The two faces of Tokyo

On the quiet streets of Tokyo one morning, I see a parade of penguins with a quick and purposeful gait. I am to see the penguins in other places at other times of the day too — at supermarkets at lunchtime buying boxes of sushi, at Pachinko gaming parlours late afternoon and in the evening…

Not just a cup of tea

For the first time in my life, I am petrified by the prospect of having tea. I am in Koomon salon sat Tokyo’s Chou-Ku neighbourhood to watch a traditional tea ceremony called sado or chado (meaning ‘the tea way of life’). As my hostess shuffles into the room on her knees, everything I’ve read about…

Kimono show in Kyoto

In the short time I spent in Kyoto, I made a pit stop at the Nishijin Textile Center, for a bit of shopping – I wanted to buy everything and finally bought a gorgeous sake cup set. I am thinking of using it as a shot glass! – and then their famous kimono fashion show…

18 random things I noticed in Japan

I found Japan a really really complex culture – and coming from another, that is saying a lot. Back in India for a couple of weeks now, I am still taking it all in and am ambivalent about my feelings for the country. For now, a few observations… ~ The women are all super fashionable…

A maiko in the making

From wikipedia – Maiko (舞妓?) is an apprentice geisha in western Japan, especially Kyoto. Their jobs consist of performing songs, dances, and playing the shamisen (three-stringed Japanese instrument) for visitors at a feast. Maiko are usually aged 15 to 20 years old and become geisha after learning how to dance (a kind of Japanese traditional…