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…

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…

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…

Gorgeous Gallery of Handmade Household Goods

Beside the Kaldi shop, overlooking Asagaya’s Pearl Shotengai from the 2nd floor, is a halcyon shop and gallery of handmade Japanese tableware and miscellaneous goods (or zakka, 雑貨). ZAKKA 土の記憶 (Tsuchi no Kioku), or “Memories of the Clay”, is a shop and exhibition space with a constantly changing inventory of beautiful handmade goods. Exhibitions highlighting…

61st Asagaya Tanabata Festival

Dating back to 755 AD in Japan, Asagaya has hosted its own annual Tanabata Matsuri (Seventh Night Festival) since 1954. Tanabata festivals are held throughout Japan, some held in July and some in August. While timing and traditions vary by region they usually involve some form of decoration display or competition. The Suginami-ku Tanabata Festival…

Sugimoney Sold Out in 18 Minutes

We were fortunate to be having breakfast this morning at Victory Cafe, a small chain with 13 cafes across Japan, one of which is on Asagaya’s Pearl Shotengai. Noticing a line of people forming outside, I asked the girl behind the counter what was so special next door. She informed me they were queuing to…

Asagaya Swing Walk

The 5th Asagaya Swing Walk was a big hit on the Asagaya Pearl Shotengai. The shopping arcade turns into a music festival with small busking stations from beginning to end. The array of instruments include the banjo, mandolin, violin, accordion, saxophone, kazoo, spoons, washboard, and more! It’s a free festival (tip your buskers!) that runs from 13:00 to…

A Cloth for All Occasions

I’m not a tailor nor a grandmother, but I appreciate craftsmanship and handmade goods. While there are many places to buy new swaths of fabric, Fujiya on Asagaya’s Pearl Shotengai packs the most punch per square metre. It is a small shop with a prodigious selection. This makes it both fun to explore and easy…

A Small & Elegant Addition

This is not a bakery blog. There just happen to be a lot great bakeries in Koenji and Asagaya. And the newest kid on the block, Boulangerie & Cafe Mon Bijou, is no exception. Although I couldn’t really identify the “cafe” area (the second floor is the kitchen), it lives up to its name being…

Christmas Clowns & Riverboat Jazz

Just another reason to love Asagaya. There was a small troop of street performers enhancing the mood along the Pearl Shotengai on this fine Sunday.