October 26, 2007

The canal at Iidabashi

Being a nice warm day today, lunch at the Canal Cafe was too tempting to resist. Just beyond the boardwalk by the canal side, these birds were preening themselves on the rowboats.

Peko-chan gets spooky

In the ten or so years I have been living in Japan, one big change I have noticed is how Halloween has become a significant commercial event in the calendar ~ regardless of the fact that little is known of the event itself and that most Japanese people only ever have any exposure to it via their English classes. Convenience stores, sweet shops, cake shops and gift shops all now have prominent displays of Halloween goods ~ ranging from pumpkin sweets or cakes to witch costumes. Whether or not Japanese people actually do anything for Halloween other than buy these goods, I don't know, though a lot of bars have been advertising Halloween parties, so maybe this coming weekend will be a scream.

So near, but yet so far ...

On the day that Lewis Hamilton was bidding to become the first British world champion since 1996, this giant ad was hanging outside a bank in Shinjuku. Sadly, last Sunday was not to be the day he was crowned champion, and he must be now reflecting on how he managed to throw his championship lead away. Still, there is always next year ...

October 25, 2007

A crepe at Mme Cirque

Last Sunday was spent window shopping in Shinjukju, and when it was time for a break, Mme Cirque in the basement of Mitsukoshi looked the perfect choice. The staff are all donned in Marcel Marceau style stripy T-shirts and there is a circus tent-like feel to the interior of the cafe. There is a variety of dishes on the menu, but in the middle of an autumn afternoon, the apple and cinnamon crepe seemed the only real choice worth making.

(Oh, and yes, that is a new hat.)

October 16, 2007

Ring My Bell

100 Days, 100 Nights - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Soul Turnaround - Walter Bishop Jr
Thank You - Sleep Walker
Early Summer - Ryo Fukuda Trio
You've Come This Way Before - Nancy Priddy
(A Case Of) Too Much Love Making - Gloria Scott
Ring My Bell - Blood Sisters
Wall Street - Jackie Mittoo
The Witch - The Broken Keys
Take Me With You - Jumbonics

Vietnamese lunch in Yurakucho

Sunday saw me in Yurakucho for work-related reasons, but once I was free, I decided to look around the brand new Yurakucho Itocia shopping complex which opened just last Friday.

It didn't take long to establish that most of the shops were places I wouldn't usually visit, but it was fun to look around nevertheless. In the basement area there were various eateries or food to take home, including Krispy Kreme with its almost obligatory 2-hour plus queue. I found a wine shop where I bought a nice Medoc, which was on promotion, as well as a tasty but pricy chunk of Comte cheese.

After that it was time for a late lunch, and I joined the queue (thankfully just a few minutes unlike the doughnut place) at the Vietnamese restaurant called Banh Xeo Saigon. Banh Xeo is a dish described on the menu as a Vietnamese-style okonomiyaki. In other words, it's a kind of thin crepe cooked with a topping (there are three choices on the menu), which you eat wrapped in a selection of leaf vegetables. I had the pork and shrimp version, which was great. It looked huge, but was remarkably light.

For this food alone, Yurakucho Itocia is worth visiting again.

October 15, 2007

Small Club/Live Venue in Nakano

In the backstreets of Nakano

Saturday evening saw me out in Nakano for some sushi and then a visit to the pub B-Spirits. After a drink or two there I decided to spend some time wandering through the maze of backstreets north of the station that is packed with restaurants and bars. I soon discovered that there were a few streets I'd never seen before, and on tiny alleyway I saw the above defaced Coca Cola sign and the patchwork door to a tiny establishment that looked as if it were derelict, but was, in fact open for business. I didn't, however, venture inside.

October 14, 2007

Hair salon in Nakano

Is this what the customers do once they see what's happened to their hair?

October 12, 2007

October 04, 2007

One year and still going ...

Well, today marks the anniversary of the start of this blog. I didn't have a fixed idea as to how long I'd keep it going, but I'm still enjoying it, and people are still visiting it, so there will be more to come for sure. Here's to the future ...