Sunday, April 30, 2006

Land Is Dear

We were fortunate that we had friends in Tokyo who shared their house with us. We were within walking distance of the Shinagawa train station - a big station. These folks were fortunate to have a piece of garden land available, about 16' X 16'. See above for their tulip plantings. It was beautiful.
Now, from exactly the same place in the entry, I raise the camera to view the distance (note the reflection of the flashbulb...sorry) and what do I see?

That's the 40-story Shinagawa Prince Hotel in the left distance. It is a dense city, after all.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Earthquake Resistance

Japan has not really been made beautiful by mankind, sad to say. There are buildings of true beauty, both old and new, but they exist in an ocean of nondescript sad monotony. One troubling (to me) aspect is the plethora of wiring that obscures the sky everywhere!
I finally realized that the imperial government had decided on the country's unique defense against earthquakes; Just tie everything together with wires and then earthquakes won't have a chance!
Problem is, I don't think it works. Remember Kobe?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Lots And Lots of People

There are about 12,500,000 people residing in Tokyo. That's equal to 1/3 of all the people living in California.

The only possible way that a city that large could work is with superb mass transportation, and that Tokyo has. The many, many trains run on schedules that are only 1 or 2 minutes apart; they have to, since there are a limited number of train tracks, and the trains have to be exactly on schedule or they'll collide.

And there are taxis everywhere, even cruising around in residential areas. They're not cheap, at 660 Yen ($5.50) when you step in, but they're there.

And finally there's just plain walking. Not too many overweight folks in Tokyo since they walk (or, often, run) everywhere. All ages, too.
Consider, for instance this sidewalk shot from the shopping area in Harajuku.

These folks are waiting for the light, and that mass of people behind them in the center of the picture are more, and more, people on the sidewalk behind.

Truly a wonder to behold.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Western Dining in Tokyo

There's no question that authentic Japanese food is great, and that it's most authentic in Japan.
Having said that, however, a few days for a Westerner in Japan creates a fervor to taste some comforting "familiar" food. For that purpose, we heartily recommend a visit while in Tokyo to YumYum.
It's located near to the Rainbow Bridge in the city's industrial waterfront, currently being filled and built up with a plethora of futuristic offices/ convention-centers/ condos/ etc.
From the Shimbashi Station, take the new "Yurikamome" sky-track rubber-tired train to Shibaura-futo, and YumYum is a short cab drive (660 Yen) away.
The Owner is a third-generation fish specialist, a graduate of Pomona College and of Keio University, delightfully conversant in English, and a perfect host.
The food is fish and shellfish, prepared as you would expect and also in surprising fusion fashion. The scallops, breaded, were especially tasteful. Sea Bream, steamed, was also memorable.
Wine is mostly French, carefully selected, and served at an appropriate temperature, somewhat of a rarity in Japan where most red wine arrives chilled.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Timing. . .Is Everything!

Home again! And I'm the first to admit that our only concern during two weeks in Japan (of which more, much more, later)was that our new cherry trees, planted last July, would bloom without our being able to enjoy them. Fortunately, these guys are late bloomers (remind you of anyone?) and they are 50% full as of this writing.

We could not have asked for more.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


But, just before I leave, if you're interested in plate tectonics on Mother Earth, take a look at the amazing series of pictures for North America at BLDGBLOG today.

Change of View

The steady drip, drip, drizzle over California now threatens never to stop until our liquified State dissolves into the Pacific Ocean. Wishing to avoid that occasion, I'll be visiting the exotic Home of Sushi! and other expensive delicacies. Back soon.

(The bright lights in the center are the Ginza. Campai!)

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Interesting "compare and contrast" from

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Masters!

Guess what's going on down in Augusta GA this weekend. . .

Ah, well. Weatherman says that Northern California just might begin playing golf sometime in mid June. Maybe.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Daylight Saving Time

That canny Bill Gates & Co. snuck into my computer last night while I was asleep and changed the computer clock for me. Thanks, of course. However, next year we'll do this in mid-March, as explained here. I wonder if Gates have accounted for that? Or have downloaded a patch? Or will blow it? We shall see: : :