Monday, February 28, 2005

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Wacky Sign Posted by Hello

It seems like almost every site or blog published about Japan usually includes a posting about wacky signs. Well, why be different?

This advertisement was hanging inside a train car. Actually one of its intents was to be funny. There was a whole set of these ads. Also, ironically these ads were produced by Japan Tobacco (JT Tobacco) as a smoker’s good manner campaign.

The whole series of ads can be found at the following links.

Page #1
Page #2
Page #3
Page #4

Take special note on the “passing gas” ad located on the fourth page (top-right hand corner.)

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Inside The Mall

Roppongi Hills Mall Posted by Hello

Today’s post is only a photo of the inside of the Roppongi Hills shopping area. It is located in the Roppong Hills Mori Tower.

Roppongi is a trendy area located in Tokyo. Another photo of the Roppongi Hills area was included in this previous posting

Saturday, February 26, 2005


Kinshichou Posted by Hello

This photo was taken in Kinshicho, which is a section of Sumida-Ku (Tokyo.)

A "ku," as in Sumida-Ku, is called a "ward" (also district or section) in English. There are 23 wards in Tokyo.

Friday, February 25, 2005

One of Three

Matsushima Posted by Hello

Matsushima is one of the three famous “Beauty Spots” (Nihon Sankei) of Japan. These three spots include Matsushima, Amanohashidate, and Miyajima. These three spots are truly beautiful, and are good destinations for any traveler wishing to see the natural beauty of Japan. That’s not to say they aren’t tourist areas.

Matsushima literally means, “pine islands.” Over two hundred pine covered islands dot the bay of the Matsushima area. One of the best ways to see many of these islands is to take a boat ride around the bay.

Bay Boat Ride Posted by Hello

Matsushima is located near Miyagi Prefecture’s largest city, Sendai. A map of its location can be seen here at this link.

Matsushima is a great place to visit, even for those who might be the type to avoid tourist spots.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

No Swimming?

Edogawa-River Posted by Hello

This photo of the Edogawa-River was taken from the Chiba (Prefecture) side. On the opposing side of the river is Tokyo.

Unfortunately it is all too common for people that don’t feel like paying recycling fees to throw large items such as microwave ovens, washing machines, and motor scooters into the river or other places.

To help solve Japan’s recycling problem, pre-paid fees are now being charged for some items. For example some computer makers are now adding a recycling fee into the price of their products.

Hopefully other measures will be taken to combat Japan’s growing trash disposal problem. One doesn’t have to be an “environmentalist” to be disgusted by the photo above.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Parking Elevator Posted by Hello

Parking lots in the Tokyo area are notoriously expensive. Sometimes it is not only a matter of money, but of space also. Many of the plots of land are just too small to waste space by building a large driveway or garage on them.


Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Yamaguchi City Posted by Hello

A man walking his pigs (boars) in Yamaguchi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Oink Oink, or as the Japanese say - Buu Buu!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Apple Store

Apple Store Ginza Posted by Hello

This is the famous Ginza Apple retail store that was opened in November 2003. Here is a link to a great video that was taken of the long line of people on the opening day. On the weekends it is sometimes hard to even get inside the door on the first floor due to the massive amount of people that flock to this store.

One has to wonder if many of the stores in this area of the Ginza can even make a profit. The land prices here are some of the highest in the world.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Posted by Hello

A beautiful sunset, no commentary needed!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Under The Tracks

Yurakucho Area Posted by Hello

In Tokyo, where space is at a premium, it is not uncommon to find restaurants located under the many train tracks running through the city.

The photo above was taken near the Ginza-Yurakucho area. These restaurants and shops are located under the Yamanote train line. Even though the outsides of the restaurants aren’t much to look at, you can not only find some good food, but also good atmosphere. Of course sometimes a little bit of noise can be heard too in some of the older places

Friday, February 18, 2005

Condominiums / Apartment Complexes

Tsukishima (Tokyo) Posted by Hello

With the mind boggling amount of people that live in the Tokyo metropolitan area, it's obvious that not everyone can live in a house or a small apartment complex. Necessity has given way to mega-apartment complexes. Of course there are smaller complexes, but ones such as in the above photo are relatively common.

The photo above shows several mega-apartment complexes that are on Tsukishima island. This is a man-made island. You can see this area in the center of the photo in last post titled "The Sumida River."

Azabu (Tokyo) Posted by Hello

The large apartment tower in the center of this photo is called Moto-Azabu Hills. It was constructed by the famous Mori Building Company. It is located near Roppongi, which is a trendy area of Tokyo. The popularity of this area is the reason that land prices and the rent for these apartments is out of the reach of normal people.

Roppongi (Tokyo) Posted by Hello

This residential tower is located in the new Roppongi Hills development. The prices for the apartments in this area are some of the highest in Tokyo. They start off at approximately 3,000 USD and run all the way up to $40,000 for a 5 bedroom unit. That's per month, unbelievable!

Yamaguchi Prefecture Posted by Hello

The apartment towers in the photo above are located in Yamaguchi City, which is the capital of Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Chiba Prefecture Posted by Hello

This large apartment complex is located in Chiba Prefecture, which is next to Tokyo.

Chiba Prefecture Posted by Hello

Another example of an apartment building in Chiba.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Sumida River

Posted by Hello

This is a follow-up post of my last post "Water Bus." The above photo shows the mouth area of the Sumida River. There are many rivers in Tokyo, but the Sumida is especially interesting. It runs through many famous areas of Tokyo, such as Asakusa and Tsukiji.

In the photo above you can see many tall buildings. The ones on the left and right are mainly office buildings. In the center you can see some condominium towers. These massive "manshons" (as Japanese call them) are very common in the Tokyo area.

The Sumida River bank is becoming a popular place to build condos. It's also a great place to take a walk on a sunny day. However, according to this article (pdf) the Sumida was once considered a dirty industrial area in the past. It certinaly has changed.

As I said in the previous post, taking a water bus is a great way to see this area!


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Water Bus

Posted by Hello

This is the Himiko water taxi that runs up and down the Sumida River in Tokyo. This spaceship looking boat started service last year. There are many other water taxis in service.

Here is a link that shows some of the boats used on the Sumida River and in Tokyo Bay. To view the areas these boats service see this map.

If your come to Tokyo it's a great idea to take one of these boats around the river. It's a wonderful view of the city you can't get any other way.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Pervert Warning!!

Posted by Hello

The above sign reads: "chikan ni chuui." It could be translated as "Pervert Warning!!" Signs like this can be found in many parts of Tokyo and the surrounding areas.

Perverts, gropers, molesters, or whatever you want to call them are a major problem in Japan, not only in trains, but also in school areas and other places.

On the other hand, some people have been known to falsely accuse people of groping and then extort them for money.

This problem is most prevalent on the trains for the simple fact that inside the train is often packed with people. To combat the problem some train lines have made "women only" carriages.

Here is a link to a well written story about this topic.


Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day

Posted by Hello

Happy Valentine's Day!

Opposite from many other countries, it's the women who give men
chocolates (or other gifts) on Valentine's Day in Japan. Mary's
Chocolate Company, among others, is said to have introduced
Valentine's Day in Japan. What a great marketing strategy that was!

Of course women give gifts to men they actually like, but a lot of the
chocolates given are "obligatory-gift chocolates" (giri-choco in
Japanese.) This "giri-choco" might be given to every male co-worker
in a woman’s work place, which can cost a bundle for some.

It's not like the women have it that bad because Japanese chocolate
companies created another great holiday called "White Day." On this
day (March 14th) women who gave chocolate to men usually receive a
gift back. On top of that, in many cases these gifts are better than
what was given.

A better explanation about Valentine's Day and White Day can be found here. For a detailed story of Valentine's & White Day in Japan take a look at this link


Sunday, February 13, 2005


Posted by Hello

As far as the metropolitan area, Tokyo is the largest in the world. I believe the Metropolitan area, including Yokohama City and Kawasaki City, has a population somewhere around 34,000,000. That's a mind-baffling figure.

Relative to where you live, Tokyo is crowded beyond imagination. The jam-packed streets, stores, trains, and just about everywhere, can be both exciting and frustrating at times.

No matter how many years you spend in Tokyo I doubt you can see it all. Many shops and restaurants are changing all the time. It’s not uncommon to go back to a restaurant in a couple years to find another one has replaced it.

The photo above was taken from Tokyo Tower. At 333 meters tall, it is the world's tallest self-supporting steel tower. Excellent views from this tower can be seen on Tokyo Tower’s English web site.


Saturday, February 12, 2005


Well, I am starting this Blog to let others get a look at Japan. I am writing this Blog from a large city on the outskirts of Tokyo, so of course most of the entries on this blog will be from the Tokyo area.

I am not much of a writer so I will apologize for any mistakes or sloppiness up front. I am only hoping that someone will be able to enjoy the material that I will post.