Japanese holiday cookies, a tunnel of golden gingko trees & so many foxes

November-December 2021 Japanagram e-magazine features Hello, friend! It’s me, Jonelle. Here are the features that Japanagram subscribers enjoyed in November & December… Click on photo or link to read • JAPANESE HOME COOKING Kinako Shortbread Cookies with Salted Brown Sugar Buttercream Every holiday season I like to sneak one new cookie onto the plate ofContinue reading “Japanese holiday cookies, a tunnel of golden gingko trees & so many foxes”

Sake tasting how-to, the angry cat ghost parade & a voyage to Sado Island

September-October 2021 Japanagram e-magazine features Hello, friend! It’s me, Jonelle. Here are the features that Japanagram subscribers enjoyed in September & October… Click on photo or link to read • JAPANESE HOME COOKING How to host a great sake tasting Sake isn’t just for Japanese food anymore—restaurants all over the world are discovering it’s theContinue reading “Sake tasting how-to, the angry cat ghost parade & a voyage to Sado Island”

How to read a haiku, goldfish galore & a garden of thatch-roofed farmhouses

July-August 2021 Japanagram e-magazine features Hello, friend! It’s me, Jonelle. Here are the features that Japanagram subscribers enjoyed in July & August… Click on photo or link to read • BEYOND TOKYO: Let’s meander through a park with twenty-three thatch-roofed farmhouses The Nihon Minka-en Folk House Garden is a jewel of a walk, featuring housesContinue reading “How to read a haiku, goldfish galore & a garden of thatch-roofed farmhouses”

Japanese wedding weirdness, how to live forever, and killer ginger-soy steak sauce

May-June 2021 Japanagram e-magazine features Hello, friend! It’s me, Jonelle. Here are the features that Japanagram subscribers enjoyed in May & June… Click on photo or link to read • BEYOND TOKYO: Come for the purple, stay for the lights The Ashikaga Flower Park not only boasts insanely huge wisteria, it bursts with equally wonderfulContinue reading “Japanese wedding weirdness, how to live forever, and killer ginger-soy steak sauce”

Treasure rice, cherry blossoms at a northern castle, and Japanese ceremonies we didn’t know we needed

March-April 2021 Japanagram e-magazine features Hello, friend! It’s me, Jonelle. Here are the features that Japanagram subscribers enjoyed in March & April… Click on photo or link to read • BEYOND TOKYO: Cherry blossoms to die for, long after the rest are history Hirosaki delivers cherry blossoms season like you always imagined it would be,Continue reading “Treasure rice, cherry blossoms at a northern castle, and Japanese ceremonies we didn’t know we needed”

40,000 dolls dressed in Imperial court robes, Japanese chicken soup, & strange barbers of the pleasure quarter

FEBRUARY 2021 Japanagram e-magazine features Hello, friend! It’s me, Jonelle. Here are the features that Japanagram subscribers enjoyed in February… Click on photo or link to read • BEYOND TOKYO: 40,000 dolls dressed in Imperial court robes? Yes, please! Every year, the town of Katsuura puts on a Girls’ Day Doll Festival to end allContinue reading “40,000 dolls dressed in Imperial court robes, Japanese chicken soup, & strange barbers of the pleasure quarter”

The Japanese art of gift giving, millions of twinkling fairy lights, and hilarious Xmas weirdness

DECEMBER 2020 Japanagram e-magazine features Hello, friend! It’s me, Jonelle. I hope that the new year is bringing you all kinds of good changes and extra heapings of hope for you and yours! Here are the features that Japanagram subscribers enjoyed in December, and a preview of what they’re reading right now… SEASONAL SECRET TheContinue reading “The Japanese art of gift giving, millions of twinkling fairy lights, and hilarious Xmas weirdness”

A town full of tricksters, strange Japanese beauty goals, and humble fall flowers that become spectacular in numbers

As we slide into fall, how are you doing? I hope you’re not in the path of any of the disasters that have been coming at us from all directions. You may be feeling that NOTHING could surprise you at this point, but maybe you’ll crack a smile as we visit a town full ofContinue reading “A town full of tricksters, strange Japanese beauty goals, and humble fall flowers that become spectacular in numbers”

Surrounded by a waterfall, what to serve for Japanese dessert, and how to get the all-new, not-for-sale Yumi & Kenji short for free

Are you still hanging in there, as we continue our wild ride through the Wonka tunnel and (hopefully soon!) pop out the other side? In a quest to make it all a little more bearable, the August Japanagram dished up a chance to win a signed paperback copy of the all-new, not-for-sale Only In TokyoContinue reading “Surrounded by a waterfall, what to serve for Japanese dessert, and how to get the all-new, not-for-sale Yumi & Kenji short for free”

Six Surprising Reasons Japanese People Wear Masks, Even When There’s No Pandemic

If you’ve been puzzling over why Japan is such a “mask-wearing society,” it’s not because they’re all super-OCD about germs. Here are six excellent Japanese reasons to wear a mask that have nothing to do with the dread COVID: 1 – You overslept Because if this is your typical morning routine… …you can cut yourContinue reading “Six Surprising Reasons Japanese People Wear Masks, Even When There’s No Pandemic”

An Only-In-Japan Problem If There Ever Was One

We’re coming into high matsuri season, when the local Shinto gods are paraded through the neighborhood to remind them of all the people and businesses they’re supposed to be keeping a lucky eye on, but these sake-filled summertime festivals that feature scantily-clad men rocking that shrine through the streets… come with their own peculiar anxiety…Continue reading “An Only-In-Japan Problem If There Ever Was One”

The Secret Facelift Belt

Not content to merely give people taller noses, smaller faces, and glued eyelids, now there’s a Japanese beauty appliance that irons out saggy face parts! Depending on which wrinkly bit most offends you, the elastic “facelift” belt comes in both “face” and “eye” packages… …although it looks like it’s the same product inside, just withContinue reading “The Secret Facelift Belt”

The Octopus Treatment…For Your Face

If you’re a little short on live octopus tentacles the next time you need a beauty treatment, Tokyu Hands will happily sell you this pink plastic Vacu & Lift Roller. I’m not sure what lasting beautification this device is supposed to deliver, but if I ever see someone walking down the streets of Shibuya looking like they just face-wrestled aContinue reading “The Octopus Treatment…For Your Face”

Hardcore Workout Equipment…For Your Face

Getting yourself a righteously small face has always been prized in Japan, but having a face that just oozes buffness is apparently the new Holy Grail Of Pulchritude. Behold the dizzying array of exercise devices for your head, all designed to shape and tone your visage into a model of curvaceous (and unwrinkled) youth. Saw these at Don Kihote store inContinue reading “Hardcore Workout Equipment…For Your Face”

Moustaches I Would Regret

Or should I say scumstaches? What these wispy ghosts of fake beards/moustaches lack in identity concealment, they more than make up for in believability. Japanese men are not generally candidates for Unibrow Intervention or Bushiest Beard contest winning, so even a goatee-ette of this magnitude might take weeks of careful cultivating. Much faster to get your manhood on withContinue reading “Moustaches I Would Regret”

Scary Eyes Made Easy

If you don’t think it’s quite out there enough to have eyes that make you look like a living doll, say hello to this line of definitely unnatural contacts! How about a nice alien look, with Solid White? Or perhaps a touch of psychopath, with Spiral or Manson Red? I saw these for sale atContinue reading “Scary Eyes Made Easy”

For Charcoal-Fresh Breath…

…get thee to the closest Tokyu Hands and get your paws on some Natamame toothpaste! It claims to smite your bad breath in four different flavors: Rose, Aloe (does aloe have a flavor?), Persimmon and Bamboo Charcoal. Yes, the black kind. Even stranger, guess what this toothpaste is made from? Sword beans! Believe it orContinue reading “For Charcoal-Fresh Breath…”

Nose Training

I don’t know which is weirder, the idea that you’d want your nose to be bigger, or that you think you can “train” it into pulchritude by using one of these pink plastic torture devices! Longing for a tall nose is nearly as common as the fervent wish for a small face among Japanese women,Continue reading “Nose Training”

The Newest Ways To Get A Small Face

Who knew that aluminum could be the key to that holy grail of pulchritude, the small face? Apparently, it has become the flavor of the month when it comes to head shrinking in Japan. Strap on one of these “aluminum head spa” products to minimize your watermelon of a noggin whilst you shower! And in caseContinue reading “The Newest Ways To Get A Small Face”

Japanese Date Prep Bible…For Men

In Japan, guys can’t just strap on their pelt of chest hair and drag a woman back to their cave. From the pages of Men’s Knuckle magazine: how to get ready for a date in eleven painstaking steps, as recommended by their hostly expert! 1: Take a shower (okay, DUH.) 2: Shave your legs. Yeah,Continue reading “Japanese Date Prep Bible…For Men”

Doll Eyes

I’ve always wondered, how do ordinary 100% Japanese women get that round-eyed babydoll look? Fortunately, Ageha magazine hired a pro makeup artist to spill all the secrets! Here’s where she started: Okay, here’s the step by step transformation! 1: The key point is to glue on the fake bottom lashes BELOW your actual eyelid! SeeContinue reading “Doll Eyes”

Instaboobs

No matter how unlucky you were when they were handing out the bodacious ta-tas, in less than five minutes – without any miracle creams, thighmasters-for-the-boobs, or push-up bras – you too can sport some righteous cleavage! All you need is the handy makeup instructions in Gal Mori magazine and a few carefully chosen shades ofContinue reading “Instaboobs”

Bride Of Scissorhands

What’s a girl to do when her fiancé has nails that will certainly siphon off all kinds of attention that should rightly belong to the bride on her big day? Extreme nail design to the rescue! With rocks so big, they’ll require extra biceps work just to hold the bouquet, Bridezilla won’t have to fightContinue reading “Bride Of Scissorhands”

Today’s Beauty Quiz: Are You Young Enough To Have Gray Hair?

These days in Tokyo, the only people with black hair are those whose hair is actually gray, and the only people with gray hair are those whose hair is naturally black. To determine which group you should be in, take this handy quiz. Agree, or disagree? 1: “Sunscreen, who needs it? I mean, who caresContinue reading “Today’s Beauty Quiz: Are You Young Enough To Have Gray Hair?”

What’s Long & Skinny And Not What You Think It Is?

Hey, I was visiting the Togenuki Jizo and I got you a present. Wow, thanks. What is it? Guess. Oh no. On second thought, I don’t want it. It’s something weird, I just know it. It’s not weird! I swear, after you try it, you won’t be able to live without it. What’s this writingContinue reading “What’s Long & Skinny And Not What You Think It Is?”

Hmm, Today I Think I’ll Do A Little Body Piercing…

That’s right, these little beauties are SELF-PIERCERS! How many ways can I say OW?! And even though the “birthstone” earring included suggests they are for 13-year-old girls, the store that sold them in the Magnet by 109 building specialized in jewelry that wasn’t exactly made for earlobes. For those who would, um, prefer not toContinue reading “Hmm, Today I Think I’ll Do A Little Body Piercing…”

How To Get Yourself A Tall Nose

Making your nose look bigger is not at the top of most Westerners’ must-have beauty techniques, but stylish Japanese blades are apparently keen on giving their schnozzes a lift! From the ever-entertaining pages of Men’s Spider magazine (the slightly more host-centric version of Men’s Knuckle!), behold the step by step instructions for nose enhancing makeupContinue reading “How To Get Yourself A Tall Nose”

I’ve Always Wanted Red Eyes!

Nothing will provoke lively dinner conversation more than returning to the familial nest for the New Year’s holidays with…red eyes! Or if goat/alien is more your style: yellow! Of course, if either parent is prone to heart attacks, you might want to choose something slightly less alien, like blue or green. As an added bonus,Venus EyesContinue reading “I’ve Always Wanted Red Eyes!”

Beauty Help For Men

Unibrow isn’t a big problem here in Japan, but what’s an “herbivore man” to do when the furry bits above his eyes aren’t up to the esthé standard of his glowing skin and artfully styled hair? Eyebrow Template for Men to the rescue! Try on Straight, Natural or Cool styles, comb the unrulies up withContinue reading “Beauty Help For Men”

Veggie Boys vs. Carnivore Men

I guess it was inevitable: the species of Japanese males who have come to be known as “grass-eating men” (sōshoku danshi) now have their own beauty brand: VegeBoy! Guys who obsess about every little facial imperfection can now chase pulchritude without furtively buying any pastel packaged products! The VegeBoy line includes everything from facial masksContinue reading “Veggie Boys vs. Carnivore Men”

Tools For The Fingernail Challenged

Congratulating yourself that your spanking new nail art will definitely make it impossible for you to be selected to wash dishes or chop vegetables, you whip out your smartphone to send your ten best friends new shots of your to-die-for talons, the bowl of abura soba you just ordered for lunch, and a snap ofContinue reading “Tools For The Fingernail Challenged”

Nightmare Or Skin Treatment? You Decide!

Wow, which one do I dread trying the most? It’s so hard to choose! As much as having my face covered in the kind of pond scum I remember eww-ing over in 10th grade Biology, lying there with snail slime perilously close to my nose and mouth might be worse. Both, however, are certainly trumpedContinue reading “Nightmare Or Skin Treatment? You Decide!”

Men: Kiss That Body Fur Goodbye

Our hapless hero starts his day by shaving his manly beard. “Ah, another day of work. Today I’m really going to kick some butt!” He gets to the office and looks around. Suddenly, he realizes One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others. “Why am I the only guy in this office who hasContinue reading “Men: Kiss That Body Fur Goodbye”

The Edward Scissorhands School of Nail Art

You know you want these! You’ll merely have to hold up one hand to get out of dishwashing and other odious chores. In a boggling bow to sheer impracticality, the contestants in a recent Japanese nail/hair/makeup contest really took fingernails to a new level. Not only are they of ancient Chinese mandarin-like proportions, they must weighContinue reading “The Edward Scissorhands School of Nail Art”

Makeup for Men: Hell Yeah!

Okay, before you step into that steaming pile of sexist doo-doo, why not? Why shouldn’t men be able to cover up that unfortunate red thing between their eyes, or disguise the reminders of their teenage acne battle, just like women do? Sure, we’d all like to be so naturally gorgeous that we don’t need anyContinue reading “Makeup for Men: Hell Yeah!”

Thumbnail Art for Men

Nail art: not just for girls anymore! Apparently, this competition was mostly about who could turn their male models’ hands into paragons of nail buffitude, but then there are the…thumbs. The cartoon art would barely rate an eyebrow twitch, but what would your co-workers think if you turned up sporting that little gold dragon at theContinue reading “Thumbnail Art for Men”

Time For a Nice Bowl of Intestine Soup

Forget the Clearasil and dumpster the Oil of Olay. My friend Hiro tells me that all I have to do to have beautiful skin is eat lots of motsunabe. Apparently, Japanese women have eaten pig intestines for ages, chasing the perfect creamy complexion. On a cold winter night, the bubbling pot of motsunabe turned out toContinue reading “Time For a Nice Bowl of Intestine Soup”

How to Glue Your Eyelids

I’ve always wondered how to use eyelid glue. I knew it was a prime  tool in the make-up kits of Japanese gyaru seeking that perfect babydoll look, but never understood just how it worked. Then I discovered this handy guide in Kera magazine! Basically, “Western” eyelids have a deep fold above them and Japanese eyes don’t.Continue reading “How to Glue Your Eyelids”

Look Like a Host In One Easy Makeover!

My all-time favorite magazine Men’s Knuckle sent an intrepid team of stylists to Kabuki-chō to perform makeovers on young men they thought could use some help achieving that irresistible host club look. Look & learn at the feet of the masters! Let’s face it – this guy looked hopelessly normal before the stylists pointed himContinue reading “Look Like a Host In One Easy Makeover!”

Gray is the New Blonde

Even weirder than the trend of wearing black rimmed glasses without any lenses is the phenomenon of young Japanese dyeing their hair gray. I’ve seen most of these in Shibuya, so it might be confined to outliers who’ve already cycled through red, blonde, pink, blue, and purple. Maybe gray is the only color that’s safeContinue reading “Gray is the New Blonde”

Nail Queen

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 intestines (horumon udon) was a story on the 2011 Tokyo Nail Expo’s Nail Queen. Nails are big here, and anything goes. It’s not unusual forContinue reading “Nail Queen”

The Battle Against Unsightly Tans

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 bombs down the sidewalks of Tokyo. Even as fall slides into winter here, and long sleeves replace short ones, women are ever-vigilant against becoming <shudder>Continue reading “The Battle Against Unsightly Tans”

King Of Tattoo

People from all over the world flew in to be worked on by the international artists at the King of Tattoo three-day inkfest in Daikanyama yesterday. I don’t have any tattoos myself, but I’ve always been interested in art that has to adapt to its environment (like, say, being applied to an arm rather thanContinue reading “King Of Tattoo”