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Taken on a side trip to Yokohama, where the humid weather, abundant palm trees, and some of the older houses reminded me of being in Hawaii.

















More Yokohama. I don't know the name of this temple; it was another random find. This was my first encounter with one of the huge Japanese black crows, and the bird made a booming noise as they flew directly overhead. I took one look at their beak and thought "yeah, that could kill me." Better not take too many photos and risk upsetting the cemetery's guardian.

The graves had various beverages placed beside them, mostly plastic bottles of tea. One had a can of Sapporo on the left side and a can of Kirin on the right, reflecting what its owner liked to do in life, I suppose.















A few shots taken in Sugamo district. The cafe with the sleepy kitty is called Kanro, and the dessert is a long-dreamed-of vegan anmitsu: a traditional sweet of jelly cubes and red bean jam, topped with mochi, ice cream, sweet syrup, and fruit. My dish came with green tea and a side bowl of salty kelp noodles. It sounds like a weird combination, but as it was mid-afternoon and I'd been walking for hours in blazing Tokyo weather, that first sip of cold kelp noodle broth was electric.

















































Ueno Park. With several museums of contemporary and historical art exhibits, an amateur baseball field, rental boating in its huge pond, and no admission fee, it's probably Tokyo's best outdoor park. The only downside is that there was a zoo, but I didn't go in there. I got shutter-happy when I reached the pond... did I take too many pictures? je ne regrette rien.

The view from the water was beautiful at night, too. More than my digital camera can capture, but have a video anyway. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RlQOoIPLLU





Mysterious object at Nezu, and another vaguely eerie day-for-night shot.





Random eyecatchers.





Fucha Bon, my favorite restaurant in all of Tokyo, perhaps the world.

Run by an old Buddhist couple out of their home, and only open by phone reservation, they offered set dinners from 6000-10000jpy ($55-$90), depending on how fancy you wanted them. I chose the 6000jpy set, and it was amazing. When I showed up, I had a room all to myself, with sliding paper doors, tatami mats, and a low dining table with a water pitcher and a pot of roasted green tea. Every so often, the husband or wife would reappear with a new dish, or assortment of dishes; all were very different from each other, and as delicious as they were artfully presented. After an appetizer and before-meal sweet, I was served seven vegetable courses, and finally a dessert of fresh fruit, sweet red beans, and more jelly cubes. From the menu I learned that Fucha Ryori is a close cousin of Shojin Ryori -- traditional Japanese Buddhist temple food -- but incorporates more Chinese influences.













Afterwards, I chatted with the owners in English/Japanese, and they gave me a little silver bell on a string to take home. I have it next to me on my desk as I'm typing this.

TBC...

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