Mutlu bayramlar! // Happy ramadan to all who celebrate & my home. Like all of us, I hope that that brighter days will soon come.

The cinematographic beauty of daily life in Tokyo never ceases to amaze me. Every simple outing, and it can even be a walk to a grocery store, can easily turn into a visual feast. Mizumoto Park in Tokyo is full of those visually charged moments where the residents of Eastern Tokyo subtly enjoy the urban nature.

Grateful for my neighbourhood and people who keep their gardens so beautifully – even more nowadays where a simple walk to a grocery store can feel like a nature walk if you do not forget to look around.

Mie coast as seen from the train – last week on my way back to Tokyo. The entire coast is covered by the rail service. The are more expensive limited express trains as well as cheaper local ones stoping at every stop with metro style sitting. The views are generally very nice but other than Shikoku, it is rare in Japan to come across a coastal scenery without the industrial fumes making their ways into the scenery.

In response to the questions about the travel safety concerning Japan (given the upcoming sakura season), here is a list of the places shut down at least until mid-March: I will refrain from providing my personal remarks about the situation since it changes everyday (also – I don’t trust myself to be objective enough when it comes to canceling traveling plans). Here is another very helpful link for quantitative assessment of the situation: The photo is from Yakiyama hike last week.

On this first day of December, some Tokyo colors from the last day of November. December is a great time to be in Tokyo, the weather is not yet too cold and mostly sunny and more importantly dry, the fall colors do their best to hang in there till mid-December and unique opportunity to listen to “O Holy Night” at least thousand times wherever you go – all in all, December has always been my favorite month wherever I`m as it gently guides us to my favorite season.

One great Tokyo evening. I usually go to Jimbocho every Saturday right after school, it is probably my favorite Tokyo neighborhood. It is home to hundreds of used book stores and also gets quite atmospheric at night with its many machiyas turned into cozy dining venues. This is Aligot serving french food in an entirely Japanese atmosphere, perfect combo.

Iwate – Tohoku today. So little snow and relatively warm weather even though it is still around 25C lower than where I was yesterday #iwate #tohoku

It was too short of a trip to formulate any meaningful opinion about Philippines other than recognizing the admirable work ethics of the local team that we worked with. However, the country still strangely reminded me of Kenya with the roadside development in rural areas and strong emphasize of the christianity (we were invited to pray before and after the meetings). Philippines has a very different vibe compared to other Asian countries that I have been to. So grateful for the opportunity to visit these lesser known regions in Asia and work with and learn from the local teams.