Watch this relaxing walk along Tokyo's Cat Street

I like to walk around Cat Street and its intriguing side streets every time I go to Tokyo. It's full of eclectic little stores and cafes and there are surprises around every corner. Here's a video that was recently taken on Cat Street and Omotesandō. I'm looking forward to returning.

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FaceTime some eels -- because they are "forgetting about people"

The Sumida Aquarium in Tokyo is pleading with the public to video-chat their garden eels starting on Sunday, because they are forgetting that humans exist.

BBC:

"Could you show your face to our garden eels from your home?"

Yes, they're asking people to call in for a sub-aqua video chat and remind the eels that humans are friendly.

"Creatures in the aquarium don't see humans except keepers and they have started forgetting about humans," the aquarium wrote on Twitter.

"Garden eels in particular disappear into the sand and hide every time the keepers pass by."

The eels are particularly sensitive - and the aquarium is keen to reacquaint the 300 eels it homes with humans so they can carry out important health checks on them.

From May 3 to 5, you can use your iPhone or iPad (no Androids or PCs) to FaceTime these sensitive creatures. The aquarium will have five tablets pointed at the eels and ask that you (Google-translated from Japanese):

1) Open the app from the iPhone or iPad, please take a video call by entering the following one of the gmail address to the destination... Helpchin001attogmail.Com Helpchin002attogmail.Com Helpchin003attogmail.Com Helpchin004attogmail.Com Helpchin005attogmail.Com 2) After the beginning of the tablet terminal and a video call that was placed before the aquarium, to the spotted garden eel Shake or call while showing your face. Please refrain cry loudly ※. 3) terminal to be installed is five. When you can see your face for about 5 minutes, hang up the call for the next person.

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Tokyo's busy Shibuya area before and during the pandemic

The Tokyoite who creates videos for the Nippon Wandering TV YouTube channel took a bike ride around Shibuya and shot video of the streets, then spliced in pre-pandemic video of the same area.

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Video of a deserted-looking Tokyo after state of emergency declared

The guy who runs the Nippon Wandering TV YouTube channel hopped on his bike and took a video of Tokyo's Shinjuku ward six days after the Japanese government declared a state of emergency. The video was shot at 7:30 at night, which is usually a busy time for this area. Many of the businesses still have bright lights on but the number of pedestrians is much lower than usual.

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Video of desolate Tokyo streets

Japan is under a state of emergency. Nippon wandering TV took an hour long bike ride through Tokyo's Akihabara district to reveal the nearly empty streets and sidewalks.

Compare to this short video of Akihabara I shot in the the summer of 2018:

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Tokyo records highest number of new coronavirus cases in a single day

Pressure for lockdown in Japan is building, as Tokyo recorded the most coronavirus cases in a single day. Read the rest

Video of a cool old Tokyo neighborhood slated for redevelopment

One of my favorite YouTube channels is Nippon Wandering TV, in which a guy walks and bikes around Japanese streets with a GoPro camera. In his latest video he bikes around Keisei Tateishi station in northeast Tokyo. and takes a look at an old neighborhood that is going to be plowed to make way for redevelopment. "Tokyo plans to redevelop this neighborhood and the retro street, old hidden bar izakaya will be all gone in the near future," he writes. "I miss these old alleys, but it can’t be avoided."

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First person video of a bike ride through Shinjuku, Tokyo

I love watching Nippon Wandering TV (NWT), where a guy straps on a GoPro and walks and bikes around Japan. I often run the videos on a second screen while I work just to listen to the ambient sounds of traffic, footsteps, and pedestrian chatter. In this video, NWT hops on a bike and pedals around Shinjuku, a lively ward in Tokyo.

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Olympics warns athletes that kneeling, fist-raising and other political actions will be banned at the Tokyo 2020 games

The International Olympic Committee -- long a swirling cesspool of corruption, censorship, and reputation-laundering for repressive regimes -- has attained a new low, issuing guidance to athletes competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that no political protests will be tolerated, specifically banning kneeling or raising fists. Read the rest

A day in the life of a 23-year-old Tokyo game programmer

Masa is a 23-year-old game programmer at Bandai Namco Studios in Tokyo. In this 13-minute-video made by Paolo From Tokyo, we see what Masa's life is like, from the moment his alarm goes off in the morning until he is back at home making a Gundam model before he goes to sleep.

From the YouTube description:

We'll even interact with directors from popular Japanese video game titles such as Tekken and CodeVein. Plus we'll get to see what a Japanese programmer from one of the large Video Game companies in Japan does after work with friends. This look inside a Japanese game dev's life is pretty unique and should provide some insight for those people who want to work in Japan as a game developer or game programmer. Also, this day in the life of a Japanese programmer will show you what it takes to be a Japanese programmer. As you would expect, most of the work day is spent programming and coding, but there are other unique aspects of the Japanese programmers life we are able to see in this video.

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Tokyo Disneyland's new vinyl LP is AMAZING

Tokyo Disneyland is a curious beast: it's owned by a Japanese company (the "Oriental Land Company") but the company is contractually obligated to use Disney as its sole supplier of rides and designs; historically, TDL has expanded by ordering the very best, most popular rides and shows from other Disney parks, and then paying to have them built to the very highest possible specification -- it's a kind of global best-of Disney park, gold plated and buffed to a high finish. Read the rest

This guy walks around Tokyo with a GoPro strapped on

One of my family's favorite things to do is wander the neighborhoods of Tokyo. The narrow streets, filled with colorful visual, olfactory, and aural details, never fail to fill me with a sense of wonder.  Yesterday one of my daughters showed me a YouTube Channel called Nippon Wandering TV. The person who runs the channel uses a high resolution GoPro (strapped to his chest or head, I guess) and walks through different Tokyo neighborhoods at different times of the day. He doesn't narrate the videos, and I'm glad he doesn't, because it's nice to hear the sounds of the streets -- talking, cars, music, etc. Each video is about 30 minutes long.

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My new fave Instagram account: miniature models of old Tokyo storefronts

Christopher Robin is a Stockholm designer who makes realistic miniature models of aged Tokyo storefronts. He's got an Instagram account with photos of his work.

 

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Panic working here, lots of stuff left to do and aprox one week left until deadline. Working on the vending machine, added the glass and did some weathering. A real mental workout to figure out how to build this one in the best way, and I can only blame my self since it is I who designed the kit... Also been working on adding more wiring and electric stuff. Also did the roof. Used a very fine grit sandpaper cut into strips and glued and folder. Think it worked out ok. These flat roofs are tricky to get interesting. Now back to work. Stay tuned. #artwork #art #artist #sculpture #mini #miniature #miniartmodels #tokyo #tokyohouse #japanhouse #instaart #pic #picoftheday #progress #scratchbuild #scalemodel #modelhouse #modelhouses #aircondition #rust #hobby #workshop #handmade #handtool #weatheredmodels #weathering

A post shared by TokyoBuild (@tokyobuild) on Sep 29, 2019 at 8:14am PDT

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Five favorite street foods in Tokyo

Great Big Story went to Tokyo to visit five small restaurants that make different kinds of popular street foods: takoyaki (pieces of octopus in griddle-cooked balls of dough, yakisoba (fried noodles, meat, and vegetables), gyoza (Chinese dumplings), okonomiyaki (crepes with noodles, cabbage, pork, and egg), and taiyaki (fish-shaped pancakes with sweet fillings). My mouth was watering as I watched this.

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It's hard to find public trash cans in Tokyo

It's not easy to find public trash cans in Tokyo (other than bottle-and-can recycling bins next to drink vending machines). Even so, there's hardly any litter on the ground. When I travel to Japan, I always keep a plastic bag in my knapsack to store trash until I come across a rare public gomibako (Tip: There's one in front of the Kiddy Land toy store in Harajuku). In this video, That Japanese Man Yuta challenges tourists to find a trash can in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Read the rest

A cafe where the robot waiters are remote-piloted by paralyzed people

Dawn ver.β is a Tokyo cafe in Akasaka where all the table service is performed by 120 cm tall OriHime-D robots that are piloted by people who are paralyzed and work from home; it was inspired by a fictional cafe in the 2008 anime Time of Eve. Read the rest

Scotty of Strange Parts takes a tour of Akihabara, Tokyo's geek culture headquarters

Akihabara got its reputation for being Tokyo's "Electric City" -- both for its consumer electronics as well as for its electronics components stalls. In more recent years, it's become more well-known for anime, manga, claw machines, game arcades, capsule toy shops, maid cafes, unusual vending machines, and vintage video game gear stores. Scotty of Strange Parts took a tour of Akihabara with Only in Japan's John Daub.

My daughter and I love Akihabara. Here's a few photos and a video from our last visit:

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