Monthly Archives: November 2011

November 30

Congratulations! Your Test Has Been Preponed!

We all groaned when the Japanese kanji teacher handed us this week’s schedule: on Friday, in addition to her weekly test on the 25 characters we were supposed to have learned, another teacher was hitting us with a three-chapter grammar review exam. Two tests to cram for on the same day! She saw our faces and said sympathetically, […]

November 29

Steaming Hot Orange Soda

For your wintertime beverage enjoyment, behold the Hot Orange. At first I figured the distributor was just getting rid of last summer’s overstock, but the packaging definitely says this vending machine offering is not only meant to be drunk steaming hot, it’ll deliver a dose of vitamin C to fend off those pesky winter colds. […]

November 28

Boy Band, K-Style

Walking through the gigantic Sunshine City shopping mall in Ikebukuro, I thought I heard the perfectly-engineered chorusing of a Japanese boy band performing. I was wrong. When I craned my neck over the swooning fangirls crushed against the balcony railing, it was clearly a Korean boy band whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Korean singers […]

November 27

The Fine Art of the Drinking Party

Friday night was my classmate Giulia’s sayonara party and this is the touchscreen at the table of the izakaya where we held the festivities. We ordered all our food and drink from this handy device, and when we were done, it delivered this bill. Check out the handy feature on the right, where you see the number […]

November 26

Microwave American Dog

Got a hankering for a corn dog, but walking further than the microwave seems like just too much trouble? Make your own with this handy “American Dog” kit from, yes, Tokyu Hands, purveyor of mysterious home improvement goods! Skewer up your weenie, mix up the batter, and pour it into the rocket-shaped mold. Minutes later […]

November 25

Magic Mask

These three pictures are of the same Noh mask. It’s carved from wood and has no moving parts, yet just by tipping his head, the actor can change his character’s expression. Ignorant foreigner that I am, I have to admit that Noh drama is really hard to watch. The language is ancient and arcane, the […]

November 24

Yakitori in a Can

If you can’t be bothered to boil water and make your own Cup Noodles, this vending machine’s for you. On offer are curry udon (thick white noodles smothered in curry gravy), all manner of ramen (thin crinkly noodles in pork soup flavored with soy sauce or miso), zōsui (rice gruel with vegetables), chicken yakitori (grilled […]