February 28, 2010

Jitsugetsu Shrine

This is the entrance to Jitsu-getsu Shrine (日月神社).

The stone stairs lead up toward the main shrine. I noticed a lot of people just walking around or little children playing in the lower area.

I'm sure the fierce creature guarding the shrine enjoys having people come by.

February 26, 2010

Look Up

A little bit of everything. Love both the yellow Robai (Winter Sweet) and the white Ume (Plum Blossoms). And the arm like branches reaching out to the sky.

Happy weekend everyone!

Take a look at different skies all around the world here.

February 25, 2010

Arms Reaching Out

It's getting warmer but the trees are still very bare. Can't wait until these trees turn green again!

February 24, 2010

Movie Night

There was a used DVD and CD market near Tokorozawa Station. Most of the DVD's were foreign movies, but they had a little corner for Japanese movies.

Japanese films have been quite popular lately, especially since 2006 when Japanese films pulled in a higher film gross than foreign films.

This DVD in the photo is called 'Abunai Deka (Dangerous Detectives),' about a couple of maverick cops who solve cases. It was a really popular TV series and was made into a movie. This is the only one I've seen, but it's really silly and filled with action. A great movie to watch for fun!

February 23, 2010

Signs of Spring

I see signs of spring all over the place these days!

This is one of the pink plum blossoms at Koku Park. Plum blossoms are a sure sign that spring is near. So is my stuffy nose (hayfever).

February 22, 2010


This is one of the many pedestrian overpasses around Tokorozawa.

We have quite a few, although many of them are being taken down and changing into intersections for it to be more handicapped friendly. Of course I think this is a great idea.

But there is also something about these overpasses that make me sad to see them go. Maybe it's the retro colors, or the fact that I like climbing stairs, or it could just be the gleeful feeling I get when seeing the traffic below.

I'm hoping when it comes down to it, taking this overpass down will cost too much money so they just leave it AND make an intersection. Wouldn't that be nice.

February 21, 2010

West Exit Buildings

The rest of the buildings around the Tokorozawa Station west exit reflecting onto the station building.

See other reflections from around the world at Weekend Reflections.

February 20, 2010

Saitama Broncos

Tokorozawa Civic Gymnasium is home to the Saitama Broncos, one of the pro basketball teams in the Bj League.

Basektball is not very popular in Japan. Baseball and soccer are much more known. But the number of fans following the Bj League is definately on the rise.

There were a couple of young fans dancing along with the cheerleaders during halftime.

February 19, 2010

Decorate the Sky

Just happened to glance up at the sky after getting off the Shin Tokorozawa Station.

Sometimes the telephone poles and other wires can get in the way. But other times, like this, it can decorate a view.

Happy weekend everyone!

Take a look at different skies all around the world here.

February 18, 2010

Is This It?

It hasn't snowed like this in years!

We usually only get a day or two of snow each winter. And it usually just melts away. But it started snowing last night. Everything melted during the day, but we got a taste of winter again.

It's suppose to be sunny and warm next week so I enjoyed the last bits of winter we had today.

February 17, 2010


I simply adore the colors of this building!

When it's open, the building is a small skateboard shop with a indoor half pipe on the first floor. But I just like seeing the colors.

February 16, 2010

Up It Goes

They say that the ivy ruins whatever it grows on...but I still like it. Ivy on the wall, around a tree trunk, or like this one, climbing up an entrance post.

February 15, 2010

Yum Yum!

This post is for Deden (Bandung Documentary Photo), who appears to like ramen!

This is at Shisen Ramen Ryu-no-ko (四川ラーメン龍の子), a popular local ramen shop near Tokorozawa station. My favorite is this ramen called the 'Ultimate Salt Flavored Ramen.' The soup is delicious and I like the 'Aosa' they put in the dish, a type of seaweed sometimes called Sea Lettuce. Yummy!

They have various ramen and other types of noodles on their menu, all of them quite tasty!

February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

I made Valentine's cookies with a friend this year!

Valentine's Day in Japan involves the girls giving the guys chocolate, or some other present like a handmade scarf. But it's not as if the girls miss out on anything. We also have a White Day on March 14th where the guys give back to the girls.

I'm always suspicious of this system because, a) the guys don't give us chocolate on White Day, and what I want is chocolate! b) when you're a student we only have school until the beginning of March, so unless the guys are persistent, you're not at school to receive the present! and c) it just seems like a plot to make you spend more money...

BUT! I'm a sucker for holidays and end up baking something or the other every year! Hope you all had a lovely valentine's day, too!

February 12, 2010

Sunset with a View

The end of another week.

The sky above Tokorozawa was pretty earlier this week.

Do you see the slightly faded mountain on the left? That is Mt. Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan. It is located about 85km southwest of Tokorozawa, on the border of Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefecture.

It's not everyday that the sky is clear like this, which makes the view of Mt. Fuji even more special.

Take a look at different skies all around the world here.

February 11, 2010

Take Your Pick

Onigiri, or a rice ball, is something every Japanese eats. This Onigiri is a sample in front of the Furikake shop inside Seibu Department Store. Furikake (pronounced furry-cah-kay) is seasoning that we sprinkle on top of rice.

There are a lot of different types of seasoning made from fish, seaweed, eggs, etc. My favorite is the Ume Furikake, which is made from dried plums.

February 10, 2010

On the Wall

Aaaaaaand we're back to winter again today. That was fast.

It seems the lovely spring weather was just yesterday, and we're back to a few more weeks of cold, cloudy, and rain.

While I was walking around town last weekend, this wall with the shadows caught my eye. Looks like a jungle, but the house in across from the wall actually had a very pretty Japanese garden-like yard.

February 9, 2010

A Sign Of Spring

I can smell spring today! It's so warm outside. The sun is shining and I am humming a tune. How are you?

I found some pretty plum blossoms inside the Japanese garden at Koku Park. In the photo below you can see the Tea House in the background. You can stop in here to relax and enjoy the Japanese green tea and snack set for 500yen.

February 8, 2010

Wanna Join?

Found this very old looking poster the other day. Don't you just love the animation of the pitcher in the middle? So retro. It says 'Recruiting for Little League!'

I have to wonder how long they've been recruiting...

February 7, 2010


It seems there are warning signs all over Tokorozawa. Including my apartment.

This sign says 'Do not rush in! Do not stand still!.'

So I'm guessing I should walk towards this automatic door at a relatively even speed and continue on without hesitating?

February 6, 2010

Bringing In the Luck

Setsubun(節分) is celebrated on February 3rd here in Japan.

Setsubun means the 'start of a new season' so it would mean the day before the start of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. But as spring is considered the 'start of the new year,' Setsubun now refers to the day before spring and many shrines and temples have a Setsubun Festival on the 3rd or the closest weekend.

This is at Tokorozawa Shrine. One of the events at the Setsubun Festival is the 'Mame Maki' which means 'Bean Throwing.' This is a tradition that is said to have come from China during the Heian Era.

What happens is, at a shrine, certain people would throw roasted soybeans or peanuts out at the crowd shouting 'Fuku Wa Uchi!' meaning 'Luck Come In!' as the crowd of people gathered there would try to catch the beans. Some different shrines would also shout 'Oni Wa Soto!' which means 'Demons Out!' but, although I'm not sure of the reason, we don't say that here at the Tokorozawa Shrine.

Catching the beans brings luck to your home, so as you can see, these people are pretty serious about catching those beans. But they're also having fun out there. It was really funny seeing all the old grandpa's and grandma's pushing and shoving their way to the front. I'm sure even if they don't catch very many, just participating in this event gives them the energy to live long and prosper!

I was snapping away on my camera but still managed to catch one. Yay!

February 5, 2010

Mr. Snowman

When it snows, you HAVE to make a snowman! Even if it's a teeny tiny one.

Take a look at different skies all around the world here.

February 4, 2010

It's Still Winter

A bit more photos of the snow we had this week.

I kind of feel sorry for the blooms that popped out thinking winter was almost over, only to get all that snow dumped on them. But I think they still look pretty.

February 3, 2010

Guardian of Children

This stone statue is commonly referred to as Ojizo-sama. He is considered to be the guardian of children's souls, especially children who've passed away before their parents. Most Ojizo-sama wear bibs and/or other baby accessories. They can often be found along side roads and near cemeteries.

Many people who pass by offer flowers and toys as gifts.

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