Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pretty Building!

...this picture may or may not be from Akihabara in Tokyo. I'd prefer not to say.

( I keep forgetting my camera at school. I brought it in to take a class picture, then stuck it inside the podium to keep it safe afterwards. Unfortunately, it's a little too safe, since even I don't notice it in there. So I'm posting a few older pictures for now, until I get a chance to take some new ones.)

Return to Ghibli?

Look! It's a drain face!'s not from the Ghibli museum...of course not... :p

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

In the city

I was shopping at a local department store today...climbing the stairs to the third floor, I looked out the window and this is what I saw:

For a small-town girl like me, seeing city extending as far as I can see is pretty impressive. I don't usually notice it - down on the ground you can't really see very far, and from my apartment the view is pretty much limited to the other apartment buildings and the parking lot (and I'm only on the second floor, anyway). But every once in a while it catches my eye, and I realize just how big the city I live in must be.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Kitty Building

This is part of Umeda in Osaka...the building with the kitty on top is the Namco arcade.

I love Japan :) Where else in the world would I be able to find a building in a major downtown area with a giant kitty on top?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

100 Pictures!

According to my photo file, this is picture number 100! In honor of my expansion into three digit territory, I dug through my old pictures and found one of my favorites.

This picture of Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto was taken last summer. Kiyomizu-dera is one of the most famous temples in all of Japan. You can see part of the city of Kyoto in the background.

Bonus: click on the picture for an extra-large, desktop-background-sized image!

*I should note that my post number is only at 86, but I've put up pictures for more than one day in several posts, so the actual picture count is at 100. (That number doesn't count bonus photos or close-ups that I've posted.)
Maybe I'll do something fun for my 100th post, too.

Warabi Mochi

Sorry I didn't update yesterday! I've been pretty busy. To make up for it, here is an extra-special foods post!

This is Warabi Mochi. It's one of my favorite Japanese sweets. Isn't it purty and traditional-looking, sitting there on the tatami?

How do you eat it? Well, first, you unwrap the package, then open the powder in the bottom packet and pour it into the dish, like so:

Oh - and don't forget to take the toothpick out first!
The brown powder is kinako - soybean powder - mixed with sugar. It's yummy! It reminds me a little of peanut butter.

Next, stick the toothpick into one of the mochi balls and roll it around in the kinako powder until it's completely coated.

The plain mochi balls are all right, but I think they're a little watery - they're made differently than regular mochi, and they have a weaker flavor. When covered with kinako powder, though, they're delicious!

...and that is how to eat warabi mochi. Yum!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's a's a bus...'s a cat bus!

Apologies for the poor picture quality - I only had my cell phone with me when this bus went by. I've seen it from the school window several times over the past two years, and I've always wanted to get a picture. I finally got the chance :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Keep your eyes open

This is a liquor store near the local train station. The building has some amusing characters painted upon it.

Here's a closer view.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hi Mom!

I took this picture right before Mother's Day, then forgot that I had it. This was a store window display in Osaka. I thought it was cute so I'm posting it despite the fact that Mother's Day is long gone...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Big Step

Last Shinsaibashi picture for now...this is Big Step, the shopping area from whence the previous two pictures were taken. Complete with futuristic capsule elevators (you can see them on the left).

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The other side

Shinsaibashi, looking down the same street as in the last post, in the opposite direction.

I wonder - are these pictures interesting to someone who has never been to Shinsaibashi? (I hope so.)

Saturday, May 19, 2007


And...we're back in Osaka! It's only 3 weeks into May, and I've already finished with my Golden Week pictures!
(Although if I run out new pics to post, I reserve the right to show more of the Ghibli Museum ^_~ )

This is part of Amemura (short for America Mura, or America Village) in Shinsaibashi, Osaka. This is where all the cool kids hang out. Aside from all the used clothing/Levi's stores (and perhaps the "cool" image), it seems to have very little to do with America.

Akiba (3)

Cosplayer surrounded by otaku in front of JR Akihabara, oh my!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Akiba (2)

There was a big crowd gathered here...for something involving video game with the big sign, I imagine.

Someone may also have been fliming for a TV show/movie. My friend said she saw people with cameras, and soon after this was taken, a large portion of the crowd dispersed (mostly the crowd on the right side, out of my picture...they were covering a good part of the huge 4-lane road) as if, perhaps, they'd just finished watching the filming?

So if anyone sees a scene resembling this in a movie or something, let me know!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Akihabara street scene (1)

(I have a few more to post in the coming days)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Eight Floors of Anime

Buildings in Akihabara...including the 8-floor Animate. We started at the top and walked through each floor on the way down. (By the end, even I was getting a little tired of anime goods.)

Monday, May 14, 2007

It's's purple...'s a penguin?

McDonald's has put out ads with purple penguins to promote McFlurries over here. (Or would it be McFlurrys? Hmm.) Either way, they had their mascot hanging out by the JR train station in Akihabara, Tokyo.

For some reason, it was a little creepy. I have nothing against mascots in general - in fact I ususally like them - but I felt no inclination to go pose with this one. I was actually trying not to attract its attention...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Lipton Ad

The new Lipton Tea ad is cute! It also makes me laugh.

I took this picture in Shibuya (Tokyo), but I've seen them in Osaka, too.

Here's a close-up of the text at the bottom. (It's even a fairly accurate English translation.)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Comic City Tokyo Day

The train that took us there:

The line to get in. The huge, huge line...

On the way back, there were strange cow-people statues watching TV (or were they watching us?) near the train station. It was weird. I took a picture.

The ironic thing is I'm going to Comic City Osaka tomorrow :p

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ghibli Crest

The whole area was beautiful. Even the gates were adorned with the Ghibli crest.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


On the roof of the Ghibil Museum, there was a huge statue of one of the robots from Laputa. Here my artistic back-of-robot-in-nature shot. (This way I also managed to cut out the crowds posing in front.)

And for perspective -

See? Big.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Straw Hat Cafe

At the Ghibli Museum, we ate at the Straw Hat Cafe (which reminded me far too much of One Piece). It was pretty and brightly colored! Also, the food was delicious.

Bonus picture! This was my order...(delicious) strawberry cake and a drink which, so far as I can remember, was called "Looking Up Into a Clear Blue Sky Cream Soda." I didn't even really want cream soda (which in Japan, by the way, actually means soda with ice cream) - I just got it for the name. It was totally worth it.

Monday, May 7, 2007


This was one of my favorite pictures of the Ghibli museum :)

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Tokyo Pictures!

I'm back from Tokyo! My friends and I had a great time :)
Here's a quick run-down of our Golden Week activities:

Day 1 - Thursday, May 3rd

We went to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, on the outskirts of Tokyo. It was amazing!

Look! It's a totoro in the ticket booth!

This is the entrance to the museum. The architecture of the building is great - it really feels like it could be from a Ghibli film. And there was so much beautiful, beautiful greenery!

We also went to a restaurant called Ninja Akasaka for dinner. We were guided to our table and served by ninjas. It was cool. And tasty. (And expensive.)

Day 2 - Friday, May 4th

Comic City Tokyo! It was fun and big and crowded. No pictures allowed inside, but here's a picture of Tokyo Big Step, the building where the event was held.

That night, we had dinner in Shibuya, which I think is comparable in size, traffic, and atmosphere to Times Square in New York. I took a picture of the station building, complete with blurry crowd (...and ads for a movie I'm looking forward to seeing. Yay pirates!)

Day 3 - Saturday, May 5th

We went to Akihabara, the part of Tokyo famous for electronics/anime/video games/etc. See? Big billboards!

Then my friends headed back on the Shinkansen. I went to Harajuku to shop and watch all the fashionable young Japanese people until it was time to catch the night bus back to Osaka. And surprisingly, to not take pictures...somehow I ended up without a single shot of Harajuku. At least, not from this trip :p

And now I'm home! Yay Osaka! Though it was rather ironic...we had *beautiful* weather for the entire trip in Tokyo. When I got off the bus in Osaka, it was pouring, and it's been raining all day. I'm glad today was my rest-and-recover day. And tomorrow it's back to school! (eep!)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The End of the Excursion

At the end of our climb down the mountain, we ended up going out through a shrine. It was rather minute we were on an (admittedly well-paved) mountain trail, the next we were descending into a shrine.

Actually, thinking back on it now, the trail markers with the little Buddha/Kami figures on them should have been a hint.

One of the students I was walking with was actually not happy about the shrine. She said something about it being bad for progress to enter a shrine..."and once you go through the gate, you're in the shrine until you leave." So technically, since we only went through the gates on the way out, we might still be in the shrine? (She was not happy with that thought.)
It was odd...I didn't realize some people viewed shrines so negatively.

Anyway - this is my last update for a few days. I'm off to Tokyo for Golden Week! Yay!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Oh yeah...

...maybe we climbed it 'cause of the nice views like this.

Looking out from Mt Rokko at can see the harbor and sea, too, out past the city. And you can see a bunch of kids in PE class. We actually walked past the field where they were practicing later :)