Recently I was strolling through the book store while waiting for my train, and there I found The Secret For A Long And Happy Life. Or well … I don’t know exactly who to believe. There is the Danish “Hygge”, the Swedish “Lagom”, or “The Way” of the Chinese.
While in the Netherlands the corona virus is taking hold, everything is closed and everyone has to stay at home, it is slightly less intense in Japan. Yes, certain things have been closed for weeks. But although everyone suspects the government of lying (because of the Olympics), it actually seems to be not too bad here.
Japan is the safest country in the world. In the Starbucks you can leave your laptop on the table when you go to the toilet, whoever forgets his iPhone in the metro will almost certainly get it back that same day and in the evening I walk home without any fear. Yet I was scammed yesterday. By an extremely sweet-looking girl in a pink dress, with kawaii pins in her hair and a high-pitched voice that makes her sound like a ten-year-old, while she is probably twenty-five.
In my previous post about shopping in Tokyo I told you about Harajuku and Shimo-Kitazawa. This time I’ll take you to Koenji and the best kept secret of Tokyo: the Oi Keibajo-mae flea market!
Wie voor het eerst in Tokio komt, de eerste de beste hippe vintagewinkel in Harajuku binnenstapt en het prijskaartje van een smoezelige Adidas-sweater omdraait, schrikt zich een halve hartaanval. Wát?! 35 euro voor dit ding uit de Zak van Max?! Maar het zou zonde zijn om thrifting in Tokio direct helemaal af te schrijven. Want wie weet waar ‘ie moet wezen, en waar níet, kan wel degelijk spotgoedkope pareltjes op de kop tikken. Ik vertel je alles.
As you may know, I’m a huge nerd. And just like every other nerd, I have my obsessions: trains, and Disney parks. Tokyo is like heaven for nerds, called “otaku” in Japanese. In this series of blogs I’ll introduce you to nerdy Japan. In the next post I’ll take you to Nakano Broadway, but first: trains!
I don’t remember exactly when or where, but somewhere in the process of searching for and moving into my great 25m² apartment, somebody told me about the Nakagin Tower. A capsule tower, built in 1972, as an example of the Japanese Metabolism movement. My dream.
I have to admit something. I fell for clickbait. And not in a way that I clicked on a link and wasted three seconds of my life, no. I spent eight hours on a train yesterday, over an hour today, I spent 20 euros on a taxi and walked an hour for a… Disappointing bridge.
On the 15th of March 2011, four days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent disaster of nuclear plant Fukushima Daiichi, all inhabitants of Namie that aren’t evacuated yet, are ordered to leave their town. The radiation levels in the village, just eight kilometers away from the plant, are way too high.
A little over six years later, on April 1st, 2017, the inhabitants are allowed to return. The train station reopened, a brand new post office is constructed and roads have a new layer of asphalt. Still only a hundred of the 20.000 former residents have gone back. Houses are inhabitable, people built a new life somewhere else, and well… Is it really safe now?
Since I moved to a more quiet area of Tokyo, it seemed a great idea to get a bike. Well, actually it was my neighbour Jeske’s idea, she recently bought a fancy folding bike. She gave me the address of a recycle shop in Yoyogi, so I took the train, walked for ten minutes and found…
Charlotte and I were in Tokyo on a mission: shooting pictures for suitcase brand SUITSUIT. We’ve been to Ibiza with them before to shoot the campaign, so when they heard about our Japan plans, they thought it was perfect for their new Sakura Blossom line. I checked in a suitcase set and we went to work!
Stuff yourself until you’re full, and after that, get naked! Doesn’t sound like the best idea, but in Ooedo Onsen you can do just that. And it’s awesome!
I was twenty, living in a pink room in The Hague and my favorite cd was Gwen Stefani’s. With “Harajuku Girls” she added a few new words to my vocabulary: “kawaii”, Japanese for cute, and “irasshaimase”, that über annoying word you hear every time you enter a shop. The Japanese way of saying “welcome” or “please come in”. And if you think, i-ras-she-what? It’s usually pronounced so quickly that I used to think they said something like wasawasèèèèn! Doet it ring a bell now?