Many Tokyoites caught up in the hustle and bustle of the city life would like nothing more than to kick back and spend the day fishing. Yet while fishing can be a very rejuvenating sport, preparation and travelling can require a lot of effort, especially for city-slickers exhausted by long work weeks.
Well don’t cut your line just! It just so happens that there is an Izakaya (Japanese pub) in the heart of Tokyo where customers can fish for their own dinner!
On March 11, an unprecedentedly large earthquake struck northern Japan, marking 2011 as a disastrous year for the Japanese. This video shows the fierce power of that quake and the cascade of aftershocks that came in the months to follow as nothing less than horrific.Read More
For a single Japanese girl like myself, nothing is better than a trip overseas. Those unreal moments in an unknown land that provide an escape from the daily grind or, better yet, those romantic encounters with local men!
I mean, foreign guys are just so kind and gentlemanlike, yet so passionate and sexy!
Okay, but wait. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There are obviously some foreign guys in the mix who are just looking to pick up a girl for an easy lay. And there are many of my fellow Japanese girls who have been fooled by good looks and a smooth tongue only to regret it later.
So what exactly do these foreign guys think of us?
I recently spoke with a male Japanese backpacker who, in his travels around the world, has infiltrated the ranks of foreign pick-up artists and had them divulge their true feelings about macking on Japanese girls.
What he revealed may (or may not) be common knowledge to our readers abroad, but it came as a shock to me: “I’m sorry to say it, but most foreign pick-up artists see Japanese girls as easy targets.”
Ubiregi is a point-of-sale application for the iPad that turns the device into a fully-functional and intuitive cash register.
The app is offered by Tokyo-based developed Ubiregi Inc. on a pay-as-you-go plan of 5000 yen per month and includes no initial expenses or installation costs – all you need is an iPad. Additionally, sales data can be stored on Ubiregi’s servers for convenient management and receipts can be printed using the iOS AirPrint function.
While the app has only been around for a little over a year, Ubiregi promises to provide a lucrative alternative to small businesses that normally rent cash registers at a monthly fee on top of installation and maintenance costs.
Perhaps as a testament to this, Ubiregi has recently made the news in Japan after it helped one business owner lift himself from the brink of ruin after last years’ tsunami.
Owing to Akihabara’s pop juggernaut, AKB48, localities all over Japan have been rushing to create their own homespun idol groups. Some places, however, should have probably not rushed as much.
A group in Kashiwa City, Chiba released a casting-call for an all-girl pop group through a local information website called Maipure on 16 January. Things soon turned ugly as people began taking offence to the name of the group, Hot☆Spots.
At first you might think this is a simple poor choice of words in an area that must deal with the issue of nuclear radiation daily. The English phrase “hot spot” is often used in Japanese to refer to isolated spaces that have very high levels of radiation following the Fukushima incident. Kashiwa city has been rumored to be dealing with an unusually large number of hotspots recently considering their location.
Among lens makers, Sigma is a brand famous the world over. They’ve been in the news recently for their February 8th announcement of the 46 megapixel DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merril models, but this article is actually about an experience I had with them late last year. Read More
A lingering topic of the Fukushima incident has been how to go forward. Should nuclear plants in Japan be improved or discontinued. What have been revealed to reporter Hirotoshi Ito by industry insiders are the massive business deals being prepared behind this important social issue.
According to Ito, what we don’t see occurring is what he calls “backspin business” which is profit made off of situations that undo previous progress. Key players that once had the now-dubious honor of building a strong, clean, and safe nuclear power infrastructure are making preparations to profit from its damage.
For example, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has long struggled with the task of disposing of nuclear waste. Local residents of all TEPCO’s desired locations have been understandably hesitant to accept tons of radioactive material into their neighborhoods. Luckily for TEPCO the wasteland of the likely to be decommissioned Fukushima Daini (Number 2) Reactor is now the perfect place for them to set-up a decontamination factory.
Saint Seiya, the anime smash hit that ran during the 80’s in Japan and Europe is making a comeback to TV in April 2012. Originally created as a manga series by Masami Kurumada, it ran on TV from 1986-89 and in Eastern European countries under the title Knights of the Zodiac. This new chapter is announced by Toei Animation to be an original story rather than an adaption of Kurumada’s manga.
The corpse of a woman found in January in the ruble of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, has been determined by DNA testing to be that of 24-year-old Arisa Miura, an employee at the disaster preparedness office at the city hall, which was washed away in the March 11th tsunami last year. Following the results, her body is finally being sent home. Read More
A new toy has pushed its way into the crowded Japanese market. Called the Crazy Delicious Stick Stick Party, it sells for 699yen (US$9). We got our hands on one of these babies to try it out a get a stick party started, but first the name probably needs some explanation.
If you walk into any convenience store across Japan and scour the lower shelves, under all the chocolate bars and gum you will find one of Japan’s most popular snacks, Umaibo (literally ‘delicious stick,’ which we will use throughout the remainder of this article for comedic effect). Delicious Stick is like a giant, rod-shaped version of that cheese-flavored snack of mysterious ingredients that goes by many names: cheese puffs, cheezies, cheese curls, cheese balls, and so on. However, in addition to cheese flavor, Delicious Stick comes in a wide range of flavors, including chocolate or shrimp and mayonnaise. At 10 yen (US$0.13) a pop they’re a pretty good little snack.
By using Crazy Delicious Stick Stick Party, you can – get this – cleanly cut one Delicious Stick into several smaller sticks. According to the name of this toy, making four smaller Delicious Sticks from a single large one will result in a “crazy stick party”. We rushed in to investigate this claim.
It’s well known that former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who passed away on October 5th last year, was a huge fan of Japanese food, and not just high-end sashimi and sushi, either. He reportedly enjoyed more quotidian fare like hearty udon noodles.
He even went so far as to develop his own Japan-inspired menu item for Apple’s company cafeteria, Cafe Mac. But is it really any good?Read More
Anyone who is familiar with Japanese culture knows about the packaged lunch known as “bento.” A bento can be found homemade or bought from a supermarket, convenience store, or restaurant that specializes in bento. One particular subset of bento is known as ekiben, or, the “station bento.”
As its name implies, you can buy a station bento on the platforms of major train stations across Japan. The station bento is beloved by travelers in Japan because they use ingredients famous or native to the region that you buy them, letting you experience the taste of an area even if you are just passing through. However, there is just one shortcoming to the station bento – it’s cold.
Luckily, thanks to the leading researchers in the field of bento technology, this is no longer the case!
Iwai-saki is a beautiful cape surrounded by pine trees located at the southern end of Rikuchu Seacoast National Park in Kensennuma city, Miyagi prefecture.
While the area around the cape is now still and peaceful, large sections of Kensennuma city were destroyed and hundreds of lives lost in the tsunami and fires triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake last March.
While Kensennuma has a long road to recovery ahead of it, the city is said to be experiencing an increase in visitors recently who come to see a lone pine tree twisted in the shape of a dragon that stands alone on a beach of Iwai-saki.
We travelled to Kensennuma with camera in hand to see the scene for ourselves.
Although he has rarely been seen in Western countries, Doraemon is an animated cat whose popularity rivals that of Mickey Mouse in Japan. From his beginnings in manga in the 70s, Doraemon has made the leap to TV and film animations and was appointed Japan’s first animated cultural ambassador. Now the Doraemon story lives on in a series of TV commercials for Toyota.
The following is a translation of a short story originally taken from a 2008 book by Haruhiro Kinoshita and posted on a blog called One Minute Impressions. The story struck a chord with tens of thousands of people across Japan as it spread through social networks.
There Was This Cashier
She moved from the countryside to go to a university in Tokyo. She joined many extra-curricular activities but always got turned off quickly . One after another, she jumped from club to club looking for something better.
When it came time for her to find work, she got a job with a manufacturing company, but she couldn’t continue working there. Three months after starting she felt she couldn’t see eye to eye with her boss. It didn’t take long for her to quit.
The next job she got was for a distribution company. She worked there for six months but came to realize the job was different than she had hoped it to be. Shortly after, she quit.
From there she joined up with a company that manages medical statistics and information, but this too didn’t do it for her.
Many of you may remember hearing about the full scale RX-78-2 Gundam model erected at Shiokaze Park in Odaiba, Tokyo last summer.
The Gundam, standing 18 meters tall and weighing 35 tons, was constructed as a part of an environmental awareness campaign called Green Tokyo Gundam Project and drew 5,120,000 visitors during the 52 days it was on display.
Now, after a 2 year hiatus including a brief stint in Shizuoka, RX-78-2 is finally coming back to Odaiba!
January 21 marked this year’s Daikan, the coldest day in winter according to the traditional East Asian calendar. True to its prediction, Japan was hit by a cold wave on that day and many people, your reporter included, found themselves craving something warm and toasty to heat their bodies and fill their stomachs.
And nothing warms the body on a cold winter day like oden, a Japanese winter soup dish prepared by boiling ingredients like winter veggies, tofu, eggs and fish cakes in a soy sauce-flavored broth.
Using Daikan as an excuse, I decided to treat myself to a desert-themed variation of oden I had recently heard about that swaps out the standard oden ingredients for fruit and sweets and boils them in a hot little clay pot of spiced oolong tea and happiness.
Japan’s premier naked festival, Sominsai (Somin Festival), was held this year on January 29 at Kokuseki Temple in Iwate Prefecture.
The name “naked” is somewhat misleading though, as participants are required to wear a fundoshi, a piece of white cloth which can best be descried as a traditional Japanese G-string. This scant clothing offers little protection from the blistering, below-freezing cold participants are expected to endure. Nevertheless, the toughest of men from across Japan come to test their mettle by trekking through grueling icy course from the temple to the river that’s cold enough to make you feel like you’re dying.
I know this because I took part.
That’s right, your fearless reporter put his life at risk to bring the experience of Kokuseki’s Sominsai to you, our beloved readers.