Plain Talk


Supermarkets are Super! by Chris Pooh

After two years of absence, I was in Tokyo again this summer. The thought of heat close to 40 degrees C was intimidating, but surprisingly, I was quite active in the temperature that hovered around 37 degrees during the day. The heat wave in Europe in July might have prepared my body for the heat in Tokyo. Also, the temperature dropped significantly after the typhoon.

During the stay, many things surprised me, as Tokyo always did. One of the things was that I saw many tourists from abroad at the supermarket OK store in Yoga, Setagaya-ku.

When I lived near Yoga, I used to do my grocery shopping at the OK store almost every weekend. Yoga is a non-descript residential area between somewhat posh Futako Tamagawa and “Sazae-san’s town” Sakura Shinmachi. Needless to say, Sazae-san is a manga and a long-running weekly TV anime. I can’t think of anything special in Yoga for general tourists. That’s why it hit me as a surprise, when I saw a group of five Spanish-speaking tourists taking pictures excitedly of all sorts of snacks in the aisles. Then on the upper floor, I saw three English speakers closely studying rice balls wrapped in the plastic film and popping them in the shopping baskets.

How do these non-Japanese tourists find Yoga and OK store? My guess is that they stay at a private home in or around Yoga, which they had booked through, for instance, Airbnb. More and more tourists find their way into the residential area, hoping to see firsthand everyday life of the locals. Many should find it interesting, I suppose, after Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, Meiji Jingu, Kyoto, Osaka, Shirakawa-go and so on and so forth.

A supermarket is a best place in that sense. You see what the locals eat at home instead of expensive sushi. You’ll see natto comes in such a wide variety. There’s no chocolate-coated crunchy sticks named Mikado; it’s Pocky. Fish look actually like fish with a head and tail, and they’re not only fillet.

At the same time, you’ll notice that the floor is mopped spick and span. No kid is carried on a shopping cart while munching a bun which hasn’t been paid for yet. When opening an extra checkout counter, the cashier makes sure that the shopper who’s waited the longest is helped first. Music plays incessantly and sticks to you. At a supermarket, one can see worlds of life in Japan.

On my part, my shopping cart soon became full with items that I’d fill an oversize suitcase with. I received the longest receipt I’d ever had!








Tokyo Fab


Tsukiji Autumn Festival

Tsukiji Market is Japan's "Food Town," where one can encounter all kinds of Japanese traditional foods. A mixture of wholesale and retail shops along with numerous restaurants line the streets and new culinary trends are born here. Originally Tsukiji Market used to be the wholesale market for the professionals. That is why items sold there were generally too big for a small family to buy. However, some of the wholesale shops in the market have started retailing high-end merchandises for ordinary customers. For example, ready-to-eat omelets for sushi are now sold in smaller sizes. Even a bite-sized egg roll can be available for those who just want to try it. Tsukiji Market, primarily catering to the professionals, has recently opened its doors to ordinary customers and visitors. This weekend Tsukiji Market celebrate its annual Autumn Festival. From lottery, beer garden, cooking classes to BBQ, the festival is packed with fun and tasty experiences.

Date:October 10th (Thu) - 12th (Sat) @ Tsukiji Market
Closest Sta.: 1min walk from Tsukiji Sta.



Kagurazaka Bakeneko festival started in 2007. "BAKENEKO"(a type of Japanese y?kai, or supernatural creature) meaning "Goblin cat". this festival is mix of halloween event and cat cosplay. People ask "why just cat?" the answer is related to this place. Kagurazaka is a place related to a japanese famous writer "Soseki-Natsume" His book "I am a cat" was read by a lot of people. They combined Halloween and Cat to make this festival. Both adults and children, dress up in cute costumes. On this day the shops and neighbors know that BAKENEKO will be coming. Some shops will give you a warm welcome. Also BAKENEKO can receive some present or specials offers.

Date:October 13th (Sun) Starting at 10:00am @ Kagurazaka
*Make-up Take-a Number Ticket will be given out from 9:30am)

For more details and concert schedules, please visit

What’s App With You?



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If you're taking the wheel yourself, you might want a more focused navigation app that's all about finding the fastest, most efficient driving route. Always know what’s happening on the road with Waze. Even if you know the way, Waze tells you instantly about traffic, construction, police, crashes, & more. If traffic is bad on your route, Waze will change it to save you time. Waze feeds your smartphone real-time traffic information, based on reports from other Waze users. That data includes accidents, speed traps and other hazards that might keep you from getting to your destination in a timely fashion. Other features sure to impress travelers include automatic rerouting, cheap gas alerts and the ability to send your ETA to anyone waiting at your final stop.

Tokyo Voice Column


Is Truth Over There? by Takehiro Hashimoto

We are all prisoners of our conceptual thinking. We THINK THINK AND THINK. We think about the world around us. We try to find out words that justify our thinking. Unfortunately, we fail to attain the enlightenment. Instead of being aware of being right here and right now, we try to reach the goal, our solid objective, and get lost in the woods. I had been like that, and somewhat still, I am. But so long as you cling to the notion that I am here and Truth is over there, confusion remains for the rest of your life.

Nowadays, we have become too intellectualized, with the advent of obsessive-compulsive social media syndrome, to sense everything arises and falls away, in just a blink of eyes. Intellect makes us see the world as it was, meaning that it cannot allow us to see the world on this moment, as it is arising and falling away at the same speed.

We can intellectualize how the world worked with words, yet we cannot say exactly how the world is working. When we see the river, for example, we say to ourselves, “This is the same old river. I saw it yesterday, and I will see it tomorrow as well.” Actually, each flow of water is a unique flow of water; it is new-born, right here, at this present moment, this time only, at this very place and in this very shape.

How many times do we have to suffer, before we realize the world doesn’t repeat itself? How many times have we tried to take pictures of this world and felt isolated? You know it. I know it. We know it. But really? If so, why do we cling to the past? Past is no more. What’s done is done. If we knew it for sure, we wouldn’t feel sadness for things that have gone from us?






Strange but True


How to Avoid a Hangover?

Party season is around the corner. Starting from Halloween, soon the Thanksgiving, Christmas and a New year. Don't want a hangover? This might be worth trying. Nutritionist and health coach sets out the things you should be doing at every stage of boozy night out. He recommends eating a balanced meal which includes protein and fat, drink a lot of water with a pinch of sea salt in the day, take an extra multivitamin before you head out. Then before bed grab some fruits high in fructose instead of kebab and boost your B1 with a supplement. The next morning, drink his special hydration saviour; 235ml of water, 118ml of coconut water, 118ml of orange juice and a pinch of sea salt. Beetroot will improve liver function so put some in your lunch or find a juice. Let's hope we've finally found a cure that actually works.

Do Try This at Home!

So the party season is approaching and we all want to look great. So here's some advice from a skin expert. Keep your skin hydrated. Avoid wearing too much makeup especially oil based products. Make sure you prepare your skin from pollution by wearing sunscreen, using a good moisturiser to create a barrier between your skin and pollutants and double cleansing your skin. Don't wear too much powder foundation. Be wary of amplifying wrinkles with concealer. It's important to use eye cream. Use sun cream every single day. Always, always take your make-up off at night!



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