3 in 30 - 2001.05.13 Sunday
It is curious, sometimes to note the things which capture our attention. In the States, any number of people with dyed hair can pass in a crowd and not cause a second glance. Of course, many women change their hair color for just that reason. Even four years ago, it was instantly possible to spot a foreigner in a crowd by their hair color. In a sea of black hair, even dark brown hair stood out as different. Now, it's not so easy.
Lately though, more and more young Japanese have found it stylish to dye their hair. These junior high school girls leaving the station give you a idea of one possibility. Most of the dye jobs turn Japanese bright red. An even more aggressive dyeing turns hair platinum blonde. Much more, it probably starts to fall out.
The percentage of dyed hair out here in the suburbs is much less than in the bustling, high fashion districts downtown. Still, it has become easier for foreigners to get lost in a crowd.
A week or so ago, Beverly and I decided to try a local restaurant, one which we had not been to before. We have mentioned the number of restaurants in our neighborhood though it is not uncommon to have 30-40 or even 60 or more restaurants and bars around a train station or other transportation hub.
If I am reading the kanji correctly, this is the Hidari Ya (Left Shop.) Facing the south side of Haijima train station, this shop is to the left. It could be that the top character is atsu, in which case it would be the Pressure Shop.
The atmosphere is what you would imagine in a restaurant/inn of more than a century ago. The front of the shop has a small overhanging roof covered in ceramic tile and the exterior walls are like wood, stucco, and tile. Inside, there are huge wooden logs that would be beams that supported upper floors and the roof. There is an area with stools around what would be an open cook fire. Off to one side are raised tatami rooms with sliding paper screens (shoji). The food was good, so Beverly and I went for dinner a second time.
This shrine at the northwest corner of Matsubara-cho is one we have seen before. We saw it a year ago March, and again last December. I think it was last December that they took down the old one and replaced it with a new one. Only recently was it painted. From this point of view, you can see what a small shrine it is.
As I think about it, this seems to be the only "public" shrine in the neighborhood. The only time that I've seen people gathered here is on the weekend when a group of people seem to be cleaning or working on it. On the other hand, I can think of at least three Christian churches.
I don't know if there is a relationship between this shrine and the mikoshi (portable shrine) carried around at the summer festival. I should probably ask someone.
Note: As a follow up to some e-mails, it was "about the little scooter. I guess it's 'SUPER CUB', a very famous one of Handa's product. Also, one of my favorite scooter. It's little, cute and cheap." This was the delivery scooter shown in the April 28 3 in 30. I know there are motorbike fans out there.
Another question I received had to do with the infrastructure in Tokyo and Japan in general. The writer noticed the presence of overhanging wires in the pictures. It is evident in many of the pictures that power lines, telephone lines, cable lines, and others are strung from pole to pole. In suburban United States, many companies are putting their lines and cables underground.
I can only conjecture why they are mostly above ground here. One hypothesis I've come up with is that virtually this whole city of more than 30 million has been built from the ground up in just the past fifty-five years or so. In order to put this infrastructure underground, it would seem to me to take a great deal of time to plan, cooperation, short term inconvenience of thousands of people at a time, and more money than I would like to think about—to duplicate an existing system. With the building and massive growth of the city of Tokyo, the aesthetics of putting wires underground may not have been a viable consideration. That, plus the frequency of earthquakes may make above-ground wires easier to maintain.