Smoke-Free-Baby-Friendly Izakaya

NOTE: This post was actually written in December 2016. I think I was waiting to edit some photos before hitting PUBLISH. However, seeing as this site has been gasping for breath on life support for the past 18 months, I decided I should get uploading. Having a kid and writing two novels can evidently keep…

Koenjagaya Massive Triple Event Weekend

One of the great things about Koenji and Asagaya is the number of cool events taking place on a regular basis. One week might be a festival of circus performers, magicians and buskers on the side streets of Koenji, while the next weekend could be a Hawaiian Festival in Asagaya. Only to be followed by…

Death by Chain-ten

[Originally written November 2017] I’m not too happy about Suit Select opening their sterile, salaryman uniform shops in my hood, but at least their main threat is aesthetic. They’re not really stealing business from anyone, except maybe Aoki, another ubiquitous purveyor of cheap, off-the-rack clothes for corporate drones. It’s the small, local businesses that I…

Losing Victory 

July marked the end of an era in Asagaya,  at least for some joren (regular customers), with the closing of a great little sandwich shop. Victory Cafe closed its doors for good.  It was a spacious cafe with a large selection of sandwiches, which you could choose to have toasted in a sandwich press if…

Tanabata Trumps All

An increase in Asagaya’s population by one has kept me rather busy lately. However, between diaper changes, I did find time to take a quick stroll down Pearl Shotengai for this years Tanabata Festival. There were, of course, the standard players–Toy Story, Minions, Doraemon and Anpanman. Nejime had their traditional Japanese display done in colourful fabrics. Inageya…

Precious People-Watching Moments

Now I generally don’t like to promote corporations or chain stores, but I’ll make an exception in this case because of three key factors invaluable to travellers and wanderers–power, people and wi-fi. Anybody who’s spent 30 seconds in Japan is familiar with UCC–the ubiquitous canned coffee in vending machines throughout the nation. The U in UCC stands…

Double Street Day in Asagaya Tomorrow

There are two street events worth visiting tomorrow. Sure, it’s short notice, but then again, this isn’t really a blog about upcoming events. The first, which I have mentioned before in this post here, is Asagaya Morning Market (“Asaichi” or 朝市)on Shouwakai, a few minutes north of Asagaya Station. As it’s name suggest, it’s good to head there…

A Classical Cafe of Lynchian Appeal

Café Le Violon in Asagaya is a wonderfully queer little place tucked away in Asagaya’s north side. At least to me. I could see a segue in a David Lynch passing through here. But it’s the first classical music café I’ve been to. First appearing in the 1920’s and experiencing their heyday during the 1950’s–a time when…

Greasy Spoon

If you are looking for trendy or fancy or antiseptic, don’t go to Fuji Lunch (冨士ランチ). But if you want to step back in time for some good ole yoshoku (洋食)–ie: Western inspired Japanese cuisine that came about during the Meiji Restoration–head out Asagaya Station’s North Exit and hang a left down your second side street. There…

Battle of the Bentos I: Asagaya

The intention and spirit of this site is to bring the best bits and hidden gems of Koenji and Asagaya to the English-reading world. To write about the events and establishments that illuminate its culture and character, especially by featuring the unique, the secret and the exceptional. And to give some ideas about where to shop and eat. Therefore, while a…

Good Morning Okinawa!

Just over a year ago, one of my first posts was about my favourite neighbourhood bakery, Good Morning Asagaya. And earlier this year, I was quite disappointed to say “Good-bye Good Morning Asagaya” as they were closing their doors for good. Perhaps the 600,000 yen monthly rent was too much for a small bakery and four-table café to…

Real, Not Rare, Cheesecake

While you may face considerable challenges trying to procure a big dark pumpernickel round, there is no shortage of good bakeries in Japan. (Of course, there’s also no shortage of mediocre ones.) With a market more saturated than the fat in a stick of Hokkaido butter, it can help to differentiate yourself — even when that…