It's hydrangea season in Japan. The colors here are much more varied than I'm used to; bright pinks, purples and blues. I didn't think hydrangeas were native to Japan, but apparently they are. It would make sense considering the variety.
If you pay attention you'll see lots of saké casks, particularly near izakaya and Shinto shrines. Commonly mislabeled rice wine, saké is fermented much like beer, but with a simultaneous double process using mold and yeast.
Also, if you ever travel to Japan you won't want to ask for saké because it's the Japanese word for alcohol...to order saké you would need to order nihonshu (日本酒), or Japanese alcohol.
Pigeons really are city rats with wings, but in Japan they seem to be much less aggressive than your usual "garden variety" in the US. These just looked at me strangely as I took their photo. The second one there was getting annoyed with me, I think.
Moo Cow and I have been trying for weeks to go to this place called Shanghai Chicken but were constantly foiled by various things (including the restaurant being closed at weird times...). For our final attempt to get there we successfully got seats at the counter (not even a table, boo!) but it was worth it. Their "gyoza" were excellent, although not the typical crescent shape...so perhaps I should call them jiaozi after the Chinese name. Anyway, it was worth all the hassle of going, and I think we're going to attempt to go a few more times. :o)
On my way home I saw a pretty good musician at the station and took his photo. But then when I asked his permission to post it he said no...so here I'm posting something from the files. A friend's band called The Blue Donuts that I went to see at Club Que in Shimokitazawa. Pretty darn good, too.
Another one "from the files" to make up for my malfunction this weekend.
The same day I went to Kamakura I went to Yokohama's Chinatown. It's the largest Chinatown in the world aside from China itself. This is one of the more famous temples there. Chinatown is pretty after dark.
This weekend I kept forgetting to take photos and the ones I did take didn't turn out. Instead I decided to post some photos "from the files" that I took on my travels around Japan.
The Daibutsu in Kamakura is quite famous. I went in January to use up the last day on a 5-day train ticket. It was a beautiful, perfect day to spend wandering on my own. I think this photo best portrays the amazing serenity of the massive Buddha of any of the ones I took.
The newest shrine I have ever seen (aside from the squirrel shrine at the Tokyo Marathon 2010 Expo, which was there to pray for a good run), nestled right up next to an office building in the business district of Shinjuku.
Kofu station in Yamanashi has a bell, which I didn't get a chance to read the history, but I think it's from the original station a long time ago. It has a brick wall next to it that also looks old-fashioned. Interesting bit of history. o_O;
Went to a birthday party today. As usual had my homemade cake in tow (white one w/ strawberry in the center) but then found out there were two small ice cream cakes. WHO HAS THREE CAKES?! Apparently *E* does.