Paul, Author at Why so Japan - Page 23 of 24

Japan and umbrellas

why so japan tokyo umbrellas

When it rains  – cheap umbrellas for sale

During our latest trip to Japan in November 2012 we had a couple of rainy days. But since most of the days were nice, we did what most people in Tokyo do, and that is to buy a cheap umbrella from somewhere when we needed to.

Finding and buying an umbrella isn’t hard. Once it starts to rain, a lot of shops seem to bring them out from the stock room and either have them outside the store on the sidewalk or just inside in the front of the store.

Shops that I’ve seen them in  are the discount stores, like Don Quijote. Some of the big electrical stores in Akihabara seem to have them in the front of the store as well. But once its starts to rain you will see them on sale in a lot of shops.

The most popular umbrella you will see is a cheap seethrough plastic umbrella in different sizes. The umbrellas are very cheap with the reason being you might use it for one day or so and the bin it.

Wet umbrella covering gadget

why so japan umbrellas plastic coverOn rainy days a lot of the shops and shopping malls provide a way to keep your umbrella dry while walking around in the the shop or shopping mall. This is great because it means you don’t have to walk around with a wet umbrella with you when you are in the shop.

The shopping malls and some of the bigger department shops have facilities to shake of the water umbrella into a big sort of sink. Normally next to it you find a gadget that you push your umbrella down into, which covers the umbrella with a plastic bag. Thath solves the problems of carrying around a wet umbrella with you in the store. Check out the short video, that I filmed when we went to DiverCity shopping mall in Tokyo, at the bottom of the post.

Some places just have a rack at the shop entrance where you find the plastic bags that you can manual place over the wet umbrella while youre in the store. Ive seen there are racks in some of the archade halls and smaller shops. This is something I had never seen before here in Europe.

Have you seen this gadget before?





Posted on by Paul in Visiting 2 Comments

Convenience stores Japan

why so japan familymart convenience store

Convenience stores for a busy lifestyle

When in Tokyo you cant miss the amount of convenience stores that are around. One of the most well known is 7-Eleven. It can be found all other the world, but did you know that Japan has the most 7-Eleven locations than the rest of the world? Convenience stores have an important roll in Japan. Since everyone works so hard with little time to spare, a convenience store like 7-Eleven is great.

7-Eleven

In most 7-Eleven here in Europe you can buy food to eat or do some shopping to take home. In Japan they also sell DVDs and some electrical goods. 7-Eleven also runs its own bank, called Seven Bank. A lot of 7-Eleven stores have there own ATM in store, which accepts forgein cards and the machines also have an English menu system which can come in handy. 7-Eleven, like Lawson and FamilyMart, also have copying services and fax machine services, and they also sell concert tickets in store.

Lawson

Lawson is very like 7-Eleven in the ways that stuff that are sold. Lawson also sells lots of tickets for concerts and you can order stuff via amazon.co.jp and pay for them in store if you don’t own a credit card.

FamilyMart

FamilyMart is the third biggest convenience store company in Japan, with 7-Eleven in first place and Lawson in second place. FamilyMart offers some of same services as Lawson and 7-Eleven.
why so japan convenience store

Fun promotions

Convenience stores normally have promotions with other companies. Like a while ago Lawson ran one where you could collect stickers to then send in and recieve a Rilakkuma mug back.

Fun to browse

I always find it fun wherever I am in the world to try and visit a convenience store, because its the perfect place to find something new to try or to even pick up a weird present for person back home.

Most convenience stores sell everything food wise. You can also buy alcohol in the stores and a lot have hot food available for purchase.

Whats your take on convenience stores in Japan? Do you think they have more to offer than the ones back home?
Image credit: kalleboo and erysimum9





Posted on by Paul in Shopping, Visiting Leave a comment

iTunes gift cards from Japan

iTunes gift cards why so japan

iTunes gift cards are perfect if you have a need to download games and media from the Japanese iTunes store.

Some music and apps are only available in the Japanese version of iTunes. For instance,  I play a game called Jubeat Plus which is free to download from the Japanese iTunes Store, but to buy an in-app purchase for the game I used credit from a Japanese iTunes gift card.

Unless you live in Japan and have a bank card that is issued via a Japanese bank, then the only way to buy stuff off the Japanese iTunes store is to buy gift cards with a prepaid value on them, that you then redeem once logged in to iTunes.

If you don’t have a Japanese iTunes account and dont know how to create one, just do a quick search online where you will find lots of help with this.

To get hold of the iTunes gift card what I do is while I’m in Japan I normally stock up on the cards by buying them from a shop. Most big electrical shops sell them and you can also buy them in the discount store Don Quijote.

You can also buy the cards online, but normally there is some sort of extra fee involved in this.

Interested in playing Jubeat Plus? You can get it here: Jubeat Plus (Japanese iTunes)

Do you use the Japanese iTunes? What are your favorite apps?





Posted on by Paul in Shopping 1 Comment

Video game arcades in Japan

arcade why so japan

The Japanese love their gaming

Video game arcades are hard to miss while in Japan and especially Tokyo since theyre everywhere. In the UK and Sweden there are some video arcade centres, but nothing that compares to the size of centre, the amount of games and that most of the machines are very new and up to date games.

In Japan gaming is different in general. Its big business. The Japanese love to play games. If theres not a video game arcade they will be playing some sort of hand held device, like PSP or 3DS.

So the need for the video game arcade is big. Its quite common that you will find a video game arcade that is a multi storied complex. I think the ones that I played in, a lot where at least five floors of games.

Smoking and gaming

arcade 2 why so japanEach floor was dedicated (some time even two floors) to a certain sort of game genre. For example, on one of the floors you would find the cabinet games, where there were a lot of fighting games. What was normally different with this floor was that you are allowed to smoke while playing, which is something we did not notice on the other floors of the video game arcades that we visited. If you was to go to an arcade in the day time around lunch time, you would find this floor normally filled up with Japanese men playing a game and having smoke while sitting there in a suit and tie. I guess this might help to relieve some of the stress before going back to work.

Music games

arcade 3 why so japanThe next floor would be dedicated to music games. Some games were very popular to play and sometimes we had to wait our turn. The sort of games you could find would be games like Jubeat, an up beat game where you have to push buttons in time to music. A very addictive game! We will do a full review of this game in a later post. Another game called Taiko no Tatsujin where you either play against someone, or your own. The aim of the game is to hit the big drums in time to the music. We will also do a post about that game later on. You could also find games like DJ Hero, where you use the DJ decks to control the game. And of course there would be some sort of dancing game. This floor was the floor we could easily stay there for hours and probably did some days.

Loyalty cards for dedicated gamersarcade 3 why so japan

For dedicated gamers there are club cards that can be purchased. Depending on what company that game is made by you have to choose the right card for it. We played Jubeat a lot so we had the card from Konami, who are the makers of the game and their card would work on all of their games that have the card reader function on it. Each time before you start to play you could register your card so you can save over your points and earn extra stuff, like new songs. You can also register the card on the game site which would allow you to log in and see how good you are playing in ranks and stuff, which is another way to get people back into the arcade to play again.

Purikura photo bootsarcade 4 why so japan

There would always also be a floor for the photo booths “purikura” photo club. Those floors are always busy with loads of girls running around deciding which machine to use to take the photos. This is  another reason game arcades are still big in Japan. The photo machines are very Japanese, something thats not seen in many other countries on this scale and its also bringing in girls to the video game arcades, which sometimes feels like a very man dominated place. I’m sure Vega will have a more in depth review about the photo booths in a later post.

Gambling for money

Some arcades also have a floor for the gambeling machines, but since its illegal to gamble for money in Japan you end up playing for prizes. When you win you can choose a prize at the arcade, or you can choose for that prize to be a money token that shows how much you have won. You bring your money token to a little store somewhere outside of the arcade to change it for cash. The most common gambling game is called Pachinko where you shot metal ball bearings around inside a machine to win points. This game is very popular. Ssome places only have this sort of game there, normally called Pachinko Parlors and can found a lot in Tokyo.

UFO catchers

arcade 5 why so japanThe other floors, normally the first floor, would have the UFO catchers, claw machines. In the machines you could find a plush toy of your favourite character, candy, anime figure or even electrical goods like MP3 players. The claw machines are a bit more advanced in Japan compared to what Ive seen elsewhere. Normally you just have a normal 3 fingered claw, but in Japan it can be just one big scooper arm and the prizes might look easy to move but they have stacked the prizes in a way thats hard, so theyre hard to move but not impossible, and the good thing is whenever you win a prize the staff will give you a bag to carry it away in so you don’t have to walk down the street with a big cuddly toy under your arm unless you wanted too.

Play early to avoid the crowds

The video game arcades in Tokyo are open till late, at least till 24:00 or so, most of them later than so. One of the arcades that we played at a lot was Tatio Game Station, which has a lot of arcades and not just in Tokyo. They can also be found in other cities in Japan. Another one that we played at was in Akihabara. Its a video arcade run by Sega where a lot of the prizes in the UFO catchers are be different Sega character, like Sonic.arcade 6 why so japan

We found it easier to go to the video arcades early in the day time, rather than late at night. There were a lot less people earlier in the day, which means you don’t have to queue to play some of the more popular machines and you also don’t feel like a fool when you are trying to understand the Japanese part of the game which most of the time we ended up guessing.

If you like video arcades I really do recommend you to visit one while in Japan. You will be blow away by the choices of games to play.

Have you been to an arcade in Japan? What was your favourite game?

arcade 7 why so japan arcade 8 why so japan arcade 9 why so japan arcade 10 why so japan arcade 11 why so japan arcade 12 why so japan arcade 13 why so japan

 

 





Posted on by Paul in Gaming, Visiting 3 Comments

Kit Kat in Japan

Kit Kat and Japan

When Im in Japan I love visiting the confectionery shells in the convenience stores to see what I could find. Most of the candy I had never seen before. There are some that I know, like Pocky thats all over the world nowadays. But one of them that has a strong presents on the market is Kit Kat.

Why so Japan KitKat why so japan kit kat 2

Kit Kat in Europe

Kit kat in Europe is quite normal and boring really. Its normally just milk chocolate, but I have seen more flavours starting to come out onto the market, but noting as a great as the Japanese market is.

Kit Kat in Japan

Since Japan is a hard market to break into for a western company its nice when you do find a brand that you heard of before. But for Kit Kat its not just the normal milk chocolate that we are most used to. Instead, in Japan you find them in all diffrent flavours. Lots of them that I had never even seen or dreamed of. Quite often Kit Kat is sold in a sort of gift box pack where you get many small packs of the same flavor in. A box which can be great to take home as a gift for someone.

why so japan kit kat 3 why so japan kit kat 4

Limited edition

Kit Kat is also often releasing limited edtion flavours. Here is a little list of flavours that are or have been available:

  • Rum & Raisin
  • Wasabi
  • Green tea
  • Strewberry cheese cake
  • Dark Soy Flour
  • Halloween Pumpkin Pudding and Cinnamon Cookie
  • Petite Bitter Chocolate
  • Vanilla Ice cream
  • Sweetness Raspberry
  • Yubari melon
  • Tea
  • Soy Sauce Limited
  • Shinshu Ringo Apple

 

Check out this link for more flavors and pictures:
http://stuffwecollect.com/kit-kats-from-japan-a-culinary-collecting-obsession

So, whats your favourite flavor of Kit Kat?





Posted on by Paul in Food & snacks, Shopping 1 Comment