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…

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…

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…

Asakusa, Street of Shame (1956) 赤線地帯

I started watching Street of Shame 赤線地帯 (1956) and couldn’t get past the opening credits without sharing these fascinating panoramas of Asakusa 浅草. As the film opens, we are perched high above the city, facing south, with the Sumidagawa 隅田川 on the left. (My guess is that the camera was placed on top of Tobu Asakusa Station 浅草駅). We pan…

Haneda sanpo! (Walking to Haneda Airport) 羽田空港への散歩

Can I walk to Haneda airport? Please read on for an account of a late-night sanpo/sampo 散歩… 1.  The road more traveled In Edo-period Japan the Tōkaidō 東海道 road linked the shōgun’s capital, Edo (modern-day Tokyo), with the emperor’s capital, Kyoto, allowing the shogun to maintain administrative control over Japan. Shinagawa, the first stage of…

Tokyo Adventure Parks 子供用のアドベンチャー·パーク

You know, for kids! Expats with children have remarked how crappy Japanese playgrounds are.  Perhaps they’ve seen one too many of the bare-bones playgrounds that inhabit certain neighborhoods, like the one in Shinmaruko 新丸子 shown above. Too bad for them. I’ve seen some remarkably interesting playgrounds for children. This observation was recently validated by an…

Japanese cinema: Foundry Town / City of Cupolas / キューポラのある街 (1962)

I. Truthiness Can a fictional movie be considered a documentary?  If settings are real and characters are authentic, does it matter to the viewer that the narrative is fiction?  Fifty years later, can fiction provide important historic perspective?  These questions are raised by watching City of Cupolas キューポラのある街 (1962), a film thoroughly infused with the…