I think Tokyo is beautiful. In a certain idiosyncratic way which only really works for Tokyo.
Some people say that the mega-city if cluttered and lacks an overall design and has no architechtural guidelines – ‘everything goes’ as one could say. While it is true, it also gives Tokyo a unique feeling. Nowhere else can you see sights like the one below (I snapped it with my cellphone, the large building with the round platform is TV-channel TBS’ headquarters) with a mix of small tiny winding roads, old residential homes and modern skyscrapers within the same viewframe. Sure, some areas of Tokyo (especially if you leave the absolute center) are not as nice, and it’s just stretches of low residential and old apartment buildings, but I nice the interesting and beautiful areas still make up for this. Now I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder, but this is at least my two cents.
A while ago, I wrote about Cool Biz and what a crap idea I think it is. Well, now it’s time for Warm Biz to battle unnecessary use of heaters during the fall and winter…
First I thought it was a joke, because this certainly could not be true! The government actually saying “wear a coat and hat inside” !! Geez, but after a little searching I found an official announcement here. Indeed, the heater in the offices around Japan should be set at 20 degrees and no higher during the cold months of the year. Seeing as how Japanese office ladies cover themselves in blankets and whine when the air conditioner is set to lower than 25 degrees, I have a hard time imagining how this will play out in reality. As with Cool Biz, this is merely a Government recommendation, but I think all Government offices have to follow it strictly.
This past weekend it was time for the annual Japanese-American Friendship Festival over at Yokota Air Base near Hachioji, to west of of Shinjuku, Tokyo. Actually, for me it was news – I hadn’t heard about it before, even though it’s been going on for I don’t know how many years.
It was a blistering hot day yesterday when we went out there. I think it was already about 33 degrees when we arrived at the base around 11 AM. And it didn’t get better after that. The part of the base which was open to the public is virtually all concrete and offers little to no places of shade. So we walked for what seemed to be miles along the airstrip looking at cool military planes kindly loaned from the 374th Airlift Wing (correct me if I’m wrong here!). The planes ranged from F-whatchamacallit to the sleek F-somenumberhere. Yep, I don’t know diddly-squat about military airplanes, but I’m sure there were some good stuff displayed. I think the one we got to board was the C-5 Galaxy, but I’m not sure. (I will put some pictures up later). Oh and I think they displayed some kind of stealth-plane to, I’ll put a picture up of that too, so someone may identify it.
Anyway, apart from looking at aircrafts, one could wander around in the concrete desert eating a variety of Japanese and American snacks. There was for example a hamburger-tent which manufactured American burgers with military efficiency – the burgers were not so good, but they all looked exactly the same and I think they could fry 50 burgers at once! Further they had a lot of places selling Shaved ice, or Kakigoori as it’s called here in Japan. A strange feeling for us “outsiders” (i.e. people not living on the base) was the fact that they accepted USD as payment. All prices were written in both USD and JPY (to a good exchange-rate too, I might add!) which gave a surreal feeling to the experience. It felt as we weren’t in Japan for few hours.
The Yokota Air Base has been in operation for 60 years (since September 5, 1945 so there’s an anniversary coming up). Yokota is the closest to Tokyo of all the bases here in Japan.
Just wanted to point out the fact that I added a range of new Japan-related recommended blogs to my personal blog-roll (oh isn’t that a hip “in-word” right now?) to the right.
A big thanks to Sushi Zume for providing a number of these links. And when I say “providing” I mean I shamelessly stole the links from her interesting blog… Sorry ’bout that! :blush:
Anyway, it seems there are a lot more foreigners in Japan blogging now – I remember a while ago I tried to find some interesting reading in that regard on the Net but couldn’t really find anything. Of course you can always revert back to that crazy place F*cked Gaijin if you feel you have the mental stability for it… Not that they’re ALL crazy over there, but talk about your high rate of English teachers per capita, oh boy!
😀 Yiihaa…. Time for a wonderful, super-sized Ice Cream Sundae!!
So on Friday, me and Hikaru went out to get us a couple of jumbo-sized sundaes (in Japan they’re called parfaits) at a place she had seen reviewed on TV called “Osama to Ichigo” (王様といちご), translated to English, it means “King and Strawberry.” This particular coffee-shop is famous for its huge ice cream sundaes. They have two sizes: “Jumbo” (around 500 yen) and “King” (2100 yen). Hikaru originally wanted to try the King-size, but after asking the waitress how large it actually was (I’d say she approximated the height of the King Parfait to be around 40-50 cm!) she quickly changed her mind and we settled for a jumbo each.
Well, a Jumbo sized one was enough for me, let me tell you that! And it had been a few hours since lunch, so I was actually quite hungry too. Check out the pictures below. Although it doesn’t look to impressive in the pictures, imagine there is another 10 cm of soft ice cream on top of what’s left in the glass (I forgot to take a picture before digging in)!
Verdict? Awesome! Simple and pure ice cream heaven. It’s a no-frills-sundae consisiting of only soft ice cream, your choice of sauce (e.g. chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry etc.) and corn flakes. Nothing more, noting less. The massive amount of ice cream in it was enough for me to not care for dinner that day!
Here’s the location of Osama to Sutoroberi shown on Google Maps. The closest station is Musashi-Koyama on the Tokyu Meguro Line.