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Showing posts from February, 2015

Staying soba in Omoide Yokocho

At night Shinjuku is a landscape of neon canyons where huge screens turn the streets into a giant living room while crowds fill the streets below. It is as a futuristic place as you will find anywhere on this planet. It is home to some of Tokyo's tallest buildings and largest department stores, sleazy noisy pachinko parlours and expensive luxury goods. Somehow, nestled besides the tracks to the west of Shinjuku Station, is somewhere that seems to have escaped the wrecker's ball, a collection of tiny alleys and bars called Omoide Yokocho , or Memory Lane. Omoide Yokocho from above We discovered Omoide Yokocho on the first night of our first trip to Tokyo. Hungry, we entered the narrow alleyway filled with the smoke from the charcoal grills of the many yakitori joints to each side mixed in with the cigarette vapours from their patrons. We were ushered inside one place, up scarily steep and narrow stairs, to a room with a single long and low table where one group of yo

In plane sight

From the window of my office I can watch the aircraft on final descent southwards into Sydney Airport. Our building lies directly under the flight path and I am in the box seat. How many times have I been on one of those flights looking down upon my office? I have lost count. My home lies on the opposite side of Sydney, but on some days and some nights the flight path changes. The planes now make their way down the Georges River valley, taking the East-West runway or curving northwards along the cliffs of the Royal National Park. Both happened yesterday. During the day I watched shadowy apparitions of aircraft suddenly emerge from the grey cloud overheard, only for them to once more disappear into another. I took a late night swim alone in our pool, cool, but soothing against the humid air. The pool and garden lights were on, a citronella tea light danced in its glass enclosure, orange against purple. From the west a bright light would illuminate the clouds. Then