Category Archives: Why, Japan, Why?

September 24

Is It Headless Character Trash Day Yet?

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 empties. The Garbage Powers That Be evidently decided that this cranium-challenged miss was made of suspiciously unrecyclable plastic, because she was still standing there when […]

June 29

The Scene Of The Crime

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 buy a miniature bag of chocolate cookies to wolf down before my friend arrives. Nom, nom, whew, ravenous feeling assuaged. Oh no, unanticipated pitfall! Now […]

June 04

Tattoo Disguise

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 accessories and clothing emblazoned with Our Lady of Rude Kustoms. In fact, this particular demographic tends to have something to hide, especially in summertime. Tattoos. During […]

May 14

Life In Japan Explained By Oreos

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 wrestlers to pizza. In the case of Oreos, the ratio of creme to cookie has been carefully adjusted so they’re barely sweet, and because the […]

May 11

So How Come Azaleas Are Chopped Liver?

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 forecasts were read as anxiously as tea leaves in order to plan trips to cherry infested locations at the exact moment of full bloom, and […]

April 19

First, Poke A Hole With A Toothpick…

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 carted back to the supermarket for recycling. But don’t think you can just toss them in the bin! Oh no. Milk cartons  must be torn […]

April 04

Always Carry Your Washcloth, Your Pink Chat Ad Tissues, and a Yardstick

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, since paper towels are few and far between. You also need a pack of the tissues that are pressed into your hand outside nearly every […]