urban thoughts


Juxtaposition of small and large in central Tokyo

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

are you hot and thirsty?

Keeping the vending machines stocked with cold drinks is busy work in Japan. This delivery truck has been specially adapted with separate compartments just the right size for the cardboard boxes. In winter you can also get hot drinks - warm coffee or tea in a can.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The baked sweet potato delivery van ...

Sitting at my desk today I could hear amplified voices coming from across the fields - it sounded a bit like the Muezzin's Call for Prayer - but reminded me of the baked sweet potato delivery man in Japan .... 'Yaki - oi- m0'. A bit hard to explain if you haven't heard it - but here is a picture.

One small white van with a wood burning stove in the back cooking baked sweet potatoes. The loudspeaker is on the roof and the van trundles along the residential streets of Tokyo and Tarumi and the old chap will sell you one by weight. Lots of extra wood to keep the fire burning. What would UK health and safety inspectors say?

Thursday, 10 June 2010

after the sun comes the rain

Its's what the flowers in the garden need, but now that I've changed into a summer wardrobe of dresses and sandals, I feel cold. Even in August, it can be cold enough to need a warm jumper or even a coat. In Japan it's mostly warm when it rains - so you don't need a coat to keep warm. That's why umbrellas are so popular and necessary.

I have pictures of umbrellas somewhere but I loved seeing the abstract pattern of cherry blossom petals in the Sumidagawa River in Tokyo after a rainfall in April.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

English Spring is the best

I love this time of year. When the sun shines but the air is still cool and you can enjoy being out and about without worrying too much about getting hot and bothered or sunburnt. I leant to really appreciate the changing seasons in Japan where each change is celebrated - the hanami picnic under the cherry blossom or viewing the changing colours in the autumn. But the sun soon gets too hot for me in Japan - and I have to cover up with suncream, long sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat. At least you can buy all this UV protective gear in Japan. It's still most fashionable to be pale rather than sun-tanned and women prefer physical sun-blocks to chemical sunscreens. I found the best hat shops in Japan - and there is also a huge range of UV arm covers, visors and parasols. I think there is an opportunity to educate sunloving Europeans and convert them to the benefits of covering up in the sun.