Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Ask your father...

At the moment I am looking at advertising in one of my classes; analysing media isn't really on the curriculum here. I think it's useful for students to think about, deconstruct and reconstruct the world around them.
This is a current Eikoh cram school advertisment in the Tokyo trains.
The text -  "Dad what does TPP mean?"
The subtext.....
 I gave students some time to think. I told them the advertisement irritated me because of the implied meaning...
 "Don't ask your mother, she's too stupid."

It was an "ahhh" moment for much of the class ... 
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An unfitting end for Buddhist deities.

We saw few people out and about on Sunday; there were few if any homeless people about and there was minimal activity in parks (few parks too actually).   The drab dreariness was ....punctured with a most miserable assortment of collected and rejected Buddhist statues. A backhoe to the head of Hotei....(ironically the Buddhist god of happiness)  the Shichi-fukujin dumped. It irritated me that they would be disrespected like this  - gathered and imprisoned in a junkyard;  it reminded me of the faces of Buddha on the pagodas in Kaifen that were scratched out as part of Mao's Cultural Revolution.
  Hiro's contempt was reserved for the nouveau riche attitudes of the people who had bought them like amulets only to discard them down the track...   But perhaps, as Japan downsizes, consideration needs to be given to finding resting grounds for no longer needed statues of Buddhist and Shinto deities...  This isn't a fitting end.

Thank you to Rurousha for the advice that it was Hotei, I had thought it was Daikoku-ten.

Cycling to "the island" of Kita Senju...

On Sunday we cycled through what is arguably the largest island of Tokyo Bay, through Kita-ku, Arakaka-Ku,  and Adachi ku to Kita Senju. The Arakawa River is on the North Side, the Sumida on the South.
For otaku detail of the rivers see and related posts.
The map above is in Japanese but we went from the western edge to about the large road that runs east of and parallel to route 4 (the Nikko Kaido)

This is a very neglected part of Tokyo.  Much of it is quite new, reclaimed land that resulted from flood mitigation. Historically it's marginal; swamp land that was prone to flooding. The NE wards of Tokyo are still somewhat stigmatised by the history of Arakawa flooding.  At the narrowest point the distance between the rivers is almost spitting distance.  There are a lot of recycling facilities, and low cost housing.  The absence of  small local shrines in the area indicates relatively recent habitation in the area.
There seemed to be quite a lot of abandoned buildings, but some signs of gentrification, especially near the Teikyo Science University.

An abandoned danchi
An abandoned danchi
the north side of the Sumida
The same danchi - abunai - don't enter... though I can't imagine what the danger is.
I hate seeing good fruit wasted..... Biwa by the Sumida
The entrance to the street below.
An old market street just off the Nikko Kaido
An abandoned house, despite the greenery
Very run down.
This was called "green street" the greenest thing was the paint on the building.
It's hard to overestimate greenery for making a place look pleasant.
This would be baking hot in summer.
Run down meets genetrification
A glimpse of gentrification - it looked very out of place in the area.
This looked abandoned, but the curtains suggest maybe not.
I thought this was abandoned when I took it, but it's not.
Recycling by the river
Recycling by the river

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Sunday, 16 June 2013

Couque d'asses?

I think the product labelling division could have done a little better....
Spotted at Takeya in Okachimachi.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The rainy season

The season have changed. The last of the satsuki  meets the hydrangeas, in the rain.
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Roses 4: Roses meet green curtain

On the way from Tokyo station to the Shimane "antenna shop"  - long story - with Hiro's parents. We passed by a building..( I am kicking myself for not remembering what it was...  and I got motion sick trying to find it on google streetview) where they had a green curtain made of roses.  Lovely, just lovely.  I am starting to wonder how much impact the green curtain is having on Tokyo fauna.  I haven't seen any reports about it, considering there is such a large chunk of the population that is bug averse I wonder if there's going to be a backlash .....

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Roses 3: Arakawa ni chome

At Arakawa Ni-chome there is a park that has the tramline on one side and a water treatment facility on the other.  I might have been a bit over roses here, because there aren't reall tham many roses photos here.
There were a lot of quirks about the place. 

A very acrobatic naked lady
this was more like it - but it still looks rather ... communist  -
in the artistic sense of the word.
The wisteria behind would be worth going back to see late April next year.
Water treatment
Not a very attractive view
The park between Arakawa ni chome station and the rose beds
The very unassuming Arakawa ni chome station.
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Roses 2: The Arakawa line

The Arakawa line, which is reasonably close by, is another spectacular spot for roses.   We walked from Kyu Furukawa to the tram line at Oji station via Asukayama park.  
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