Yesterday was a perfect sunny spring day, and it couldn’t have been better weather for jubilant gayness at Tokyo Rainbow Pride. NB and I met up with my high school friend Mai and made our way to Yoyogi Park. With this event coinciding with the long Golden Week holidays, we expected a bit of a crowd to have to fight through. We stepped off of the train at Harajuku Station and were swept along by a sea of people making their way through one of the busiest cities in Tokyo.
The event itself was held right by the NHK stage in the park, and the plethora of rainbow flags and signs made it easy to find. Having lived in the U.S. for so long, I had only seen rare glimpses of life as a queer native Japanese in Tokyo. So when I found out that we would be here for Tokyo’s pride parade, I was ecstatic. In the past, the organizers of this annual event had struggled with participation and interest from the LGBT community, so we were shocked by the number of people who showed up. Wow, Japan, when did you get so gay?
Today we hiked Mt. Takao in Hachiōji, Tokyo, Japan. It’s only an hour by train from Tokyo city center and offers many hiking trails for all levels of hikers. Takao-san is about 599 meters high and on a clear day you can see Mt. Fuji from the summit. We weren’t so lucky today, but it was still a nice hike. It was ¥360 each way from Shinjuku to the base of Mt. Takao and you can save some money by bringing your own lunch. They also sell soft ice cream cones at the summit and you know I had to have one. Hiking and ice cream. Life is good.
Check out our Flickr set for more photos: Mount Takao Photos
The Japanese have a term of the feeling of low energy and loss of appetite which comes during the stiflingly hot and humid summers (think, sauna) in the island country: natsubate. Since the term was coined around the eighth century, the Japanese have used food to prevent or beat natsubate in the form of cold and refreshing meals.
With this summer being especially hot here on the East Coast, although less humid, we’ve been craving cold dishes to stave off the heat. Below are three dishes we’ve been happy with recently. Recipes coming soon.
Cold Soba Noodles Topped with Uni, Nori and Scallions with a Soy-Mirin-Dashi Sauce
It’s been a year since the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami swept through the lives of millions of Japanese. It was a wake-up call to those of us in developed countries that no, Mother Nature is not something humans will ever be able to conquer and subdue. More importantly, it was a terrible living nightmare that left tens of thousands dead and many more with irreplaceable losses.
At this time last year, I woke up to a text from my boss asking after my family “because of the earthquake”. I still remember how my heart stopped for a second before proceeding to pound in my ears and leave me reeling. What earthquake? Like always, NB was right there next to me, telling me that everything was going to be OK. My hands shook as I dialed my parents in Tokyo. How bad was it? Where was it? Was this it? The overdue Kanto region quake that we’ve been dreading?