Dining Out: Vending Machine Stand

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Japan possesses a ridiculous number of ‘jihanki‘ (vending machines) equating to one for about 22 people or something like that. The majority of them sell drinks and cigarettes but other things are available such as newspapers, flowers, condoms, bananas, ice-cream, tissues, toys, rice, snacks, apples, eggs and perhaps the most famous story overseas is of used schoolgirl undies being sold in these vending machines but I think that may just be Continue reading

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A Day At The Races For The Japan Cup

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The Japan Cup may be one of the most prestigious horse races in Japan but I had never really heard of it until quite recently when I saw adverts for it plastered all over the Keio Inohashira Line in Shibuya station. It’s not really any surprise I was unaware of it though as horse racing really isn’t a sport that interests me. Having said all that, I was up for a day at the races to experience Continue reading

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Mimi Rabbit Cafe In Ikebukuro

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Around a decade ago there was a trend for Maid Cafe’s in Tokyo but in the last few years the craze has been for animal themed cafe’s. I’ve only been to a dog cafe (back in 2013) but there are also cafes devoted to cats, rabbits, owls, reptiles, penguins, hedgehogs, sheep and probably a few more unbeknown to me.

Wondering how we’d spend our day off together last Sunday my wife said she’d research cinemas which show two fairly recent (but not brand new) movies as part of a cheap double billing but then she came back minutes later saying she wanted to go to a rabbit cafe in Ikebukuro. How that transition Continue reading

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Tokyo Daytripper: Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

As it is, Tokyo is an ever-changing city with buildings seemingly going up and coming down regularly and on top of that shops, restaurants, cafes and bars help constantly change the landscape. None of this is new to the Japanese capital though as even when it was known as Edo it changed a fair bit due to fires, floods, earthquakes and warfare.

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This vast open-air museum (400 yen entry), located in Koganei-koen Park, is a collection of culturally valuable historical buildings which have been relocated, reconstructed and preserved for future generations. My wife and I took the 25 minute walk on a recent Sunday from Hana-Koganei Station on the Seibu-Shinjuku Line. It is divided into three zones with the most interesting one for me being the Continue reading

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Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – Japan (Kanazawa)

Ever since the Shinkansen (bullet train) route between Tokyo and Kanazawa opened last year, reducing the travel time from five hours to two, tourists have been descending on the city in their droves to eat the many local delicacies and see such places like Kenroku-en which, alongside Kairaku-en (Mito) and Koraku-en (Okayama), are the three most famous gardens in Japan. Sightseeing spots have never really been Bourdain’s forte and it’s no surprise that this particular one doesn’t feature here.

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Season eight episode six of this CNN show is not exactly a typical guide to the capital city of Ishikawa prefecture but just Continue reading

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This Tokyo Temple Is The Purr-fect Place For Cat Lovers

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Cats seemingly play a very important role in Japanese lives. Hello Kitty is a hugely popular brand and then there’s also the station master cat, numerous cat cafes, cat island and super-lucky cats are often seen outside restaurants and shops beckoning (not waving good-bye as many tourists think!) customers to enter the establishment.

Time Out Tokyo often produce guides to different parts of the capital city (and beyond) and I usually make a point of Continue reading

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Review: Films Set In Japan – Babel (2006)

This tale of three stories on three different continents intertwining with one another features Mexico, Morocco and Japan which is of course the reason it’s included in this feature. Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu makes full use of these differing backdrops to bring the picture alive with a heavy preference for hand-held camera work.

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The director certainly likes the muted screen approach too and lets the pictures do the talking with just a soundtrack. This happens a few times and just goes to show how Continue reading

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