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08-10-2013
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yes probably kinako ohagi, there is uguisu (some color similar to tea green) version too.


as you know, summer is back and looks like it will stay for a while.
it may be nice if you have kuzukiri somewhere. you might remember it. something that goes well with tokujin's work.
he would name it water noodle.
something you have with black treacle so that it won't disappear.

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08-10-2013
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...
very clever...water noodle...disappear...

yes- the glass/crystal-like noodles...
i do remember, though i never had the courage to try to make them with the treacle...
i will see if i can find that...
artigato gozaimasu for the recommendation...

to be honest...
i am not so happy with the summer weather...
i really prefer fall...
and this is something i was not really prepared for...

also- i would wear shorts in this weather...
but no japanese people wear shorts with bare legs, i have noticed...
just some very young girls around harajuku...
this makes me quite self conscious, so i don't wear them here...
and it is harder to take pictures in a dress...
sometimes i want to bend over or kneel down to get a better look...
not so cute in a dress...!!!
...

but it is very warm to wear pants...
ugh!...

very annoying......

i don't mind that we have had several different kinds of weather while i'm here, though...
at least it gives me some idea of what the various conditions are like in this place...

btw- seibu ikebukuro is ENORMOUS!!!...
good thing they have maps in english or i could have wandered around there for several days!
......

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Last edited by softgrey; 08-10-2013 at 09:32 AM.
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09-10-2013
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it's all because of the typhoon. normally it's not this hot in october.

seibu ikebukuro is part of ikebukuro station. and it is penetrated by the station entrances, by which a few floors are separated and sectioned, and might look as if they were all different individual stores.
if its big picture is not grasped, for example one of the basement halls could be missed.
and moreover the seibu is connected to parco ikebukuro too. btw, the parco used to have one of only a few helmut lang stores in the world back in the early 90's.

the dover street market is located in ginza area.
when you are walking around there, you will find toraya nearby. they have a cafe and serve kuzukiri there.

also, if fall is back and you are around minami aoyama/omotesando, it's not impossible to walk down aoyama st to visit the flagship of toraya. kuzukiri is available there as well.

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Last edited by runner; 09-10-2013 at 01:15 PM.
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11-10-2013
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The Nezu Museum is a treasure! An oasis in a thumping metropolis. Not to be missed!

Thank you, runner, for the excellent recommendation...

I also found Ippudo. I'm sad to say that, while the New York one is very very good, the ones in Tokyo are beyond compare!

On another note-
I think japan is a country of stylists. They take all the best things from all over the world, add a bit of Japanese-ness, and make something new and great!

I can really understand this. And I like it so much. Everything old is new and everything new is old. Everything is equal and everything exists together.
And, perhaps most of all, everything is Japanese.


Last edited by softgrey; 11-10-2013 at 06:32 AM.
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14-10-2013
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then, at mos burger, check japan as an arranger too !

to make it clear, since I guess you might have wondered a bit about it.
there is not any address named harajuku. it's just that people call that vague area harajuku. it's certain area with the address named junjumae where harajuku station and omotesando which refers to that street belong in. btw, they say once omotesando was being used as a runway.
once you cross aoyama st (246), the area sort of slightly more cozy where YY, CdG, etc belong is generally called minami-aoyama, which is consistent with the actual address name of the area.


toraya ginza

more info, the shop referred to as flagship is toraya akasaka.


toraya-group.co.jp
Attached Images
File Type: jpg toraya1.jpg (97.3 KB, 1 views)

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Last edited by runner; 14-10-2013 at 11:33 AM.
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15-10-2013
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i went to toraya ginza and had kizukiri...
...

it took me awhile to find it...
i confess that i walked right by it...


but it was lovely, especially with the green tea...
thank you for the recommendation runner~!


ginza was kind of amazing on a weekend...
very 'uptown' when compared to nyc...
lots of older ladies and gentlemen in kimonos...
that was cool...

i've also never seen so many people wearing chanel as i have in tokyo...
both in omotesando and in ginza...
and not just bags...
but actually wearing the clothes...
wth very big LOGOS ...


that's something different...

i confess that i did have some trouble understanding where harajuku starts and ends...
and it took me some time to understand about mini-aoyama...
unfortunately, just when i was really understanding and feeling comfortable enough to venture farther on my own, my time ran out...

the good news is that i loved it so much that i am already plotting how i can go back again next year...

there are too many things that i did not see ...
and my friends will probably be living there for another year, so that makes it easier to go back...

tokyo is really unique...
it's difficult to think of something that tokyo does not have...

except that when i got off the plane and my taxi driver here is from bangladesh and we spoke about all the different cultures in america, and in nyc especially, then i knew i was really home and that is something very different about nyc...
but it is something you cannot mail to another person, just like tokyo cannot be told in pictures...

you have to visit in order to understand...

i am so glad i got the chance to visit tokyo...

i wish we had more of the same things here, and i'm glad we are different in some ways...
vive le difference...!!!

tokyo and nyc have an ongoing love affair and it is with good reason...
the two cities represent to best of both worlds...
if only we were not so far apart...

but this trip showed me that we are not so far apart after all...


thank you runner...
you have been an excellent host!

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Last edited by softgrey; 15-10-2013 at 02:48 AM.
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15-10-2013
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well--more like a tour guide...


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21-10-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by softgrey View Post
tokyo and nyc have an ongoing love affair and it is with good reason...
the two cities represent to best of both worlds...
if only we were not so far apart...

but this trip showed me that we are not so far apart after all...

Thank you Softie for your running commentary of Tokyo; I couldn't participate in the conversation while I was in Cairo but I loved all your comments and got real homesick, and most of all I am so glad that you got to experience a lot of the best and authentically Japanese things that Tokyo has to offer. (Ahhhh craving kuzukiri right now!) Runner is awesome. NY, Paris and Tokyo. If only the cities were not so far apart...and yet they aren't. Amen to that!

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21-10-2013
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runner IS awesome~!!!


i confess, i carried a map and a phrase book in my bag, but i never took them out...
i just went by what runner told me and what my friends showed me...
this meant that i missed some things, but found some other things...

the idea that it was ok to get lost really helped me to be brave and wander more freely...

and by the end of the second week, i decided it was ok not to be japanese and that being from new york was plenty cool, so i started wearing my shorts and being more myself...


i saw some stuff at beams with a tag that said 'gaijin made'...
at first i thought that was very racist!...
...
but i guess it's ok ...
i'll never be japanese, i guess...and that's ok...

i have to say that i was a bit depressed and sad for several days after leaving...
i feel like i've only scratched the surface of an amazing country, with an amazing history and culture...
the people continue to be the most interesting part of japan...

the woman who helped me in the YY flagship store spoke excellent english with an australian accent! she had lived there for several years...
she and i spoke about shopping for some YY pieces and going back and forth trying to determine the correct size, etc...
she commented on how much patience that must have taken...
and i exclaimed that it was really true about the patience...
to that she replied- we have to be patient...
i asked- why?
her response- if we are not patient, we are no longer japanese...

amazing!

i remembered this for the rest of my trip and i will probably remember it for the rest of my life...

today i went to a shop and purchased some light bulbs--
no big deal, right?
but when the man gave me my change, i said thank you and he said you're welcome...
that has always struck me as odd...
i have given him my business and my money and he is acting as though he were doing me a favour...and never thanked me for my business...

it's a very different attitude...
in tokyo the shop clerk would wrap my purchase, carry it to the door for me, escort me out and wave and thank me, waiting until i was out of sight to go back inside...
even when i only purchased some paper goods and stickers in the subway station!

agh!
tokyo is just so civilized..
i am sure this can get exhausting at times and everything takes longer to get done...
but it's just so nice~!

i also went to mos burger...(which was great- thank you runner!)
even there, a seat was provided for me to wait and then when my takeaway order was ready, someone brought it to me and thanked me for waiting...etc...

at one restaurant- a whole table was brought over with an additional set of chairs in order for me to have a place to put my handbag!!!


just unbelievable...!

coming back to new york really feels like coming back to an urban jungle where people behave like animals!...
...
*sigh*...

i was afraid that i might be disappointed after all these years of anticipation...
but it was just the opposite...
and i think the timing was right...

i agree melisande-
tokyo, paris, new york---my faves as well...!

how is cairo?! that seems completely foreign in a whole other way!
you seem to be having quite the excursion/tour!
would love to see some pics of you in that fancy dress you got to wear!
xxx

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Last edited by softgrey; 21-10-2013 at 11:30 PM.
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24-10-2013
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one thing i was not prepared for which should probably be mentioned for anyone who might be shopping in japan is the fitting rooms...

you must remove your shoes BEFORE entering and then you are asked to use a disposable sheer hood while trying on clothing to protect it from make up marks...
this was challenging for me...
...
i kept stepping into the fitting room and then hopping back out quickly, while saying sumimasen repeatedly...
i didn't understand why all the rooms had a long shoe horn hanging outside at first...
but then i realized how difficult it is to put your shoes back on while standing up...
...

live and learn...

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27-10-2013
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Oh Softie, it's really true about patience. And respect. If we lose our patience and respect and noble humility we are no longer Japanese. Puccini knew it so well; the whole of Madame Butterfly is based on this; there is the humming chorus which just describes so beautifully the Japanese attitude of patience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f1k14GQmNE

True about the changing rooms; I always wear slip-on shoes when going shopping. Or visiting people. And the insoles have to be fresh, lol!

I totally agree about the level of service...I really miss that in Paris too (some may say no surprise?? ) and it almost hurts when people say "You're welcome" like that. You know, it means a lot to me/us that you appreciated this, because it is so important to us yet often misunderstood. In Japan taking good care of guests and customers is considered a reflection of noble character, and the receiver of the service is also expected to show honor, gratitude and respect. Showing off is also considered vulgar, so we don't. Sometimes, unfortunate people misinterpret the good service and humility as proof of their own superiority and entitlement, which is just embarrassing.

Wait a second, I'm really glad you got to know Tokyo so deeply and so well, but it just struck me, did you not go to Kyoto...??

Cairo was a whole different can o' worms... The history is just. mind-boggling. The people are warm and cheery and friendly.

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29-10-2013
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thanks guys, have to be a better guide next time


Quote:
Originally Posted by softgrey View Post

the people continue to be the most interesting part of japan...
this is the greatest comment you could give to japan.
to tell the truth, you cannot expect ordinary people living there to explain, for instance, what zeami is exactly about. most japanese cannot answer immediately as you put that kind of question to them.
basically they haven't had to verbalize japanese spirit because they are themselves japanese and it's not like japanese-ness comes from any definition or explanation after all.

most of them don't know even geisha while they know of it or might have seen it. I cannot tell you about it from firsthand experience since I have never been entertained by true geisha.
many of them are not able to wear kimono properly on their own. although they may still have some kimono in their wardrobe, practically they only have it as fertilizer there.
as mentioned in the previous page, lots of good old charming stuff is gone. it's sad, but no one can stop those changes necessity generates. some things have to be regenerated, in response to that need of everyday people living in japan, who is what has made it japanese.

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01-11-2013
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um...no melisande...
i didn't go to kyoto......
i was thinking that i would, and then i switched the idea to nagano, but in the end, i elected to spend more time with my friends and to dive deeper into tokyo without rushing through things...
i really should have stayed a week longer...
if i had been there for three weeks, that would have been ideal and i would have been able to do all the things that i would have liked to do...
my friends thought i was crazy, at first- and maybe i am...
but once i made the decision to come back, it was actually much more relaxing and we were able to have a nice visit without stressing about fitting everything into the time available...
this way i was able to do more things in tokyo like visit a pottery class and cook dinner at home, etc...
shopping for food was fun!
i finally understand the purple japanese yam! and there were mushrooms for days!
i love mushrooms!!!
plus i was bowled over by the giant fruit and all the fresh figs!
i saw loach swimming around in a barrel and cuttlefish swimming in a tank, plus you guys have different species of crab that i had never seen!

while i was on my friends' balcony- i met a giant green beetle, another funny large brown speckled bug that i had seen when i was in the tropics, and two very large and very green praying mantis'...
...

i was shocked by some giant persimmon trees growing in the heart of tokyo, which were so loaded with fruit that the branches were bending down to touch the roofs of the buildings...

i took a ride out to the suburbs and went to a mall where we had lunch in the food court... there was a sink to wash your hands and damp cloths to clean your tables!
the japanese really have a thing about cleaning...
...
i watched so many shop owners and such sweeping the street with their short handled, slanted brooms! i really wanted to buy one of those!
i watched some gardeners trimming some trees in their wide pants and tabi boots with a cloth ties on their heads...
TABI BOOTS~~!!!
i shopped for vintage kimono and learned a bunch of stuff about how to wear one and what the different styles are about...
i even bought an under kimono thing (nagajuban?)...in RED with a white collar! so nice...

i practiced being japanese (patient) when i had to return an item and it took more than one hour while they repeatedly told me that i could not return it, and i insisted that i could and they took me from one floor to another and consulted each other over and over about how to do it in the computer...
it took about five people in the end, and i went with them from the first floor, to the sixth floor for about 1/2 hour, and then back down to the first floor again...
while one of them was explaining to me that i could only exchange it, another one went off somewhere and finally came back and knew how to do it, much to the surprise of the person who was busy convincing me to buy something else...
...
i had to keep telling myself to be patient, but i am afraid that my impatience was quite obvious in my face even if i was able to control my voice...
.........
i understood exactly what was going on and why they wanted to do an exchange rather than a refund (it was a purchase from the regulation pop up shop which was no longer there) but that wasn't my problem, so i just kept saying 'no'.
i knew they would understand that very clearly...no...no...no...
and i know that japanese people do not say 'no' very often, so by simply saying it, that was enough to clearly express my firm attitude on the subject...

it was fine in the end...but it took FOREVER...

so, yeah---next year i plan to go to kyoto and nagano for sure...
i must go to the monkey park- that is something i want to see for sure!
the temples are nice and all, and i am definitely interested in the history of the country, but i am really most interested in how people live today...

for example- i found the way people hang their washing out to be very interesting...
and even the clothespins and clamps are different and interesting...
and how groceries are packed~!

i spent so much time inspecting everything at family mart and seven eleven for this reason...all the luxury items are fine and good and so are the pretty sights...but that's not the whole picture of life in japan...
even just watching the way people move was interesting...
the japanese are so quiet and so FAST...

for me- the most interesting thing about visiting a place is to understand what it is like to actually live there...
that is why it was so great having you guys help me find stuff...
and also to explain and answer questions...

my friends have been there numerous times and have lived there for about a year now, and i was explaining things to them that they didn't even know!
you really can't get this kind of stuff out of a book!- you have to talk to people who are from there and also, people who have similar interests and tastes...

for example- years ago runner explained how the past was existing alongside the future/present and that it was all moving so fast that it was almost confusing for the people living in tokyo...
i could not have learned this from anyone but a person who had grown up in tokyo and had this personal experience...
so when i got there, i saw it from that perspective...
and very quickly i understood exactly what this meant...
it was all there in front of me...
so i looked for the old and i looked for the new and i tried to understand and to feel how they combined to create this world i was in...
sometimes it made my head spin, because there was so much at once...
it was exhausting...
but it was so exciting, as well...
i tried to be a sponge and absorb everything...
but there was too much...
i thought it might be the only time i ever visit japan, so i was trying to take it all in...
but now i know it is only the first time...
it has to be...there is still just too much to explore...
it's exactly how i felt the first time i went to paris...
...

i'm going to take some japanese language class so that next time i can speak to people a bit more...and understand more of what is on all the loudspeakers!
this time i could only speak about as well as my friends' 5 yr old son...
...

the loudspeakers were a bit of a shock, frankly...
especially in a place where people are so quiet...
that seemed like a strong contradiction!
lots of contradictions, actually...
quite fascinating!

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01-11-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runner View Post
thanks guys, have to be a better guide next time



this is the greatest comment you could give to japan.
to tell the truth, you cannot expect ordinary people living there to explain, for instance, what zeami is exactly about. most japanese cannot answer immediately as you put that kind of question to them.
basically they haven't had to verbalize japanese spirit because they are themselves japanese and it's not like japanese-ness comes from any definition or explanation after all.

most of them don't know even geisha while they know of it or might have seen it. I cannot tell you about it from firsthand experience since I have never been entertained by true geisha.
many of them are not able to wear kimono properly on their own. although they may still have some kimono in their wardrobe, practically they only have it as fertilizer there.
as mentioned in the previous page, lots of good old charming stuff is gone. it's sad, but no one can stop those changes necessity generates. some things have to be regenerated, in response to that need of everyday people living in japan, who is what has made it japanese.
so, what is zeami exactly?


i remember years ago i was asking you about geisha, runner...
and you said you really did not know much and never really see them...

i don't know if i will ever wear my kimono...
they may wind up as fertilizer in my closet as well...

but i am determined to try- even if i have to make some kind of alteration in order to wear them with my western clothing...

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02-11-2013
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another thing that i noticed is that everyone wears their shoes a bit too big...
i guess that makes it easier to take them on and off and it also allows for the insoles that everyone seems to wear there...

but it looks a bit funny to see very well dressed girls with their high heels who cannot walk properly because they are falling out of their shoes so they have to sort of bend forward and shuffle a bit...
......

it does explain a bit why it has been difficult for me to decide what size shoes to buy from japanese designers because the japanese clearly have a different idea of what the right size shoe is...
...

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