We all love hanami and sakura, but where did it all start? Let’s take a look at the history of hanami. Continue reading The History of Hanami
Almost at the end of our loop around Tōkyō so it’s about time we get to Tōkyō Station. Continue reading Yamanote Line: Tōkyō
This is a collection of scholarly articles exploring the urban geography, architecture, and projection of power in the landscapes of Kyōto, Edo, and Tōkyō. Fantastic for lovers of spatial anthropology. Continue reading Book Review – Japanese Capitals in Historical Perspective
王子Ōji (imperial prince, but more at “a kami divided from another kami”) Ōji – A Princely Namesake… or Something Like That… To modern eyes, this place name means “prince.” In a very general sense, it could be understood as a … Continue reading What does Ōji mean?
Continuing with our 29th installment of exploring Edo-Tōkyō Continue reading Ōedo Line: Toshimaen
Continuing with our 14th installment of exploring Edo-Tōkyō via the Ōedo Line. Continue reading Ōedo Line: Tsukishima
Wanna read a book about how Edo became Tokyo? This one might be for you! Continue reading Book Review – Tokyo: From Edo to Showa
Thanks to all of you, let’s keep this YOU KNOW YOU’VE BEEN IN EDO TOO LONG thing going!!! Continue reading You Know You’ve Been in Edo Too Long…
Wanna support the blog? It would mean a lot if you did!
If not, that’s OK, I made you a video today. Continue reading Questions from Readers
Nobody ever thinks about the etymology airport names. Be one of the few chosen ones! Continue reading What does Haneda mean?
Most of the train lines in Tōkyō have names based on whatever major area they originated/terminated – or at least stopped at. For example, the Marunouchi Line’s most important stations were in the former Marunouchi (Daimyō Alley) and the Yamanote Line connected centers of the “new Yamanote.[ii]” Some of the more ambitious, longer train lines have names that describe their start/stop points in general terms. This type of name usually reflects the tendency of the Japanese language to make new matches out of existing kanji.
Most of these names are self-evident to the Japanese, especially people who live and/or work in and around Tōkyō. But many of these names may be slightly mysterious to foreigners. Continue reading Tokyo Train Line Names
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?
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?
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?
A rich guy, a castle and a nature preserve walk into a bar… Continue reading What does Shirokane mean?
Before the Scientific Method arrived, scholars and common folk grouped animals in according to a traditional Sino-Japanese methodology. Today’s place name bears evidence to that grouping methodology.
Continue reading What does Mamiana-cho mean?
10 Quick Questions From Readers!
(Still took 2 days to write… lol) Continue reading 10 Random Quickies – Japan This Lite
Summer in Japan means matsuri (festivals), hanabi (fireworks), and fuzoku (prostitution). Today we’ll look at the first two! Continue reading Edo River Fireworks
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?
Yesterday we learned about Iidabashi (and its precursor, Iidamachi). Today we’ll look at Kudanshita, a location whose recent controversial history has somewhat obscured its samurai origins. Continue reading What does Kudanshita mean?
Today we’ll learn about a shitamachi place name that has disappeared. We’ll also learn how it’s important to pay attention to what reading of kanji is being used. Continue reading What does Iidabashi mean?
The history of today’s place name is going to take us on a long journey across the country to Kyoto and back in time to the Ashikaga Shogunate (and in reality back to the Kamakura and Heian Periods). Plot twists abound. Strap yourselves in and get ready to feel the G’s, baby. Continue reading What does Muromachi mean?
Between Ueno and Akihabara there is Okachimachi. Awwwwwww yeah. Continue reading What does Okachimachi mean?
The shogunate is finished… that’s not sad to me. The sad thing is closing out this chapter on a subject that is so personal to me. I also love Yoshinobu because after a hundred years of 微妙 shoguns, we got a guy who represented his era and his pedigree exceptionally. Until the bitter end, Yoshinobu was an aristocrat, but in a time of crisis he took the challenge and helped to save the shogun family line persist until the present day. Continue reading The Grave of Tokugawa Yoshinobu
It’s the last day of GW!
If you’re curious about what happened to real estate in the early Meiji years, I’ve got some pretty amazing pictures for you in this one. Today’s topic is Marunouchi and the so-called Daimyo Alley, the high-walled, moated, garden filled area of upper residences of the most elite daimyo. Today the area is filled with the skyscrapers of some of Japan’s wealthiest and most powerful companies.
Oh and just a heads up, this is good week for JapanThis. We’re finally at 100 members on Facebook. This week’s topics are Marunouchi, Shiodome, Shakujii, Nerima and a quick book review. Continue reading What does Marunouchi mean?
Teleportation technology wasn’t yet available for the Shogun in Tokugawa Japan, so instead they used an extensive system of roads. The 5 most important roads led to Edo. They were called the Go-kaido. Awwwwwwwww yeah. Continue reading Go-kaidō – The 5 Highways of Old Japan
Nihonbashi! Once the most famous bridge in Japan, now most people are surprised to hear there’s actually a bridge here at all. Continue reading What does Nihonbashi mean?