Getting To Know Our Neighborhood: A Picture Story

Just around the corner from our quiet street is a busy shopping area that we spent some time checking out yesterday and today.

Brett and I have spent the past two days walking around in the area close to our apartment, getting to know where things are and what’s nearby. Quite a lot, it turns out!

Tokyu is our closest supermarket, located in the basement of this building, called Carrot Tower. The supermarket is absolutely HUGE, and it’s like fantasy land for me. It’s about a seven minute walk away from our apartment.
One of the closest places to our apartment is this lovely tea shop, which sells specialty tea drinks and gourmet soft ice cream.
Yesterday I tried a rose & white chocolate soft cream cone – so good, even on a cold day.
Uh oh – shades of Old Delhi! This type of wiring lines the shopping avenue, just another of the many conundrums of life in modern Tokyo.
We’re so happy to have a very good bakery close by. Upstairs is a dental clinic.
A 7-11 is our closest convenience market, but just a few feet up the street from it are a Lawson’s and a Family Mart, so we’re well-covered.
Brett and I chose this pork cutlet bento at 7-11 for our lunch today. It cost us $4.07, and was enough for both of us!
When it rains in Japan, out come the clear umbrellas for sale. These cost a little less than $5 each, but when I first came to Japan in 1971 they were only 100 yen, about 37 cents back then.
A shop further down the street displays a traditional cedar twig ball which signifies sake is for sale.
This rustic looking place is a noodle restaurant. Right down the street from it is a takoyaki (octopus fritters) stand, so if this restaurant is a good one, we’ve got two of our favorites covered close by.
Here’s a little spot along the way where you can stop and do a few pull-ups to get your circulation going.
And of course, there are vending machines just about everywhere! Interestingly, the Coca-Cola machine contains no Coke.

12 thoughts on “Getting To Know Our Neighborhood: A Picture Story

  1. I love the traditional indicators of what is sold and what is open. Can be very confusing to outsiders.

    Not sure about those umbrellas. They look like they are quickly destined to landfill.


    1. The umbrellas have been around for as long as I can remember; they are basically a throwaway, and bought by those who get caught in the rain without an umbrella. I think there must be some sort of recycling though these days – I spotted a neat pile of old ones, ready for pick-up. The Japanese are master recyclers too.

      I was very happy to find the cedar ball today – hadn’t seen one of those for a long time. They usually hang in front of more traditional-style shops but this place was quite modern.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder if those vending machines are ‘smart ones’ that use facial recognition to remember your last order, and ask if you want it again today. Those Japanese!

    You are making me really miss Japanese food, including those delicious coated pork cutlets. We actually gained weight during our trip there, which I was not expecting. I think those divine, delicate cheesecake cakes were the primary reason!


    1. We LOVE Japanese cuisine, and love the pork cutlets (tonkatsu)! I was especially excited to find the takoyaki stand at the end of the street – I love them too, but it can often be difficult to find them. And, there’s a nikuman (steamed pork buns) stand down the road as well – another favorite. Just for the food alone I’m thrilled with our location! Hopefully I won’t gain weight here – I usually lose because of the smaller portions and because we walk so much.

      Facial recognition really was the next step with vending machines here (still kind of scary though), but hopefully I’m safe because I rarely, if ever, buy anything from a machine. They’re fun to look at though, and see what’s being offered (or not, like the Coke machine not carrying any Coke products).


  3. Looks like you are situated at a great spot. I love the pictures. Never been to Japan so, it is very interesting. I like to travel alone but because of the language barrier and the populated cities, I would want to have a friend if I ever travel to Japan. I am considered an adventurer by many who know me but, Far East sounds difficult.


    1. We’re very happy with our location. It just around the corner from the busy shopping street, but very quiet. But, everything we need is close by.

      I love that Japan is so safe. I never have to worry about being out on my own. I always carry my address along with me so that if I get lost a taxi can bring me home, or someone can show me the way (and they will).


  4. So interesting, I didn’t realize 7-11 was an international company. The electric lines are over the top and the noodle restaurant looks like something from the Old West. I’ve never heard of facial recognition for vending machines. Japan must be one of the most automated countries in the world. Actually kind of scary.


    1. 7-11 was formerly owned by the Southland Corporation in the U.S. (my father worked for them for many years), but sold to a Japanese company many years ago, so all 7-11 stores are actually Japanese!

      Our first thought when we saw the noodle restaurant was that it was something “Western.” We saw several people come out of the restaurant so hope the food there is good.

      Vending machines with facial recognition is new to me since we last visited, but doesn’t surprise me. I would think there is a button you push or something to tell the machine to remember your face versus the machine taking a picture of everyone that uses it (which seems very un-Japanese).


  5. Looks like a great location. Love the pictures and learning from you again. I’m a little creeped out by the facial recognition vending machines, but honestly, what is private anymore? I’m probably a bit cynical, but I think we surrendered privacy a long time ago. And nice to hear it’s so safe. The food sounds amazing. The wires – wow. 😂


    1. I am going to have to find out more about this facial recognition software in vending machines. I find it hard to believe it would be a big thing here because the vending machines are so random – they’re everywhere, but the people who stop are so random, or at least it seems that way. And taking everyone’s picture? I’m not sure that’s going on either – I’m guessing it’s something you would most likely have to opt into if you bought from a particular vending machine on a regular basis. Anyway, I am going to do some research and see what this is all about.

      It is very safe in Japan, which is one of the things I love about it here. You can leave your umbrella at the door of the market and no one will take it. Same for your bike. You can leave your wallet, camera, computer, whatever, on a train or in a taxi and it will be returned. It’s all based on community, of belonging, from your family to your apartment building to your neighborhood to your city to your country. You treat everyone with honesty, kindness and politeness and as you wish to be treated because otherwise the whole thing falls apart.

      I also love the food here – Japanese has always been my favorite cuisine so I’m living in what’s food heaven for me for the next few months.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ve always called takoyaki “octopus balls” (because they are spherical) – they are seasoned batter with bits of octopus in the center. When cooked they’re topped with dried fish flakes and sauce, and sometimes mayonnaise (!!) and served with pickled ginger – so good!


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