Welcome to Japan – We Have the Coolest Toilets in the World!
Arriving at Narita Airport near Tokyo a few weeks ago .
I will be posting several shots of several high-tech throne controllers from various hotels.
Japanese development of cool toilets continues to amaze — and occasionally baffle.
When I first got to Japan in the mid-80s, many toilets were still squat type, which took some getting used to .
A snap of Tokyo Skytree captured from the window of the Narita Express airport train heading in to Tokyo a couple of weeks ago.
The Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train), pulling in to Tokyo Station. This was my ride up to Yumi’s parents’ place in Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan.
You can see a restored dome from Tokyo Station in the background. They’ve done a magnificent job over the last decade or two restoring the station to nearer its original exterior appearance.
We’ve kept our air travel down for many years, as it’s one of the most carbon-intensive ways to move around our suffering planet.
But we’ve got several trips lined up this year, and while I’m excited, I’m also feeling guilty.
We haven’t visited Yumi’s parents in Japan for many years, so that’s on the agenda.
We have a friend in the UK who will be travelling later in the year and who says we’re welcome to use her apartment. Wow.
And there’s a bunch of us in-laws hitting our sixties this year, so there’s another travel-intensive gathering planned. . .
And we have not one, but two, family weddings this year in eastern Canada, which shall require travel from here on the west coast.
I have an aunt who often laments the days of family all living in one village, within steps of each other.
Yeah, there are carbon offsets. And yeah, we are probably one of the most enviro-friendly families around.
But still . . . We’re gonna have a huge carbon smack this year. Sigh. . .
Yumi and I enjoyed the 2018 Nikkei Matsuri (summer festival) just up the hill from our place at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre in south Burnaby, BC, today. It’s on for another day tomorrow!
We had a super time at the Powell Street Festival that celebrates Japanese art, culture, and food, at Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver, where Japantown used to be before the WWII-related internment forced Japanese out of their homes, schools, and businesses.
I took nearly 700 photographs, and here’s a sample until I get around to making a Flickr album.
After stocking up at the Fujiya Japanese supermarket, we dropped by Burnaby Mountain for a picnic. Nothing like a fresh bento, some sushi, and assorted snacks!
Now that’s a view
The Tancho Crane ecosculptures are filling out
The amazing rose garden in full glory
It’s in the high 20s here in the lower mainland of BC, so I beat the heat by wandering the Nitobe Memorial Garden at UBC for an hour or two.
Yumi and I took a 3 hour and 40 minute walk starting from SE Burnaby all the way to Deer Lake, around the lake and home again. We capped the glorious afternoon with delicious Japanese food at the Nikkei Seniors Centre restaurant.
For the photographers out there, all of these were shot with a Sigma 10-20mm ultrawide zoom on a Nikon D5200 body.
And if you want to be let in on a secret, for the first half of the walk or so, somehow the autofocus got turned off on the lens. But with a lens that wide, set at F8 with aperture priority, depth of field is massive so pretty much everything is in focus anyway, eh?
Deer Lake dock
Gull soaring over the beach with Metrotown on the horizon
Deer Lake Brook
Over two hours into the walk and Yumi’s still got lots of energy : -)
Fun festival at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre just up the hill from our place in south Burnaby, BC. The main draw for me? Japadog . . . : -)
It was also great to run into a gal pushing 100 years old that we met at a party about three years ago. She was out and about at the event with her walker, since she lives in the Japanese seniors’ residence there, and we had a good long chat in Japanese, mostly Yumi and Yuki, with me following along as best I could.
Here’s a post about that convivial, multilingual, multi-generational potluck.
I think tofu has an unnecessarily bad rep. You just have to know where to get the good stuff. And there are few places to get the good stuff.
I have never yet found any tofu in a major “western” supermarket that I liked. It’s rubbery. It’s tasteless. It’s ickilly smooth.
Here’s what I look for: It’s bought in an Asian market, preferably Japanese. It’s “momen,” or “momendofu” meaning it has weight and a non-icky, slightly textured consistency.
Once opened, you have to eat it in a day or two. If it lasts longer than that in your fridge, it’s got too many preservatives and who knows what other chemicals in it.
If you can serve it cold, cubed, with only a dash of quality soy sauce and sprinkled with bonito flakes, and it’s yummy — that’s my tofu.
If it’s some weirdness shaped into “hot dogs” or “hamburgers” and saturated with artificial flavours, yuck.
Yumi has the foyer display set up for Setsubun — you can see the Oni, or Demon, cowering at the sight of a box of roasted soy beans, knowing they will be thrown at him to drive him away… : -)