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
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
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?
Japanese trains are legendary for the number of people packed into each car during commute hours, so you can imagine how quickly things get out of hand when there’s even … Continue Reading Zombie Sardines
While many dog owners here do cook meals for their pooches – dogs here enjoy lives that would be envied by many children – this nabe pot just looks like a … Continue Reading Doggy Dinner
It’s the season when warm drinks reappear in vending machines all over Japan, offering morning jolts of coffee, black tea, cocoa, green tea and…red bean soup? Yes, it’s time for … Continue Reading Coffee, Tea, or a Shot of Hot Red Beans?
In the battle for the hearts and minds of Japanese midnight noshers, Pizza Hut fights back with the Gorgeous Four, the Melting Camembert and the Super Korean Purokoki! This flyer … Continue Reading No Seaweed, Extra Chili Peppers
I saw this poster in the window of a esthé salon in Shin Okubo, advertising a facial treatment that supposedly delivers that holy grail of Japanese pulchritude, the “small face.” … Continue Reading Head Shrinking, Japanese Style
Yep, it’s a bonsai chrysanthemum. I saw this prize specimen at the Yasukuni Shrine last weekend. It’s the wickedly competitive chrysanthemum exhibiting season in Japan right now, and shrines all … Continue Reading Next I Want To See The Bonsai Tulip
I’ve seen Hello Kitty’s face on everything from officially licensed Tokyo buses to obviously unlicensed machine guns, but this is the first time I’ve seen Kitty-chan rendered in…rice. This bento … Continue Reading The Edible Hello Kitty