October 15

This Year’s Burning October Question: What’s The Peeing Statue Wearing For Halloween?

I had to go check to make sure that the best-dressed nude statue in Tokyo made it through the typhoon safely. And he did! Not only that, he already knows what he’s going to be for Halloween. But…huh? As you can see, “witch” costumes in Japan are subject to the same considerable creative interpretation that has […]

October 13

Typhoon Aftermath

Today when I woke up, it was hot and sunny. It didn’t seem possible that twelve hours ago, the biggest typhoon in sixty years was raging through Tokyo. So I went out to take a look at one of the places that had been evacuated – a neighborhood next to the Tama River. The top […]

October 11

In Which We Report On Being Hammered By Typhoon Hagibis In Tokyo

FRIDAY Pre-typhoon festivities: At Meidi-ya (the swanky “Japanese” supermarket): Lines fifteen deep with bulging baskets as every Japanese person in my neighborhood panic-buys foods that still qualify as gourmet without cooking or refrigeration. Meanwhile, at National Azabu (the “foreign foods” supermarket): Business as usual (except with rather more wine bottles in the baskets ahead of […]

October 02

Dahlia Bonanza At The Toshogu Shrine

Every fall, this exquisitely curated exhibition happens at the Toshogu Shrine in Ueno Park, at the same place that hosts the eye-popping peony specimens in May. If you haven’t got your dahlia fix quite yet, check out these beauties from when I went to the same exhibit two years ago: In The Japanese Dahlia Garden […]

September 28

The Eleven Strangest Shrines In Tokyo

Tokyo is stuffed with gorgeous shrines and temples, but some of the gods in residence have hilarious and entertaining specialties! Here are the ones dedicated to my favorite kami-sama and how to snag some of their favor for yourself: • THE WART SHRINE (at Nishiarai Daishi Temple) Resident kami-sama’s superpower: Curing warts How to get […]

September 22

Intellectual Animal Beauty Masks

By now you probably thought you’d seen it all when it comes to Japanese facial sheet masks – from the squicky & scary to skin treatments that turn you into a kabuki actor while they work their magic – but now you can look like the world’s smartest animal while battling those crows’ feet! Saw […]

September 12

Giant Paper Lanterns On Wheels

Usually you’d have to hie yourself all the way up to rural Aomori* to catch a glimpse of these epic glowing floats, but lucky for me, last fall I happened across an outpost of the Nebuta Festival right in my own backyard! For some mysterious reason, six of the outrageously great floats were swanning down the shopping street near Nakanobu […]