Friday, September 25, 2009

Autumn in Tokyo

This has got to be my favorite season. In Tokyo, unlike in other places, it's not about leaves changing and the nip in the air or anything like that. It's about the heat and humidity releasing itself and the sunshine spilling all over the city. Buildings sparkle, streets shine and people BREATHE. Every breath taken in is a pleasure. The skies are cloudless and the temps are perfect. Often there's a breeze. Here are two sunny photos of neighborhoods near my house.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Random Matsuri

One of the reasons we love living in Japan is that we never know what we're going to see. This weekend, right in our neighborhood, we ran into a festival, a matsuri. The followers take the portable shrines (mikoshi) and carry them through the streets, shouting and laughing and of course, drinking. The bearers of each shrine each wear a different costume. All are jackets with white shorts underneath. Some men do not wear anything underneath except a sort of jock strap, which is interesting to observe as they bounce down the street wtih the shrine. It was a beautiful, sunny day, just perfect for a festival. The people were jubilant with their celebration and their voices rang from the rooftops, along with chantings and banging on everything from drums to simple pots and pans. It was quite a sight and we appreciate it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

American Culture Shock

One thing that struck me during my travels this summer was these two posters inside a restaurant called "Cheeburger Cheeburger" - it's a southern chain.

Basically if an adult eats a one-pound hamburger (approximately 450 grams) then the management will take your picture and post it on the wall. The kids section (under 12 years old) is for a half-pound of meat.

Yes, they are rewarding big meat-eaters - the very essence of American ethos.

Then again, the burger costs under $10 - and includes fries, something you cannot find in Japan. I suppose every culture has its advantages and disadvantages.

Make of it what you will.

But for now at least, I'm happy to be home in Japan.