Tonight we went to see the fireworks on the Sumida River.  In the past we have tried to find somewhere to sit but that takes a lot of preparation.  This year we decided to walk along the river during the display.  Even though there were tens of thousands of people outside there was still a route that was clear.  We ended up with a better view than we had in the past and we got to exercise.


My first lunch time back in Tokyo and I had to resist buying far too much sushi.  I miss it when I travel.  I sometimes buy it in other countries but it’s not the same.  I worry about eating sushi in places far from the sea, or in places where raw fish isn’t commonly eaten, so I tend to buy rolls that contain vegetables or cooked fish. But never avocado as I can’t stand the green mushy stuff and hate that American sushi chefs are fascinated with it.

I did get a shock in a Japanese restaurant in Florida as they served an “Atom Bomb Roll”.  This horrifyingly named roll contained salmon and spiced tuna.  I can’t imagine that anyone Japanese was involved in that restaurant.  Oddly named sushi seemed to be a theme as they also had a “Beauty and the Beast Roll” that contained tuna, eel, crab, avocado, and cream cheese, which sounds disgusting.   Thankfully today’s sushi was amazing.

Back Home

I’m really pleased to be back home. But there is one thing that I really didn’t miss…

5.3 Quake in Ibaraki

5.3 Quake in Ibaraki

… my apartment block jerking and swaying.

Heading Home

I’m finally on my way back to Japan. I did manage to pack a lot into my two months but I always feel like I could do more as there were people I didn’t manage to contact never-mind see. I was going to write about the highlights of my trip but I’m tired and finding it hard to think past last week.

I’m looking forward to being home.

Cool Summer

I appear to be in Northern Ireland at the a similar time to when I was here last year. And just like last year summer is a cold and wet affair. Today we had a high of 14 C (57F). Last year I posted a picture of my Mum’s forlorn washing and looking out the window today nothing much has changed.

Different clothes, same problem.

Different clothes, same problem.

I do love how summer smells here, the flowers and the wet grass reminding me of my childhood. I’m also enjoying the spring-like weather, as I had enough summer in Orlando and New York. I have quite a few things planned for my short trip so hopefully I still like the weather when I have to walk around in it.

2 Responses to “Cool Summer”

  1. Christine Bailie Says:

    This must be the worst washing line in history.. how do they actually dry?

  2. karen Says:

    I have no idea… I doubt they actually dry on the line 🙂

Leaving the USA

I’m sitting in the lounge at JFK waiting on my flight to London. I’ve been here for about 6 weeks and I’m ready to leave. I do like visiting but I’m not sure that I could live here. On a frivolous note it will take me months to recover from the overeating that’s so easy to indulge in. On a serious note the racial tension and violence, that seems to be on the rise, is unsettling.

Downtown Manhattan

Downtown Manhattan


I’ve seen a number of people talking about their midlife crisis recently, probably because lots of my friends are of a similar age to me. I enjoyed listening to Kieran Setiya discuss this on Philosophy Bites.

“If you have a desire for a goal and your life is guided by that, that’s what’s giving meaning to your life, in a way, by aiming to complete that goal, to finish that project, what your aiming to do or the effect of your success will be to eliminate that project from your life.  It’s now done and thereby to eliminate a source of meaning from your life.

So pursing projects has this paradoxical self destructive quality whereby the things that are giving purpose to your existence are the very things, in pursing which, you are extinguishing and thereby destroying the purpose of your life.”

Peaceful Japan

I was reading the Global Peace Index 2016 [PDF] today.  Of the 163 independent states and territories ranked Japan came in at number 9, Ireland at 12, the UK at 47, and the United States of America is at 103.  I’m always surprised by how poorly the USA performs in these studies, as the parts I visit appear quite safe.  But there is no doubt watching the news tonight, from our New York hotel room, that the country seems anything but safe.   I’m also stunned that the index lists the national cost of violence in the USA as $2,028,740,716,654.  A number that doesn’t appear real.

“The 2016 Global Peace Index (GPI) shows the world became less peaceful in the last year, reinforcing the underlying trend of declining peace over the last decade. Results also show a growing global inequality in peace, with the most peaceful countries continuing to improve while the least peaceful are falling into greater violence and conflict.”

Crazy Shakes

Tonight we queued for about an hour at Black Tap, Soho, so that we could try their popular milkshakes.  I had told my niece that you could get any food you wanted in NYC and she asked me to find the best milkshake.  “Best” can be defined in many ways, and I’ve certainly had a milkshakes that tasted better than tonights, but it was the most over-the-top milkshake I have ever had.  Mine was called “The Cookie” and was a vanilla shake with quite a few cookies.

The Cookie Milkshake, by Black Tap, Soho

The Cookie Milkshake, by Black Tap, Soho


Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy Milkshake by Black Tap, Soho

Broadway Digital Lotteries

It’s expensive to go the theatre in New York.  I saw The Phantom of the Opera on Friday night, in a seat that was one row from the back of the theatre, and it cost $75 (57 GBP, 7,600 JPY).  Since I can’t afford to see every show I would like to watch I have been entering the various digital lotteries that are available.  It would be amazing to win the opportunity to buy reduced tickets for Hamilton, but I have not been that lucky.  I did, however, win the opportunity to purchase $35 tickets for The Crucible tonight.  The seats should be much better than The Phantoms ones, as they are in the most expensive section.  Without the lottery it would have cost between $149 – $189 for the seats.  I’m really looking forward to seeing Ciarán Hinds as the Deputy Governor, and Saoirse Ronan as Abigail Williams.

2 Responses to “Broadway Digital Lotteries”

  1. Mark Fowler Says:

    If you’re in the mood for something different…back in April we took the kids to an off-broadway showing of the Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe (When I say off broadway, not very far off broadway – you can see the small theatre it’s showing at from the Les Mis entrance.) It was literally a two person show with maybe four or five props – and we enjoyed it immensely. Next showing Saturday 11am, $35 a head.

  2. karen Says:

    That looks interesting. Unfortunately it won’t fit into our schedule, but thanks for the suggestion. I didn’t really look into off-broadway plays and we’ve probably missed out because of that.

Walking the High Line

Today we went for a walk along the High Line, which is public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.  It was beautiful, if a little crowded, and a pleasant way to spend part of the 4th July.

Views from the High Line Park

Views from the High Line Park

Going to the Theatre

We went to see The Phantom of the Opera on Friday night, and today we went to see Chicago.  I enjoyed both shows even though we didn’t have great seats.  Chicago worked better from the rear mezzanine as the band and the dancing were clear even from a distance.  The theatre for The Phantom was huge and sitting one row from the back did mean that it was hard to see the expressions on the actors faces.  The set still looked amazing and most of the singing was very clear thanks to the wonders of electronic amplification.  The only annoying thing was the audience.

Mobile phones are wonderful things but I don’t want to see them during a show.  They glow and are incredibly noticeable in a dark theatre.  Their use is also banned which means that as soon as someone tries to take a picture or a video annoyed staff members run up and tell them off.  The people behind us in The Phantom were given multiple warnings for taking pictures, which is incredibly distracting when you are trying to watch something.  Audience members also seem to think that it is O.K. to give a running commentary to their friends or to sing along with the songs.  I did turn and glare at quite a few people in the hope that they would just be quiet.  The actor playing the Phantom had a sensational voice, the man behind me did not.


I’m staying in Midtown, New York.  It is chaos outside.  I have been told that the crowds will be worse on the 4th July, which will be quite something as there really isn’t room for any more humans.  I love how alive the city is.  I love that you can walk between places, even if you have to constantly stop and start at traffic lights.  I walked just under 10 miles today.  We didn’t have a destination in mind, we just wandered around, ate interesting food, and found beautiful buildings to gaze up at.  Of course, as well as looking up, sometimes you have to look down.

Paving Stone, at Library Way

Paving Stone, at Library Way