Category Archives: Why, Japan, Why?

July 10

Nemesis, Thy Name Is Squid Guts

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  (yet always-delivered) “beer snack.” Just my luck, it was my most un-favorite appetizer. Squid guts. All right. Ugh. Don’t be That Foreigner. Get it over with. […]

April 01

The Scourge Of The Orange Jacket

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 take during cherry blossom season at Shinjuku Gyōen. I mean, one guy, minding his own business – so what if his head’s inside his phone […]

March 05

Soft Drink Flavors I Do Not Want To Try

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 is just a blatant season grab. Here, eating “seasonal” fruits and vegetables delivers wave after wave of short-term binge buying on the part of consumers, […]

November 07

Remote Control Hell At The Traditional Inn

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 specialties, but when I got to my room I found…this.   I mean, what the heckin’ heck? Five remotes to control a tatami-floored room at […]

October 19

November Can’t Come Too Soon

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 parallel universes where chocolate and charcoal are a desirable combination, Jonelle Patrick writes  novels set in Tokyo…

September 22

Failed Rock Gardens Of Japan

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… …swirling around a few mindfully placed boulders? Plus, compared to even your most basic Japanese garden, they’re really low-maintenance. I mean, once you plant a […]

April 24

Japanese Invent A New Way For VIP Visits To Annoy The Populace

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 unnecessarily long dark cars swanning through the streets? Annoying, right? Well, in Japan, everybody takes the subway, so you’d think these irritating VIP visits would be […]