At this time of year many people’s thoughts are on turkey but, ever wanting to be different, we here at the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre have turned our attention to the country of Turkey.
When I went to Istanbul in 2011 it was more of a layover for a few nights and kind of got forgotten as what preceded it in Jordan was so wonderful for me. However, Turkey was also amazing and it played host to a number of films last year too as was explored back in September when I wrote about how Istanbul has been portrayed On Screen.
There is a Turkish restaurant quite near to where I live (and just a stone’s throw fromTunisian restaurant L’Azure which was one of the first international restaurants I blogged about last year) called ‘Hisar’ which I went to with my friend Mostyn. The set we had is only available on holidays but thankfully thats the Japanese meaning of the word holiday so you can get it every weekend as well as the actual holidays. We shared the chicken shish kebab and doner kebab sets which also include salad, soup, rice/bread and Turkish chai tea at around 1000 yen a set.
Anyhow, this entry is not just about Turkish restaurants in Tokyo for there is also, and perhaps surprisingly, a Turkish mosque in the city. It’s called Tokyo Camii and is located close to Yoyogi Uehara station in Shibuya-ku. After lunch at Hisar one day I cycled on to find this mosque and was pleasantly surprised to see such architecture in this city. When I was in Istanbul I never actually went inside the Aya Sofya due to money problems (ultimately I chose to spend my money on entering the Topkapi museum) but Tokyo Camii is free and most welcoming
I started off upstairs in the Prayer Hall as accessed by steps from the street. It’s sad to say really but I think I’ve actually learned more about the Islam religion just from watching a couple of seasons of ‘Homeland‘ and it was interesting to see the kind of praying ritual, that I’d seen on screen, in reality during my visit to this mosque.
Upstairs was out of bounds for me as its the women’s gallery! A shame as I would’ve liked to have seen the view from up there. Instead I moved on downstairs to the first floor which has some exhibits, souvenirs, information books and an area where you can sit and enjoy some free Turkish tea. Usually I wouldn’t pass up on such an offer but as I’d had some with my pre-mosque meal I didn’t feel the need for more!
There was a Charity Bazaar event at this place last month on the 17th which I couldn’t attend as my services were being employed elsewhere. A shame as there was a wide and varied mix of international foods available (Malaysian, Indonesian, Pakistani, Chinese, Egyptian, Arabian and of course Turkish) as well as handicrafts, books, fashion, henna, calligraphy, Islam lectures and tours of the place. I told one of my Middle-East loving students about the event and he went in the morning and was most impressed by the event. I hope to attend next year.
Tokyo Camii is located at 1-19 Oyama-cho, Shibuya-ku and the nearest station is Yoyogi-Uehara on the Chiyoda and Odakyu lines. It is a five minute walk from there.