A Week in Tokyo 18

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Thu 2008/06/26 17:12 JST in A Week in Tokyo

This week's "A week in Tokyo" starts off with a visit to Yanaka Ginza located in North Tokyo. The area is a popular walking spot and has many shrines dotted around the area as you can see from this map.

Get off at Sendagi station on the Chiyoda line and you will be at one end of this popular shopping street filled with old shops.

Folks who have been to Japan may be wondering about the scribbles on the square white boards that can be seen in some restaurants.
These are actually signatures from famous Japanese celebrities. The restaurant sticks them on the wall like a trophy as a sign of "this famous person ate here meaning our grub tastes good." I saw one by Brad Pitt in an Okonomi Yaki place once ^^;

What food places also like to do is take a screencap of when they are featured on TV and stick it up too as a sign of "we were on TV so our grub tastes good."

The combination of signatures and screencaps do their job and queues are automatically formed outside the food place.
This place sells Mince Katsu - mince beef deep fried in batter.

My herniated disc has been playing up again hence the lateness of this week's installment of A Week in Tokyo. The problem I have is that when my back starts to feel better, I forget about my illness and fail to regularly do my rehab stretches thinking that I'll be alright.

I still don't know what the reason is but with a herniated disc, the pain will come for a few weeks and then disappear for months - only to come back again. While not guaranteed, regular exercise and stretches will strengthen the muscles in my back and help prevent the pain coming back. This has happened to me quite a few times now but I still have not learned ^^;

This time round I made a video message for my future self to look at. The video shows me staggering around the house in pain asking myself to please do those darn stretches. It felt strange leaving a message for myself but hope that the future me will listen and take time out to care for my own health.

In the past I've always talked about money which unfortunately is a fact of life and how important it is, and I've also talked about the importance of having goals in life, being passionate and focused.

One of the things I've not spoke about is how important it is to keep good health. I see the body as a shell for our soul which slowly deteriorates through time until it becomes unusable.
If that shell is damaged, it affects our temperament and the way we behave.

While none of us know when our time is going to be up, we can at least care as much as we can for our own shell through regular exercise and maintaining a balanced diet.

Just out of interest, how healthy are you in terms of the amount of exercise you do and the diet you maintain?
And I'm not asking about dolphin health ^^;

A poster at a library telling kids that bullying is a crime. Bullying in schools is a major problem in Japan as I talked in my previous bullying in Japan article - many children still kill themselves because of it.

Tis the rainy season in Japan. Temperature is cool at the moment but is usually hot n muggy and the rain makes you feel bleaugh. This product is to be used after a shower to make you immune to the muggy rainy season and also make you sparkle at the same time.
The ad suggests that folks who don't use it look like snails.

Kaisen Don for lunch - 850 yen.

Back from shopping at Costco where you can buy huge boxes of Frosties and other goodies for less than half the price of the local supermarkets.
Costco available in your region too?

Restaurant full of carpets on the walls.

Hmmm. I can't remember what food this was but remembering it tasting good and cheap - 760 yen for a meal for two. Three if you count Haruhi.

Tis the jolly season for mosquitoes too. This device is worn on your ankle or wrist and emits a sonic pulse (or something similar) that keeps away the mosquitoes. 1000 yen.

Watching the trains from a bridge at Nippori.

While many stations have English maps, some stations only have maps like this. If you are traveling to Tokyo, print out this English train map and pay the lowest fare when you buy tickets. You can pay the difference at your destination.

At Ueno station.

Inoue Takehiko's last manga exhibition at Ueno.

Never really explored Ueno park before - a nice place to laze around on a sunny Sunday.

Yes we have Thomas the Tank Engine too which you can barely see in this photo.

Due to my crappy childhood, I don't recall ever visiting a zoo and think this was the first time I saw an elephant!

While I think it's great being able to see animals that we do not usually get to see in daily life (well it depends where we live), I did start to feel sorry for the animals. They had pics of fat polar bears in their natural habitat and yet the ones in the zoo looked skinny and frustrated as they walked up n down their little cave.

How do you feel about animals in captivity? If you was the mayor of your city, would you keep or abolish your local zoo and for what reasons?

These furry guys were really cute though.

In general, the Japanese don't litter on the floor so if they notice a bike that's been parked for ages, they will use it as a bin.

A shelf of books at the station completely unmanned. These were popular at a time when they wanted to encourage people to read. One would take a book and just return it to the shelf when finished.

Lunch with Haruhi - priceless.

Bonsai trees. Hector received one from Technorati when he left to join me at Mirai Inc. Looking after a Bonsai tree is an acquired skill (as you can see from the wikipedia entry) and soon died in Hectors possession ^^;

The editing of Shibuya Rock Trooper is going to take a bit longer. The track is only 1.30 mins but we shot more than 30 mins worth of video.

The amount of anime licensed pachinko machines seems to be on the increase.

Mince Beef Katsu set with Mi Mi Mikuru on the side - 760 yen.

Tofu Ankake lunch set - 800 yen.

Plate of dead animals - 900 yen.

Cleaning out some documents and stumble across my old Gunlpla manuals. Ah the good ol days ^^;
Do you keep your Gunpla manuals or throw them out?

Ascii sent me a copy of this weeks "weekly Ascii" for some reason...

There is a "we asked 100 famous people what their fave digital item was" inside...

Among the 100 are celebrities that folks in Japan will recognize.

And for some reason I'm included in the 100 ^^;
I chose the iPod, MacBook Pro and Xacti.

First time I heard of Rie Sasaki.

When you visit a typical ramen place, you will find manga like Jump which often include gravure models on the cover.