Close from where I live is an area of shopping, eating, and drinking.
There, just as many other cities are graffiti.

I don't know the people that make these paintings think they are artists or just being mischievious, but spray painted graffiti seem to be a part of the street scenery these days.

I mostly see them when I jog in the early morning - some are only seen when the strore shutters are closed.

Some are creative and interesting, but others are just junk.
Here I am posting the selected few that were found in half-kilometer radius area.

Most of the "witings" don't make any sense to me - are they coded?

These paintings on the shutters are not seen at all during business hours.

This car owner is lucky that his car did not get painted!

This one is not a graffito, but I think the painter has similar skills as graffiti "artists."



Japan is in the middle of a rainy season (Tsuyu).
Tsuyu can span from May to July, but this year it started earlier this week for Tokyo.

Just like the cherry blossom in early spring time, faint colors of purple, blue and white of hydrangea are abundant right now.
It is called "Ajisai" in Japanese and the name in chinese characters is 紫陽花 - "purple sun flower."
The name is very appropriate for walking outside in the wet and cold rain, they really cheer us up with their presense.


Mt. Fuji

On Friday, I took a day off from work and drove to Mt. Fuji with my son.

Although I've seen the mountain many times, this was the first time for me to visit it. Since it is in the middle of the rainy season in Japan, we were worried about the weather. Luckily, we were blessed with clear skies and beautiful weather all day.

We drove up a toll road (Fuji Subaru Line) to Gogome or the 5th Station which is at about 2300 m above the sea level. Every year, thousands of people climb to the top of the mountain (3,776 m), but the trails wouldn't be opened until July.

Photo above was taken by my son on the Fuji Subaru Line.

View of the top of Mt. Fuji seen from Gogome.

We could walk around the area to see the view. Up to Gogome, forest of green leaves surrounded us, but it was very apparent that from there on up, much less vegitation was found.

Above Gogome, the land is primarily just lava rocks.

Looking below towards the westward from Gogome - can see vast forest, but immediate is lava rocks.

The trees we could find there were mainly white birches and evergreens, but to our surprise, there were some cherry trees (sakura) and they even had flowers!

Birch branches poking out of the snow.

Cherry blossoms (sakura) at Gogome.

In the afternoon, we also went to a bat cave. There are many caves that were formed by volcanic activities of Mr. Fuji.

Inside the bat cave - but we did not encounter any of flying rodents.

The museum by the bat cave had a bunch of posters of the original Adam West Batman!

We also hiked around the forest - reminded me of those in the Pacific Northwest of the USA.

We had a wonderful day away from Tokyo.



Last week, I had three domestic trips.

The first one was to Osaka, one of the biggest cities in Japan.
I took some photos in Dotonbori, a tourist area of the city - at around 6:00 AM on Tuesday.
This used to be a polluted and stinky little waterway, but it is now getting a nice facelift.

Dotonbori's famous neon signs - of course, it was not lit up when I was running.

This is a big moving crab of a famous seafood restaurant, Kani Doraku

Red Onis are used to advertise this tako yaki restaurant - interesting!

I also enjoyed running to and around Osaka Castle. It is one of the most famous castles in Japan and was originally built in the late 16th Century by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a samurai that unified Japan after over 100 years of constant military conflicts throughout the nation ("Sengoku Period"). Originally, the city of Osaka was built around this castle.

The main building of Osaka Castle.

Whenever I make an overnight business trip, I enjoy running in the morning to learn more about the city I visit.