Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2015

Asagaya and heading home

How can I be happy? I am about to return to a country where the toilets have at most two buttons and no seat warmers. But the tickets are booked and there are no cyclones, typhoons or other disasters standing in our way. It's almost time to go back to my first home. First B wants to do some "local shopping". So we catch the Chuo Line up a few stations to Asagaya, a residential area with a number of Shotengai, covered and uncovered arcades leading away from the station and narrow alleys lined with bars. It is an interesting area for a wander around. We are mainly looking, do some shopping for toothbrushes and sweets from Seiyu, a Wal-Mart owned supermarket/minor department store. We skipped breakfast and lunch is ramen and gyoza at a small restaurant near the entrance to the Pearl Centre shotengai. With the help of a staff member, I manage to purchase tickets at a branch of Lawson to the Ghibli Museum for a friend travelling to Japan in May. There are some

Edo-Tokyo Open-air Architectural Museum

My favourite Japanese movie would undoubtedly be Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away  from Studio Ghibli. One of his inspirations for the beautiful design of the film was the Edo-Tokyo Open-air Architectural Museum . The museum features a collection of transplanted traditional Japanese and Western influenced buildings from Meiji era Tokyo and is located in Koganei Park, the second largest in the Tokyo metropolitan area. To reach there we caught the Seibu Line from beneath our hotel to Hana-Koganei station. We wandered around the area searching for breakfast from amongst the local shops and cafes, eventually settling on a tired looking Matsuya where two women served the mainly rice bowl dishes. At least there was salad. Then we walked along Koganei Road towards the park under the warm sun. There were a number of large family restaurants and diners along the way and obviously expensive houses, large by Japanese standards. Koganei Park would have looked magnificent w

Takayama to Shinjuku

I have finally "done" the Takayama Main Line. Back in 2006 our passage from Takayama to Toyama was interrupted by a section of track closed due to typhoon damage. I still loved the journey enough to want to recreate it and purchased my first n-scale Japanese model train , a KiHa 120 diesel set in Takayama Line livery. However, I had never actually ridden that train, just the KiHa 40 series diesel that was chugging along up the first section to Inotani. There had been a huge queue of mainly westerners at Takayama Station that morning, but most were waiting to catch the Wide View Hida express service back down to Nagoya. Last year  I had completed the missing stretch of the Takayama Main Line with my Mum on a similar train, but in the opposite direction. As we passed one station north of Inotani I had spotted my beloved KiHa 120, then again last year at Toyama.  There are only a few Wide View Hida express services a day and B wanted to get to Shinjuku as so