was beating a mile a minute.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunny Smile

Remember the curry shop I posted about the other day?

Well, they have these drawings outside their restaurant that are bright and sunny. They make me smile...just like the sun in the drawing below!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Knock Knock

I used to giggle over the corniest knock-knock jokes when I was a kid. And for some reason, this door that has obviously not been used in the longest time, reminded me of them.

Wonder how long it's been since someone knocked on this door?

Also wondering what your favorite knock-knock joke is? Here's mine:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Little old lady?
Little old lady who?
Wow! I didn't know you could yodel!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Story of Isetan

This is Shinjuku Isetan, one of the biggest department stores we have in Shinjuku. It was chosen as the most popular department store among working women last year in Tokyo. It's always crowded with shoppers, especially on the weekends!

Shinjuku Isetan was first built in 1933. Then in 1935, they bought out their neighboring department store and it was rebuilt the following year (photo below) and not much of the building has changed since then.

Right after the war, Shinjuku Isetan was actually occupied by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers and used as one of its bases for about 8 years, possibly because Shinjuku was located between the General Headquarters near Tokyo Station and Yokota Army Base in Fussa (which is now Yokota Air Base). It reopened as a department store after the San Francisco Peace Treaty was officially signed by Japan and the Allied Powers in 1951.

I don't go in here often, but I like to sometimes just stop and admire the building and imagine all that it has seen.

Hope you all have a wonderful Friday!

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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Curry, Hawai'i and Manga

One of my favorite curry restaurants in Shinjuku, Mo-yan Curry Shop (もうやんカレー).

They are famous for their 1,000yen all-you-can-eat curry during lunch hours, which I've never been to since I can barely finish a regular plate, but it's very popular. I had their Cheese Curry and it was delicious. You can choose how much rice you want and how spicy you want your curry when you order.

I love this little curry shop not only because they have good curry but for some odd reason the restaurant has a Hawai'ian theme. They play all my favorite Hawai'ian songs and if you look closely in the first photo, you'll even see they have the Merrie Monarch Hula Competition, which is the biggest hula competition in Hawai'i, playing on the TV (and I really love hula!).

They also have rows of manga, which are Japanese comic books, on the shelves for people to read while eating their curry. Isn't this place interesting?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

On the River

A lot of houses are built right along the river here.

Some of you may remember the Some No Komichi event I posted about last year (here). They will once again have the dyed cloth hanging all along the river next weekend (Feb. 17 (fri)-19 (sun)) to promote the culture of dyeing goods, which was one of Shinjuku's largest industries in the Showa period. So if you're in the area, come to Shinjuku next week!

And for those of you who are too lazy to get on a plane and fly over worries, I'll have photos for you! haha.

Happy weekend everyone!

See other wonderful reflections from around the world
at Weekend Reflections hosted by James.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sweet and Yellow

I couldn't resist posting another photo of the lovely Winter Sweet blooms...the yellow color just brightens up my day!

Hope you are all having a wonderful Friday today!

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

Thursday, February 9, 2012

On the Edge

I was walking along the river, which are more like canals here in Shinjuku, when I spotted these little pots of plants decorating the fence.

The plants were so random, cactus and smaller plants like herbs. Someone must have gone through a lot of trouble to place these here. I'm guessing the people who live along the river.

The rosy plant in the top photo was my favorite.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Take a Seat

A bench for two at Nakai Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line.

It was a really sunny day and it felt really great sitting on this bench, which is usually occupied by people waiting for the next train, like I was this day.

Monday, February 6, 2012

We Gather Together

Nabe is a popular Japanese dish, especially during the cold weather.

Nabe (pronounced Nah-beh) is actually the name of the pot that the dish is being cooked in. But it is also used to describe this type of dish.

The type of nabe in the photo is called Mizu-taki (水炊き), which stews mostly chicken and vegetables in the pot and when done, we take it and dip it in a little bowl we each have filled with a type of sauce, and eat. Yum!

Not only are these nabe dishes quite healthy but people in Japan believe that eating from the same dish brings us closer together, too!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Yellow Blooms

Another sign that spring is near.

Flowers are starting to bloom around Shinjuku. This is a flower we call Robai, or Winter Sweet in English. They usually bloom in January or February.

And they also have a fabulous scent that had me sticking my nose in the bloom and drinking it all in!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Everywhere I Go

It seems ever since moving to Tokyo, where snow is not a regular occurrence, I find I have this need to make snowmen/women, no matter how small, every time I see snow.

Is this just me? I never had this need growing up in Michigan, a midwest state in the US, where we were bombarded by piles of snow each year. Nor did I have this problem when I lived in Sapporo, which is in the most northern prefecture of Japan, where snow is piled so high that it's still around in May. So it must be one of those symptoms you get when you are deprived of something.

Well, it's actually getting warmer lately, although it's hard to tell with all the wind. But I don't think I'll be making anymore snowmen/women in Shinjuku. I'm ready for spring!

Hope you're all having a wonderful Friday!

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

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reaching Up

The trees look as if they are reaching for the sun.

Even in the winter, there's something about the air inside a park that is so refreshing. And with coffee in your hand to keep you warm, it's the perfect way to spend the afternoon outside.

Hope you are all enjoying a wonderful week!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sound the Bells

This is the end of the large rope that rings the bell at Hikawa Shrine (氷川神社). The proper way to pray varies slightly depending on the shrine but many go like this:

1. Step up and ring the bell
2. Bow twice
3. Clap twice
4. Pray (don't forget to say your name!) and throw coins in offering box
5. Bow once

Pretty simple right?

The reason we ring the bells and clap before we pray is, not only to wake up the gods and get their attention, but the sound also purifies our aura and allows us to communicate more clearly with the gods.