Friday, April 30, 2010

Skyping with Lucifer

We just came back from the most awesome Tokyo day.
Good weather, Tokyu Hands, hanging with Toshi, amazing dinner and a magical place called "Gyoza Town".
More about that later, because i am too tired for picture editing right now.
But i do have one picture, i always do.
My parents were online when we came home, so we had a nice chat with them and the dog.
When we talk to them on Skype we're not allowed to laugh, that makes him cry and run around the house looking for us.
Adorable.

Lucifer heard something!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

とんかつ

It's that time again.
The time when i realize the days we have left are so few, that they probably shouldn't be spent blogging.
Or at least not as frequently as usual.
They probably shouldn't be spent sitting inside reading all day when the weather is real nice outside, but that's exactly what i did today, so who knows, maybe i'll find time to blog too.

Allan had his last session on this trip today, and since i wasn't feeling too great, i decided to just hang at Yellow Blaze.
I brought my book and my Hiragana homework, so i had enough entertainment for the whole day.
Allan was a tough cookie, always is, and they got a lot done.
We both have two more appointments in November and i'm excited for mine already.

Lining and tails

I did venture outside a few times to pick up supplies, and on one of those trips something really wonderful happened.
I was standing in the food section of 100 Yen Shop, checking out random stuff and scanning for anything vaguely familiar, as i've done so many times before, when all of a sudden i found myself reading labels!
I can't even explain how awesome that felt!
I can't read everything of course, but enough to manage to buy the stuff i need and that's a start.
And back at the studio i even read some Kanji too.
Since we started getting into practicing again*, it's like little bits of information that was invisible to us before, is now popping up everywhere, and discovering this new world is so much more fun than we expected.

My 100 Yen buys
Back in Koenji, the ticket machine at the ramen shop made friggin sense to us too, i ordered the salt ramen with extra vegetables, and that's exactly what i got!
Good ramen and reggae tunes

*We're using a free iPhone application for this.
Loves my iPhone.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Homework

With such a short time here*, it can seem like a waste to stay at home just because it's a little chilly outside.
But i figure it's ok, as long as the time is spent doing something fun or practical.
Or both.

Today it rained and i did my hiragana homework
Studying is hard when you don't really have to, but it's kinda fun too
My reward!
I also finished doing my nails (although this is taken before the final topcoats)
Something had to be done, as the glorious green had turned my nails a disgusting nicotine yellow
And i wanted my nails to match my new cropped cardigan from w closet

*Yes, a month is a terribly short time.

Nike, you still suck

The other day, walking from Shibuya to Harajuku, we noticed... something going on in a small park between the two towns.
We'd seen the colorful signs once before, lots of writing and artwork, and something about Nike!?
This time we decided to stop and take some pictures.

I took a picture of the URL on this poster so i could try to find out what was going on here
I have to admit, i've always hated Nike, so without even knowing what this was about, whomever wrote this already had my support
"Park is Ours"
Yes, but who's?
Radical Knitters sound rad
The park in question, or some of it
Some of the artwork

So, i got home, found their blog and read up on the story.
In short, this appears to be what's going on:

"In the name of Lifestyle Branding, corporate giant NIKE is taking away a public park for their Marketing Strategy.
A number of homeless people and artists who frequently inhabit the park is stripped away their access to a space that is free of Consumerism."

Apparently Nike bought the park from the city, without any sort of public hearing, and has already re-named it "Nike Miyashita Park"!
Well, that's just great.
It may not sound like such a big deal; a huge company buying and cleaning up a city park, maybe even improving it in the eyes of some people, but i think it's deplorable.
Perhaps coming from a city that has had its fair share of unjust evictions in the past few years has made me extra sensitive to these issues, but seriously...
Just imagine a park in your own neighborhood, being stolen and re-named by a corporate giant.
How about a "Folkets Starbucks Park" on Nørrebro?
Or an "Adidas Enghave Park" on Vesterbro?
If Nike is successful, and at the moment it looks like they will be, this is something that can happen anywhere.

Here's a short movie about the situation:

Monday, April 26, 2010

The nest

Jiyūgaoka last week.
We checked out the area and also took a trip to Shibuya (where i needed to do some fabric shopping) and Harajuku.

Jiyūgaoka was nice and full of cafés and cool little interior design shops, and i found a few pretty little things that i had to own.
It was, however, also a nesting area, as my husband called it.
We have never seen so many pregnant ladies, babies and small children anywhere in Tokyo, so i guess this is where they've been hiding this whole time!
However, there was not a baby-tank in sight.
Japanese women carry their offspring in a baby sling*, and the babies apparently don't need to bring any more accessories than the mom can fit into a purse that's often tinier than mine, and this of course makes the battle of the sidewalk far less vicious than where we come from.
Denmark, take notes.

The optimum of boys style?
Happy camper sees the sun
Cutest Shiba in Jiyūgaoka
Japanese ladies love it when we photograph their dogs!

*They will occasionally bring out a baby stroller, but i swear, there's not one tank in this whole city.

Sparkling kiwi

The other night at dinner i accidentally ordered a drink called the "Princess Diamond"
Sweet, sweet plum
Sweet, sweet friends
I had a really nice moment at the restaurant when i found out that i could actually read this (doesn't mean i can read everything, but at least i'm improving)
Our friends from Nara brought me this awesome chocolate!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gōtoku-ji

We went to this temple to see some fortune cats.
It was somewhere here in Tokyo and it was really nice.
The end.

Ok, so i'm being extremely vague right now, but i'm having serious doubts about giving away the location of this Tokyo treasure.
It was so nice and peaceful there and for once we were the only whiteys!
Given the (supposed) history of the place, why it isn't overrun by tourists is beyond me.
Even without the story of everyones favorite fortune cat attached to it, Gōtoku-ji was still well worth a visit.

So i'm just not gonna give the usual directions this time, but i will say that i found out about it via this blog and if you know your way around Tokyo, it isn't hard to find.


We followed the cats from the station
They were everywhere
Sneaky little kitties...
... guiding us in the right direction
We did have to stop at a supermarket and ask directions once the kitties stopped appearing!
The temple grounds were lovely, full of flowers, statues, trees, moss and, of course, lucky cats
Spot the outsider
"Don't mind me, i'm just a regular old lucky cat"
Almost gone now
Fortunes
We bought this one
And this one
Not this one, since it's from last year
The cemetery was great too (would have scared the crap out of most of our very superstitious Japanese friends, though!)

We received a note with the story of the temple with our purchases*, but the story was long, and i'm a sleepy little biscuit, so here's the short and sweet wiki-version:

"The story goes that a wealthy feudal lord was taking shelter under a tree near Gotoku-ji temple (in Western Tokyo) during a thunderstorm. The lord saw the temple priest's cat beckoning to him and followed; a moment later the tree was struck by lightning. The wealthy man became friends with the poor priest and the temple became prosperous. When the cat died, supposedly the first Maneki Neko was made in his honor."

Ok, the temple version was much better.
Anyway, Allan took some great pictures and i'll put up a link when he gets around to posting them.

Not only was the temple nice, but the town, and the people in it, were nice too
After a nice lunch at the local Dennys (don't hate, it's not the same here) we went to Shimo-Kitazawa to walk around and do a bit of shopping
Uhm, and eat too
This girl was on a super fun date

Shimo-Kitazawa is a wonderful neighborhood, by the way.
Mattias first brought us there a long time ago, and i haven't been there that many times since then, but i think i'm gonna try to go back there more often from now on.

*We bought a cat too, of course, but i'm gonna do a post with all the new additions to my Maneki Neko collection when we're back in Denmark.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Luck + cat

Ever wondered where the Maneki Neko comes from?

Today we went to a temple where one of the legends of the Maneki Neko originated.
That story, and more pictures, tomorrow...
Or later, depending on the weather!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rainy days

Today i basically just wanna blog about my new tattoo, because it's so friggin awesome, but since there's not much to say besides that, i guess i'll try to move on to other subjects.*
Like the good old days (last week) when it didn't rain all the time.
Yes, Tokyo is all rainy today, and me and Allan have stayed at home, drawing and practicing Hiragana.

We did sneak out to visit (for the first time in all the years we've been coming to Koenji) a cafeteria style cake café by the station, that's usually only frequented by old ladies and the yakuza.
The staff were terrified of us, but apart from that it was pretty awesome!

Since there were no English menus, we just ordered the craziest looking cakes
And it worked, good stuff!

Ok, back to the good old days.
On Sunday (i think) we took a trip to Asakusa, followed by a quick stop in Ueno.
Again i mostly used my Diana, so i don't have a whole lot of pictures to share.

Asakusa, where we bought two Maneki Neko (can't have too many of those) and a Kokeshi doll
Senso-ji
Pretty bird
There were lots of little food stands all over the temple grounds, and we decided to split an order of Takoyaki
Delish
Hello Kitty chocolate bananas and a cute couple... i forgive the dude for wearing harempants (but only because we're in Japan, buddy!)
Some deep fried sweets for dessert!
This little drooly fella was out shopping, against his will i presume
In Ueno we walked up and down Ameyoko, looking at crazy fish and tacky clothes for sale
Tacky perfumes too...
At Ueno Koen we sat down and did some people and cat watching
This guy brought food for the park kitties, how nice!
Back in Koenji we discovered a wonderful new cheap and delicious restaurant by the station
I ate everything but the shellfish, or whatever that was (i'll eat food from street vendors, but no shellfish... weird?)

*Did i mention that it's super awesome?
I guess i did...