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 … Continue Reading Congratulations! Your Test Has Been Preponed!
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 … Continue Reading Steaming Hot Orange Soda
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 … Continue Reading Boy Band, K-Style
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 … Continue Reading The Fine Art of the Drinking Party
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, … Continue Reading Microwave American Dog
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 … Continue Reading Magic Mask
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 … Continue Reading Yakitori in a Can
This is me today. The cold that’s going around Tokyo finally caught up with me, and I had to put on this mask before dragging myself to the local café … Continue Reading Behind the Veil
I love Japanese TV. Sandwiched between a news story about protesters being pepper sprayed by police in a dangerous foreign country (America) and a piece on noodles topped with grilled … Continue Reading Nail Queen
Those cute little skirts on the handlebars of this lady’s bike aren’t the equivalent of doilies on armchairs – they’re to keep the sun off the rider’s hands while she … Continue Reading The Battle Against Unsightly Tans
I’ve seen AED stations all over Japan (and of course applaud the effort to get emergency equipment into the hands of bystanders so they can help someone having a heart … Continue Reading Your One-Stop Shop for Cold Drinks and Heart Defibrillation
While we ‘re on the subject of Christmas in November, every year these sinister nodding dwarves appear outside the Meidi-ya supermarket in Hiroo. They’re definitely of the Snow-White-and-the-Seven variety rather … Continue Reading Elf/Dwarf Confusion
The day after Halloween, I knew it was a bad sign when I heard music in my local supermarket that sounded suspiciously like “The First Noel,” but when I spotted The … Continue Reading Colonel Santa
Today was the official day of Shichi-Go-San, but for weeks families have been dressing their 7-year-old girls, 5-year-old boys, and 3-year-old girls in traditional finery and taking them to shrines … Continue Reading Mini Kimonos
Shinagawa is one of the busiest train stations in Tokyo, but right in the middle of it is this odd little alcove. At first I thought it was some sort … Continue Reading Commuter Oasis
This is the handout I got today at my Japanese school. Once a week we’re subjected to Business Japanese. Recently we had to write an essay on “What Is Your … Continue Reading What’s Wrong With This Picture?