Category Archives: Just another day in Japan

March 14

In Which We Encounter Japanese Engineering At It’s Finest

It’s always reassuring to know that the Tokyo subways are state-of-the-art. • Jonelle Patrick writes mysteries set in Tokyo. Her fourth book – Painted Doll – is just out in paperback  Watch the one-minute trailer (1:04)

December 17

The Werewolf Shrine

  High on top of a snowy mountain in Chichibu – so far from any train station that you’ll be eligible for a senior citizen discount by the time you get off the bus – is the Mitsumine Jinja. At first it looks like a typical Shinto shrine with fox messengers at the gate… …but a […]

October 17

At The Crazy Cat Parade

I have to admit, I was powerless to resist going to a thing where hundreds of people dressed more or less as cats pranced down the street, some of them raucously performing musical numbers in which “nyan nyan nyan” replaced all the lyrics. The Bake Neko Parade gives everyone and their granny an excuse to dress up every October near Kagurazaka […]

September 30

In Which An 8th Century Monk Trolls Us All

Inside this telephone booth of yore lies the Miroku Stone. For hundreds of years (since the time of the venerable Kobo Daishi*) it has been known that if a virtuous person reaches through the little window and picks up the stone, it will feel light. But if you’ve been a bad boy, it will be unbearably […]

August 31

Wading Through A Sea Of Stars & Flowers

It was the last day of the DMM Planets attraction out in Odaiba today, but if you missed your chance to roll up your pants & wade around in a cloud-like sea of flowers and goldfish with a kerbillion and a half other people, here’s what it was like: My favorite part of the thing, though, was the Crystal […]

June 30

Hydrangeas: Gateway To A Life Of Crime

I have a confession to make. Although my job is to write about ingenious ways people commit murder and mayhem, when it comes to obsessing about how I’d commit the perfect crime, it always ends up with hydrangeas. Yes, hydrangeas. To be more specific, hydrangea smuggling. Because before I went to Japan, I never dreamed that the humble fluffballs flanking granny’s […]

April 28

Temple Cats, With Attitude

  In Japan, neko and temples go together like fish guts and beer, and every graveyard attracts a cadre of cats to guard the departed. At first I tried not to think about what they might be eating to make them so fat and happy (DO NOT GO THERE) until I was lurking around taking pictures late one afternoon, and witnessed the duelling cat […]