Blogs from Ginza, Tokyo, Japan, Asia


Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza April 12th 2024

From 2009: Omiyage is the art of gift giving. It is a tradition that we follow here in the United States. Japan is a perfect place to finding something that's unique. More than in most places, the Japanese continue to excel at a wide range of traditional arts and crafts, with regional gift specialties, called meibutsu, renowned for their quality workmanship and aesthetic appeal. From Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south, Japan offers distinctive, high-quality arts and crafts. Gift-giving is something of an art in Japan, where a gift, omiyage in Japanese, successfully given honors the recipient, starting with the quality of the presentation. Gifts are traditionally carried in beautiful, printed squares of fabric called furoshiki. Presented as a scarf, for which they double nicely, they make a uniquely Japanese fashion statement back ... read more
Don Quijote
UGG flagship store

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza April 1st 2024

At the end of WW2, Japan had a lower per capita rate of income than Malay. Within 45 years, Japan would have the highest standard of living in the world. The rise was nonetheless meteoric, moving from a ravaged nation in defeat and destruction to one of the most successful economic forces in the world. How did the people and country find the resources and strength to rise from a GNP of $14.2 billion in 1951? By 1970, Japan had overtaken every economy in Europe, rising to 20% of the US's GNP. By 1975, it was double the GNP of the UK. And in 1980, reached 40% of our GNP. Japan is still the third largest economy in the world, after the US and China. It was an extraordinarily rapid change in daily life, culture, materialism, ... read more
Very long life expectancy
Traffic jam?

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza December 2nd 2023

Japanese spirits have come a long way over the last few years. Whether it's url= gin or a coveted bottle of url= read more
The Hibiki
The Nikka

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza July 30th 2021

With so much emphasis on the pandemic and its effect on the Olympics, very little is said about the country itself in the Olympic Games. Japan first participated in the Games in 1912. It was held in Stockholm, and Japan sent only two athletes. One was a sprinter (Yahiko Michima), the other a marathoner (Shizo Kanakuri), but neither won medals. Mishima made the semi finals, but Kanakuri did not finish his marathon. With the popularity and proven skills of Naomi Osaka, it is no surprise that Japan's first Olympic medal was in tennis at the 1920 Games in Antwerp, Belgium. Seiichiro Kashio and Ichiya Kumagae won silver in the doubles, with Kumagae winning another silver in singles. Osaka is the top-rated player in the world, and not coincidentally, the highest paid athlete in the world. Overall, ... read more
Osaka torch moment
Gold medalist Suni Lee

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza May 5th 2020

This year, Children's Day is May 5. Of all the children-centric holidays, I miss Children's Day the most. Why? I felt it was special, for Japanese American children, in a culture that cherishes tradition, family, and outright spoiling of children. (Written in 2009) Many of you think of May 5 as Cinco de Mayo. But May 5 is a big day in Japan as well, for it is an annual event, now called Children's Day, or originally Kodomo no Hi. It is set aside to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness. It became a national holiday in Japan in 1948. It was always a special day when my son was a little guy. And of course, like most Asian families, the boys are favored with ... read more
Grandma and daughter Sarah

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza May 8th 2019

We left the hotel after a late breakfast to get the subway to the Ginza area. There are signs on the pavement indicating walking and bicycle lanes and warnings about smoking restrictions on the streets. We passed vending machines for confectionary and soft drinks. Then we entered the subway station. The various lines are indicated by colours and letters. We had PASMO cards for public transport which are like London Oyster cards or Israeli Rav Kav cards. The first part of the journey was quite straightforward, just two stops; easy. Then changing lines became a bit more complicated. We had to use a number of escalators and we had to remember to walk on the left. We eventually found the second line and got onto the second train but it was an 'express' train which didn’t ... read more
we enjoyed all 4 evening shows
Towel thrown to Kabuki audience
amongst images on Kabuki curtain - Samurai hockey player?

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza July 7th 2018

We woke to an overcast, but dry morning; a welcome relief from the torrential rain we walked in to get to our hotel last night. We had a good sleep, despite the bed being incredibly hard. It Is a very pleasant temperature in the mornings here, before a humid, warm day. Whilst forecast to be 23 degrees, however it actually reached 29 degrees. We got up and wandered around to the famous, and soon to be gone, Tsukiji Fish markets. Evidently, they are pulling the wholesale section of this market down to build accommodation for the 2020 Olympics and renovate the area. It was a very interesting market. We meandered around, trying many weird and wonderful foods. The sights and sounds of this market are very enjoyable. As the morning progressed, it became harder to walk ... read more
Oysters the size of one’s hand!
The outer market of Tsukiji markets
Sea urchins

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza August 10th 2017

Today was a day - our only day - with a set plan. We had an appointment for 12 noon to meet some ex-colleagues from the hotel I worked at in 1983. I didn't know who or how many to expect, but I was excited at the prospect. From yesterday's trip into Tokyo we knew it would take something more than an hour to get to where we were going, so we left at about 10.15. We found that the fast train in from here takes 33 minutes but the non-express ("local"? Is that what they're called in English?) takes 41 minutes. Not hugely different, but the next one due in happened to be an express so that was good. The transfer at Tokyo station is a good 10 minutes or about a 700m walk, from ... read more
Samurai Room
Art Room Wardrobe
Hakuhinkan Toy Shop

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza February 23rd 2015

My legs seem to be moving quite well today amazingly! So we went out sight seeing......... After a quick breakfast stop with Grace we headed to the Kabuki theatre. Very japanese and over the top. All the actors are male specialist men play the women. They dress with the white painted faces and perform just one act from 3 different plays. Thankfully they have an English audio description to listen to while the chaos goes on on stage. As we were slightly squashed into the seats we decided to stretch our legs with a walk down to the Imperial palace via the train station to buy our bullet train tickets. We couldn't get onto the palace tour but the moat and grounds are quite impressive. Tomorrow we head out to go snowboarding so I'm not sure ... read more

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza December 2nd 2014

We spent a couple days in Wellington. Our first day included a walk around the city then booking in at our special hostel (booked by mistake as it’s not really meant to have children but it was right in Courtney Place). Our next day was a full day LOTR movie tour with too many sites to name – but here are a couple – Mina Tirith, Isengard, the Hutt River filing location, the Rivendell main filming location (partly recreated), and Mount Victoria where multiple Shire locations were filmed. I also walked up to a Maori Pa. Our last stop was the Weta Studios where we got a short tour. The next day we visited the Te Papa museum, then drove around the Miramar peninsula and visited Scott’s College. We followed the western coast road north stopping ... read more
A reenactment of the LOTR movie
The Wizards converse in Isengard
Richard at Rivendell

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