September 22, 2017

Red Spider Lilies

Hirano-jinja Shrine, Kita-ku, Kyōto
Fujifilm Finepix X100

The merciful drop in humidity is a welcome sign that after months of discomfort, summer is at last on the wane. However, a far more reliable indicator is the blossoming of red spider lilies. Higanbana (彼岸花) to use one of its many Japanese names. Or simply the flower of death. Poisonous to rodents and other wild animals, they were often planted in and around graveyards during Japan’s pre-cremation days to stop the dead being eaten. The beginning, perhaps, of their connection with death.

September 21, 2017

Fake Food Dishes

Star Restaurant, Nakagyō-ku, Kyōto
Fujifilm Finepix X100

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: During the early Shōwa (昭和) period, following Japan's surrender ending World War II in 1945, Americans and Europeans traveled to Japan to help with the rebuilding efforts. Foreign travelers had difficulties reading Japanese menus, so Japanese artisans and candle makers quickly developed plates of wax foods for restaurants that made it easy for foreigners to order something that looked appetizing. Paraffin was used to create fake food until the mid-1980s; because its colors faded when exposed to heat or sunlight, manufacturers later switched to vinyl chloride, which is "nearly eternal." (Read more...)

September 20, 2017


Sembon-dōri Demizu-agaru, Nakagyō-ku, Kyōto
Fujifilm Finepix X100

Also known as Chinese hibiscus, tropical hibiscus is a flowering shrub that displays big, showy blooms from spring through autumn. Growing tropical hibiscus in containers on a patio or deck is a good option; hibiscus performs best when its roots are slightly crowded. Read on to learn more about tropical hibiscus container gardening. (via Gardeningn Know How)

September 19, 2017

Vegetables and Noodles

Omen Shijō Pontochō, Nakagyō-ku, Kyōto
SONY Xperia Z3

A favorite of Kyōto's expat community, Omen is known for its fantastic udon noodles (うどん) and welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant's most popular dish is udon noodles served with hot or cold broth, along with a bowl of vegetables topped with roasted sesame seeds. Seating is offered along the counter or at tables on the restaurant's upper level. Prices are reasonable and English menus are available. The restaurant now has other branches in downtown Kyōto and New York, but their original location is found near Ginkaku-ji Temple, one of Kyōto's most popular attractions.

September 17, 2017

Eggplant at Pickles Shop's Bar

Takakura-ya Pickles Shop, Nakagyō-ku, Kyōto
SONY Xperia Z3