Back in July, the Japanese government had a great idea: replace those banned virus-ridden foreign tourists with nice Japanese ones. Japan was feeling pretty smug at the time—compared to other … Continue Reading Japan demonstrates what happens when you go home for the holidays during a pandemic
Subway manners posters have admonished commuters not to whack fellow commuters onto the tracks with their rockabilly hair, avoid grabbing the station employees by their neckties, and stop dying from … Continue Reading Subway manners meet covid—with a side of prejudice—in these new posters
When your parents agonized over the perfect name for you, I hope they avoided all the usual pitfalls—initials that accidentally spell swear words, traumatizing nicknames, monikers that belong to disgraced … Continue Reading How lucky is YOUR name?
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 … Continue Reading Six Surprising Reasons Japanese People Wear Masks, Even When There’s No Pandemic
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 … Continue Reading An Only-In-Japan Problem If There Ever Was One
Tokyo lifted its state of emergency early, after new daily cases dropped into the low double digits for several days running. Despite the fact that there was no lockdown, and … Continue Reading 43 Reasons Japan Beat COVID-19 Without Lockdowns Or Mass Testing
I love chocolate. And I love mushrooms. But not together. Which is why, even if these displays hadn’t reared their blatantly commercial heads on the freakin’ day after Halloween, it … Continue Reading Stars Wars X Christmas Mash-up NOOOOOO
From the land that junk food shame forgot, this. A yakisoba sandwich is basically the Japanese equivalent of cold pizza for breakfast, on a bun. This is what frugal Japanese … Continue Reading One Fried Noodle Sandwich, Please
There I was, drinking in the serene green at the Kiyosumi Garden… …when I nearly stepped on this. It’s (weirdly) classified as “invasive” (because China) and “threatened.” Which shouldn’t surprised … Continue Reading I Saw Another New Wild Animal In Tokyo!
The must be the tool you’d need when pulling into the glamping spot in your pristine 4-wheel drive, to, I dunno…shovel a few more steaks onto the barbie? Return your … Continue Reading The Tool For All Your Chrome-plated Outdoor Needs
I was in Kamakura today, happily waiting for the arrival of my sesame soba and a mountain of crispy burdock root… …when they delivered my beer along with the usual unwanted … Continue Reading Nemesis, Thy Name Is Squid Guts
Okay, I know you think I’m a whiner because I went off on this guy wearing an orange jacket, sitting right in the middle of a shot I wanted to … Continue Reading The Scourge Of The Orange Jacket
This yogurt-banana mash-up surfs in on the enduring popularity of the local favorite soft drink, Calpis, which inexplicably established sweetened sour milk as a delightful flavor in Japan. Peach Coke … Continue Reading Soft Drink Flavors I Do Not Want To Try
On Tuesday I arrived at a fabulous onsen in Tateshima, expecting to simmer in their hot spring, gaze at splendid autumn leaves in luxurious quietude, and stuff myself with regional … Continue Reading Remote Control Hell At The Traditional Inn
Somehow, charcoal-flavored cocoa is a vice I’ve managed to avoid acquiring until now, and I feel it’s in my best interests to keep it that way…. • When not avoiding … Continue Reading November Can’t Come Too Soon
Nobody’s going to deny that rock gardens are one of the great art forms of Japan. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy an exquisitely designed miniature landscape of meticulously raked gravel… … Continue Reading Failed Rock Gardens Of Japan
You know how it goes when a VIP comes to town: streets unexpectedly blocked, swarms of shifty-eyed men in dark suits with little curly wires in their ears, cavalcades of … Continue Reading Japanese Invent A New Way For VIP Visits To Annoy The Populace
The god of rice’s building at the Ise Shrine sits next to a vacant lot. Or, actually, a construction site. Because every twenty years, a replica of the rice god’s … Continue Reading At The Ise Shrine, Everything New Is Old
Check this out. I totally have the cleanest trash in all the land. If I lived in America, (this would be some weird parallel universe America that has the same … Continue Reading My Beautiful Handwashed Trash
Wow, people were totally troll-size back in the days before homogenized vitamin D milk! Check out the tiny gate in this old wall! No, wait. Then why is there an … Continue Reading What’s With The Tiny Door?
It’s possible, but it it’s not quite as simple as walking up to the doorman and asking to come in. Why? Isn’t my money as good as the next girl’s? … Continue Reading Can Foreigners Get Into A Host Club?
So, you know how in Japan, women don’t get any chocolate or roses or 600 carat diamond necklaces on Valentines Day? On the contrary, they’re supposed to fork over chocolate … Continue Reading Why Do Only Men Get Chocolate On Valentine’s Day?
Don’t even think of tossing your Daruma figures, dolls or stuffed animals in the Divine Trash Bin! The very existence of this sign on the collection point outside the Meiji … Continue Reading Garbage Police Of The Gods
The King Of Tattoo ink-o-rama is going on all weekend here in Tokyo, and this year the artists and crowd were even more spectacular than last year’s extravaganza! Nearly all the … Continue Reading King Of Tattoo Returns!
I spotted the Headless Horseman’s Younger Sister out at the curb last Friday on Recyclable Trash Day among the ho-hum bags of beer cans, plastic water bottles and onesie-twosie hard liquor … Continue Reading Is It Headless Character Trash Day Yet?
I get to Shibuya Station a little early to meet a friend, and suddenly I’m so hungry I think I’m going to die. Whipping inside the handy Tokyu store, I … Continue Reading The Scene Of The Crime
From this display at a trendy shop near Nakano Broadway, you’d think there was an epidemic of tennis elbow going around the yanqi-ish young men prone to wearing leopard fur … Continue Reading Tattoo Disguise
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
Cherry blossoms are definitely the favorite child. Back in March, as The Season approached, the newspapers all breathlessly reported the movement of the pink tide from south to north, weather … Continue Reading So How Come Azaleas Are Chopped Liver?
For some mysterious reason, milk cartons and styrofoam food trays are the equivalent of a wandering barge heaped with radioactive byproducts when it comes to curbside collection, and must be … Continue Reading First, Poke A Hole With A Toothpick…
If you’re going to be out and about in Tokyo, be sure you have the necessary equipment for visiting public bathrooms. A washcloth is a necessity for drying your hands, … Continue Reading Always Carry Your Washcloth, Your Pink Chat Ad Tissues, and a Yardstick
Remember how I was stressing about not putting out the five different arcane types of garbage correctly? Well, this is what happens if you screw up! Your trash is shamefully … Continue Reading The Garbage Police Strike Again!
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 … Continue Reading King Of Tattoo
Foreigners are legendary at garbage fail in Japan, but anxiety about Doing Trash Right runs deep here, even among native-born Nihon-jin. In a Japanese soap opera I watched recently, one … Continue Reading Failing at Putting Out The Trash