February 3rd was Setsubun in Japan,  marking the seasonal division according to the lunar calendar. Setsubun incorporates elements of Mardi Gras, Halloween, Groundhog day, and culinary geomancy. While  there is ample info about this great traditional holiday available on the web, I’d thought I share some of my experiences from the day. Being that this […]

Micro-Balconying – Enjoying the great outdoors from your apartment balcony

One of the most intriguing things to witness in the Tokyo metroplex is just how little residents utilize balcony space. Most are simply relegated as spaces for hanging laundry, which admittedly, is all there seems to be room for.  But laundry isn’t always drying, and it is in those instances when residents should look to […]


Being a lifelong dog lover, living in the constriction that defines Japanese urban life has forced me to abandon man’s best friend until we move to more spacious environs (or finding a landlord that permits pets).  Under pressure from a dog crazed wife, I finally consented to her pleads to check out a nearby pet […]

Todoroki Valley

In my constant quest to discover green space within the Tokyo-Yokohama Metroplex, I came across one of the more startling contrasts between cityscape and nature at the Todoroki Valley (等々力 渓谷) in Setagaya Ward. The Todoroki Valley is a walking path approximately 1 km long which follows a small cascading stream and terminates at a beautiful […]

Mt. Okusu – Zushi

Sometimes building up the motivation to hike a mountain in the Tokyo area is tough.  Not the hikes themselves, though they can be challenging, but the often extremely early wake up times necessary to catch the train to the mountain.  This had been a problem for the past couple weekends for me and my wife.  […]

Daikanyama T-Site

Usually when visiting a particular place that gets raving reviews from critics of contemporary design I am left feeling a bit let down.  This is especially the case in Japan, where critics often praise particular locations but neglect to mention just how overwhelming expensive those locals are (Omotosando, Roppongi, Ginza) and the type of clientele […]

Traditional Inn along the Nakasendo

During the Edo era, there was two main routes from Kyoto to Edo (Tokyo).  The lower, most widely know route, was the Tokaido.  The other, more interior route, was called the Nakasendo.  Preserved along a portion of the Nakasendo are a series of old post towns that keep that old Edo charm focusing on traditional wooden architecture […]