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Posts tagged takadanobaba

Student Loans (Japanese style)

gakusei loan college takadanobaba

学生ローン (高田馬場)

Student debt in the USA has become a hot topic in recent years with the average student debt rising to about $30,000 from a few hundred dollars a few decades ago.

Today’s photo shows a building between the Takadanobaba Station and Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. While many buildings in Japan have advertisements for the businesses inside, this one is a bit unusual in that it has 10 ads for the same business. The business is student loans. The current rate, according to the company’s website, is over 15%!

Wild Health

takadanobaba rainy night wild health big box coca-cola ad advertisement

Takadanobaba’s Big Box on a rainy night early in 2010

I think I took this one from McDonald’s seven years ago. Perhaps I was on my way back from teaching at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, and I was just waiting for the rain to slow down a bit.

Karaoke view

karaoke kan takadanobaba branch

カラオケ館 高田馬場店

Six years ago today, this happened.

Wisteria (藤 or fuji)

薬王院 yakuoin tokyo japan flowers

Yakuo-in Temple is a famous place in Tokyo for peonies (in April). The original flowers were brought from the Hasedera Temple in Nara Prefecture. However, if you go around to the graveyard at the back of the temple in April you will find loads of wisteria as well.

The address is 4-8-2 Shimo-Ochiai and the flowers are usually at their best between April 10 and May 1. Yakuoin is a five-minute walk from Shimo-Ochiai Station on the Seibu-Shinjuku Line or a 10-minute walk from Takadanobaba Station.

Don’t Eat! (taberuna or 食べるな or タベルナ)


You know how some things don’t translate? For instance, Gerber (baby food) supposedly means vomiting in French. Or the first time Coca Cola translated its name into Chinese it meant “bite the wax tadpole.” Well, the sign above is one I frequently saw while heading to the Takadanobaba Train Station in Tokyo. It says, “taberuna” which means “Don’t Eat!” in Japanese.

(A verb followed by na in Japanese means “don’t do the verb” in a rather abrupt way of speaking. Taberu means to eat. You wouldn’t want to use this grammar on a guest unless they were about to eat something poisonous.)

I was therefore surprised to discover that this business is none other than a restaurant!

Taverna Italian food restaurant in Takadanobaba

The name comes not from the Japanese of “don’t eat” but from the Italian Taverna which is pronounced as “don’t eat” in Japanese. Too funny and too ironic. Personally, I would have chosen a different name if I was going to open an Italian restaurant in Japan.

We ate there once. It was just OK. I won’t say don’t eat there, because the sign already does.

Ramen line

Queue for Futomendo Ramen near Takadanobaba

Back when Futomendo was all the rage on Waseda Doori a line like this was inevitable. The poor tsukemen shop just a few doors down, meanwhile, couldn’t fill its seats.