April 25, 2015

The Best Kept Sakura Secret in Yoyogi


Did you think I was done with this years sakura season?

Not so fast! I couldn't move on without posting about the weekend I discovered rows and rows of cherry blossoms in Yoyogi. And the best part? There were absolutely no crowds. This place may be the best kept secret in Yoyogi...or even Tokyo!

My friend F and I decided to go hunt for cherry blossoms in Yoyogi so we first stopped by Yoyogi Village to get fuel for the afternoon. Then, with coffee in one hand and a bagel in the other, we were off!

Strolling along the road, we discovered a row of cherry blossoms. It was in a restricted area and while we were trying to figure out how to sneak in...we saw that the facility had even more cherry blossoms than we realized.

The National Olympic Memorial Youth Center was bursting with blooms. I don't know about F but I am still patting myself on the back for inadvertently stopping by this facility. There were a few people walking around admiring the sakura like we were, but mostly the streets inside the grounds were deserted. 

We found a bench under the row of trees and relaxed for a bit. It wasn't the most sunniest of days but it didn't seem to matter. Everything was beautiful and I had a great time chatting away with F on that bench.

And our timing was perfect. Once we were on our way to another coffee shop, it actually started to rain. So glad we were able to enjoy the gorgeous blooms while we could! x

Here are some photos:

April 22, 2015

The Citrus From Ehime


Did your mama ever tell you not to play with your food?

Well sometimes the temptation is too great. Especially when your parents send you a package full of citrus. And believe me you, I was already devouring one mikan after the other while having fun with these citrus slices!

You may already know that Ehime is the top prefecture to produce citrus fruits in Japan. My parents (who live there) have several types of orange trees and lemon trees in their back yard, as do many others. 

I love the 100% orange juice made by Ehime Beverage, Pom Juice (ポンジュース). That is my go-to orange juice. Do you know the story behind the name Pom?

The company wanted the orange juice to become "Nippon-ichi," meaning number one in Japan. So they took the Pon from Nippon-ichi, which later changed to Pom (something to do wih the word Pomelo), in hopes that the juice would become a hit. It certainly did for me!

Anyways, sometimes it's fun to play with different citrus fruit while you're eating them. They look so pretty. So much so that I even made a video of the oranges dancing away!

Also, I feel I should add that they tasted great, too! x


Here are some photos:


April 21, 2015

The Afternoon at the Tange By Tange Exhibit 


I finally made it to Tange By Tange 1949-1959 exhibit, right before it ended!

Most exhibits I hear about, I end up not going to. It always slips my mind and then it's over by the time I remember. But I was really drawn to this one on the legendary Japanese architect, Kenzo Tange.

It may be because I think his design of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is brilliant. Or just that I know many of his works, like the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Though really, most likely because his smile reminds me of a long-ago grade school boyfriend, if you must know. (I know, you didn't ask..but I decided to over share. Ha.)

Gallery Ma is operated by ToTo Ltd. (the company famous for making those Japanese toilets, bless them). The gallery opened in 1985 as part of the company's social contribution program, and specializes in architecture and design. This was my first time here but as tiny as it was, the use of both indoor and outdoor space was wonderfully unique.

Displayed were rows of contact sheets of 35-millimeter film images that Tange himself had taken, mostly of his own projects. And as much as I've always been into his work and history, I learned a few new things regarding Kenzo Tange.

Such as...
  1. The biggest surprise for me was that Tange had grown up in Imabari City, which is where my parents currently live! I had no idea. This explains why he has so many projects there, such as the Imabari City Hall and Imabari City Assembly. A lot of concrete. I'm going to have to go see for myself next time I go back to my parents place.
  2. It's a known fact that Tange designed the current Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku, but I actually did not know that he also designed the previous Government Building, too. It was located near Yurakucho Station, where the Tokyo International Forum now stands.
  3. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is my favorite designs by Tange. But I learned that it was his debut project! Wow. Not only that, he designed the entire Peace Park. No wonder I've always loved that entire area. He specifically designed the building elevated on pillars so that you could see the Atomic Bomb Dome from the museum. (Side note: Tange went to high school in Hiroshima so he had strong ties to Hiroshima even before he became an architect)

All in all, a very educational and informative exhibit on Tange's earlier projects. And did I mention it was free? This gallery is definitely on my radar now. If you like architecture or design, this is definitely a great place to visit. You can see a list of their upcoming exhibitions here.

 On my way back home, I called my dad to ask if he knew that Kanzo Tange was from Imabari. He didn't know either.



Here are some photos:


TOTO GALLERY MA
TOTO Nogizaka Building 3F, 1-24-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo JAPAN
東京都港区南青山1-24-3 TOTO乃木坂ビル 3階
TEL: +81 3 3402 1010
HOURS: 11:00am-6:00pm (Closed Mondays and Holidays)

April 14, 2015

The Cherry Blossom Walk to Work


My walk to work is the best!

Especially when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. I walk along Kanda River (神田川), which is for the most part aligned with cherry trees. The view is incredible.

It's a popular spot to enjoy the cherry blossoms but in the morning hours, when everyone is fast walking towards the train station, I get to have these trees to myself (with the occasional dog walker or runner passing by).

Nothing beats cherry blossoms under a blue sky. But my favorite view is actually under the rows of branches leaning toward the river. It feels like a tunnel of cherry blossoms and despite seeing this view every year, it still manages to take my breath away. So beautiful.

It's no surprise then, that I had to make a mad dash for the office every time. So hard to not take a photo every three steps I take. (Although nothing new.) Oh the joys of walking to work! :D

Here are some photos: