Za Market of Za Koenji

Za Koenji is a public theatre for contemporary performing arts on the north side of the JR tracks near Kannana-Dori. Funded by the city of Suginami and managed by an NPO, the theatre produces, presents and supports a wide range of cultural activities from drama and dance to music and storytelling — and beyond. This weekend its…

Hawaiian Siesta

“Within Hawaii, “honohono grass” was used as medicine to aid with deep cuts. While other Hawaiian herbs just get superficial cuts, honohono grass is an herb to aid with deeper troubling issues.” A 3-minute walk from Shin-Koenji Station, Honohono Cafe is a stylish little cafe at the south end of Koenji’s Look Shotengai. It’s got…

The Koenji Rice Rice Meal Meal Project

Twenty shops, ten tickets, one stomach. And fifteen-hundred yen. The rice event of the year went down in Koenji today: The G-Meshi 88 (or Gメシ★88 or Gohan Meshi). Gohan, by the way, is Japanese for “cooked rice” or “meal”. And meshi is Japanese for “cooked rice” or “meal”. No, that’s not typo. It was our third…

Koenji Handmade City

  The second event in Koenji today is just a few steps down the hill from the Kushi Kushi Battle. Artists and artisans have their creations on display and for sale at Koenji Tezukuri-Shi (Koenji Handmade City / 高円寺てづくり市). The event is organized by Aozora Koten Atelier and has different participants on Saturday and Sunday. So it’s…

Kushi Kushi Battle in Koenji

This was the first of three festivities in Koenji today. “Kushi” (串) is “skewer” in Japanese. It is one of the few kanji that is actually recognizable as a pictogram. It is also an effective way to serve up easy edibles. Seafood, veggies, meat – anything that can fit on a stick goes on a stick….

Roomates with different tastes

Koenji and Asagaya are adjoining and adjacent neighbourhoods in Tokyo’s Suginami-ku. To borrow a bit of Thai street vernacular, the two hoods are same same but different. Kind of like Dr. Pepper and Coca-Cola. They both have a subcultural bohemianesque atmosphere, more akin to New York’s Greenwich Village than the stock footage neon-lit fast-paced robots and Hello…