28 November, 2010

Travelling by Train


Travelling within Japan could be expensive for Japanese people.

If you have a foreign passport, or live in a foreign country, you can buy a "Japan Rail Pass" for a very reasonable price.

It takes you almost anywhere in Japan.

That is one of the reasons I prefer to travel outside my country.

It is a shame I can't travel with my friends visiting Japan, because they can buy this pass, and I can't... That is so ironic!

Well, maybe I shouldn't complain because I can get a Eurail Pass and travel around in Europe.



But, can Europeans buy an Eurail Pass?

If not, I will need to travel alone! (so ironic...)

This photo was taken at a secret place in France.

I am so attracted to these rail tracks. Trains passe here only once a day.

I was lying down on the ground while taking this photo. The cat was posing especially for me.

Or, she might have been wondering, "what is that Asian man doing here in my territory?"
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26 November, 2010

Kawagoe, my hometown

The word "hometown" has two meanings.

1. the place you were born.

2. the place you live now.

I was born in an old city called Kawagoe, but I kept moving one place to another. I didn't spend so much time in Kawagoe.

I feel so much at home in Tokyo where I live now.

Kawagoe attracts more and more visitors, and is often introduced in guidebooks.

I visited Kawagoe three times in the past 20 years. On each visit, I was together with a friend from another country.

Unfortunately, Kawagoe is becoming a sightseeing spot for me, too.

The photo was taken at Kashiya-yokocho (sweet shop alley, or confectionery row), Kawagoe. Look at the bead curtains made of candies!

It's too dangerous for me to live in the alley.

Changing the subject, I want to add the third meaning to the word, "hometown."

3. the place you feel at home, or feel welcomed.

In this sense, Tokyo is my hometown, and Paris is also becoming my hometown.
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Hello Kitty Everywhere

Our cute English girl, Hello Kitty can be found any part of the city, at any kind of shops.

She is on food products, on clothing, cameras, anything you can think of.

I remember seeing a Hallo Kitty rice cooker.

People don't believe me, but there was a Hello Kitty credit card as well.

I found "Hello Kitty Boot Stand"just a while ago in Tokyo.

Somebody, please teach me how to use it?

Hope this is something only for ladies... and a booted leather man doesn't have to buy anything like that.
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25 November, 2010

Hello Kitty Zippo

This character, Hello Kitty, must be one of the most famous Japanese products.

I don't exactly know why she is so popular.

Though, I can easily imagine she is making a lot of money.

This "Hello Kitty Zippo limited edition" is sold for 24,000 yen (about 215 Euros).

She doesn't have a mouth, so she must be very quiet.

Okay, that is the difference between Hello Kitty and me. Maybe I need to keep my mouth shut and make myself more mysterious?

I just found out something new about her.


According to her official site, she was born in the suburbs of London, England...

So, she isn't Japanese...

She is English!  She is so mysterious!

Was she named Hello Kitty, because she was born in England?

She seemed to have a boyfriend, named Daniel. I wonder if he is also English?

I have more and more questions.  I hope someday she starts telling us more about her mysterious life.
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24 November, 2010

Bears

Native Japanese people, Ainu, considered bears as the gifts and messenger from another world.

Even now, in the 21st century, some people firmly believe it.

I am one of them.

There is something I cannot explain in words about how I feel about bears...

But I can at least say I am so fortunate to be on this beautiful planet where bears live.

I love them, respect them, and just adore them.

I want more bears to come from the other side of the world, or I will need to go to the other side to meet them myself.

Woof!
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22 November, 2010

Buying flowers

This man is carrying a huge bouquet on the train.

That's actually something you almost never see in Tokyo.

One of the most embarrassing places for Japanese men to go is a florist according to some survey.

(Unfortunately, I forgot what else was on the list. )

In the West, it is common for men to give flowers to women. And that is one thing you cannot expect in Japan. Women here buy flowers themselves.

So, if you are a man, and want to attract Japanese women, please buy them flowers. Trust me, it works!

Wondering why this Japanese man is carrying flowers? Probably your guess is correct!
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21 November, 2010

A cup of green tea

When people in Japan say, "let's have a cup of tea," they don't mean green tea.

They will probably take you to a cafe for a cup of coffee or English tea.

Do they drink green tea?

Of course, they do.

Green tea is either, served at Japanese restaurant for free together with meals, or at home.

I took this photo because it was so unusual that I had to pay for a cup of green tea at this old fashioned tea house.

Also, they didn't have any coffee nor English tea there. (I rather liked that!)

Oh, just for your information, Starbucks Coffee is found everywhere in Tokyo. And they serve green tea. No, it's not free.
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20 November, 2010

Paris loves me

This photo was taken in Paris.

N.Y.LOVES ME... What does that mean in Paris?

My guess is the graffiti artist was not very well accepted in Paris, and he missed New York.

He was in love with Paris, but it was one way love.

Instead of saying "I hate Paris," he only stated the fact in a passive way that he was loved by New York.  I think it's very polite.

The artist loved Paris so much that he couldn't be rude to the city...

That is a beautiful story (which I made up.)





So, this is my way of saying "I love Paris." I am Japanese. I am not very direct.

P.S. I think Paris loves me.

18 November, 2010

Being cute


So, this cute manga character is supposed to be me! Yes, it's awfully cute!

This character was made for my latest book published in Japan this summer. He has a magical power to help people clear clutter, find their true wishes, and make them come true.

Also, he is addicted to chocolates...

What I have learned is, things sell better if they are cute. Japanese pop culture is indeed "kawaii=cute" culture. They even turn a 41 year old man like me into such a cute figure. It's almost magical!


I hope my readers don't get disappointed when they see me in person.

Do I like him? Oh, yes, I am in love with him!
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Manhole in Tokyo

 I personally like things that are cool, rather than cute.

But it seems like all the other people here expect everything to be cute.

Japanese "cute" pop culture, (Manga, Anime, video games to start with) is something Japan can be proud of. Though, it doesn't have to replace the traditional and sophisticated culture.

If I were the manhole artist, I would depict a traditional looking, cool, and manly fireman!

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17 November, 2010

Telecommunication



I can't imagine my life without my laptop computer and iPhone. It has been truly amazing in the past 15 years or so, to think how dramatically my life has changed.

But I have a slight concern that we are not getting any better at communicating with each other, even though our communication tools have so nicely been developed.

I have been working as a writer and an astrologer for 16 years or so. One of the reasons I do my work is to help people understand each other. Deep down, we are not so different from each other no matter how we may look different on the surface.

This is a pay phone still in use at one of my favorite restaurants in Tokyo. Believe it or not, you can actually reach your friend by using this phone.

What's important is what we tell to each other, and not how.
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16 November, 2010

Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow - Shame

In the past 10 years or so, I have been a medium big fan of Robbie Williams, and I didn't know much about Take That. Oh, but, I am now becoming a BIG fan of Gary Barlow... Thank you, Robbie.

I don't know exactly know why, but I feel like I am a teenager again! Somebody told me anything that makes him feel young is wonderful. How true!

Anyway, there is something magical here. It was enough to make me run into a CD shop.

15 November, 2010

Retirement age

People in Japan normally retire at the age of 60.

A friend of mine, a university professor, says he can work until he is 65 at his university.

I just had to ask him, "Do you know how lucky you are?"

His answer was "oh, yes. Of course, I'm very lucky."

He is American, though, he has been living in Tokyo for 30 years. So nicely Japanized.

A la mode

My boyfriend is a French man.

What my Japanese friends say is "oh, it's so fashionable to have a French boyfriend!"

My boyfriend's boyfriend (me) is a Japanese man.

And what his French friends may say is "oh, it's so fashionable to have a Japanese boyfriend!"