Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tokyo Goats

In general, Tokyo is not what you'd call an unpredictable city. You pretty much know what you're going to get in every district: convenience stores, malls, ramen restaurants, pachinko parlors... But from time to time you will come across something (or things) that make you do a double take.
Not far from Tachikawa Station, near a movie theater that's next to the monorail line, there's a large, empty patch of land. And on that land are a number of placid, mellow goats. Not quite what you'd expect to see in the world's largest metropolis, but the area is far enough from Central Tokyo (about an hour from Shinjuku) that you can kind of see how it may happen.
They're quite popular with passers-by, and they make a nice change from the concrete that covers most of the city.
I'm not sure how long they've been there or if this is their permanent home, but if you find yourself in Tachikawa, you can pop over and say hi to these furry friends.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Whenever I spend time in a place, I think about nearby areas that can be visited in a day. I prefer places accessible by train or bus and which don't require too many transfers. If you're visiting Tokyo, one such day trip in easy striking distance is Enoshima.

It's a popular tourist spot off the southern coast of Japan, and you can get to Enoshima station from Tokyo in less than 2 hours. From the station, it's a 10-15 minute walk through a small town and over a bridge to get to the island.
As you can see, it gets pretty crowded. However, the further you walk in, and the more you explore the higher-up areas and back alleys, the smaller the crowds become.

Enoshima has a lot to do in a day. You can visit shrines and parks, sample food at street stalls, walk along the coast, go to an aquarium (on the mainland, not the island), and look out for the many cats that inhabit the island. It's very hilly, so if you're hankering to get your walk on, this place is for you. If you're not so much into stairs and steep inclines, you can pay for an escalator ride to take you up to the main shrine.

More pics after the jump:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Yokohama Collectors Mall

If you're in downtown Yohohama, which is a nice place to walk around with a European feel, you might think about checking out the Yokohama Collectors Mall. It's in the basement of a building called the Silk Center.
It's got a bunch of little booths rented by different folks. So there's an eclectic mix of toys and other retro goods - mostly with a Western bent.


Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:00-6:00, Fri-Sat 11:00-7:00, Sunday + Holidays: 11:00-6:00
Closed: Wednesdays
Address: 〒231-0023 横浜市中区山下町1番地
Phone number:  045-651-0951
Map: Click here for a Google Map

More after the jump:

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Toy Planet

Toy Planet is a chain of "recycle" (the most commonly used term in Japan for used goods) shops in Japan. In addition to toys, they sell used books, video games, and other items, mostly for kids in the K-12 crowd.
You can find some very affordable toys - even in the 100 yen range. There are both loose and boxed toys to choose from.
I've been to a couple of their locations. I'd say that in general Toy Planet is geared towards toys that kids can play with, as opposed to, say, Mandarake, which is more geared towards collectors.

More pics from the store:

 More after the jump:
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