Japan!: Randomness

This is another cleaning out the camera post- with some utter cuteness at the end, so you should stick through it.

But before we get to the pictures, I have to mention the awesomest thing. There is chime-y music ringing out across the city right now- we hear it every day at 5pm. We were at a friend’s the other day and heard it, and I asked her what it was (I thought it came from a place in Daikanyama, but her house is in Yoyogi and we heard it there). She explained that every day at 5 pm, music plays over loudspeakers all throughout Tokyo to tell the kids that it’s time to go home. Once kids are in 1st grade they’re pretty much allowed to go out and play after they do their homework- either outside or at the community center- and at 5 the music plays and all the kids know that it’s time to go home. That makes me incredibly happy. I love the assumed safety in letting your kids out to play, and the community element in letting them know it’s time to go home. I just love it.

Anyway. On to the pictures.

Z in the elevator



And Tiny.


Tiny with a paper elephant for her grandma. (At the Gap)


The wrapping on my Mother’s day present- both Alice in Wonderland themed handkerchiefs


My present- a gorgeous fan.



This is a stuffed chibi Ariel at the Disney Store. It took all my will power to walk out of the store without it.


There’s a series of “ballpoint pen drawing” books here that the girls have really taken to. They look through them and end up drawing amazing things they’ve never even gotten close to before. Z drew this picture for me because she knows I love hedgehogs.


These next two pictures capture one of my favorite things about living in this apartment. Do you see that building on the right of the picture in the distance? With the lights going up taller than all the other buildings?


It’s not actually there.


It’s a ghost building, or a flicker from an alternate universe if you’re a Fringe fan, or a break through the hypnotizing power of Genghis Khan if you’re a Shadow fan. The blue sign at the edge of the window isn’t there either. (In reality they’re reflections in the glass from other directions, but who likes reality?) I smile every time I see them.

Here’s a picture of B at his Aikido demonstration.


And here’s Z with a little girl she met at the park. The little girl just walked right up to her and took her hand, and didn’t let go the whole half hour we were there.







You may have noticed the mom with the umbrella in the first picture in this series. You may also have noticed that she’s wearing pants. (gasp!) I’ve actually noticed that the majority of the women are wearing pants now, versus the majority of skirts in the winter. I thought that was completely odd, seeing as it’s freezing in the winter and hot now, but a Japanese source pointed out that they wear pants (and thin long sleeves) in the spring and summer to avoid the sun. Most women here don’t want their skin to get any more tan. There’s a whole manga based on the misunderstandings that arise from a girl who is naturally very tan (called Peach Girl- it’s a super fun comic) – according to the manga, being tan is interpreted as sign of being “loose”.  I don’t know if that’s specifically what’s going on, but on the flip side,  I do know that I’ve seen a couple of girls who were very very tan with peroxided hair who definitely were cultivating a certain look. Anyway, that’s the reason behind the umbrella as well. Tiny calls them “sun umbrellas”, and very much wants one. Shh, don’t tell, she’s probably getting one for her birthday.

Another reason for the pants (I’m discovering through first hand experience) is to keep skin away from mosquitoes. They are fierce, evil little buggers. I got 3 mosquito bites on my arm and they hurt for a week. They just stopped hurting and I just got 3 on one leg and 1 on the other. I’m allergic to mosquitoes in the states, so I’m assuming I am also allergic here (nothing huge, they just swell up ridiculously) , because mine have swollen and are quite irritating, while Z got one and hasn’t been complaining. (Which I’m quite grateful for!)

I think that’s it for now.

4 thoughts on “Japan!: Randomness

  1. Rachel on

    At my house the 5 o’clock song is the dinner bell… or a reminder to me to start making dinner. 🙂 also, from what I know from my Japanese friends is that they are very concerned about the uv rays which is why they protect themselves from the sun. I always thought it related back to the rice field workers/ lower class having darker skin from working outside.

  2. Maryanne on

    I’m sure it does have to do with class, whether people acknowledge/realize it. That aspect probably ties into the “loose” perception as well, unfortunately.

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