If Sei Shonagon (author of that famous tenth-century snark-bible The Pillow Book) had been alive today and quarantined with the rest of us, I’m pretty sure she’d have tweeted these: … Continue Reading Tweets from the Pillow Book: Pandemic Version
Yesterday I posted about Japan’s highly amusing subway posters that tell people to stand one tuna away from fellow pandemic commuters… But in the rest of the world, giant tuna … Continue Reading J-style Social Distancing Measurements for the Rest of Us
Take care of two pressing needs at once with the ideal Japanese product for these troubled times: Professor Poop kanji-studying toilet paper! Schools are closed, but that doesn’t mean kids … Continue Reading Kanji Drill Toilet Paper: For All Your Quarantine & Japanese Study Needs
One of the most entertaining things you can do in Tokyo is wander around the city after the sun goes down, if you know where to look. The wizards of … Continue Reading Every year, in every season: These lovely Tokyo sites light up at night
A n d . . . we’re live! Japanagram is my new monthly newsletter, featuring different stuff than you’ll see here on Only In Japan or on The Tokyo Guide … Continue Reading Japanese Home Cooking, Weird Chocolate, Thousands Of Tiny Igloos & More!
The question isn’t really “Do I really need more gachapon capsule toys?” but “How did I ever communicate without them?” This series may be sold out by the time you’re … Continue Reading How Did I Survive Before There Were Standing Cat Toys?
• Hello, fellow lover of all things quirky and Japanese! Would you like a chance to win a copy of a new Japan-centric book every month? That’s one of the … Continue Reading Japanagram Book Review & Giveaway!
I should have guessed something was up when I spied this suspicious gathering in my office on Christmas Eve… And sure enough…DinoCon was in full swing by Christmas Day Hope … Continue Reading A Very Dinosaur Christmas
FRIDAY Pre-typhoon festivities: At Meidi-ya (the swanky “Japanese” supermarket): Lines fifteen deep with bulging baskets as every Japanese person in my neighborhood panic-buys foods that still qualify as gourmet without … Continue Reading In Which We Report On Being Hammered By Typhoon Hagibis In Tokyo
• @seishonagon A latecomer pushes in front of you at a festival and holds up his huge ipad to take pictures #hatefulthings @seishonagon Someone wearing a bright orange jacket is … Continue Reading Modern Day Tweets From The Pillow Book
Because procrastination is my middle name and I currently have a Boaty McBoatload of editing to do, it became clear to me that the best use of my time this morning would be … Continue Reading Famous Japanese Art Improved By Neko Atsume
…for your water bottle! (*_*) Yes, Japanese PET bottles have suddenly developed a taste for modesty after years of flaunting their unseemly summer nudity, and now there are gachagacha vending machines devoted to … Continue Reading Vending Machine Panties
#1 INSIDE JAPAN’S WILDEST HOST CLUBS Turn down the lights, hire a bunch of cute hosts, and keep the drinks coming, and it shouldn’t matter what your club looks like, right? Actually, no. … Continue Reading Top Ten Posts Of 2014
What’s wrong with this box of traditional new year’s food (besides the fact that two measly boxes of cold appetizers cost $525)? Well, if it came from any one of the … Continue Reading New Year’s Food Scandal!
“Active man has inside herself to be confident, fulfilled, happy and healthy. Active man power! The power to speak your mind, to stand up for yourself!” This sandalwood X bergamot … Continue Reading You Go, Gurl!
Aieee, I went to eat sushi last night and I have to admit, I was peering at the tuna anxiously for signs it might glow on the dark if they … Continue Reading Glow-in-the-Dark Sushi?
An all-Japanese, all-female, stage production of South Pacific? A play in which not only are most of the main characters undeniably male, they’re also employed in fighting against, uh, THE … Continue Reading Gonna Wash That Woman Right Out Of My Hair…
I always wonder…what kind of company has it’s headquarters in this Shinjuku skyscraper? If you’d like to visit Shinjuku the next time you’re in Tokyo, pix & info are on my website, … Continue Reading The Puzzle Building
I was walking around the Decks shopping complex in Odaiba, and suddenly, MONKEY SHOW. Seriously. Right in the middle of the mall. A monkey show. Of course, trained monkeys have … Continue Reading Monkey Business
What’s that suspicious foreign mannequin doing, slouching around behind the trashcans in this Kappabashi store? You can tell by his mustache he’s up to no good. And what about the … Continue Reading Lurking Foreign Mannequins
I’d whipped out my camera to capture some arty-farty reflections of the Shibuya neon on cabs stuck at a traffic light, and when I looked at the display YOWZERS there … Continue Reading I Thought I’d Seen Tricked-Out Cars, But…!
Surely I must know someone who would love to receive a life-sized dinosaur head! On sale for only ¥18,900, it’s so hard to pass up! I mean, who wouldn’t want … Continue Reading Dinosaur Head, Half Price!
Wandering around the Denpo-in garden the other day, I spied this rock. Why did it have twine tied around it like that? It’s a biter, so it needs a muzzle? … Continue Reading Rock Bondage
The fairy tale chapel in this subway ad has nothing to do with religion – it’s actually a new wedding hall outside of Yokohama! Traditionally, Japanese couples got married in … Continue Reading Lights! Camera! Wedding!
Yep, those are definitely fish corpses washed up on that island of dry cat food, but that doesn’t seem to be bothering Mr. Bigglesworth, in all his fluffy glory. Encountering … Continue Reading Kibble Of The Living Dead
Instead of greenery being planted around buildings, lately I’ve been noticing how much greenery is planted ON buildings! For the price of an apartment in Tokyo ($16,772.54 per square meter), … Continue Reading Vertical Gardens
In the land where comic book artists are king, it’s no surprise that the quality of the graffiti is super high. I’ve found spectacular street art everywhere in the world, … Continue Reading Tokyo Street Art
Today in Yoyogi Park I saw a big group of runners warming up near the place where I regularly fall off the slackline. That’s not unusual – packs of them … Continue Reading Running Blind
If you feed a thousand yen note into the maw of this vending machine, you don’t know if you’re going to get an awesome digital camera, a Swiss Army Knife, … Continue Reading The Lucky Vending Machine
Until now, becoming a fearsome superhero like the Hulk, Spiderman or Godzilla involved nasty and inconvenient exposure to radiation, but now apparently all you have to do is light up … Continue Reading Get Yer Demon On
Stop hitting people’s luggage when you’re trying to make your way down the subway platform! OK, not really. But if I didn’t read Japanese, I might think this new campaign … Continue Reading Attention, Rude People With White Canes!
The bathroom that used to be on this spot in Inokashira Park was inhabited by an obake. In addition to the obvious creepitude of the sensation that an invisible something was … Continue Reading Former Home Of The Haunted Toilet
Sure, Oreo Sticks are a western import, but they’ve been IMPROVED to suit Japanese tastes. This is what happens to pretty much everything that comes to Japan, from foreign-born sumo … Continue Reading Life In Japan Explained By Oreos
Book a quick appointment with the Hair God! I saw this out in Sugamo, which is not too far from an actual shrine dedicated to hair, in all its many … Continue Reading When You Look in the Mirror and Nothing Short of a Miracle Will Do…
Next door to my usual breakfast cafe is a restaurant called Chikara Meshi, which means Power Rice. This morning through the window, I noticed the manager demonstrating something to his diligently … Continue Reading Power Rice Training
I was somewhat surprised to see this sign prohibiting itinerant monks from asking for alms near Koganji temple, but apparently fraud is on the rise. Individuals posing as traditional Buddhist … Continue Reading No Monks Allowed
Like the carts that went around plague-stricken Europe in the dark ages, this truck was parked in front of Takadanobaba station today, carting away all the blown-out, abandoned umbrellas left … Continue Reading “Bring Out Yer Dead!”
In a rare non-plaid-skirt appearance, the babes of AKB48 star in Peter Pan, the ultimate non-Japanese-values play! Methinks Wendy has a distinctly Lolita-ish look about her, and Captain Hook rather … Continue Reading AKB48 In Never-Never Land!
Japanese game shows are famous for testing just how much abuse people will take in front of an audience, but this one truly raises the bar! I mean, what kind of … Continue Reading No Wonder Everybody Hates English
Was walking along the sidewalk today and suddenly there was this giant shrimp. It was outside one of the stores that sell the super-realistic plastic food models you see in … Continue Reading Giant Prowling Shrimp
My local coffee shop just started offering “Mille Fueille” and when I sat down to eat mine, I discovered they’d helpfully provided a little instruction sheet on how to tackle … Continue Reading Zaku Zaku Technique Explained
From the wear and tear on this piece of playground equipment, I’d say that lots of stag beetle grubs have been lassoed and branded by local 3-year-old cowboys. • Read … Continue Reading Giddyup, Kabutomushi
I know, I know, they put it in the window because the cicada is the quintessential symbol of Japanese summer, but even prettying it up with pinkness and flowers does not … Continue Reading Would You Like A Giant Bug With Your Coffee?
Yes, this month’s special flavor at the Excelsior Cafe chain is the Mugwort and Red Bean Bagel. You gotta problem wid dat? • Read a novel set in Tokyo…
And this cigarette is a “hybrid” because… It doesn’t give off air-polluting smoke, it actually repairs the ozone layer, cigarette by cigarette? Or maybe the more you smoke them, the better … Continue Reading My Other Cigarette is a Prius
Yeah, those are dedicated basketball carrying bags. And they’re not so twee as you think. In a country where hardly anyone travels by car, all kinds of equipment needs to … Continue Reading How to Carry a Basketball on the Subway
I couldn’t have made this up if I tried. • Jonelle Patrick is the author of four novels set in Tokyo… …or watch the book trailer (0:52)
Not many Lolitas gather at the Meiji shrine bridge anymore, but I saw a couple there today. One of the things I love about the whole Lolita subculture is that … Continue Reading Baby, The Stars Shine Bright
From August 16th on, I’ll try to find one new thing every day that I couldn’t see/hear/eat/experience outside of Japan. Between now and the 16th, I’m going to post a … Continue Reading Every Day, One New Thing