During my visit to Tokyo in late November/early December, I stayed in Asakusa. I had previously only been to Asakusa during the day, so it was interesting to see the area at night. The main tourist attraction in Asakusa is the Sensoji temple and the shopping street leading up to the temple, Nakamise street. During the day, the temple and shopping area are swamped with tourists. But at night, the shops are shuttered and the people are gone. The temple is still lit-up and the area feels quite peaceful.
January 22, 2012
January 20, 2012
The Tokyo Tower (which looks rather similar to the Eiffel tower, but is slightly taller at 333 m and a different color, red) has been a symbol of Tokyo for decades. But there is a new tower coming onto the scene. It’s called the Tokyo Sky Tree and it is currently under construction near Asakusa. When completed it will be 634m tall. 634 may seem like a random number, but it’s not. One way to pronounce the numbers 6, 3, and 4 is Musashi. Musashi （武蔵の国） is the name of the ancient province that included present day Tokyo. The Sky Tree will be used as a communications tower and have two observations decks. The tower is scheduled to open in February 2012. I took the following photographs in late November 2011.
January 19, 2012
There are almost always new and interesting Kit Kat flavors for sale in Japan.
More flavors after the jump. (more…)
January 18, 2012
On a trip to Tokyo last month, I came across an interesting word that I had never heard before. The word is “smork” and I saw it twice.
The first time was at a small bakery/cafe and the word “smork” was written on a sign taped to the table that my friend and I were sitting at.
The second instance of “smork” was found at a clothing store inside Shinjuku Station. In fact, the store is called “Smork by Language.”
I believe the only explanation for this is that the owners of the bakery have some sort of dispute with the clothing store owners. Anyone have any other guesses? 😉
January 12, 2012
Lake Biwa (琵琶湖) is the biggest freshwater lake in Japan. It is in Shiga prefecture, not too far from Kyoto. Having grown up around the great lakes, when I hear “largest lake,” I imagine something pretty big. When you stand on the shore of any of the great lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, or Ontario), you can’t see the opposite shore. The lakes are enormous. Even the smallest of them, Lake Erie, would talk about 11 hours to drive around. (According to Google Maps. I looked up Buffalo, NY to Toledo, OH to Detroit, MI to Buffalo, NY and Google told me it would take 10 hours and 59 minutes.)
But looking at Lake Biwa last month, I was disappointed to see that even Japan’s largest lake is not large enough for the opposite shore to remain unseen. And a similar search on Google Maps told me that it would talk only 4 hours and 15 mins to drive around the lake, even though the drive around Lake Erie was mostly on highways and much of the drive around Lake Biwa was on local roads (with much lower speed limits).
Still, despite my disappointment about the size of the lake, it was very beautiful. I took these pictures about an hour after sunrise.