Science Fiction Bar In Tokyo


A short time ago in a galaxy not so far away I went to this science fiction themed bar in the east of Tokyo. Apologies for that opening line but (not for the first time!) I couldn’t think of a more imaginative opener. My friend Yoshinori a.k.a. “John” of Tokyo Character Map (*) fame has recently moved into YouTubing and among his toy hunting videos was one that really Continue reading

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Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #4

Many of the parks and children’s playgrounds in Japan, particularly in Tokyo, are quite poor compared to other countries in terms of space, surroundings and a lack of grass. However, a handful of them do tend to possess extremely creative structures and they will be explored in this series.

Nickname: Beetle Slide

Location: Continue reading

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Local Life In Itō

The Japanese Golden Week holiday at the end of April and start of May might have looked like it was relentlessly busy based on the many recent posts compiled from various day trips and places visited. However, there was quite a lot of time spent doing nothing too much and just pottering around fairly local places so here is the best of the rest….

The Komuroyama Tsutsuji flower Festival (below) was on in Kawana for the whole of the holiday period and, following two consecutive days at the football in Fujieda and Shimizu, I was keen to see it as soon as I could. I took Momiji for an early morning walk (well, I carried her all the way!) up the small mountain to see the beautiful pink flowers.


At the end of the week I returned to Continue reading

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Banana Wani-En Gardens

My parents-in-law bought a second home in Ito earlier this year and before my first couple of visits I asked a group of students about things to do on the Izu Peninsula. The first answer to come back was about this place which has a very intriguing name. It translates as banana crocodile gardens (below) and they are located close to Izu-Atagawa down towards the south of the peninsula.


However, when I left home on this particular day I actually had no intention of visiting these interestingly named gardens and neither did I even know that Continue reading

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Maboroshi Museum

There was never really any plan to go to this museum directly after Usami Kannon-ji temple but as it was still early and I didn’t have to be home by midday I thought I’d take the train to Fudo station and walk for half an hour (uphill!) to this museum which is only 3.6 kilometres down the road from the Ayashii Shonen Shojo Museum (Mysterious Boys and Girls Museum). What is it about this area and weird museums?!!


This Japanese retro strange museum is accessed via some steps leading up to the ticket office window at a kind of crossroads from where the different zones can be explored. It is incredibly difficult to Continue reading

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Usami Kannon-Ji Temple


As I took the train up the east coast of the Izu Peninsula towards Atami a few months ago I noticed a giant statue high up in the forest in the distance. My subsequent research told me that it was called Usami Kannon-ji temple and I set my sights on one day hiking up to it. I had to be patient though as on follow-up trips to Izu there just wasn’t time for me to go off and explore the area.

The Japanese Golden Week holiday finally gave me the chance to check it out and it was a very early start. I felt so awake on waking at about 5:30am that I thought I’d go to Usami station and just Continue reading

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The Temple Of The Toilet God


Obviously the title gives it away but before asking my father-in-law to drive us all to Myotoku-ji temple (234 Ichiyama, Izu-shi) I wasn’t really sure why it was considered a quirky place. Over the last couple of years though I have come to trust my source for such places but on arrival  Continue reading

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