Lisa's In And Around Tokyo: Kanazawa--bask In The Age-old Cultural Retreat In Kanagawa

Lisa's In and Around Tokyo: Kanazawa--Bask in the age-old cultural retreat in Kanagawa

Golden marshes--what a beautiful name! Perhaps at sunrise or sunset, the sun's golden rays created a magical view of Kanazawa.

No, not the Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture; I'm talking about the one in Kanagawa. The area that hardly anybody calls by its "proper" name and instead refers to as "Bunko" or "Hakkei."

2019 Toyota Sienna Review And Buying Guide | Old, But Not Finished

2019 Toyota Sienna Review and Buying Guide | Old, but not finished

The 2019 Toyota Sienna represents the eighth year since Toyota's minivan was completely redesigned. Although it's received significant updates in that time, all of its competitors have been completely redesigned since then, most notably the Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey. That said, the Sienna still offers a compelling array of family-friendly attributes and continues to boast a serious competitive advantage by being the only minivan that offers all-wheel drive as an option (although a Pacifica AWD is coming) . While its competitors are ultimately stronger products, the Sienna isn't as hopelessly out of date as its age would indicate.

What's new with Sienna for 2019?

Toyota has added a vital but still incomplete tech update for 2019. Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration are standard features on Toyota's old infotainment display, but there's still no Android Auto. Adding part of the smartphone functionality is a step forward, but the majority of folks still won't be able to enjoy these features — there are currently more Android users than iOS users in the United States. All-wheel drive is also made available on the sportier SE trim level for 2019.

What's Sienna's interior and in-car technology like?

The Sienna is a wide van from the outside, and it features a wide, expansive dash on the inside. There are a lot of hard plastics all around, but many of those get replaced with wood and soft touch materials as you climb the trim ladder. It looks old for the most part, because the Sienna really is an old van. None of the fancy swoops and shapes from newer Toyota interiors have made it into the Sienna, and that makes it feel dated. This is only amplified by the modern Pacifica, Odyssey and even Kia Sedona interiors that we prefer over this one.

2019 Toyota Sienna Awd Vs 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid | New Meets Old

2019 Toyota Sienna AWD vs 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid | New meets old

The Toyota Sienna has always been an inconspicuous van. They're out there, there's a lot of them and they're huge, but they blend in with darn near everything. Perhaps Toyota noticed that a little while ago and slapped on the slightly garish grille/not a grille plastic thing in the front bumper, but it still doesn't really stand out. On the other hand, our long-term Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, which is a great deal newer than the Sienna, has slick styling that gets noticed. Toyota hasn't properly redesigned the Sienna since the 2011 model year, and it shows on every front. Despite its many shortcomings, there are still some valid arguments for going with the dinosaur.

Ride and handling

Of all the reasons to choose a Sienna over the much newer competition, available all-wheel drive has to be the main one. My tester was so equipped, and I got a chance to test it out in both snow and ice. Obviously, the first thing I did in powder was see if the rear end would break loose. I can confirm that with traction control off, the Sienna will slide around a little bit. You won't be doing any sick drifts, but it's undoubtedly more fun than our Pacifica.

The Chrysler is fitted with Nokian Hakkapelitta winter tires. As you might guess, this means that braking and grip around corners is better than the Sienna in snow. If the Sienna were to ditch its slippery all-seasons for a proper set of winters, it would be running circles around the Pacifica. Still, I drove our Pacifica through a lake effect blizzard in Buffalo and it never blinked from lack of traction with multiple inches of snow on the ground. Some folks are going to want the assurance of all-wheel drive, and the Sienna will offer it, but don't make it your only option. All-wheel drive might help you get going, but winter tires are there to save the day when sledding gets tough.

3 Men Arrested For Killing 80-year-old Woman

3 men arrested for killing 80-year-old woman

Police in Tokyo have arrested three men on suspicion of breaking into the house of an 80-year-old woman and murdering her last month. The victim had received a suspicious phone call asking her how much cash she had at home. The tactics are similar to a recent series of other burglary cases in Tokyo.

The police found and apprehended the three men on Wednesday. The police say the three have denied the allegations.

90-year-old Tram Makes Final Run In Nagasaki

90-year-old tram makes final run in Nagasaki

Rail enthusiasts have gathered in the city of Nagasaki to bid farewell to a tram that has been in service for more than 90 years.

"Number 151" made its first run in 1925 in the Tokyo Metropolitan area. It later operated in the resort area of Hakone before moving to Nagasaki in 1957. The tram ended commercial operations in 1982, but has been brought out of retirement on special occasions.

Old Nissan Ev Batteries Power Opus Camping Trailer For A Week

Old Nissan EV batteries power Opus camping trailer for a week

One of the less-talked about aspects of electric cars is what we'll do with batteries once they've worn down. Nissan has come up with a clever idea for how they could be used to provide power while camping, and it teamed with trailer manufacturer Opus to show it off.

The solution in question is called the Nissan ROAM, and it's a little cube full of old lithium-ion battery cells from "first-generation Nissan electric vehicles," which we assume includes the original Nissan Leaf, that hooks up to the Air Opus trailer shown above. This bundle of cells can store up to 700Wh of electricity, and can provide power output up to 1kW. It features a variety of outlets for powering small devices and appliances, and supplies power to the onboard lights and heating.

Nine-year-old Girl Faces World's Top Go Player

Nine-year-old girl faces world's top go player

A nine-year-old girl who is set to become the youngest professional player of the board game go in Japan has played the world's top-ranked female player.

The Japan Go Association, or Nihon Ki-in, decided to induct Sumire Nakamura as a professional under a special quota for gifted young amateurs.

Nine-year-old To Become Youngest Go Professional

Nine-year-old to become youngest Go professional

A nine-year-old Japanese girl is set to become the youngest professional player of the Asian board game "Go."

The Japan Go Association, or Nihon Ki-in, officially decided at a board meeting on Saturday to induct Sumire Nakamura from the city of Osaka as a professional under a special quota for gifted young amateurs.

Inagaki Goro Reminisces About An Old Love In Pv For 'suzunari'

Inagaki Goro reminisces about an old love in PV for 'SUZUNARI'

The PV for Inagaki Goro's new song "SUZUNARI" has been uploaded onto YouTube. 

"SUZUNARI" is the theme song to Amazon Prime Video drama 'Tokyo BTH ~TOKYO BLOOD TYPE HOUSE~' starring Inagaki himself. Written and composed by Kawatani Enon (Gesu no Kiwami Otome., indigo la End), it was released digitally on Amazon Music, iTunes Store, and Recochoku on December 21. In the PV, Inagaki reminisces about an old love.

Back Number Reveal Pv For 'old Fashion'

back number reveal PV for 'Old Fashion'

back number have revealed the PV for their new song "Old Fashion."

Currently used as the theme song for TBS drama 'Dairenai,' "Old Fashion" will be released as the group's new single on November 21. The PV stars actor Yamato Kota as the first male to play the lead role in a back number PV.