A Shop of Different World Views – Irregular Rhythm Asylum and the Heartbeat of Japanese Counterculture
The moment you venture into the infoshop, be prepared to gaze upon reams of posters, books, “zines,” t-shirts, and other goods that favor countercultural ideas. From anarchist thinkers such as Mikhail Bakunin to early Japanese nonconformists like Noe Ito and Kotoku Shusui, you’ll find something to sink your political teeth into without much trouble.
But Omiya is more than just a gateway between differing versions of Japan. Omiya is quintessential Japan. With shrines dating back thousands of years to being the centre of bonsai culture, the city is a rich treasure trove of art, culture and history.
These are delicacies that are way beyond what I can afford, and even if I can, I would rather go for my favourite bowl of ramen instead for much cheaper. So when a friend told me about the Michelin 1 star ramen restaurants in Japan, specifically in Tokyo, I thought that I have no excuses not to try it the next time I was in the area. Nakiryu ramen, famous for the tantanmen was my next destination.
That also means that eating fruit as part of a daily, balanced diet is not a Japanese custom. What you may have grown up thinking of as an after school snack, in Japan is a delicacy, reserved at first only for the noble class, and later for special ceremonial meals like weddings and funerals.
You don’t have to go far to experience the ancient, living practice of Kannon Pilgrimage. One of Japan’s three major Kannon pilgrimages is just eighty minutes by train from Tokyo!
While there are numerous charming sights to see in Karuizawa, two of the worthy visiting spots to check are the Onioshidashi Park by Mt. Asama and the Shiraito Waterfalls.
Kawasaki, a city in Kanagawa-ken, has a 1.2-hectare park named Ikuta Ryokuchi. They have many places to visit such as Kawasaki Municipal Science Museum, Japan Open Air Folk House Museum, Taro Okamoto Museum of Art, Yomiuri Land, and Kawasaki Art Center. But the one that I will share here is the rose garden.
During Hitsujiyama Park's Shibazakura Festival in Saitama you can stroll around the huge 1.8-hectare lawn filled with over 400,000 moss phlox of nine different varieties.
If you are in Tokyo and want to experience the Buddhist tradition of temple lodging, or “Shukubo”, you are in luck. Taiyoji, The Temple of the Sun, has everything you could want in a temple stay, just a two- hour train ride away.
Hiking the mountain is fairly easily; it involves a walk in a forest and some steep roads up the man-made path. In autumn, you can find acorns and in certain places, lovely red leaves. Visiting Mt. Takao and the surrounding hills is a good way to practice if you’re interested in climbing Mt. Fuji.
We usually find ourselves near Tokyo station in the winter months. The illuminations and the festive trees pitted against the cosy street market are often enough of a drawcard to get us there, but what kept us there this year was a mix of kid-friendly interactive displays, the wholesome food and informative exhibits.