The Quirky Side of Japan…

As stated in my very first post, this blog is designed to be a diary of my time in Japan. A way of remembering every little detail no matter how small. Flicking through some old photos, I have realised that there are many things I have encountered or experienced that for some reason just never made it into any of my blog entries so far. So this is a post for the miscellaneous… the forgotten little things.

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1. The sumo part of town. We have still yet to attend a sumo match (it is very high on the to do list) but that didn’t stop us visiting the Ryogoku area one summer after exploring the Edo Museum.

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The area is small but fun to explore and I would highly recommend the Edo museum if you like your history, especially of Tokyo.

2. Koinobori

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Otherwise known as ‘carp windsocks’ they can be found all over Japan from late April to early May. They are a symbol of ‘Children’s Day’ celebrated during Golden Week on May 5th. Every year you can see them blowing in the wind of parks, gardens and even our school playground. Each fish is a different size and colour depicting each family member mainly dad, mum and any children. These pictures were taken at Kasairinkaikoen- a seaside park just 25mins on the Keiyo line.

3. A Japanese Wedding

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This was taken at Meiji Shrine. If you visit on a weekend you may get a glimpse for yourself of the procession from the ceremonial shrine building to the reception rooms.

4. Street festivals

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This I happened across on my way home from the hair dressers one day. It is located in Omotesando, a district of Tokyo next to Harajuku. The main road was blocked off to traffic and down the street, one after the other, various dance groups performed to the crowds adorning each side of the road to music played by their own personally decorated lorry truck. It was impressive to watch and a pleasant surprise on my way home.

5. Tiny escalators

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Japan is full of tiny escalators. Sometimes I’m not entirely sure of their purpose but they are entertaining and cute! This one was the height of just 8 steps found at Kamakura station.

6. Earthquake cushions…

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I’m sure I have mentioned in an earlier blog about earthquake cushions. My children have them on the back of their chairs at school and are expected to wear them in cases of big earthquakes or during earthquake drills. I finally managed to get a photo of two delightful young men willing to model them for us! Stylish eh?

7. Large beer cans.

Drinking beer is an extremely popular pass time in Japan. With long working hours, it is one of the few ways workers can enjoy themselves however, 1000ml is a little extreme!!

8. Hello Kitty Cafe.



Tokyo is filled with themed cafes and restaurants but nothing quite as cute as the Hello Kitty cafe in Odaiba. We took some family for fun but it turns out they make the best scones in Japan!

9. Giant Apples

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The apples here in Japan are so big! I have to split them into two to eat them and whenever I go home to the UK, the apples there look like toy apples! They’re tiny!!

Bowing

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Bowing is an integral part of Japanese culture. Having lived here for a number of years now, I find myself bowing at the end of a telephone conversation even though the person on the other end of the phone clearly can’t see me. It is the expected way to say thank you and to greet people. It is so ingrained into the Japanese way of life that even pictures of people bowing are displayed on signs or screens as a sign of thanks. Here is just one example from a sushi restaurant.

So that’s it for now. A few small reminders for my future self of just some of the things that make my time here so unique.

Here’s to many more in the future!

SP x

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