With both trains moving at over 150 miles per hour, it’s only by accident that you can get a picture of the Shinkansen train that is passing you – notice the slanted windows?
Sugidama – these balls of fresh cedar branches are on display outside of sake establishments. Usually you find them in shades of brown, but when they are freshly made they are a vibrant green. They are hung fresh when the sake is pressed and when brown, the sake is ready to drink. Find these in the sake town of Saijo near Hiroshima.
Strawberries in Japan are amazing! And these were some of the best we’ve ever had. We didn’t even get out of the airport – we bought these at a fruit and vegetable stand right inside Terminal 2 at Narita and ate them on the way into the city.
Most places in Japan don’t have street food; but there are a few near famous tourist places. These squid balls can be found near Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto and, frankly, all throughout Japan.
The traditional homes along the canal in Kurashiki are reflected in the still waters of spring.
Japan is known for it’s vending machines, which offer just about everything at all hours of the day and night. This one has an non-Japanese speaker puzzled though – where DO you put the money?
We found this poor, dejected robot sitting in the corner of a store in downtown Tokyo. Looks like he’s been put in timeout!
The Japanese hide beauty in the most unexpected places. This wall of multi-covered ivy is found in the upper level of the front (Yeasu side) of Tokyo Station, where tourists would rarely go.
This slice of daily life is from Shinjuku station, one of Japan’s largest, during off hours. The underground routes criss-cross each other as people rush to their trains and subways. During rush hours the place is thronged with Japanese going to work or home.
One of the entrance doors to the Daimaru department store in Tokyo Stations features the most unusual music we’ve ever heard in a store. Let us know what you think…
On the Oi River in Arashiyama, some fishers are out early.
Late into the evening the streets of Shinjuku, in front of its famous station, are still thronged with crowds.
Sound of Wind by Takao Tsuchida is one of the many, many contemporary art pieces beckoning you into a fuller exploration of the Hakone Open Air Museum.
Tokyo department stores still have young ladies operating the primary elevators. The studied training they receive and their cheerful approach to their job is reflected in the white-gloved, careful attention they give each visitor’s needs. Japanese formality and responsibility, in all its many manifestations, are epitomized by these beautiful young ladies.
Firemen are always cool in any country. These two were nice enough to pose for us one day in Kyoto. We really love their helmets, which were reminiscent of samurai warrior helmets.
Japan’s vending machines are ubiquitous; here’s a taste of one of them found in the backstreets of Tokyo.
A nice little lady was practicing origami on a long train ride from Tokyo to Himeji. She gave us this beautiful bird, a wonderful example of the delightful gracious hospitality of the average Japanese person.
Tempura chefs in Japan are meticulous in their preparation. The well-known Tenichi Tempura, in Tokyo, has a location in the Takashimaya Department store in Nihonbashi where you can sit at the counter for full tempura meal or just a tendon bowl.
Japanese school children take field trips on the trains, just as many people travel in Japan. You can find large groups of kids (some as young as 8 or 9) lined up and sitting on the floor in the station while waiting for their trains. These kids are racing back to join their group before their train leaves.
Visitors to Fushimi Inari shrine ring the bell to draw the kami’s (spirit’s) attention and offer coins and prayers.