IKIMASHO!

Snowflakes & pixels

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Like a giant bowl of steamed rice, Japanese snow is fluffy and white and nice to look at. But it also means trudging your way to work through manky Tokyo slush while trying not to fall on your ass. The Kanto region had a big snowstorm a week ago and the remains are still here: jagged drifts of ice piled up against the side of the road – with icy winds preventing the last of it from melting.

The first I heard about any of it was flying back to Japan after a weekend in Taiwan. “This is Captain [insert generic pilot name] speaking, I’m afraid we can’t land at Narita due to heavy snow; we’re going to have to circle the area for two hours.” The Japanese often have a tendency to overexaggerate so I really didn’t think anything of it. But when the plane started doing somersaults – and my stomach decided to follow suit – I began to think that maybe things on the ground weren’t so sweet after all. Sure enough, when the flight finally landed I was greeted with the news that all buses back to the city were cancelled, along with the Narita Express. Hurray. After three hours I finally made it back to Shimokitazawa: in bed at 1am and up again at 6am for work. I didn’t even bother to change. Snow isn’t so cute in situations like this.

Saying that, I can’t be too mad at snow. Mundane things such as vending machines and parked bicycles start to look even more Japanese, and everything becomes a photo.

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Shimokitazawa looking cute at 1am

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I like getting off at random train stations and getting lost. Ajinomoto stadium is usually home to FC Tokyo but on Sunday there was a huge flea market happening in the grounds outside. If, like me, you like sifting through endless vintage and retro crap check here to see when the next one is. (¥300 entry, get off at Tobitakyu station). 

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From real snow to digital snow in the form of pixels… Last weeked I went to 8bit Cafe in Shinjuku to meet my mates Jo and Jamie who were visiting Tokyo from Belfast for the first time. This is a super cool spot: they play chiptune music and there are old consoles and gaming memorabilia scattered around the place. Friendly staff and a cool vibe – though the drinks are a bit on the small side. (The bar’s right beside Exit C5 at Shinjuku-sanchome station. Look for the little green pixel sign and take the tiny stairway to the 5th floor.)

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Chiptune!

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In other news, these cakes are amazing…

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As are my new Fox Socks. 

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