May 31, 2010

Pastel Pottery

This cup is a creation I found at Chocolate Cosmos by the craft potter Chiaki Shoji.

I love the soft pastel colors in her cups and plates.

May 30, 2010

Bridge with Flowers

A different angle of last week's bridge.

The flowers were hidden from the road and I had to crouch really low to fit the flowers in this photo. An old man walking his dog was watching me the whole time, trying to figure out what it was that I was trying to do. haha.

Click below for more lovely photos of bridges around the world!

Sunday Bridges

May 27, 2010

Run Forrest Run

Koku Park has a 1.95km track.

I know. Why 1.95? Why not 2km? Well, I'm not sure why it's that length but nobody seems to care because there are a lot of people out running or walking. Especially in the mornings.

I like this track because it goes all over the park. And although it's a bit short, the track goes up and down hills, which makes it a bit more challenging!

May 26, 2010

Bear-y Loved

This is the big teddy bear sitting in the children's book corner at Tokorozawa Public Library.

You can tell by the way the way it's squished that everyone loves this bear!

May 25, 2010

Lotus Luck

Have you ever eaten a Lotus Root? It's called 'Renkon (蓮根)' in Japanese and is a popular vegetable here.

In Japan the Lotus Root is considered to be good luck. If you've ever cut a Lotus Root, you'll know that there are a lot of holes. And because you can look through the Lotus Root, it is believed that it gives you insight into the future.

I found these Lotus Root chopstick holders in various places around the shop Chocolate Cosmos. The owner told me that they were popular as an extra something when people buy presents there. Aren't they cute?

Anyone who wants to stop by the shop, it's open from 11am to 7pm mostly everyday!

May 24, 2010

Chocolate Cosmos

On my walk the other day, I stumbled upon this painting on the wall of a local shop! And while I was taking a photo of it, the owner of the shop noticed and was nice enough to invite me inside.

This shop/gallery is called 'Wa no Utsuwa (和の器) - Chocolate Cosmos' and has the most amazing work of art on display!

I learned from the owner (the sweet lady on the left!) that the lovely painting outside was done by a local artist named ARAYAN. I don't know much about him but I really like his work!

Here are a couple of postcards in a frame on display inside the shop.

May 23, 2010

Historical Bridge

I took this photo with my new Xperia cellphone. Like White Oleander, I'm loving my toy camera application! (See her lomography photos at Næstved Daily Photo)

Anyways, this is Tokorozawa's famous Asahi Bridge. Like I've said before, I really like the tile arches on this bridge.

Click below for more lovely photos of bridges around the world!

Sunday Bridges

May 22, 2010


The Seibu Department Store Waltz is always crowded on the weekends! It's right outside of Tokorozawa Station so many people come, not only in their cars, but by train, too.

See other reflections from around the world at Weekend Reflections hosted by James.

May 21, 2010

High Tech

This is NTT East's phone tower above one of their buildings. NTT, which stands for Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, is a major telecommunication company in Japan.

Although this tower is very important for people to communicate with each other...I just like looking at it!

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

May 20, 2010

You and Me Both

I'm not sure what this flower is called but it had a very sweet fragrance!

People would walk by and look around trying to figure out where the perfume came from. Some would figure it out, some would walk away scratching their heads.

But they all say the same thing. "Ii kaori! (Nice fragrance!)"

And I would grin because Kaori is my name and it seemed like they were showering me with compliments!

PS: Sushi and Tall Gary have notified me that the name of this lovely flower is officially called Rosa Banksiae, also known in English as Banksia Rose! Thank you both!

May 18, 2010

Tiger Festival

Little little tigers, lined up along the main temple at Tamon Temple.

These tigers (Tora in Japanese) are placed here in our stead, with our prayers, so that no harm will fall on us. Bishamonten, the Buddhist god that is enshrined at Tamon Temple, personified as a tiger. The reason there are so many tigers.

Can you see all the different expressions on their faces? All the tigers are handmade!

May 17, 2010

Red Overhead

Nodate Parasol is a outdoor parasol commonly seen in temples and shrines. This particular type is called Tsumaore, which uses these colorful threads to weave the middle part.

This was used at Tamon Temple to shade people sitting on the benches outside.

May 16, 2010

Kami Bridge

Kami Bridge is another one of the bridges over Azuma River. This one has a very new sign with the bridge name on it. It reads 'Kami-bashi.'

Sometimes you can see ducks swimming in the river below, but no such luck today.

Click below for more lovely photos of bridges around the world!

Sunday Bridges

May 14, 2010

Morning Run

Now that the weather is warmer, I'm thinking about starting to run again.

The park in the afternoon is crowded with people, which is great. But sometimes, being surrounded by the peace and quite in the morning is just what you need to start the day.

This is what the Koku Park looks like at 7am. There were a lot of people jogging on the 1.8km course. But this field was all mine!

Happy weekend everyone!

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

May 13, 2010

Kurakata Dolls

This is a very grim and fierce looking doll on the display at Kurakata Ningyo (doll) store in Tokorozawa.

Kurakata Ningyo was started in 1830 by a farmer who made dolls as a side job. They have a long and interesting history of making traditional dolls, and includes events such as loosing their entire house in the big Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and receiving the Prime Minister's Award in 1985.

Seeing the display of dolls and learning about the many people who have maintained the traditional craftsmanship since the Edo Era was a very interesting experience. I hope I get to see more dolls during the festival seasons!

May 12, 2010

Into The Wild

As much as I love cultivated flowers, I have a soft spot for wild flowers. They're so rare these days, especially in the city.

May 11, 2010

Pasta at Popolamama's

Being a vegetarian in Japan can be quite difficult at times. Especially since the concept of someone not eating meat or fish is still not common here. I get the 'so...what DO you eat?' question often.

Which is why I love pasta so much because it's easy to find or ask for a vegetarian dish! I had the Penne Cheese Cream Sauce with Black Pepper (above) and my friend got the Carbonara with Bacon and Egg (below).

Popolamama first opened in 1995 and now has over 100 chain restaurants in Japan. This is the Popolamama in Shin Tokorozawa.

They are known for the use of fresh pasta made from Durum Semolina Wheat. Not that I know what that is...but I can tell you that the pasta is really good!

This place is also really popular with the college crowd as all the dishes are inexpensive but have plenty of volume. So if you're ever hungry for quick plate of pasta, this is the place to go!

May 10, 2010

The Tada's

Although I do not know any of the Tada family, I'm pretty sure they are very nice and artistic people.

I'm thinking Mr. Tada probably has a moustache...and always wears shiny shoes. And Mrs. Tada...well, she probably has a fashionable wardrobe and adores her garden. Oh and the Tada children (if they have any) would definately be taking lessons. Maybe horseback riding...piano...or oil painting?

Where did I get all this, you ask?

From this lovely creative sign on their property wall, of course.

May 9, 2010

Matsui Bridge

If you look really closely in yesterdays photo, you'll see a bridge at the far end of the river.

This bridge is actually more like a road with the river running under it. But whatever it looks like, a bridge is a bridge. I took a photo of the name written on the side of the bridge.

This is Matsui Bashi.

Click below for more lovely photos of bridges around the world!

Sunday Bridges

May 8, 2010

Tunnel of Green

Seems like we jumped from winter to summer all of a sudden. I took a walk down the Azuma River the other day. The cherry trees are now lush with green leaves.

The reflection of the trees above on the river below is very pretty, don't you think?

See other reflections from around the world at Weekend Reflections hosted by James.

May 7, 2010

Splendid Sky

The sky was beautiful.

I was relaxing in a park, reading a book I had just borrowed from the library, and this is what I saw when I looked up. I'm glad the book was a bit difficult to read (it was a Japanese book) or I may have missed this!

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

May 6, 2010

Colorful Carps

Another Children's Day tradition is the 'Koinobori (鯉のぼり),' which translates to carp kite.

A carp kite usually has a couple of colorful cloth carps strung onto a long bar that is decorated out a window. This is a tradition that started sometime in the Edo Era. It is based on a legend in China, where a carp swam up a river against strong currents and became a dragon. So like the carp in the legend, the people started this tradition in hopes that their children to be healthy and grow up to prosper.

The miniature Koinobori in the photos were taken at Midoricho Chuo Park in Shin Tokorozawa. There were over 300 of the little carps above the side path.

The little kids were singing a traditional Koinobori song while they walked along the path. So lyrics start out with 'Yane yori takai, Koinobori! (屋根より高い鯉のぼり)' which translates to something like, 'Carp Kites, higher than the rooftops.'

You can hear the whole song here:

I don't know if these Koinobori were higher than the rooftops, but they were great to look at, softly swimming with the wind!

May 5, 2010

Children's Day

Today is Children's Day called 'Kodomo No Hi (こどもの日),' the last day of Golden Week.

This day originally was called 'Tango No Sekku (端午の節句)' and celebrated the future growth and success of young boys (as apposed to the Doll Festival for girls). But in 1948 the day became a national holiday and it was renamed Children's Day to celebrate both young boys and young girls.

But although the name has changed, much of the traditions surrounding this holiday are associated with the old holiday. Such as this 'Kabuto (兜)' in the photo above or the 'Gogatsu Ningyo (五月人形)' which translates to May Doll, below.

In the olden days, when a boy was born into a Samurai family, they would decorate the entrance of the house with a Kabuto or Doll. You can see the dolls are wearing a 'Yoroi,' which were important armour in a battle for a Samurai. So they would decorated the entrance in hopes that the son would grow to be strong, healthy, and kept from from harm.

I hope children all over the world grow to be strong and healthy, and most importantly kept from harm. Happy Children's Day!

May 4, 2010

Swing Swing

I've been a long-time fan of hammocks. I simply adore hammocks.

Well, my friend bought this hammock in Thailand so we decided to try it out at Koku Park the other day. And let me tell you, it was great!

Taking a nap, reading a good book, or just swinging back and forth. We had a great afternoon hanging out at the park with the hammock. I like them even more now!

Today is Greenery Day called 'Midori no hi (みどりの日)' in Japanese. It's a holiday to commune with nature and to appreciate it so we may grow rich in spirit.

So...where else would you go on a day like this but to a park?

And if you hung your hammock on a tree, you'll have a great view of green leaves just like I did!

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