Tokyobling's Blog

Kuramochi Primary School

Posted in Places by tokyobling on April 21, 2012

For an old building lover like me, there’s few places in Japan like the Meijimura in Aichi prefecture right in the centre of Japan, a park where buildings come to retire. Actually it is an outdoor architectural museum where buildings torn down in different areas around the country is rescued and reassembled. Most of the buildings in the park are from the Meiji era of Japanese history, 1868-1912. This building is a beautiful old school building, although not all of it remains today there’s enough to try and imagine what it must have been like for the local children who first moved into this school house. It’s full name is “Mie Prefectural Normal School and Kuramochi Primary School”, and it was originally erected in 1888 in the city of Tsu, and later moved to Nabari in Mie prefecture and finally to this park in 1973. It’s a beautiful combination of the mid-Meiji era western and traditional Japanese building styles. I wish my school had been as beautiful as this! Not much of the interior remains but one of the class rooms were partly recreated and even though it’s more than a hundred years earlier, it actually looks pretty similar to the elementary school I went to. If you are ever in Aichi prefecture with a day or two to spare, Meijimura is a great place to visit! More photos to come!

Hara Donuts – Meguro

Posted in Places, Shops by tokyobling on December 3, 2010

Japan is full of good food and great sweats, and recently I found yet another donuts shop here in Tokyo! While I’ve heard that cupcakes are all the rage abroad, in Japan the humble donut still reign supreme when it comes to unhealthy food. There’s plenty of famous donut chain stores in Japan (I wont mention them here unless they agree to send me free samples – wink wink nudge nudge) but here’s one that had slipped under my radar somehow, Hara Donuts. It combines the Japanese sweeth tooth for donuts with the increasingly popular Mori Girl and LOHAS movements, at least superficially so. As you can see, the interior and design of the shop is shabby chic all the way with a bare wood aesthetic that is right on the money in Japan.

I love how the signboard says moshimoshi (もしもし) in front of the telephone number, so cute! Moshimoshi is what you answer when you pick up a phone if you are very very very familiar or folksy. There is a visual pun in the fork and donut picture as well but I doubt anyone except a native Japanese would be able to pick it out.

This shop, which I found in Meguro, is housed in an old timber framed building, with the peculiar framing structure naked to the eye (a treat for folk-architecture fans like me). The back side veranda is gorgeously decorated with all sorts of rusty stuff and the floor are deliciously worn out. And yes, that is my camera bag in picture number 8. Japanese cafe interiors are obviously much more cramped and minimal than most western ones, so I was lucky to have most of the cafe to myself this morning!

If you’re ever out ambling around in Meguro, I recommend you try out this cafe. If you’re into not-very-sweet donuts, that is. Enjoy!

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