The spring is here. It does not matter where I live (big house or small), I feel compelled to tinker. We have 5 pots on our deck that we will fill with herbs. So this weekend  I put together an automatic sprinkler system for the pots. This way when the 45C Tokyo weather hits, I do not have to remember to water them.

A Tokyo hardware store is a journey. Imagine going into a place where you can read nothing …. a place filled with toy lawnmowers.


I had to figure everything out by sight. “This looks like a sprinkler head”


And of course, you have to park.


Always an adventure.



At first it can be daunting. The signs are not in English in most places and hard to understand. Based on my experience, I have now concluded 4 things:

1. Don’t bother on the street as most locations only allow 60 minutes.

2. The price is Y300 per 30 minutes everywhere. (Roughly $6.50 and hour)

3. There is a lot more parking in Tokyo than I would have thought. The GPS is awesome at helping you find a parking lot. Without the GPS? Good luck.

4. There are two types of parking; the traditional parking lot where you pull into a spot and a little flap pops up and locks your tire into place until you pay. The other type is the robot/tower parking.

This usually involves a circle (which flips your car around) and some form of stackable parking.

This is what a parking “tower” looks like. It is filled with cars.


You pull into the parking garage (note the circle, it flips your car around).


And here is where it is stored. I have been wondering what it looks like inside one of these parking machines. It was the first time I could ever take a shot. Now I know …


A vertical parking lot. Cool.