AKABANE / 赤羽 Last Friday I found myself out drinking in Koenji, an area not too far from Shinjuku that – like my own ‘hood of Shimokitazawa – is famous for its thrift stores and retro vibes. I go there once a year for the Awa Odori, but apart from that I honestly don’t really venture out that direction – despite it only being a short train ride from where I live. (Last year I think I visited three times in total.) […]
Peaceful tranquility at one of Tokyo’s oldest temples Even after five years, Tokyo still manages to surprise me ~ providing all sorts of new places to discover and enjoy. Last weekend my girlfriend and I took a trip out to Jindaiji Temple and its neighbouring Botanical Gardens in Chofu, a place we had never been to before. The second oldest temple in the metropolis, Jindaiji features quaint cobbled streets, leafy riverbanks and hushed surroundings. Indeed, it feels more like a small township in Kyoto rather than downtown Tokyo. Jindaiji is especially […]
A report from Ikazuchi no Daihannya, a weird and wonderful ‘matsuri’ that takes place annually to ward off ancient ghosts
Right now I’m back in Tokyo after a week in Saigon. I didn’t visit one tourist attraction while I was there, instead choosing to spend my time as I usually do, wandering the backstreets and eating local food. I quickly found out that the most interesting daily life happens deep in the concentrated network of alleyways that exist away from the main tourist centre. By zooming in on Google Maps, you can clearly see areas in Ho Chi Minh where […]
A cute cafe on the top floor of an abandoned apartment building in Saigon where they serve amazing drinks from skull pint glasses.
Each year between mid-February and early March the Setagaya Plum Blossom Festival (Setagaya Ume Matsuri) takes place at Hanegi Park in Umegaoka. It’s a small park, with small neighbourhood vibes to match: the festival mainly attracting local people who live in the surrounding area. I live two stops from Umegaoka, and so last weekend I decided to check out a good sushi place then met some mates to hang out at the matsuri. Cute local festivals like this are what living in the […]
Last weekend I was out at the Mori Art Museum reviewing the new NS Harsha retrospective for Tokyo Art Beat. I’ll hopefully get that article written and published later next week. I’ve always been a big fan of the Mori: it’s a space that never fails to enhance the exhibitions it hosts, not any easy task considering its size. What also makes the Mori special is that admission to the museum also grants you entrance to Tokyo City View on the 52nd floor. Offering 360-degree […]
When I first started this blog in March 2012, it was more a collection of daily photos – a diary for myself more than anything – of all the new things I was seeing and doing in Tokyo. As the years went on, these daily things of course became (somewhat) normal to me and so IKIMASHO! matured (is that the right word?) into a site with more specific articles about traditional festivals, certain neighbourhoods in the city and other stuff […]
TSUKISHIMA / 月島 Last Saturday I had a wander about Tsukishima – a man-made island in Tokyo Bay, just across the channel from Tsukiji fish market (which I still haven’t been to despite living here five years…) Tsukishima was created over 100 years ago using earth that was dredged from the bay during the construction of a shipping channel. It’s an area rarely featured in guidebooks, although among Japanese people it’s probably best known as a mecca for monjayaki – a kind of runny pancake with different ingredients, […]
Categories: Tokyo Days • Tags: area guide, asia, asian, blog, design, food, ikimasho, japan, japanese, justin egli, nature, neighbourhood, old japan, old tokyo, photography, shrines, street, temples, tokyo, urban
KAGURAZAKA / 神楽坂 Despite being cold, the winter months in Tokyo are often the best time of year to enjoy clear blue skies and sunshine. And so, with the sun on my back, I recently headed down to Kagurazaka for the afternoon – a neighbourhood in Tokyo not too far from Iidabashi station. (There’s a great cafe down by the canal there by the way, check it out.) Kagurazaka is perhaps most famous for its picturesque cobblestone streets, cute French restaurants […]
Last Sunday – with the cold visible on my breath – I made a short trip on the dainty Setagaya train line visit to the Setagaya Boroichi Fair. Started over 400 years ago, this huge flea market is now designated as one of Tokyo’s intangible folk cultural assets and features about 700 venders selling all sorts of food, junk, toys and antiques. There was a marching band with students playing the tuba, and everyone was in good spirits. I also tried […]
Realising you are getting old(er) and being perfectly happy about it. A few days ago I came across a piece I did for ACCLAIM magazine in 2015 featuring a bunch of old photos I took with disposable cameras back when I was living in the south of Japan in 2003. It got me thinking how I didn’t really fully appreciate being in Kyushu at the time, and exploring my immediate surroundings. At 22, all I cared about was partying, going to punk […]
Colorful leaves (koyo) are to the Japanese autumn what cherry blossoms are to spring. This is a time to seek out silent gardens: to sit motionless among the lonely reds and yellows of nature. Like IKIMASHO! on Facebook
A millennium-old Japanese dance on the grounds of Sensoji Temple, Tokyo.
Categories: Art Music & Culture, Tokyo Days • Tags: asakusa, asia, blog, culture, dance, dancing, design, fashion, festival, japan, japanese, justin egli, matsuri, photography, se asia, sensoji, shirasagi-no mai, tokyo, traditional, travel, white heron dance
Those of us who work in Japan are lucky enough to get one or two national holidays a month. Health and Sports Day – also simply known Sports Day – is one such day held annually on the second Monday in October. It commemorates the opening of the 1964 Summer Olympics held in Tokyo, and exists to promote sports and an active lifestyle. To coincide with the national holiday, many traditional sporting events take place throughout the city. And so a few weeks […]
Getting lost in the sound of the Japanese summer Last weekend I took a stroll around Inokashira Koen, a park 10 minutes by train from my house. If I ever decide to move away from Shimokitazawa, it will be to here – in and around Kichijoji. Just west of Tokyo, this area is close enough to the central wards to be convenient but far enough away to have a sleepy, bohemian atmosphere. Then again, being only ten minutes away, I guess I can […]
With its own mosques, schools and police station it’s the largest stilt settlement in the world. Built entirely of stilt houses and wooden walkways, Kampong Ayer in Brunei is a collection of 42 villages housing more than 39,000 people. It is the world’s largest water village. I was lucky enough to visit Kamopong Ayer a few weeks back, and it was probably the highlight of my most recent trip to Borneo. From a distance, the water village looks like a slum, but many of the houses […]
Two days of VIP Treatment in Taipei’s most luxurious location Right now I’m back in my regular stomping ground of SE Asia for a couple of weeks. First stop: Taipei, capital of Taiwan. I’ve actually been to Taipei twice before, the last time being memorable for all the wrong reasons when I stupidly decided to break up with my ex-girlfriend in a hotel room on the last day or our trip here. Not something I recommend: an awkward bus back to […]
Categories: Luxury Stays, Travel: Outside Japan • Tags: asia, blog, design, far eastern plaza hotel, five star, ikimasho, japan, japanese, justin egli, luxury, photography, se asia, Taipei, Taiwan, tokyo, travel
Tōrō nagashi is a long-held Japanese tradition where candle-lit lanterns are released into rivers to guide the spirits of the departed back to the other world.
Categories: Art Music & Culture, Tokyo Days • Tags: ambient, asia, blog, buddhism, buddhist, culture, darren mcclure, design, eilean rec., festival, ikimasho, japan, japanese, justin egli, peace, peaceful, photography, Porya Hatami, se asia, tradition, travel, Uwe Zahn, video, Zahn | Hatami | McClure, Zen
Ofudamaki was established in 1688 when mothers gave their clothes to male Shinto dancers in the hope of bringing them protection from cholera. My latest piece for DAZED is now online, talking about Ofudamaki, an obscure festival held once a year in a nondescript area 50 km from Tokyo. Check it out here.
Categories: Bizarre/Unique, Tokyo Days, Uncategorized • Tags: asia, blog, cross dressing, culture, design, female, festival, gender roles, japan, japanese, justin egli, male, matsuri, ofudamaki, photography, religion, shinto, tokyo, travel, urban
This time last year I was getting ready to go to Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand for a couple of months. While looking through my camera the other day I came across some photos from my time in Isaan in the Thai countryside. I remember one day Allan and I went down to get haircuts at the local barbershop. The place was amazing – totally unlike any barbershop I’d seen before, with chickens running about and toddlers getting cool buzzcuts. It’s these daily experiences […]
Jughead, founding member of Screeching Weasel, talks about the band’s classic album. I turned 35 last month. That means I’ve been listening to punk rock for 20 odd years. Of course I listen to all sorts of other stuff now, but it was punk rock specifically that shaped my teenage years. Green Day’s dookie exploded in 1994 – and although it is slightly mainstream and cliched to admit, it was through that record that I decided this was the type of […]
Categories: Art Music & Culture, Tokyo Days • Tags: blog, chicago, design, guitar, ikimasho, interview, japan, japanese, jughead, justin egli, lookout records, music, photography, pop punk, punk, punk rock, screeching weasel, tokyo, travel
Last Sunday morning I cycled to Enjoin (en-jo-in), a small Buddhist temple near my house. Despite it only being 10am, the temperature was already pushing 30 degrees and the air was still. The cicadas haven’t started yet, but I feel they aren’t far away. I bought mango ice cream from an elderly couple’s house across the street, and then wandered around the temple grounds, sitting alongside the turtles and koi carp. This post isn’t really about anything in particular, just the small and simple things in life that […]