Tokyo Blond Is Not Porn

Tokyo Blond is not a porn blog, about hair or even, as one pithy friend remarked, a micro beer or late 1980s glam metal band ("Dude, I just saw Skid Row and Tokyo Blond opened and played a killer set").

The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my experiences in Tokyo - poignantly, visually, irreverently - for fun.

Anybody can tag along...that is if I like you. This blog will endeavor to be entertaining and honest and frequent enough to keep those following interested including me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kichijoji - Japanese Housewives Neighborhood of Choice?

The tour was touted as "Kichijoji the Japanese Housewives' Neighborhood of Choice."   It sounded intriguing or at least like an interesting reality series.  I had to check it out.  What do Japanese housewives want? Fresh produce?  Cool shops?  Young, virile gardeners?

When we arrived in Kichijoji the streets were empty.  Well except for Starbucks of course.  It was around 10am and my first impression wasn't enriching.  I asked our guide, so what do you mean Kichijoji is the neighborhood of choice for Japanese housewives?  She just smiled and said you'll see.

But I didn't see.  Sure the houses I saw from the train as we made our approach to Kichijoji station were larger than those in central Tokyo.  It is a suburb after all.  And yeah, there seemed to be a lot of green around, which is nice.  But I wasn't really seeing the big draw.

Turns out Japanese housewives want...wait for it...a big park?  We spent the majority of our time walking around Inokashira Park.

The park was nice.  Actually very nice.  I must come back during Cherry Blossom Season I thought.  It had a pretty shrine, an athletic field and a famous Anime museum called the Ghibili Museum, which we didn't go into.   Apparently Ghibili is thee studio for Anime and has a contract for distribution through Disney. If I knew anything about Anime I would know this.  If we had kids this would definitely be a place to come back to.

We ate lunch at a Thai restaurant in the park.  The weather was so nice and the food was great.  The set menu was a good deal.

After lunch we walked back through the park towards the station.  The streets, which in the morning had been so empty, were now crowded with sidewalk merchandise and hoardes of housewives shopping.  Ok, now I get it.  There were lots of interesting little shops, with friendly vendors, inviting us in.  She lead us to a large no-vehicles-allowed shopping street.  Our guide explained that most of the vendors have been there for years and the citizens of the town get to know each of them personally.

She, apparently knew one vendor in particular whom owns a tea shop call Ocharaka.  He was French.  He had samples of his tea waiting for us when we arrived.  The thing about his tea shop, unlike other Japanese tea shops, is that he adds other flavors to his tea.  I'm thinking, what's the big deal? They do that all the time in America.  But apparently that is a big deal.  Japanese tea makers do not add ANYTHING to their tea.  Period.

But this guy, did I mention he was French, named Stephan no less, explained how he is a sommelier and wanted to apply his sommelier finesse to tea.  Ok, I'll bite.  Um, I mean drink.  His staff passed around more samples as we all settled in, drawn by the romantic tilt of his oh-so-French accent.  "You were saying...oh yes, tea.....go on." Sigh.

Apparently his tea is so well regarded it's endorsed by the Japanese government in an effort to increase tea exports.  When he brought around his newly minted special Christmas blend we were all smitten and couldn't get our pocketbooks out fast enough.

The tour concluded there but our imaginations didn't.  We all vowed to come back and Christmas shop.

Japanese housewife?
Starbucks - one of many.

Large expansive park.
I don't see any housewives.
But this reminds me of a record cover.

Pretty lake and bridge

Allegedly this path leads all the way back into Central Tokyo
Could be a good bike path or running route

Russell would love this.
You can rent these.

Pool, pond, pond would be good for you.

That wisteria must be gorgeous in the Spring.
Hmmm. Nice place for a picnic.

Praying mantis blending in unlike us 16 expat women.
Run for your lives!

I love turtles.

Pretty little bridge.

Natural well, which is the source of the stream.

View of the shrine across the lake.

Cistern at the shrine.

View of the park from the cistern.



Does this look like it would be an anime museum to you?
I was expecting something more high tech.

It looks like hobbits could live here.

Tori gates along the lake.

Hungry fish.

This lake water looks like art.

Everything sounds good with a French accent.
Go on, you were saying?....

His shop.

Jayne, aka Vanna White, passing around the tea with a flourish

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