Cabbages, containers and doggy-do

MyGengo* I just posted my interview with Rob and Matt of myGengo.com over at Making it in Japan. Anyone interested in translation should check it out – they have some great new services on the way – and if you have the skills required (but are lacking in qualifications / years of experience that many companies demand) they might be just the folks you’ve been looking for.


After work last night I headed up to the in-laws’, about an hour from our place, just north of Tokyo. There were two birthday’s in the family to celebrate, a lot of good food to eat and my father-in-law’s travel stories to catch up on.

I found it interesting how the pace of life seemed to be a lot slower there, outside of central Tokyo. There wasn’t the feeling that there was lots that needed to be done (as is the feeling at home). 9pm seemed late, like bed time. I was asleep before midnight for the first time in a long time.

Walking back to the station this morning (*Twinkle* left earlier, taking our niece to Disneyland), I took a few photos of everyday stuff, which I thought I’d share.

First off then, we have the cabbage fields between the apartment blocks. I think of these as the remnants of years gone by, when the kanto plain was more agriculture than housing. You’ll still find quite a lot of them in the outskirts of cities, but every year their number decreases. I think the primary motivation for planting up land these days is not producing crops, but rather to obtain tax breaks.

cabbages

Next up, the dog poo sign. Isn’t it cute? The woman seems to be really enjoying herself. The text literally reads, “Let’s take dog poo home!”

dogpoo

Storage containers are on the rise, as people accumulate more ‘stuff’ which they really have no need for. You can rent half of one of these containers for as little as 5,250 yen (GBP36) per month. Given the state of the Japanese economy, it won’t be long until we find people living in them, I’m sure.

storage

Next, we’re down by the riverside. Not sure I’d want to eat anything that comes from one of these rivers though.

shindenriver

Finally, we have the mikan – or are they some other kind of orange? I don’t know. I like fruit trees in cities. They’re a good reminder of the natural seasonal cycle that is going on around us, masked by the tarmac.

mikan

Anyway, I need to change trains now, so had better pack up.

Joseph

Video: Joseph and *Twinkle*s trip to Yamaki Jouzo

In our first video podcast collaboration, *Twinkle* and I take you to Yamaki Jouzo, an organic farm located about 2.5 hours from Tokyo in Kamikawa-cho, Saitama (accessible by train to JR Honjo and then bus) [Google Map].

This video was originally going to be a Japan Podshow episode, but in the end we were unable to get all the footage we needed.

It would be a waste to not use what we did get though – so here it is for Daily Mumblers.

Large version available on Facebook

Video: Japan is not all skyscrapers and concrete

Yesterday, I made a trip to see my friends and Mrs. Bibi in the hills of Saitama, a couple of hours by public transport from where we live in central Tokyo.

Getting off the bus at the end of what had been quite an exciting journey there (I finished editing a video on the train and then had the opportunity to tell a taxi driver to “Follow that bus!” – after the initial confusion he rose to the challenge and did a fantastic job of heading it off at a junction a few kilometres down the road) I found myself struck by the beauty of Spring, and so decided to make a little video of the area as I walked up the hill.