The most commonly photographed and depicted autumn leaf in Japan.
Bookmark and Share


No matter where in the world, if you make a turkey and have leftovers you'll be eating them for a week.  Feeding my coworkers at lunch and still had enough to make turkey pot pie...
Bookmark and Share


This rose was the centerpiece of my table for Thanksgiving.  The photos looked so nice that I couldn't choose one.  Instead here's a collage.
Bookmark and Share


Finally put up my Christmas tree today.  Got a new 90cm tree instead of the 30cm one I had and sprung for pink and silver decorations since I've always wanted a monochromatic tree.  Pink is my color of choice lately, plus purple decorations are harder to find.
Bookmark and Share


Symbolism is really important in a lot of cultures.  These symbols are water glyphs that are believed to help protect against fires.
Bookmark and Share


Happy Thanksgiving to the Americans out there.

A friend requested I post photos of things I make. Today I went to a model lesson at a cooking school near my work. This was the resulting Christmas cake. The shiny sides are the plastic form that will mold the cream as it sets.

The lesson was fun and I plan to sign up so expect to see more Sprytely creations.
Bookmark and Share


Sometimes there are fields in people's back yards in Japan.  Even in less populous areas of the city fields take up random plots.  It doesn't always make sense.

In this case, this field is exactly where it should be, but it got me thinking about fields.
Bookmark and Share


Osaka is much more spread out and beautiful than Tokyo in the conventional sense.  It's particularly striking in Autumn.
Bookmark and Share


Last night I went to Arashiyama with my host mother to see the illuminated autumn leaves.

While the brilliant orange and red are featured at every one of these, Tenryuji also has bamboo featured at the end.  Sure it's not bright orange, but it looks lovely surrounded by the autumn colors.
Bookmark and Share


Everywhere you go certain food and drinks are relegated to specific cultures.  Wine is French, pasta Italian, fast food with the US, etc.  Of course, this is because of the origins of each thing.  In a place where it seems every other building is a restaurant, these sorts of connections are even more apparent.

In particular, English pubs are extremely popular.  To me, this is surprising because I associate Ireland more strongly with alcohol than England, but apparently not everyone feels as I do.  In any case, this is a common chain in Tokyo.
Bookmark and Share


While Japan is extremely safe, it isn't without crime.  The sign says "カメをかえしてください," which means "Please return my turtle," and is signed by Karen, a little girl.  The empty tank has been there for more than a month...
Bookmark and Share


In the country, sometimes flowers grow out of the rock walls surrounding homes or other areas.  It's not as common in Tokyo because of the upkeep (and the general lack of this type of wall), but it looks nice and brightens up the rock walls.
Bookmark and Share


Even in the cramped backstreets of the city you can find nice details in unlikely places.  This lovely iron chair and table set are on the patio of a tiny restaurant hidden in the alleys of west Shinjuku.
Bookmark and Share


Next to Saruhashi, one of the three famous bridges in Japan, this post says...something.  None of my Japanese friends could read it either.
Bookmark and Share


These flowers look great, no matter what time of year.  They were growing out of a stone wall.
Bookmark and Share


Not sure why this maple leaf turned like it did, but it wanted to pose for a photo for me.
Bookmark and Share


Dinner tonight was homemade fettuccine with white mushrooms fried in olive oil, beef medallions with asparagus and alfredo sauce.  It was good but by the time I was done with it I wasn't really hungry anymore...
Bookmark and Share


Went hiking in Yamanashi today.  We saw Mount Fuji from the summit of another [much shorter] mountain, drank spring water and saw the changing leaves.

After descending we went to see Saruhashi, one of the three most famous bridges in Japan (with Kintaikyo in Yamaguchi and Shinkyo in Tochigi).  You can't see the fabulous construction of the bridge from this photo, but the trees make up for it.
Bookmark and Share


Had a steak lunch at a small shop near the office today.  It looked so good, but was overpriced and not as good as I'd hoped.  And I smelled like grill when I went back to the office.  But it was fun to watch the chef.
Bookmark and Share


Went to Cheesefesta in Harajuku today.  There's discounted cheese, presentations about cheese, tastings, recipe books, tools, etc. all about cheese.  It's fabulous.

This particular cheese comes from the mountains of Switzerland and is served in lovely blossoms.  It's called Tete a Moines (monk's head) and should be served using a special board and knife, although I'm sure it's possible to rig your own shaving device.

It's been 6 months since I started this photo blog.  This photo is one I'm okay with being the 6-month marker.  It's certainly an improvement over where I was when I started.
Bookmark and Share


Stores are really creative with their advertising.  This is the first teacup Christmas tree I've ever seen.
Bookmark and Share


Perhaps there's far too many photos of paninis on this photo blog, but they're just so good and they look nice too.

The masala chai lattes aren't bad either.
Bookmark and Share


The area north of Ome Kaido and west of the Yamanote line in Shinjuku is less than beautiful, but it has a few nice details safely hidden away.
Bookmark and Share


It's rare that I actually want ramen, but when I do I go to a specific shop.  Kamukura is a well-known chain and it happens to sell vegetarian ramen.  It's one of the rare places that doesn't use animal products in the broth itself so unless there's meat added afterward it'll be bonafide vegetarian ramen.  The side of fried gyoza is a nice touch.  The noodes and gyoza can be had for under ¥1000.
Bookmark and Share


Fox tails are a popular accessory right now.  Girls pay upwards of ¥3000 for these things sometimes, although these particular ones are a little cheaper.  Most clip them on the side, which looks a little weird, but I guess it helps keep them from getting in the way when sitting down...?
Bookmark and Share


Shinjuku station has lights in all the windows this year.  Not sure if it's been like this in the past, but it looks nice.  Not particularly Christmassy, but nice.
Bookmark and Share


Pot pie with potato cream filling, a nice warming meal to go with the chilly weather.
Bookmark and Share


Christmas starts early in Japan.  Nobody knows or cares about American Thanksgiving so the Halloween decorations are torn down around noon (or before!) on October 31st and the Christmas decorations go up, the Christmas music starts, and the biggest commercial push of the year begins.

Keep in mind the way Christmas is celebrated in Japan is essentially the way Valentine's Day is done in the US, so despite all the music and push, it's a romantic holiday.  It's also technically celebrated on December 24th, with cake and expensive gifts.  You'll find the Christmas decorations torn down and tossed to the curb as early as midnight on Christmas Eve, replaced by New Year.  Why?  You might say it's because New Year is the biggest holiday in Japanese culture.  I suspect is has more to do with milking Christmas and then milking New Year.  Buy! Buy! Buy! Sell! Sell! Sell!

Merry Consumermas, everyone.
Bookmark and Share


Shibuya is always alive with people, no matter what time of day or night.  Well, around 8-10am it's not too busy, but there are always people and you're never truly alone.
Bookmark and Share


No matter what time of year, there's always something in bloom.  It's nice to see so much green so late in the season.
Bookmark and Share
Related Posts with Thumbnails