At the risk of being called a Big Girl's Blouse by TCA, I am still very fuzzy headed from the jet lag. Perhaps I just like being cossetted by my family (tea in bed, being allowed to sleep in the afternoons, Badger being walked for me, coffee from Ann at the deli, etc. etc.) but this morning I had a rude awakening by Ann demanding to know when I was going to get my act together, so here goes.
Right. Architectural gems. Number one must be The 100 Yen Shop. A Y100 is about 45p so you can imagine the bargains to be had. I bought Fair Trader a very nifty little orange net bag with suckers that can be stuck to the tiles in the bathroom to keep soap, shampoo etc. in. It was garnished with a very pleasing picture of Miffy. I also bought a rather vulgar pink ornament for Jane at Netto, but unfortunately left it on top of Jack's television.
Two views of the Y100 shop. Please note all the cycles outside. Cycles are very popular in Japan and cyclists seem to be a law unto themselves. They stop for no-one, cycle on the pavement with gay abandon, cycle on the wrong side of the street and think nothing of coming up behind you with no warning and then glare at you if you slow them down by carelessly getting knocked over.
In Tokyo itself cyclists and pedestrians seem to rule the roads equally. There is little traffic in the town as the transport systems is so brilliant. Trains and underground trains always run on time and frequently. There is an illuminated sign that tells you when the next train is coming, where it is at the moment and whether it is a 'local train', an 'express' or a 'semi express'. If the train is more than thirty seconds late, people start getting very twitchy, looking at their watches and generally appearing worried. Dotted along the platform are small markings and people queue up in an orderly line exactly behind them. The train stops with it's doors precisely where these markings are, and then the orderly queue disintergates into a pushing, hysterical mob rushing the train so they might be able to get the last remaining seat that is available. Old ladies, children, pregnant women all get flattened in the rush. There is a line running a couple of feet in from the edge of the platform. If you let your foot stray half an inch over this line, a gentleman in uniform will run up waving his batton until you remove it.
In the streets, zebra crossings tend to be about thirty feet wide to accommodate the vast hoards of pedestrians. Jay walking is frowned upon and you are in danger of getting a whistle blown at you if you try it. Jack frequently gets whistled at, the rebellious little bugger.
This is Marusho, the Hoya's Netto. I loved this supermarket and used to slip down to buy bits and bobs for Miki. I had to guess a lot of the time exactly what I was buying, not being able to read kanji. It once took me nearly twenty minutes to find the eggs. Near Marusho was a really nice baker's. If you spent Y300 or more you were given a token. Collect ten and you got a free plate. Miki was avidly collecting these tokens, and as I got into the habit of popping in daily to buy us a cake each, or maybe some fabulous nut bread, by the time I left she had collected her first ten tokens. She was as thrilled with these tokens as my old mother used to be when she got a free plastic spoon inside her box of Horlicks.
The local Chinese Take Away. We didn't use this at all, but can't help comparing it to the 'New Garden Take Away' in Poynton.
I rather liked this sandwich board outside a coffee shop, close to where Jack worked. One day I went into Tokyo to meet up with Jack who took me to the 'Darjeeling' for a curry. I spotted this sign near by.
Am off tomorrow to stay with the Wren in Brighton for a few days. No doubt there will be some architectural gems around there for me to happily photograph.