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.
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.
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.
Whether you're in search of Zen or beautiful architecture, Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples will undoubtedly be included on the itinerary for all visitors to Japan. Shrines and temples are open everyday with many hosting exciting festivals throughout the year.
Boarding the train leading to Shibamata Station, I can smell and notice the sudden change in my surroundings and the crowd around me. The usual hundreds, populated Tokyo center is slowly turning into a 2-car train with fewer people in it, a few tourists and some old men and women.
Shinjuku is an interesting place. No matter where you turn, you’re bound to find something that will spark your interest or pique your curiosity. It is at those moments when you realize that you’ve stumbled upon gold. When you’ve created a moment that will last you a lifetime. That is what Scopp Cafe represents.
You might have never heard of Kunitachi. It’s a small district in Tokyo, but despite its size, this town is full of charms. So much that it inspired the anime film Wolf Children, which won the New York International Children’s Film Festival’s Audience Award in 2013. It has many cute little shops, spectacular nature, and a whole street of cherry blossom trees.
Gakugei-Daigaku is on the Toyoko line, a small neighbourhood between Shibuya and Jiyugaoka that relatively few people know about. Despite its lack of fame, this area has a mixture of a local sense of community and the exciting vibe of a city neighbourhood.
One of the biggest exemplifications of Japanese life can found in and on its train system or the Shinkansen. The trains here in Japan can be seen as a metaphor of Japanese life, its humanity, pop culture, and the technology all rolled into one; while moving over 130 mph, or for my metric friends, 210 km/h.