Shinjuku from the Takashimaya department store rooftop

Some wonderful views from the rooftop of the Takashimaya Shinjuku 新宿タカシマヤ department store (map). (1) Looking west towards the Park Hyatt and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building 東京都庁: (2) Shinjuku-sanchome to the northeast: (3) Looking south towards the NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building NTTドコモ代々木ビル: (4) And looking southeast towards Tokyo Tower: For old photos from the rooftops…

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Planned community: Mejiro Cultural Village 目白文化村 (1922)

Originally posted on the tokyo files: urban design 東京の都市デザイン:
Mejiro Cultural Village 目白文化村 めじろぶんかむら was a luxury residential area (高級住宅街) said to be modeled after Beverly Hills (source). I will provide some of the general details, but if you are interested in the details of this development, I suggest you refer to the following website, which is…

Tsune Nakamura Atelier Museum 新宿区立中村彝アトリエ記念館

While writing about Ikebukuro’s post-WW2 black market, I learned about the arts movements that thrived west of Ikebukuro station prior to World War II. There were so many artists that the term Ikebukuro Montparnasse 池袋モンパルナス was coined, an obvious reference to the Bohemian Parisian neighborhood. Other terms include “Nagasaki Atelier Village 長崎アトリエ村” and “Sakuragaoka Parthenon” さくらが丘パルテノン, which were concentrations of artists’ studios, as…

Tokyo transportation and subway museums 東京の交通博物館

Originally posted on the tokyo files archives 東京ファイル:
People often reach my blog with the search terms “Tokyo Transportation Museum”, “Tokyo Subway Museum”, or “Tokyo Train Museum”. Fair enough. Let me tell you what I know. There are several museums in the Tokyo area related to trains, subways, and transportation. The ones I know are: (1) Tobu Museum of…

Satoko Kitahara, Maria of Ants Town 蟻の町のマリア

(1) Ants Villa and Mary of Ants Town This post is about a name and a place. The name is Satoko Kitahara 北原怜子  a.k.a. “Mary of Ants Town” (1929-1958). The place is 蟻の街, Ari-no-machi, meaning “Ants Villa”, “Ants Town”, “City of Ants”, etc. Ants Town was formed in the wake of World War 2 as a legal cooperative to house and…

Monorails and more: Tokyo’s amusing train lines

There are 158 rail lines in Tokyo. That’s a staggering number. Instead of describing all 158 lines, let me tell you about the 18 most interesting. These include monorails, streetcars, people movers, and more. And a glass-bottomed train! The numbered list below corresponds to the following map: I. Monorails (1) Chiba Urban Monorail 千葉都市モノレール The Chiba Urban Monorail…

Japan recycles EVERYTHING! 1001 ways to put out the trash

I. Reduce Recycling has interested me ever since it was introduced to my hometown dump in the mind 1980s. The idea that waste can be reused is as intuitively appealing as a perpetual motion machine. Once I learned about recycling, the idea of NOT recycling became anathema, and people who didn’t recycle were scorned by my 8-year old brain,…

Tokyo day trip: riding into Shibamata on Tora-san’s coat-tails

Intro This post started with a question from one of my readers: what is Katsushika? A few things come to mind: Katsushika 葛飾区 is one of Tokyo’s 23 main wards; it’s on the fringes and probably one of the least well-known The Nakagawa river 中川 dominates the geography of the ward, essentially splitting it down the middle While riding the Skyliner to Narita Airport, Katsushika surrounds…

The kawaii singularity: learning to love our (adorable) robot overlords

The kawaii singularity is near: robots too cute to resist. In February we were exploring an upper floor of 3331 Arts Chiyoda (map), a creative space in the old Rensei Junior High. The halls were silent, well-insulated from the first-floor crowd. We almost returned downstairs when we noticed activity in one of the classrooms. It looked like an adult-education class: men and women of various ages…