November 30, 2010

Back To The Grind

I'm finally back in Tokorozawa and all these colorful fall leaves were here to welcome me back!

How have you all been? I had SUCH a great time in DC...the wedding was wonderful, being with old friends was beyond fun, and thanksgiving dinner was amazing! Just between us...I really didn't want to come back (mostly, to work).

But these gorgeous leaves made coming back to reality and going back to work just a bit easier. Walking to the station surrounded by colorful trees is quite relaxing. Hope you're enjoying a lovely fall (or whatever season) day in your city, too!

November 16, 2010

Sayonara For A While

I love those days where the air is crisp. It seems winter is creeping up on us...but I don't mind at all. Especially on a glorious day like this.

Tomorrow I'll be heading to DC for a few weeks. My best friend from grade school is getting married and I'm super excited for her! I'm going to be giving the wedding photographer a run for his/her money and take a whole bunch of photos. Or as much as I'm able since I'm actually in the wedding as well. Do you think it's possible for a bridesmaid to take photos during the wedding ceremony? Hmmm.

I won't be able to update this blog for awhile...but hopefully I will be able to drop by to comment on yours. In the mean time, I wish you all a wonderful week!

November 15, 2010

Hammer Away

There's a lot of construction going on lately. I love watching construction sights and seeing the houses take shape.

My dad is a really good carpenter, and although that's not his profession, he used to make bunk beds and study desks for us kids when we were little. All the noise at the construction sight brings back memories!

November 14, 2010

Long and Narrow

This is another bridge that crosses over Yanase River.

It's pretty narrow but I saw a lot of people crossing it on their bikes. Very clever riding technique involved.

Click below for photos of wonderful bridges around the world!

November 12, 2010

Beyond Tired

I can almost hear these men muttering "Thank god it's Friday..." as they ride the train home. I'm sure you can imagine their faces, too. Pure exhaustion.

But whether it's from work or just too much drinking, I can't be sure.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

November 11, 2010

Sound the Bells

This is the rope attached to the shrine bell of Kume Suitengu (see yesterday's post). Many people who come to pray here use this rope to ring the bell. It's a way to announce their presence before their time in prayer.

You can see in the photo bellow that many people have swung this rope around to ring the bell.

There is usually a offering box under the bell, where people toss in their coins. At the shrine the method of prayer after ringing the bell is: toss coin, two bows, two claps, pray, then one last bow.

November 10, 2010

Kume Suitengu

These stairs lead up to Kume Suitengu (久米水天宮) Shrine.

This shrine is what we call Sessha (摂社), a shrine that is located within another main shrine's domain. But unlike other sessha, Kume Suitengu has its own entrance and stairs. 

I love how it's located in the woods and surrounded by nature. The god of safe birth is known to be here in Kume Suitengu and many families with expecting mothers come to be blessed. 

November 9, 2010

Maboroshi-ken Ramen

Maboroshi-ken (まぼろし軒) is a popular ramen shop in Tokorozawa. This dish is my favorite Tonkotsu-Shio Ramen (とんこつ塩ラーメン), which is ramen with broth made from pork bones and salt. Just the thing to fill your stomach after a long afternoon walk.

Maboroshi-ken just started their lunch hour. Until recently they were only open at night.

I don't know about everywhere else but in Japan there is a thing called Shime (締め pronounced She-meh). When people go out to eat and/or drink in Japan (which we call Nomikai (飲み会)) it can lead to a second stage which we call Nijikai (second party) where we all go karaoke, bowling, or just to another Izakaya. The bigger the event, the longer these after parties keep on going.

Anyways, the Shime comes at the very end of the night (i.e. early morning). And this is just speaking from experience but a lot of times this ends up being ramen, probably because ramen shops tend to be open in the middle of the night and you can be in and out of the shop quite quickly.

Eating ramen at 4am is probably not the greatest idea health-wise. But it's still very very tasty!

Maboroshi-ken is open everyday from 11:30am to 5pm and again from 5:30pm to 4am.

November 8, 2010

Happy Face

Monday is never an easy day. But these flowers just brightened up my day today.

Hope they cheer you up, too.

November 7, 2010

Now and Then

This bridge crosses over Yanase River.

In the 1970s, during the economic growth, the river was very polluted. But through the sewer system maintenance and community clean up efforts, Yanase River currently has very clear water.

Hopefully it stays that way.

Click below for photos of wonderful bridges around the world!

November 6, 2010

Matsugaoka Regulating Reservoir

This is the Matsugaoka Regulating Reservoir.

At first I thought it was just filled with rain water. But then I actually spotted birds, fish, and turtles enjoying the water in the reservoir. It was nice to see so much nature in a man-made lake.

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

November 5, 2010

House After House

This area had a lot of family houses. I really liked this view with all the houses in a row.

Take a look at more beautiful skies all around the world here.

November 4, 2010

A Thousand Prayers

Have you ever seen a Senbazuru (千羽鶴) before?

Senbazuru means "a thousand cranes," which is what it really is. They are paper cranes made from origami, strung together with string. It's traditional to make this Senbazuru for people who we want to wish good luck to or to get better. Every crane we make is like a prayer.

I found this Senbazuru at a shrine, which is one of the places people bring it to, to pray for the well-being of others. It even had beads at the end of the strings. I hope their prayer was answered.

November 3, 2010

Well Ridden

This is Higashiharai Park (東原井公園). It's a teeny weeny park with two benches, a sandbox, and two animals on springs.

When I passed by there was no one there. But, from the looks of the handles, it seems like a lot of kids have ridden on both the panda and koala.

I remember I really liked this when I was little, too. My sister and I used to bounce around like crazy. I'm surprised we didn't pull the thing out of the ground!

I imagine many kids made the same kind of memories here, too.

November 2, 2010

Veggie Delight

I found this vegetable patch around the corner from Jimyoin Temple.

I really love gardens. But I also know it takes a lot of energy and time to keep a good garden. Which is why all I do is admire my neighbor's garden these days.

But hopefully one of these days...

November 1, 2010

Crossing the Rails

It's already November? Cannot for the life of me figure out how that happened so fast.

Well, it's theme day again at CDP. This month the theme is "Public Transportation." Here in Tokorozawa we don't really use anything unusual. Mostly trains, cars, and buses.

There are two train lines that go through Tokorozawa Station. As these train lines are on the ground, we have many railroad crossings like this one. During the rush hour we can be left standing there for almost 10 minutes.

But I don't really mind because I like watching the trains go by as all sorts of lights and sounds warn people of the passing train. It's quite a show.

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