Category Archives: shibuya

Nagi Shokudo: Relaxed vegan eatery in Shibuya

Nagi Shokudo Set menu

When in Tokyo, I like to try out different vegan or vegetarian restaurants in addition to my mainstays. Nagi Shokudo (なぎ食堂) isn’t located that far from Shibuya Station but far enough that the bustling noise that everybody associates Shibuya with sounds merely like a whistle. But that’s the way most of Tokyo is, once you leave the busy main streets.

 

So I left the busy part of Shibuya behind walked up and down while being baked in the Summer sun – and missed the restaurant on my first try. Nagi Shokudo is not located at street level but a few steps below. There’s no big sign and the restaurant is partly obscured by a plant. 

 

Nagi Shokudo is supposed to be quite busy during lunch hour but I was lucky and the restaurant was empty when I arrived (but it was full when I left). The restaurant has a very laid back, casual atmosphere and they serve various Asian-style food depending on the day. Their lunch set was delicious with rice, soup and vegetables. A great place for lunch and highly recommended!

 

Nagi Shokudo is open from 12 to 4pm (last order at 3pm) and 6 to 11pm. They close at 4pm on Sundays. Menu and website are in Japanese and English. [ Map ]

 

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TEPCO Electric Energy Museum

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Energy companies along with financial institutes and insure companies have probably a worse public image. TEPCO is no exception – especially after the earthquake and the subsequent nuclear disaster. Before TEPCO achieved notoriety, they had a few energy museums. One of them was in the middle of Shibuya, the TEPCO Electric Energy Museum (Denryokukan 電力館).

There are multiple energy companies in Japan but there is no competition between them since they have a monopoly on certain areas. After the earthquake there were accusations that some politicians and media organizations are too close to TEPCO and other energy companies. That’s of course not specific to Japan but since Japan is threatened by earthquakes and tsunamis and is highly reliant on nuclear energy, there should be more independent control over the energy companies and how they handle security.

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But back in 2008, everything was still fine in the TEPCO world and the TEPCO Electric Energy Museum welcomed all visitors. Read the rest of this entry

Apple Store Shibuya’s new iPads

MacBook Air with iPad 2

It’s been a while since I’ve been to an Apple Store. Yesterday I went to the Shibuya one since it was on the way to the Camera Cabaret store (more about that later). After the slight redesign of the store, all static signs have been replaced by iPads. They are quite nice for price and feature comparisons but a bit confusing when the item you shop for is actually an iPad. An iPad describing an iPad!

I own an iPad 1 and it’s still an excellent device. I think it’s too heavy and big to carry it around everyday but there is a lot of tablet optimized apps available and os updates are available immediately for all iPad owners once the update is released – on of the weak points of Android.

I picked up an iTunes card to finally buy some songs for Konami’s music game jubeat. jubeat is one of the few music games that work with a touch screen and like other Japanese music games is a challenge even on “easy”. The app itself is free and contains three songs but is only available on the Japanese app store.

Besides the card, I picked up the camera connection kit. I remember that for the months after the first iPad’s release the kit was always sold out – even in Apple Stores in San Francisco! I do wish Apple would put a SD card slot into the iPad, but I think that people would then expect that the tablet could actually do more with the SD card than just importing photos and videos.

Lomography Party in Tokyo: La Sardina


Rainy season is in full swing and June is not the month with many festivals. But there’s still lots of things happening in Tokyo! Today I went to the release party of a new Lomography camera at their gallery store in Shibuya. Lomography is one of the major companies producing toy cameras. Unlike Superheadz (the other big company), they specialize on film cameras and have a great range of unique if a bit pricey cameras. I’m not a Lomo shooter although I do own film cameras: A Fujifilm Instax instant film camera and a “panda” camera that’s even smaller than the film that it uses. I brought my Panasonic GH2 and the Digital Harinezumi 2 to the party.

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The store has two floors, and is quite tiny. Unlike Camera Cabaret, it’s easy to find since the store is not located in a small side street. Besides the Lomo cameras, films and gear, they sell various Russian cameras. They also did a Fukubukuro promotion: Pay 10000 Yen and you get a lucky bag (or as they called it: happy bag) containing one camera. I bought one and will write about it in the next blog post. Unlike in other countries, where stores will put stuff in those bags that doesn’t sell, Japanese lucky bags are usually good quality. They are sold in early January but I’ve never got around buying one of them.

There was ample time to take photos of the various cameras:
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And the cameras people brought:
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And photograph people taking photos
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The mystery product was in a big box, the only hints being some naval-themed goods:

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And here is the mystery product, La Sardinia!

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Oops, sorry:
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More pictures after the break… Read the rest of this entry

Mega Hanami 2010

The number of meetup groups grew considerably since I came to Tokyo in 2007. Mega Hanami was a meet-up organized by multiple groups and we all came together to Yoyogi Park, probably the best free hanami (cherry blossom watching) spot in west Tokyo. Since I had already had so many cherry blossom photos and videos, I decided to use my new Digital Harinezumi 2 camera to shoot the video. The video quality is pretty bad, and I’m not happy with the camera in color mode. The camera is however a real eye catcher – I’ve seen lots of Japanese taking a look at it because it’s so tiny.

Jumping trees and humans

Harajuku station is not so far away from Shibuya station so I took a walk rather than using the Yamanote. I also wanted to visit the Apple Store and when I reached the store there were already preparations for a stage show. The Apple Store in Shibuya appears in some event listings since there are musicians performing there each week. You could still enter the store although people were already queuing outside. The end of the queue was clearly marked but I’ve never heard of the musician and I wasn’t in the mood to stand in line.

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Furthermore, the music coming from the other side of the street was really nice. It was a christmas tree between the GAP and Parco store blinking to capsule’s “JUMPER” (look it up on YouTube, it’s a great dance track). Capsule is a duo which did release many jazz/bossa nova tracks but recently switched to electronica. Producer Yasutaka Nakata is also the producer of Perfume and MEG. The tree was doing a good job at blinking in sync to the music.

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A greener christmas! There is a project to produce energy by putting mats at the ticket gates which convert the pressure/kinetic energy of the people walking through it into energy. Read the rest of this entry

Live in concert

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It’s been a while since I’ve been to a concert (Tsukiko Amano in Akasaka). A few days ago I bought a ticket for the Retsuden Big 08 in Shibuya-Ax concert hall. The concert was presented and recorded by Space Shower TV, the Japanese answer to MTV, except that they actually broadcast music.

The Retsuden concerts feature five bands with each playing 45 minutes on stage. In the Big 08 one it was PE’Z, Sambomaster, Sakanaction, Hige and Mo’Some Tonebender. All these bands are not uber-popular, but each of them already had some hit records.

PE’Z (Website | MySpace) is a Jazz band but they have the same energy as a hard rock group. With the hard double bass, wild keyboard sounds and hammering drums they could easily pass as a rock group if there weren’t a trumpet and a saxophone player on stage.

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Next were Sambomaster (Website), a three men rock group. The lead vocalist Takashi Yamaguchi looks like he is usually doing finances. He seems to be quit the funny guy, running and jumping around and switching swiftly between screaming and whispering. I though I didn’t know the band until they played “Sekai wa Sore wo Ai to Yobundaze” which is the finale song of the rhythm game Ouendan 2. When the concert was seemingly over and the band already left the stage Yamaguchi just sang for a few moments to the quiet audience.
Read the rest of this entry

[video] Resurrection Freeze Tokyo


Finally the day has come for the second freeze meet-up and this time it’s even bigger. There are many videos on YouTube showing a group of people freezing in a public place. It has been done e.g. in London, New York and Paris.

This second freeze in Tokyo was an ambitious project because it was held in two locations (first in Harajuku, then in the area near Shibuya station). While the first one had only three people filming (myself included), we had five or six people this time. Besides having a part in the filming, I am also responsible for editing the video.

The video is about five minutes long and was edited like a music video, following the song “The Living Hell of Another World” provided by Igor Prusa. Since we had many videographers this time, we also had a variety of cameras. Therefore the material was varying in resolution, quality and colour balance.

The idea to use a split-screen was in the beginning not an artistic one – because I was editing the video in HD 1080i (native resolution of my camera), the standard definition material would either feature huge black bars or would have to be scaled. I chose the split-screen approach to reduce black bars and also composing images which both show the freezers and the people watching them.
Read the rest of this entry

An Evening in…

Another set of random pics, akin to “A Day in…”

Vegan Meetup at the Pink Cow

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It’s been a while since I’ve been to a meetup of the Vegan Meetup group. Since then, the group has changed somewhat – they meet now each month at a fixed place, the Pink Cow. The Pink Cow is a restaurant, bar and art location in one place. They have regular events on drawing, stitching, comedy and films.

The meetup offers a set price (2650 yen) which you have to pay at the bar. The location itself is not that hard to find, although I found the map a bit lacking in terms of landmark points.

The buffet includes various vegan dishes like Thai Bean Curry. It’s basically an All-you-can-eat and if one dish is empty, they will refill it. Not every dish was tasty but I found enough things that I liked and it’s probably a good thing that the meetup is only once a month, though becoming fat with a vegan lifestyle would be quite a feat 😉