The Miyake clan may not be very famous, but they definitely left their mark on Edo-Tokyo topography. Continue reading What does Miyakezaka mean?
The greatest fast food capital you’ve never heard of (plus, the shittiest castle ever). Continue reading What does Narimasu mean?
The 7th and final installation on my series “RIvers of Edo-Tokyo.” Today I’ll talk about the glorified storm drain called the Meguro River.
Continue reading The Meguro River
Soy sauce, sweet rice vinegar, Disneyland, oh my! The Edo River has it all! Plus fireworks! Continue reading The Edo River
田端Tabata (on the edge of the field) First Let’s Start with the Kanji, Shall We? 田ta rice paddy 端hata edge, boundary, beside, close to This is a place name found all over Japan, with reading variations. It’s also a family name found all over Japan… yes, also with reading variations[i]. And despite sounding really backwatery to our modern ears, many people with this family name can apparently claim descent from the 源氏 Minamoto-shi/Genji Minamoto clan. So, stuff that in your pipe and smoke it. In the Edo Period, 田端村 Tabata Mura Tabata Village was located on a section of the … Continue reading What does Tabata mean?
Want to announce your pregnancy the sneaky Tokyo way? This is the article for you.
Continue reading What does Suitengumae mean?
Today’s topic was a reader request. But to be honest, I’ve been wanting to write about this place for a while. Continue reading What does Sendagaya mean?
Today we’re talking about Kameari in Katsushika Ward. It’s an interesting place name that’’s easy to speculate about because of the kanji. Continue reading What does Kameari mean?
Kappabashi Dōgugai is a shopping street between Ueno & Asakusa famous for stores selling everything needed by restaurateurs incly Continue reading What does Kappabashi mean?
Most people seem to think the name Yotsuya is old. Old as in it pre-dates the Edo Period. But one thing that is consistent in most of the etymologies is the first kanji, 四 yottsu four. Much of the mystery of this place name seems to come from the final character. That said, the “number 4” character is also suspect. So let’s be skeptical, shall we? Continue reading What does Yotsuya mean?
OK, so I’ve wanted to write about Ichigaya for a long time, but it is connected to a few other place names which have made it difficult to cover until now. I’m just gonna through this out there now and say my gut instinct tells me none of the etymologies we’ll see today are correct and we’ll never know the true etymology. That said, there’s a little Ota Dokan connection, so heads up to all the Ota Dokan fans out there. Continue reading What does Ichigaya mean?
I’m not even joking when I say I think this name was chosen just because it sounded cool. Continue reading What does Toranomon mean?
Asakusa – one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Japan. Continue reading What does Asakusa mean?
Kasai seems like a place name, and the term is used, but in Tokyo, there actually isn’t any real area named Kasai. Yet, the name is very ancient. So, say hello to my little friend, Kasai. Continue reading What does Kasai mean?
Tokyo’s Katsushika Ward and Saitama’s Kita-Katsushika and Minami Katsushika Districts derive their names from the pre-modern Katsushika District of Shimōsa Province, but where did the ancient name come from? Continue reading What does Katsushika mean?
At the very end of the Marunouchi Line in Suginami Ward lies an area called Ogikubo. The name, “grassy basin” seems straight forward enough, but might there be a Buddhist connection as well? Continue reading What does Ogikubo mean?
Today, I’d like to answer a few readers questions in one post. In short, how can I get an overview of Japanese History? I’m also going to recommend a few online sources that will help you broaden your understanding of Japanese history and culture. Continue reading 10 Ways to Learn Japanese History
Formerly part of the outer enclosure of Edo Castle and now a shopping district next to Ginza, Yurakucho is strange name with an elusive past. Continue reading What does Yurakucho mean?
Kondo Isami’s dōjō? The birthplace of the Shinsengumi? Lead poisoning? Shinjuku? WTF??? Continue reading What does Ushigome-Yanagicho mean?
牛込 Ushigome (Crowd of Cows) 。 。 牛 ushi cow 込 komi[i] swarming, huddling, amassed, crowded, “in bulk” 。 According to Japanese Wikipedia[ii], in 701, in accordance to the Taihō Code, a livestock ranch was established in this area. In fact, two were established which were sometimes referred to as 牛牧 gyūmaki a cow ranch and 馬牧 umamaki a horse ranch. These two locations came to be referred to as 牛込 Ushigome and 駒込 Komagome. The fact that there was a cattle/dairy ranch here in the Asuka Period is a known fact (it’s documented). The horse ranch is a different … Continue reading What does Ushigome mean?
10 Quick Questions From Readers!
(Still took 2 days to write… lol) Continue reading 10 Random Quickies – Japan This Lite
Meguro is the name of several postal codes, a river, a handful of bus stops and train stations, and one of the 23 Special Wards of the Tokyo Metropolis. The name means “Black Eyes.” Weird. Continue reading What does Meguro mean?
Christopher Hitchens claimed that religion poisons everything. In this case, it may have poisoned a place name… but not too badly. Continue reading What does Nishiarai mean?
Adachi is a very ancient place name that is now generally associated with the Japanese equivalent of “white trash.” Continue reading What does Adachi mean?
Many countries have states or provinces or regions. But only Japan and France have prefectures. So what’s up with dat? Continue reading Why does Japan have Prefectures?
Musashi was an old Japanese province, however the name is still with us today. Continue reading What does Musashi mean?
Setagaya may not be the most exciting place in the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo, but it’s no slouch. Famous for its inaccessibility, it offers affordable housing and… the Ii Clan’s Funerary Temple in Edo. Continue reading What does Setagaya mean?
Easiest place name ever. Continue reading What does Daizawa mean?
So……… yeah. Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter may have seen my giddy posts about doing a podcast with some of the guys from Samurai Archives. I finally got to do it and although I was super nervous to talk with them, it actually was the most normal and natural thing ever. Three dudes geeking out on Japanese History. It was awesome. In the music business, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most inspiring people ever. Now, JapanThis has taken me into a totally other world, in which I am honored to … Continue reading Samurai Archives Podcast (part 1)
One of the official place names near Shimo-Kitazawa is Daita. It seems to have a mythological origin and a possible tie in to the original creation myths of Japan. Continue reading What does Daita mean?