December 10

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The Light-Up Potato Building

Walking around Shin-Okubo never fails to deliver moments of jaw-dropping delight. I mean, who had the idea that this building should be festooned with giant glowing potatoes?

Then right around the corner I was startled by a life-size K-idol standing outside an otherwise ordinary Korean restaurant.

Later I discovered a pyramid of makkori bottles stacked outside a Korean BBQ joint, advertising a promotion. This wicked variation of saké is both sweeter and cloudier than the Japanese brew, and has about half the alcohol (around 6-8%). Which doesn’t mean it’s a safe choice for moderation – it can go down fast with mouth-singeing Korean food. What made me laugh was that this particular brand is apparently for professional drinkers only.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

When Detective Kenji Nakamura’s phone rings with the news that his mother’s death wasn’t an accident, his life begins to unravel…read more