A new advertising spot from Pantene Philippines is taking on the big issue of gender parity in the workplace. Playing on how the same behaviors are labeled positively for men and negatively for women, it encourages women “not to let labels hold them back.” Presumably by buying the correct label when it comes to shampoo…
Jessica Kozuka is a freelance writer and editor living in the exciting, interesting and sometimes perplexing city of Tokyo. Her work has appeared in Wine Spectator, CNN Travel, and The Japan Times, as well as numerous other print and online media outlets. She writes a column on NPO/NGOs and volunteer work for Metropolis, the largest English-language magazine in Japan, and specializes in EFL educational materials and travel writing. Kozuka is rarely to be found without a book or two within arm’s reach, though there's no telling if they will be serious literature or frivolous guilty pleasures, and she runs a monthly book club for other bibliophiles in the Tokyo area. She's also an enthusiastic if mediocre cook and daily laments the smallness of Japanese kitchens.
All Stories by Jessica
The sleek metropolis of Tokyo welcomes most foreign visitors to Japan, but bustling, friendly Osaka is making a bid to be a major international gateway and attraction for foreign visitors in its own right. With that goal in mind, they’ve just announced a Japanese pop culture event to be held in March of next year called the Osaka Pop Festival, and they’re looking for a few good designers and the best cosplay get-up you can muster.
We all do it, and we’ve all been irritated by others doing it: walking while checking something on your phone. You know that it’s dangerous, but when you are in a hurry and need to check an urgent mail or see if anyone liked your witty status update yet, it’s hard not to just give the screen a quick gander on the go.
Japanese mobile provider Docomo has developed a service to remove that very temptation from your life, though. By setting your Android smartphone to “safety mode,” it will give you an error message if you try to use it while walking. That’s right, cruise control for pedestrians is finally here!
As you may know if you are a regular reader here, people in Japan are pretty serious about their baths. Not only have they developed an entire bathing culture, there is also a general belief that the contents of the bath can have strong physiological effects. This naturally includes the various different minerals that appear in hot springs, but also encompasses the bath salts, bubble bath, essential oils, fruits, vegetables, and whatever else goes in the bath at home.
Now that the colder weather is upon us northerners, we thought we’d share some of the body-warming, circulation-improving bath add-ins popular in Japan.
We’ve all seen people on public transportation do gross things. My personal pet peeve is when people sneeze into their hand and then go right back to holding the strap with that hand. Don’t they realize they are leaving a sticky, contagious surprise for the next person?
Still, that example falls into the range of ordinary grossness: enough to make you curl your lip in disgust, but probably not gross enough to really shock anyone. The bizarre and gross behavior one Chinese bus passenger recently caught on film goes far, FAR beyond that.
I’ve lived abroad three times in my life. Once was a homestay in France, once was a semester studying in Germany, and now I live and work in Japan. I don’t expect that I will ever move back to the States. I love Japan and have wanted to live abroad almost as long as I can remember. Even so, it has sometimes been challenging for a girl from suburban Arizona who didn’t even get a passport until she was 18, and lately I’ve been wondering what I would tell my younger self to better prepare her for this crazy expat life.
With the help of our globetrotting friends, we’ve come up with this list of seven things you should know before moving abroad.
Yarisugi is a Japanese word that means overkill or something done to excess. It’s the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the realistic replica of the Christopher Nolan-era Batmobile announced by Premium Bandai this week. Not because they’ve copied the vehicle in minute detail, as you can see in the image above, but because it is, in fact, an iPhone case.
Some people take fashion very seriously. They wouldn’t think of putting a foot outside the door without being perfectly made up, coiffed and dressed. This obsession isn’t restricted to homo sapiens, though. Cookie the Shiba Inu simply refuses to go for walkies in this indignity of a polka dot sweater.
Sometimes food is so beautifully prepared it seems like a shame to eat it. And yet, the beautiful preparation makes it that much more enticing. The Japanese are without a doubt the masters of this skill, ranging from the exquisite jewel-like arrangements of chic kaiseki-ryori to the saccharine adorableness of the average kid’s bento.
But we’ve discovered an almost-too-squee-inducing-to-eat treat that should appeal to adults and children alike: cream puffs shaped like Ghibli animation favorite Totoro.
If you have a cat, you probably also have a lint roller or ten lying around. In order to avoid appearing in public with a thick veneer of crazy cat lady, you’ve got to apply that sticky tape to the furniture, the rugs, your sheets and blankets, your clothes and sometimes even your own body, but have you ever thought of just taking that roller straight to the source?
Apparently, lint rolling cats is trending in Japan at the moment, and the really surprising thing is that the cats seem to enjoy it!
Tokyo Disney Resort is approaching its 30th anniversary, and it wouldn’t be Disney if they didn’t have a whole slew of commemorative items in the works. Recently, they announced a partnership with Swiss luxury watchmaker Franck Muller to produce a set of men’s and women’s watches for the occasion. And you can make one yours if you have 2.2 million yen (about US$22,000) to blow.
Here in the northern hemisphere, winter is upon us. For those whose main transportation is a scooter, it’s an especially hard time of year. Having all that wind rushing by your body is cold, cold, COLD! Even a scooter with a windshield offers little protection, and wearing heavy-duty protective clothing is a real pain.
China thinks it has the answer for this cold conundrum, but your ego may not like it.
Gachagacha or gachapon are vending machines that spit out little toys or other small items in a plastic egg. For a few bucks, you get not only a new anime figure or phone strap but also the thrill of submitting to the luck of the gachapon. Where I come from, you might find a similar machine dispensing stickers or candy in the front of a big box store, but there wasn’t much choice and the appeal wears off sometime before junior high. Here in Japan though, gachapon have an endless and ever-changing variety of contents, along with enthusiastic collectors of all ages. Entire stores exist simply to house hundreds of gachapon, and with all that variety, there’s sure to be some serious weirdness in there. This is Japan, after all.
We’ve scoured the Net to find nine of the most bizarre for your viewing pleasure.
Much ink has been spilled about the supposed homogeneity of Japan and the dangerous idea of racial purity that goes along with it. Some expats have made entire careers writing — or ranting — about the problems of discrimination in Japan. And yet, the number of foreign residents has more than doubled in the last 20 years and international marriages in the country have been steadily rising, so it can’t be all that hostile either.
So how racist is Japan, really? Here’s my take—admittedly only one perspective—on where things stand.
Cats are always looking for a warm place to nap and they really don’t give a crap if it’s inconvenient for you or anyone else. That’s one of the things that’s awesome about them. A Twitter user recently captured one of these felines napping bold as brass in a shop window, giving not a thought to how much fur was getting in your lunch.
Around our house, making a mess at the table might have gotten you a harsh word at most. This feline Miss Manners is a bit stricter about table manners, though. Her dining companion drops a bit of food and is promptly punched in the face!
Ah, Japan. Just when I thought you couldn’t be any sillier, you throw me a gem like this. Apparently, Meiji University, a very well-known and well-respected educational institution is Japan, has announced that it will host a National Pokémon Summit next month.
Interesting media can make for especially interesting art, as the pencil-tip carvings, hairy apples and damaged banana art we’ve covered before should attest, but when you go carving up some perfectly good brand-name lipsticks to celebrate strong women and fashion icons, you are bound to cause your intended audience a little heartache.
In an earthquake-, typhoon- and Godzilla-prone country like Japan, you’ve got to think about disaster preparedness. Most people here have an emergency kit ready by the door and most offices conduct drills on responding to a disaster. The big problem is storage space. You need a lot of room when you are trying to provide food, water, first aid and physical protection to a number of people.
One company has come up with a new solution for the protection part of the equation: a simple chair that doubles as a hard hat with the simple twist of a dial.
- How to date an idol: A guide to the highly improbable1
- An Illustrated Guide to the Implications of not Washing Your Hands After Using the Restroom2
- Pet owner builds tiny ninja house for hamster, escape panels and hidden doors galore3
- Survey shows Japanese workers least likely to take vacation time, most likely to hate their job4
- “Damn it human, help me!” One cat’s epic battle with an empty plastic bag5
- The top 10 Japanese restaurants outside of Japan6
- Japanese Guys Take Notes! 10 Things Foreign Guys Do That Makes Japanese Girls Fall Head Over Heels7
- 46 Things That Surprise Foreigners in Japan8
- Hey guys, unlucky with women? There’s always Latvia!9
- 【Thursday Throwback】Free Admission: 12 of Tokyo’s Best Kept Secrets10
- “Wait, you’re a dude? Meh, marry me anyway.” New male princess stealing hearts in China1
- Beautiful Chinese boy “traps” the hearts of Korean netizens 【Photos】2
- An Illustrated Guide to the Implications of not Washing Your Hands After Using the Restroom3
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea4
- Nine unusual products from Japanese designer, Oki Sato5
- 10 incredible tiny houses in Japan: a photo tour6
- The last photo of faithful dog Hachiko breaks our hearts7
- Girl runs away from home to stop her parents from buying a Japanese car8
- Woman with alone time on an elevator does something incredibly unexpected9
- Cute credit cards could send you to the slammer10
- What the hell is this monster?? 【Updated】1
- 45 adorable pictures of animals acting human 【Photos】2
- Chinese designer depicts Eastern vs. Western human behaviors in clever pictographs3
- When Two Amazing Worlds Collide: Welcome to the World of Cat Sushi!4
- Before and After: 31 Startling Images of Plastic Surgery in Korea 【Photo Album】5
- “Wait, you’re a dude? Meh, marry me anyway.” New male princess stealing hearts in China6
- Beautiful Chinese boy “traps” the hearts of Korean netizens 【Photos】7
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong8
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea9
- Nine unusual products from Japanese designer, Oki Sato10
- Before and After: 31 Startling Images of Plastic Surgery in Korea 【Photo Album】1
- 252 of Japan’s favorite animated gifs2
- What the hell is this monster?? 【Updated】3
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong4
- Chinese designer depicts Eastern vs. Western human behaviors in clever pictographs5
- Thinking about plastic surgery? This ad may make you laugh – or it could make you think twice!6
- Meet the new model set to make manga artists’ lives a whole lot easier7
- 10 things Japan gets awesomely right8
- When Two Amazing Worlds Collide: Welcome to the World of Cat Sushi!9
- 45 adorable pictures of animals acting human 【Photos】10
- The top 10 Japanese restaurants outside of Japan
- Japanese Guys Take Notes! 10 Things Foreign Guys Do That Makes Japanese Girls Fall Head Over Heels
- 46 Things That Surprise Foreigners in Japan
- Hey guys, unlucky with women? There’s always Latvia!
- 【Thursday Throwback】Free Admission: 12 of Tokyo’s Best Kept Secrets
- New “Privacy Glasses” protect your identity and your image
- Flash mob performing Totoro theme song will melt your heart, make you want to join in
- Your Favorite Nintendo Games As You’ve Never Seen Them Before, As Traditional Japanese Prints
- The official kanji of 2013 has been chosen!
- Men’s butts are shaped like green peppers, according to this butt illustration guide
- Beautiful Chinese boy “traps” the hearts of Korean netizens 【Photos】
- The Top 25 Things In Japan Most Likely To Blow Foreigner’s Minds
- New manga magazine for virgins guarantees your continued virginity