Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #19

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: Mini Fuji-San Slide

Location: Continue reading

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3 Unique Temples You Must Visit In Nagoya

The likes of Osu Kannon, Nittaiji, Koshoji and Banshoji may be the more famous and popular temples of Nagoya but they didn’t really hold any interest for me. As per usual I was interested to locate some unique and slightly quirky ones in Japan’s fourth largest city and here are three of them…

1. Shugen-ji Temple @ 1-3 Wakakusadori, Kasugai – Walk down the old-fashioned shopping street north of the station and you will soon see a shop on your right with a life-size Spider-Man on it. There’s a Jack Sparrow mannequin too. Take the side street next to that shop and an 18 metre statue, which has been around since 1955, will suddenly appear to your left down a very narrow lane.

    Continue reading

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One Of The Best Views From Any Station In Japan


There are many different types of densha otaku (train nerd) in Japan, and over the last year or two, having never had any interest in trains, I have come to realise that I am something of an eki-tetsu as I do like looking at station buildings but only if they are really unique so I’m not a full-blown train geek……yet!

The day began in Shizuoka city for my wife and I but whilst she headed back to Izu, I went to Nagoya for a couple of nights. I took a day trip to Gifu on day two but the first day was spent in Nagoya and one of the first places I visited on a baking hot afternoon was this station that’s north-east of the city.

Take the JR Chuo local line towards Tajimi (500 yen) for about 30 minutes and you’ll arrive at Continue reading

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A Great Free View Of Shizuoka, The Worlds Richest Matcha Ice Cream, A Gyoza Burger & Countdown To The Rugby World Cup

One of the most popular things for visitors to do in Tokyo is go up the Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku for free views across the capital city and way beyond. It is also possible to do a similar thing 175 kilometres west in Shizuoka city but this one has the added bonus of having much better views of the iconic Mount Fuji which is always a welcome sight.


Our trip to Hamamatsu was admittedly the main focus of our day but that was bookended by spending the morning and evening in Shizuoka city which was our base for this short trip within the prefecture of the same name. Having stayed in the area for a couple of days in January 2018 we had already done much of what the city had to offer but one thing we never did before was Continue reading

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The Musical Instrument Museum In Hamamatsu My Wife Has Long Wanted To Visit

Whilst in Hamamatsu by myself for half a day last August I came across this interesting-looking museum. I actually went into it’s lobby area but as a man of no musical ability I thought it might all be rather unappreciated by me so I didn’t go inside for real. As a trained pianist though, I knew my wife would be very interested in such a place so thought I’d wait until we were in Hamamatsu together.

That happened to be sooner than I’d probably imagined. We had to take a short break from her parents place in Izu as they had many guests coming to stay so we went to stay in Shizuoka city for a couple of days. We were unable to get a hotel in Hamamatsu as it was the Japanese Golden Week holiday season so decided to do a day trip from Shizuoka which is about 70 minutes away by train.


The Museum of Musical Instruments (3-9-1 Chu-o, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu-shi) is about a Continue reading

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Australia Filming Locations #5 – Knowing (2009)

The number of international movies to have been filmed in Melbourne is quite limited so it’s quite amazing that two of them have been ones featuring Nicholas Cage. First there was ‘Ghost Rider‘ (2007) and that was followed just two years later by ‘Knowing‘ whereby he plays an astrophysics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Camberwell High School (100A Prospect Hill Rd, Canterbury, VIC) appears from the very start of the movie as it portrays William Dawes Elementary School. First, it’s shown in 1959 as a ceremony is held for the burial of a time capsule. 50 years later and it’s opened whereby the contents are distributed to the kids.

Caleb Koestler is the benefactor of a page of seemingly random numbers which he passes to his father John Koestler (Cage) who notices a sequence relating not only to many past disasters but a few future ones too. He sets out to prevent the ultimate catastrophe in a movie that turned out to be far more interesting than I initially thought it would be. The school is a 20 minute walk east of Camberwell Station and one should of course proceed with great care when in such an environment. CGI was used to change the exterior appearance slightly.


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where Koestler works is none other than Continue reading

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A Park Of Beautiful Pink Azaleas, Egg Vending Machines & Family Time In Izu

The Komuroyama Tsutsuji flower Festival in Kawana (Shizuoka Prefecture) tends to coincide with the Japanese Golden Week holiday each year and at full bloom it’s a splendid pink carpet.


In previous years the weather in this holiday season has been glorious but this time the first few days were Continue reading

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