Wednesday, August 23, 2006

ohairi kudasai

(Come in please).

I've just posted some pix of the apt on my Flickr page for anyone who's curious. As you'll see, it's spacious to say the least. I'm just anxious for our sea shipment to arrive because it has all our lamps (the ones supplied are quite ahem, austere shall we say), decorations and knicknacks. Then I'm dying to find an affordable fabric store to cover the huge livingroom-diningroom window with a colored sheer curtain to spice that area up (beige and white, such an exciting color combination)!

But most of you don't come here to read about home decor, I suspect. So back to our little adventures then! Last night we took a walk along the nearby mainstreet -- one we often take and the embassy's on, it's called Aoyama-dori -- with the intention of exploring some sidestreets off of it that we've never seen. Well we found a nice one and wandered down it, enjoying the quiet sidewalks (unlike Aoyama-dori, where at 6:30 p.m. we were dodging speeding bicyclists and business folk rushing home) and all the trees and little shops.

When we started to get hungry we decided to just take the first street left (direction of our place) and take our chances that it would lead us back home. We were a bit wary because by this time it was dark and all we could see was that it curved up a big hill. Well we sure lucked out. It was a street that cuts through the local cemetery. And I mean that literally. There were tombs right next to the road (which incidentally, was not really busy).

Though it was already dark out, and there were no lights in the cemetery itself, we could still see quite well since this is Tokyo after all and the light pollution here is probably highest in the world. The cemetery is quite beautiful. Lots of trees and nicely paved paths cutting through it. Not to mention the sidestreets, shops and homes! Yes, that's right, the cemetery is interspersed with little groupings of buildings. Walking through it we admired the Japanese's relationship with death. Us Westerners have developed some strange complexes about it, while here they invite the spirits of their ancestors back once a year (the recent Obon Festival), and live amongst the tombs. But that's the Christian versus Buddhism/Shinto contrast for you.

Anyway this morning I searched it up and discovered that Aoyama Reien Cemetery is not that old (established in 1872) but was the first park-like one in Tokyo, is Tokyo's largest and one of Tokyo's best cherry blossom viewing spots in the spring.

Once we got through the cemetery, we still had a few blocks to go but again, instead of cutting up one of the main streets we knew, we continued via sidestreet. We don't often do this because they're so narrow and twisty that it's often hard to tell where, if anywhere, they'll take you! That since we can't read the "dead end" signs, were there any (note to self, look up street-sign kanjis!). So again, we lucked out. The sidestreet we took for the last few blocks home was so precious! Some great little houses, unexpected little parks, stray cats and even a very intriguing tiny bar we'll have to return to.

I'll have to redo that route during the day with the camera after I upgrade my Flickr account (the free version I currently have doesn't let me upload that many pictures, I'm already almost at my limit for August).

Koko ga daisuki desu (I love it here). You would too.


I came across your blog quite randomly. It reminded me of the excitement when I first lived in Japan. Tokyo is indeed an exciting city with so many different areas and places to visit. I hope your time living there is as great as mine was.
Hi C+A,

Instead of flickr, you may want to use the google picasa software and blogger to stash your photos. (

I am printing copies of your entries from time to time so Beth and Bud (and the rest of us) can keep up to date.

Carolster, I can't believe how HUGE your place is!!!

Yeah, Steph, ya see? We was NOT kiddin' so start savin' your sous and come on over.
Gord, thanks for the tip, I'll check it out. PS: Can you get my e-mail address from Rob and send me yours, I don't have it! And because of that I missed wishing you a Happy Big F-Oh! Belated birthday wishes big guy.
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