What It`s Like To Be A Spectator At The Tokyo 2020 Olympics

When the IOC and the Japanese government decided that spectators would not be present at all for Olympic sports in Tokyo (and surrounding prefectures Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa) it was hugely disappointing for all of those with tickets who were still keen to see live action in some form.

However, a few sports were taking place a bit further afield and I was lucky to have tickets for a couple of them. The likes of Miyagi (football) and Shizuoka Prefectures (road cycling, track cycling) didn`t totally ban spectators though so my Olympic dream was kept alive. Given that audience participation was also prevented in Sapporo and Fukushima I was half expecting Continue reading

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Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #35 – Dinosaur Slide

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: Dinosaur Slide

Location: 6-11 Continue reading

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The Station Just Over The Border From Tokyo Which You Can`t Exit (Unless You Work For Toshiba)

Little did I know when I visited the virtually abandoned Kokudō Station a few years ago that just a few stops further down the line were some other interesting stations, including one which you can only exit if you work for the company who own the station.

 

Take the Tsurumi Line bound for Umi-Shibaura and it will take just 11 minutes to be beside the sea. However, it should be noted that trains heading to this coastal station from Tsurumi are Continue reading

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TF Flashback: The Trip To Seoul In 2006 Which Really Kickstarted Many Years Of Asian Travel

Research and preparation before any overseas trip is something I have long done but it hasn’t always been that way. My first overseas trip whilst based in Japan was to South Korea in the early days of January 2006. Along with my friend and colleague Asif we headed off to Seoul for a four night trip with very little knowledge of the capital city and no plan at all.

From our previous travels (not together) we had become used to just turning up at places and booking somewhere by walking in but it seemed that was not the done deal in East Asia so the authorities were a bit suspicious of us at the airport when we were unable to enter details of where we`d be staying. Luckily, Asif had his Continue reading

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TF Top 5……Films Set In Japan From The 1960s & 1970s

 

In terms of the total number of films ‘set’ in Japan, it was fairly slim pickings for the two decades between 1960 and 1979. Hopefully, I’ve been fairly extensive and have reviewed every one of them from that era but no doubt one or two have slipped my attention! Let me know! The tension is probably killing you so lets get started as we count down to the all-important number one at the bottom of this post…

Bonus: Continue reading

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Strawberry Vending Machines, A Big Buddha, Micro Shrines, Unstaffed Stations & Being The Only Train Passenger In Izu

The majority of my time in Izu back in early May was mostly just spent at home with the family but on about the sixth day I finally found some time to get out on my own for an afternoon. Subsequently I headed down the east coast to find a big buddha which I had found completely by accident whilst scouring Google Maps one day. Shojoji Temple is part of the Izu 88 Temple Pilgrimage which I had never heard of until I later did some research on this place.

 

As there was a lighthouse a few minutes further south I decided to check that out, and nearby to that was a shrine with Continue reading

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Visiting The Museum In Izu Which Is Dedicated To Hina Dolls

 

Japan is known for its slightly quirky festivals, and each year on March 3rd there is one dedicated to dolls which many girls take part in. These little dolls aren`t the kind that you play with though as they are just displayed in their exquisite costumes. Such dolls have often been in the family for generations, and the idea is that the dolls are used to teach girls about traditional values. In the week leading up to Hina Matusri, families put the dolls on display in their indoor entrances and living rooms with great pride.

Little did I know but Continue reading

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Foxed In The Head: Cycling To All Inari Shrines In Tokyo’s 23 Wards – #13 Edogawa

#13. Edogawa

Cycling may be something that I love to do but I’m not really one who goes for a ride without some kind of aim whether it be to a restaurant, a sight or just my workplace. With that in mind, and desperate to get out on my new bike, I decided to cycle round ALL the Inari Shrines in Tokyo taking each of the 23 wards one at a time.

Inspired by recent interest in tiny shrines, this idea seemed like a good way of Continue reading

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Dining Out: A Super-Thick Grilled Ginger Steak-Like Pork

Watching Japanese TV is often quite intolerable for many foreigners. Of course there`s the language problem but it goes far beyond that. From the garish-coloured sets to the bright, flashing kanji captions (accompanied by silly sound effects) to the little box in the corner where the reactions of Japanese celebrities’ faces can be seen, Japanese TV is really  dumbed down! Of course I`m not the target market at all but one such programme geared towards people like me is `Cool Japan` on NHK BS1 at 6pm on Sunday evenings.

It is pretty much the only Japanese TV show I regularly watch. The title is pretty naff and it can be seen as propaganda telling viewers how brilliant and amazing everything in Japan is. Whilst there`s an element of truth in that I do think it`s pretty fair and balanced in mixing the positives and negatives of Japanese life and culture.

 

The topic of each show may not always sound the most enthralling but there`s usually Continue reading

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Dark Tourist (Japan Special) Vol. 04

The 2018 Netflix series ‘Dark Tourist‘ featured New Zealand journalist David Farrier visiting eight different countries (including Japan) on a mission to visit all manner of places relating to humans suffering in some sort of way whether it be victims of crime, tragic events or natural disasters. Of course, this kind of morbid traversing is nothing new, and people have been visiting these places for many decades but this TV show did help promote the idea of such tourism.

Having visited some famous dark historical sights in the likes of Poland, Germany, Australia, England and Cambodia (to name a few), I have to admit that I am slightly fascinated by such tourism. Japan has a fair number of places historically associated with death and tragedy, and Tokyo Fox has collated them into a series. Each volume will show a mix of relatively unknown places alongside the far more famous (or infamous in some cases!) ones.

1. The abandoned battleship-like Continue reading

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