Will miss these in Musashi-Koyama

I am still not over the loss of Hanoi's Zone 9, and one more of my hangout is falling victim to "development". One station from us is a neighbourhood called Musashi-Koyama. The dozens of unique small shops next to the station - eating places and bars are shutting down, being replaced with a construction project. Perhaps, we should invite the little shops to our Meguro. Japan Times also laments the loss of such community spaces. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2015/11/07/lifestyle/heart-darkness-nostalgic-tokyo-disappearing-amid-construction-boom/#.Vj7cGVSI6Op

3331 Arts Chiyoda, repurposing a school to a community art centre and learning space

When I was a kid, I would always wish that the school would close. I liked the building, but did not care much for most classes other than history and geography. I always wondered why we can't have people from the neighbourhood come into our school and show us stuff they were doing. Here is a school (low student numbers means that many schools close and are re-purposed) that has turned into an art gallery + hackerspace + community learning space + co working area. There is even a community farm on the roof and a green wall outside. It's about 10 minutes walk from Akihabara station.


Visiting Todoroki, a forest in the middle of the city

Tokyo often throws up surprises. In the middle of the busy Setagaya ward there is a kilometre long stretch of dense forest that runs along a small river. Walking along the river you could easily pretend that you are in another prefecture or perhaps another world. The Todoroki valley is just ten minutes walk from Todoroki station. Pack some Onigiri or a small bento and you can have a nice picnic by the water.

Takadanobaba, the Little Myanmar of Tokyo

In Tokyo, if you miss Burmese food, the best place to go is Takadanobaba. This neighbourhood is where a lot of people from Myanmar live in Tokyo. Hence, there are many Burmese restaurants and shops here. This area is not as dense as Singapore’s Peninsula Plaza but you can still find good Myanmar food within 10 minutes walk out of the station.

Takadanobaba is on the Yamanote line. If you are heading to Shin Okubo to explore the Korean town, you can include Takadanobaba in your trip (it is the next station). Once you are in Takadanobaba, take the Waseda exit. 

As soon as you are out you will see the dark Tak 11 building. When you exit the station, the building is just across the street. This building has many restaurants and shops from Myanmar. I visited a Shan food restaurant on the ground floor. Even managed to score some free dessert. To the left of this Tak 11 building (when you face it), there is a small lane. This lane has some more Burmese restaurants. Towards end of the row of shops, you will find Shwe Myanmar. There is one more in the building just before it. And they have Mohinga, the favourite dish many in Myanmar. 


Good Day Books, a delightful little English bookshop in Tokyo

We love small independent bookstores. And this one is special as I find that they have a dedicated espionage section. This bookstore is centrally located just a couple of minutes walk from Gotanda station. I was happy to find a 1960s travelogue on Russia. 

Walking direction from Gotanda Station. Keep walking along the train line towards Meguro and you will see the building.