Urbanism
Xianxia Lu

Xianxia Lu

Xianxia Lu (仙霞路) is the main commercial and arterial road through Shanghai’s Japanese expatriate area in Changning District. The community is not so dense nor its boundaries concrete enough to call it an enclave, it’s more a center of gravity for Japanese and some Korean residents in the city. Mei and I went for an...
Lujiazui

Lujiazui

On the afternoon of Christmas Eve 2016, Mei and I headed across the Huangpu River to Lujiazui (陆家嘴) in search of a Christmas market held at one of the large hotels there. Lujiazui is Shanghai’s modern financial and business district, directly facing the historic one across the river. It’s also the base of all the...
Fuzhou Lu

Fuzhou Lu

On a brisk but sunny day in 2016 December, Mei and I had a list of objectives for our afternoon walk: new books for her, a visit to the Waitan, and some camera tests. This brought us to Fuzhou Lu (福州路). Though this street is in what was once the British concession, an area which...
Beijing Dong Lu

Beijing Dong Lu

Mei and I have visited the Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng a few times, the closest thing we have to the electronics and instrument vendors of Akihabara Electric Town. We almost always eventually find what we need, though we usually have to hunt for some time. That’s part of the fun. Occasionally a vendor will tell us...
Minhang Development Zone and Xinzhuang

Minhang Development Zone and Xinzhuang

About a year prior to the time of writing, my daughter Mei and I began making mini expeditions to parts of Shanghai we hadn’t seen before. Though we moved here at the end of 2014, between adjusting to a new place, new people, new school, new sibling, etc., it took a while before we’d felt...
Matador in Kitasenju

Matador in Kitasenju

At the end of a few hours’ walk dodging a cool rain in Kitasenju, there was only one conceivable lunch stop. After a couple of years gawking at Brian MacDuckston’s photos of the award winning beef stock ramen at Matador (牛骨らぁ麺マタドール), I wasn’t leaving the neighborhood without a bowl. Deshi hard at work under the...
Kitasenju

Kitasenju

Kitasenju (北千住) is an interesting cluster of shōtengai, narrow high-texture streets and, more recently, university campuses orbiting the hub train station of the same name in Adachi Ward. There is much to see and my original walk plan had been to spend at least half a day exploring. When rain moved in, rather than scrap...
Muteppo in Nakano, Session 2

Muteppo in Nakano, Session 2

I hadn’t planned to create a second article about the Nakano branch of Muteppō (無鉄砲東京中野店), but sometimes adventures don’t follow the path we expect. I’m learning that, more often than not, that’s a great thing. On solo stays in Tokyo, I’m almost always based out of Nishi-Shinjuku. No matter how far I’ve ventured, I can...
Tateishi

Tateishi

My first experience of Tateishi (立石) was with my then three-year-old daughter Mei permanently attached to one of my hands. We were accompanying my wife on a week long business trip. My job was to keep this small person fed, hydrated and entertained during the daytime. Fortunately, in Tokyo there is no shortage of choices...
Shitamachi Walk

Shitamachi Walk

When I visit Japan for neighborhood studies, I tend to set very specific location boundaries, time limits and objectives. I don’t have many opportunities to do this, so I try to maximize use of the time, though it means I inevitably miss out on spontaneous discoveries and the therapeutic value of wandering around with no...
Arakicho

Arakicho

Based on the handful of written accounts I’ve come across, it seems there are two Arakichō (荒木町). By day, mostly low-rise, generally older housing and a healthy layer of plant matter carpet this ravine carved out of the highland between Akebonobashi Station and Yotsuya-sanchōme Station in Shinjuku Ward. An unhurried but methodical walk through its...
Ni-chome Tsukemen GACHI in Shinjuku

Ni-chome Tsukemen GACHI in Shinjuku

My first dip into the Mensho group of ramen shops is not the original Menya Shono but the second shop, Ni-chōme Tsukemen GACHI (二丁目つけめん GACHI), a short walk east from Shinjuku Station in one of Tokyo’s drinkiest neighborhoods. As always, not only are the caloric needs of The Tokyo Project fueled by chewy wheat noodles...