J-swag giveaway, the insanity of a Japanese bus tour & nutty noodles

Hi, it’s me, Jonelle.Now that I’m back in post-pandemic Japan, please sign up for the (free) Japanagram e-magazine if you’d like to get each month’s Japanese Home Cooking recipe, Beyond Tokyo travel destination, Why, Japan, Why dive into cultural oddities, Seasonal Secret, and Japan Swag Giveaway. Click on the button below to become one ofContinue reading “J-swag giveaway, the insanity of a Japanese bus tour & nutty noodles”

Tweets from the Pillow Book: Pandemic Version

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: @seishonagon The flowers in full bloom at a closed park #thingsthataredistantthoughnear • @seishonagon You finally make it to the front of the line for the supermarket, but realizeContinue reading “Tweets from the Pillow Book: Pandemic Version”

J-style Social Distancing Measurements for the Rest of Us

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 are not exactly an everyday sight. I heard that Florida was suggesting a more familiar local measurement: Lol. But how big is an alligator, really?Continue reading “J-style Social Distancing Measurements for the Rest of Us”

Kanji Drill Toilet Paper: For All Your Japanese Study Needs

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 have an excuse to slack off – anyone who stops relentlessly memorizing those complicated kanji characters every week won’t be able to read the dailyContinue reading “Kanji Drill Toilet Paper: For All Your Japanese Study Needs”

These lovely Tokyo sites light up at night

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 stagecraft have worked their magic all over town, and all kinds of interesting stuff lights up after dark, in dramatic and technologically inventive ways. AndContinue reading “These lovely Tokyo sites light up at night”

How Did I Survive Before There Were Standing Cat Toys?

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 next in Tokyo, but there will be plenty more to take its place! If you’d like to discover the latest, greatest, gachagacha, a guide to the best gachaponContinue reading “How Did I Survive Before There Were Standing Cat Toys?”

In Which We Report On Being Hammered By Typhoon Hagibis In Tokyo

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 cooking or refrigeration. Meanwhile, at National Azabu (the “foreign foods” supermarket): Business as usual (except with rather more wine bottles in the baskets ahead ofContinue reading “In Which We Report On Being Hammered By Typhoon Hagibis In Tokyo”

Modern Day Tweets From The Pillow Book

If Sei Shonagōn were alive and well and living 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 standing around texting on his phone, smack in the middle of a famous cherryContinue reading “Modern Day Tweets From The Pillow Book”

Gonna Wash That Woman Right Out Of My Hair…

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 JAPANESE…?! This latest theatre poster promises a show more boggling than the all-Japanese production of Amadeus, the all-Japanese version of Fiddler On The Roof, and all-female stage renditionContinue reading “Gonna Wash That Woman Right Out Of My Hair…”

Monkey Business

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 been entertaining people for a long time in Japan – the tradition dates back to before the samurai era – but usually you have toContinue reading “Monkey Business”

I Thought I’d Seen Tricked-Out Cars, But…!

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 was this CAR! And because traffic getting through Shibuya was wicked slow even at midnight, Lady Luck smiled upon me and gave me a halfContinue reading “I Thought I’d Seen Tricked-Out Cars, But…!”

Dinosaur Head, Half Price!

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 a tyrannosaur hanging over their fireplace? This shop on Kappabashi street in Tokyo’s restaurant supply district specializes in custom-made props. In addition to Rex theContinue reading “Dinosaur Head, Half Price!”

Lights! Camera! Wedding!

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 a shrine with only immediate family in attendance, then threw a reception party afterwards at a restaurant or nice hotel. But recently, wedding halls andContinue reading “Lights! Camera! Wedding!”

No Monks Allowed

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 traveling monks have been taking up stations nearby the famous healing temple, holding out their begging bowls and dispensing faux blessings with abandon. The templeContinue reading “No Monks Allowed”

“Bring Out Yer Dead!”

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 behind after last week’s rainstorm. Why so many? you may ask. Notice that almost all of them are the telltale clear ¥500 variety bought byContinue reading ““Bring Out Yer Dead!””

No Wonder Everybody Hates English

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 masochists sign up to have their English corrected on prime time TV? Here three hapless contestants must step up in front of the worthy professorsContinue reading “No Wonder Everybody Hates English”