Tokyo Traditional

Neighbourhood temples

I have been with the home office for seven months now, since “the first wave” ended I have been taking walks through the back streets of Tokyo to stretch my legs and refresh my mind. Every day go a little bit further away trying to discover some special place that I did not know.

I have been finding Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, that although they do not appear in the travel guides, for me each of them has a certain unique charm. This first photo is not from an unknown sanctuary. It is the temizuya 手 水 舎 (Place to purify-wash hands) that is standing as a measure to prevent the spread of covid-19. Normally there are buckets to fill the water that comes out of the bamboo cane. Now the fountain is stopped and they have put up an information sign.

But they have created an alternative in which they avoid having to all be in the same mouth of a source and have eliminated the saucepans. This is a video of the new temizuya for times of covid-19:

In this other sanctuary they have put up a sign at the entrance warning that there is a dangerous raven. Watch out for the raven!

This is a tiny shrine in Aoyama, it is hidden among several houses , although I had walked by it many times I had never noticed its presence.

This is an abandoned shimenawa rope

This is koma-inu (koma dog) status with many details, notice the muscles and the hair.

Buddhist temple at sunset time.

Mini statue (less than 10 centimeters tall)

I found a tiger!


Tokyo Random Walk

What I like most about Tokyo is that it is an endless city. I have been walking the streets of this city for 16 years and I still find myself lost all the time. The feeling of knowing that I can still get lost is what is thrilling to me.

Tokyo is an amalgamation of houses and skyscrapers, at the same time a huge city and many villages crowded together. When I visit a new place that I still don’t know, I like to explore the area, get lost in the alleys and discover the culture and atmosphere of the neighborhood.

Although the title of the post is “Random Walk”, these are actually photos of many of my random walks. All the photos are from 2018 and 2019. Some of them were uploaded to my instagram account @geekinjapan but most stayed inside my smartphone.

The Bunkyo-ku neighborhood has many old houses and plants that almost almost invade the sidewalks. Notice that the car hardly fits the garage of the house..

At the entrance to the Nezu subway station (Chiyoda Line) they have an old train “wagon” restored as a bookstore where you can leave books you no longer want for other people to read.


Cables y casitas con paredes bastante feas, pero si os fijais está lleno de macetas alineadas al borde del asfalto. Un repartidor de Kuroneko en bicicleta.

Cables and houses with ugly walls, but if you carefully there are many flower pots beautifully aligned on the edge of the asphalt. And Kuroneko delivery man on a bicycle!

A basketball net behind the Tocho (Tokyo Metropolitan Government building)

A restaurant that serves yakiniku at lunch time

A gigant Maneki Neko.

Painted walls near Nakano station.

I love these old-fashioned maps, although with smartphones there are less and less of these “analog” maps, you can still find them in areas of shōtengai (Commercial streets).

Coffee shop where you can choose the beans that you prefer and they roast it to your liking.

Ginza skyscrapers.

Nakameguro and sakura.

This is also Shibuya, but far from the stations.

Rainy night somewhere neat Sendagi station.


Coronavirus in Japan

After five weeks in self-isolation, I feel sad because of what is happening in the world. Today we had 0 new cases in Tokyo and I went out for a long walk for the first time in more than one month. The good news is that somehow Japan has been able to dodge the BIG bullet, at least as of today, the worst might be still coming…

Japan was the second country in which a case of coronavirus was detected in January. But now, two months later, while other countries are in full lockdown like for example Spain (My family there is having a bad time), where I’m from, here in Japan most things are normal except for seeing fewer people outdoors, no tourism and some businesses like gyms closed.

Source: Weforum

I’m not sure about the reason why the coronavirus is growing slower in Japan.
But this is a list of things that might have helped.

1) Japan felt the panic early and acted with prudence from day one as a team
I’ve seen this before when Fukushima happened in 2011, the Japanese are used to earthquakes, tsunamis, natural disasters… They feel the panic early and act with maximum prudence from the beginning. Furthermore, there is an increased sense of solidarity and people helping each other, which is known as kizuna spirit.

Notice the difference:

FEELING the panic VS ACTING with panic.

The Japanese feel the panic and the fear early, but act without panic, they help each other and prepare for the worst.

2) Wearing masks from day one

I can’t say that all Japanese are wearing masks, but I would say that over 80% and in some cases even more, of the people outdoors in Tokyo have been wearing masks since the end of January. They do wear masks even without a pandemic risk.

I believe this is one of the most important factors in the reduced rate of contagiousness of coronavirus in Japan.

Evidence that masks (also surgical masks) help

3) Restrictions
– Japan is restricting travel.
– Schools closed.
– Gyms and sports facilities closed.
– Events were canceled early on.
– Most companies are stoping business trips, “all hands” meetings, parties and gatherings.
– Many people are self-isolating (But it is not enforced by the Government as of today).

4) Social factors
– In Japan we don’t shake hands, we bow to each other.
– Usually they are not touchy in social events. It is difficult to see people hugging or kissing.
– Japanese kids are taught to clean their hands and gargle early in their lives.

5) Hand sanitizers

There are hand sanitizers already installed at the entrance of almost any shop, office or building in Japan. I’ve seen these since I arrived in Japan in 2004, and I always wondered why are they so scared of viruses to have alcohol-based hand sanitizers everywhere?

They were already preparing for the worst since decades ago.

Prepare and act as early as you can.

Be safe wherever you are and I wish health and happiness to you and your family and friends.