January 2020. A new year begins with blue skies overhead, and a healthy orange tree standing proud on our street.
We took a trip out to Shiinamachi, a quaint station just one stop from Ikebukuro on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line. Shiinamachi has a very local feel, and is a great place to experience normal life in Tokyo. Just beside the station, Kongoin Temple quietly sits, waiting for people to come in and say hello.
Mrs IKIMASHO blending in with a red shawl I got her for Christmas. Little Red Riding Hood?
The soft sound of ema clinking against each other in the wind. Ema are small wooden plaques, common to Japan, in which Shinto and Buddhist worshippers write prayers or wishes. They are left hanging up at the shrine, where the spirits or gods are believed to receive them.
A sleepy street in Shiinamachi
Exploring an old shotengai – shopping arcade – deep in the Yokohama suburbs. Usually I am the only foreigner walking about these places, but I am used to it.
A little street scene in Hiroo.
I loved the quaintness of this salon.
Hiroo is one of the most prominent upmarket residential and shopping neighborhoods in Tokyo. It is also home to some hidden parks and temples that we explored one weekend.
Quiet temple grounds
Just after I took this picture, a group of women dressed in kimono walked past the window inside on their way to a tea ceremony. It was a nice moment.
I’m probably wondering what’s for lunch…
Speaking of which, looking back at my photos from January reminded me that I had some good food. This ramen was from Menya Ishin, a highly rated shop in Meguro. The wontons were amazing.
Ochazuke is a simple Japanese dish made by pouring green tea or dashi (stock) over cooked rice. I chose one with salmon and avocado. You spoon it into the white dish on the left, then pour the stock over it.
A surprisingly elaborate Korean lunch while we were in Hiroo. This was only 1000yen (£7) each or something ridiculous. Very good value. The red dish was a very spicy tofu soup/stew called sundubu jjigae, and it was served with rice plus nine side dishes. The side dishes were in little metal bowls that made a ‘ding’ sound when you hit them with your chopsticks, similar to a meditation bell.
We have got into the habit of going to a doria restaurant in Shinjuku anytime we go to the cinema. Doria is a Japanese western-style rice casserole dish – basically a big hot mess of rice, sauce, cheese, all bubbling away. This particular restaurant lets you choose you own toppings so I usually go for chorizo and Genovese sauce.
Immaculate presentation at a lunch in Jiyugaoka…
With very wide, thick udon noodles. The first time I had seen these.
Experimenting with black and white on a sunny day.
And watching the said sun set at Futago-Tamagawa station. The first month of the year has passed.
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