July 22

Hilarious Haiku About The Small Embarrassments Of Modern Life

So, last week I discovered Yamada Zendo, an artist who pens haiku-like truisms paired with pitch-perfect drawings, and they are SO FUNNY…if you can read handwritten Japanese, that is. Fortunately, I have a friend who helped me with the more opaque characters (and because no good deed goes unpunished, will be pestered to do so […]

July 09

Why Are Tattoos Still Taboo In Japan? (Spoiler: It’s not because they think you’re a gangster)

So, everyone knows you can get kicked out of hot springs, public swimming pools, and water parks in Japan if you’ve got visible ink, even if it’s a teeny, tiny, adorable Hello Kitty. But why? The usual excuse is that nobody wants their nice business infested with yakuza gangsters, which is the only Japanese group […]

July 06

The Bowling Salon

I have to admit I was just the teensiest bit disappointed that the bowling salon actually only offers, well, bowling. I was all ready to sign up for “Mani-Pedi & Bowl” or even “Cut, Color & Bowl”… • Jonelle Patrick writes mysteries set in Tokyo. Her fourth book – Painted Doll – is just out in paperback 

July 01

When You REALLY Hate Your Neighbors

Making my way back to Kamakura Station after tossing a  few plates at the Dish-Breaking Shrine, I was walking through a totally normal-looking neighborhood when I chanced upon this. A hedge. But not just any old hedge – isn’t this the freakin’ unfriendliest alt picket fence you’ve ever seen? I mean, it’s all thorns, all the […]

June 22

The Host Club Vending Machine

When I first saw this gachapon machine filled with little plastic champagne towers, I thought WAT? Who needs a set of miniature, light-up, host club furniture? I mean, even though it’s pretty happenin’ how they change color and all… …I wasn’t instantly throwing all my money at the coin changer. Until… • Jonelle Patrick writes mysteries […]

June 11

Cream Puffs You Can…Drink

Hanging out waiting for a train this spring, my intrepid fellow adventurer and I spotted THIS in a vending machine! Of all the unlikely tastes to come in a can, this has got to be one of the WTFiest. I mean, do any of you actually find yourselves craving the innards of a cream puff […]

June 09

Secret Flower Seasons of Japan

So, everybody knows about the cherry blossoms, and I bet you flower mavens even know about the glories of the plums, wisteria, azaleas and iris. But recently a bunch of parks & gardens have figured out that the best way to attract crowds of wallet-carrying camera-toters in the off-season is to plant lots and lots […]