Sunday, February 8, 2015

My Neighborhood is the Cutest





Although our nearest station is Iidabashi, which is an awesome central location, and is home to several different lines which is great for
options when getting around Tokyo, Kagurazaka feels more like our neighborhood. It borders the station and our surrounding area so closely
that it's almost always where we ending up running errands, doing grocery shopping, taking people around, etc. It's a great place to explore
and walk around- not very big at all, but tons crammed in to one place. There are so many sidestreets and alleyways brimming with little artisan
shops, teahouses, restaurants, and super tiny eateries.

A favourite recent find of mine is MugiMaru2, an all manju cafe tucked away in a little sidestreet off the main pedestrian way. In case you don't
know, manju are (usually) bread cakes filled with sweet bean paste. They are one of my favourite snacks, and this place offers homemade
steamed manju with lots of fun flavours. The buns themselves can be tea, black sugar, mugwort, or plain, and the fillings can be red bean,
black bean, black sesame, cheese, or jam. So cute and fun! It feels like a fairytale treehouse inside and out, although it's quite dark and
moody inside so photos with a phone weren't worth it at all, and I'll have to go back again to share the atmosphere with you.





Kagurazaka is famous for retaining a good dose of old world charm, and for its Frenchy vibes. Lots of French people moved here back in
the day, so there are lots of bakeries, cafes, French restaurants, and French inspired buildings and decorations. There's even a strip
of the main street that plays ambient accordion music over a loud speaker as you shop around. Many of the winding side streets are cobblestoned
with European- looking shopfronts. The Japanese-French fusion throughout the neighborhood makes for a very charming place to explore, and it's
amazing how small scale and quiet the neighborhood feels, even though it's pretty much right in the middle of Tokyo, and only about a 10 minute walk
away from Tokyo Dome City, which is complete madness.






Here are just a few cute little scenes from walking around Kagurazaka. I feel so lucky I can see this every day while running errands. These are from a while ago though, when I had time to wander and take photos. Life has gotten so busy lately, with both Ryan and I working now during pretty much the whole time the sun is up. I even have to work on Saturdays now too.

So I'm in the middle of trying to figure out how to still keep photographing things I see and think are beautiful. I only ever have my phone with me when I'm out and about anymore, sine I'm almost always on my way to work or an errand, or somewhere crowded, so I've had to readjust to be ok with 'just phone photos.' A lot of times I feel frustrated that I've lost my creative outlet, and the time and light and ability to capture things the way I wish I could. Sometimes it just makes me want to give up because I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything real or worthwhile anymore. Maybe this is a good opportunity for me to learn better time management and planning.

I have to remind myself that by taking this job, I will be able to afford to shoot more on film, pay to get it developed, and to save up for a better (functional..) DSLR which will drastically improve my options (my 7D won't even autofocus anymore, which is usually fine for me personal use, but not when photographing clients and events, and Ryan really hates manually focusing so I've felt too guilty to ask him to take photos for me for a while now). It just sucks that now that I have a better income, I suddenly have hardly any time open to take nice photos someplace nice.... I guess I need to get more into night and flash photography.


  1. I can relate so well to you photography troubles... It was exactly the same for me, when I was still in college, I had my camera with me always and used to shoot so many photos on my way home or generally when outside. But now that I work full-time, my photo-time was limited to weekends only and I was so sad at first!
    I hope you can figure something out, because your photography is just so wonderful, it would be sad to see less of it!

    & Kagurazaka! I wish I lived in that area! I had an exhibition in the middle between Edogawabashi and Kagurazaka some time back and walking around the area felt like an adventure ♥

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks so much for your commiserating comment and encouragement! You should come by Kagurazaka sometime and we can go to a cute cafe! <3

  2. Your neighborhood really is adorable. I've wanted to visit Japan for so long. Hopefully someday!

    That's sad that you can't take pictures as often as you want now, but I definitely understand. Just take them and post when you can! Even if it's not super often, we'll understand!

    Jamie |

  3. Your neighbourhood is beautiful, I am in awe
    and I can't get over the fact that this is in Tokyo, it's somewhere I believe to be so modern and I though Asakusa was rather "traditional" but I think this wins that title hands down hehe

    Keep focused on your photography and camera goals whenever your job is getting tough :)


  4. Aw it is such a pretty place! I see what you mean, I go out in the mornings to school and the light is always just so beautiful that I wish I could grab my camera and go out and take photos, but I tend to just settle for taking photos with my phone. I get what you mean with loosing your creative outlet but you're working so you can get more out of it! I hope you can get a new camera and take more photos soon though <3

    The Quirky Queer

  5. It's lovely to be in a neighbourhood that you really enjoy, it makes life so much more enjoyable! Especially when there's a great group of shops, cafes, etc, so peep. I love all the plant pots and overgrowth in these buildings, very charming and French - as you say!

  6. that house is really cute, look so warm and comfy <3

  7. Ohh I am so jealous, your neighborhood is so pretty! I hope I can visit Japan one day. Wishing you good luck with your job!


  8. your neighborhood is certainly very pretty. those curtains are absolutely adorable.

  9. 1. The French house number tiles!!
    2. I hear ya on the work front.