Rainy, Cold, and Uncrowded in Asakusa

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Sweets, Tree, and Red Wall, Akakusa


I went back to finish up my souvenir shopping is Asakusa on Monday.  I expected it to be a bit uncrowded due to it being Monday and it generally was. The rain also helped keep some of the sightseers away.  There were still streams of tour groups following the triangular flags, and I heard English, Chinese, and German, as I quickly made my way from the main shopping street onto to the backstreets.  I feel at home there.  My pace slows, my eyes sharped, and I can just be.

There are those pockets, tiny little pockets, of what Asakusa must have been like.  It still has got to be the number one destination for foreigners and Japanese travelers to Tokyo, but they more or less stick to the Nakamise (main shopping street) and visit the temple.  I am much more interested in those side streets for the real craftsmen.

The little gardens that thrive in only 15 centimeters of space.  It is what I love about tokyo.  Those intense patches of greening life against the drab of frozen gray concrete.

As I am typing this I gaze out my window to see snowflakes drift on down from the skies.  It is hard to imagine that in a little more than 24 hours time, I will be gazing out my window and hearing the cawing of parrots.



Behind the Temple Garden, Asakusa

Hyper Don Tree Spot, Asakusa

Asakusa, The Backstreets is Where It Happens

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Single Palm and Door, Asakusa


When I first arrived in Tokyo one the first places I visited was the Sensoji Temple and Asakusa shopping district.  I really wasn’t that impressed with the place.  The shops on the main shopping drag were all filled with such kitsch I couldn’t believe that this was the best of what the area had to offer.

Now, so many years later I have some what reconciled my dislike of the neighborhood and have turned it into a love.  The way to really enjoy this neighborhood is to stay away from Nakamise (Shopping Street) and hit the backstreets.  Let yourself get lost among some of the tightest alleys I have seen in Japan.  Also once you get aways from the bustling tour groups and the rickshaw hustlers the streets are rather quiet.  The shops also sell such quality handmade items.

I discovered a traditional Japanese silversmith shop today.  They had amazing silver hammered sake cups and the accoutrements for the tea ceremony.  It was one of the few times I wish I had a greater cash flow to be able to afford such skillful work.  Another shop I found today was a traditional brush maker.  They did sell a few hairbrushes, but most of what they sold was for cleaning.  All made by the shop and most made of renewable materials.  I was thrilled to look at bath scrub brushes, calligraphy pens, and body scrubbers.

I never know quite the path I will walk when I step off from the station.  I let my inner self guide me.  The more wrapped around lost I get the more treasures I will unearth.


Asakusa Feline ( 猫) Sunning and Grooming



Single Palm and Door, Asakusa

Return to Asakusa

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Before Edo Sushi Garden, Asakusa

I made my way back to Asakusa to do my omiyage (souvenir) shopping.  Like I have said before I never really liked Asakusa that much, but if I head away from the main street that leads to Sensoji Temple, the shops are pretty cool.

I was really attracted to the fabric goods in one shop.  All made by hand in Japan.  Pure love and quality.

I even got to see some flurries of snow fall in the streets of Asakusa.  It was a good day out with some kibidango I brought home for a healthy desert.

February Stone Wall Blossom

Asakusa, Cramped and Refreshing

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Drugstore Beauties, Asakusa

Asakusa is a great part of Tokyo.  It is one of those spots that all foreigners and domestic tourists make their way to when they visit Tokyo.  I never really liked Asakusa that much.  There is the famous Sensoji Temple located there, but it was rebuilt after the war.  There are some touristy shops that line the way to the temple.  The shops that line the main thoroughfare reminds me of the story of Yeshua (Jesus) and driving the sellers from the temple.  Different faith, but got to get your amulets, and kitsch to take back with you.

However, once you get off the main streets of Asakusa, and wander around the backstreets, there are plenty of quality shops, restaurants, and little pockets of the Tokyo of old.  Buildings still stand that have been build of corrugated metal.  Shop signs crack with age.  In Japnese they say aji ga aru (it has character).  I dig those characteristics immensely.

These are the streets that I love to wander around.  I like to wander until I don’t see tourists walking around.  There is where I can loose my self in the moment.  I can just become one with the streets.  I take it all in.  And from time to time I am compelled to photograph a scene.

People always ask me where is your favorite spot to photograph in Tokyo.  I like to reply that I don’t have one.  Wherever I go it is a chance to become one with the surroundings.  To explore neighborhoods for the first or the hundredth time.  That is what it is all about.  But, I am really drawn to the old neighborhoods in Tokyo.  They have so much character, and I feel that they won’t be with us much longer.

Seafood Forrest, Asakusa


Barbershop Garden, Asakusa

Obama, Aso and Guns in Ueno

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Today is Obon Buddhist holiday.

Most people are off and either taking it easy, or

returning to see their family.

I hadn’t ventured into Tokyo for a few days due to other plans, and rain, so

I in the late afternoon, walked around Ueno and Asakusa.  I needed a new pair of

rather large Zori (Japanese sandals) and there aren’t many places that carry a 30 cm, or size

12 in Tokyo.  It was hot, and I wandered around for a little bit.

Obama, Aso and Guns

Back Window, Asakusa

Ice Cold Melon on a Stick

Cheeky Nakamura

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