And today?

Yesterday I shared two videos about the cities of Tokyo and New York City 100 years ago. Today is a list of “101 things to love about New York City”. My favorite was the (#35) Bodega Cats Instagram feed (also on Twitter):

Watch the video from Curbed about bodega cats.

Your challenge: make a list of 101 (well, start with 10?) things to love about Tokyo. My first on the list is the bicycle sharing system in 9 of the 23 wards.


Back in time

What was life like in Tokyo and New York City a hundred years ago?

Research task: try to find videos like this for other cities and countries that you’re studying about.

Controlled chaos

Bike culture in Amsterdam is not a subculture, it’s THE culture.

I live in a place where I don’t really need a bicycle, and of course I don’t need a car: trains and buses are plentiful and punctual. But recently I had the opportunity to try one of Tokyo’s (relatively) new bike share systems, and it was, like most other things in Tokyo, efficient and fun.

The one I used seems to be the most comprehensive — it has bike ports in 9 wards: Chiyoda-ku, Chuo-ku, Minato-ku, Shinjuku-ku, Bunkyo-ku, Koto-ku, Shinagawa-ku, Ota-ku, and Shibuya-ku.

There are several different plans, but the one I tried allows you to register your credit card online and then anytime you want to pick up a bike, you just swipe the panel on the back fo the bike with your credit card and the bike unlocks for you. The first 30 minutes cost ¥150, with each additional 30 minutes costing ¥100. You can pick up a bike at one port in one ward and drop it off at any other port in any other ward.

Oh, and these bikes are electric.

Play away


This Vox Populi from Asahi Shimbun talks about the nostalgia of childhood play in simpler times, when children would pick flowers (レンゲソウ). Today’s children, when asked where they play, picked “shopping mall” as one of their choices.

“Should we be saddened by this, or be impressed by the kids’ resourcefulness in turning any place into their playground?

How did you spend your Golden Week?

Part of mine was spent close to those  レンゲソウ flowers, actually, in a rural part of Japan. And the other part was spent in Tokyo, where I saw “Ready Player One”, a movie about a place and time that’s as far away from nature as you can get.

My holiday reflected the two sides of the Vox Populi perfectly. How about yours?