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

Japanese Characters: Mameshiba

Mameshiba why so japan
Mameshiba is a merchandise franchise that you can find in Japan and also to the lesser amount in the rest of the world. I would say that Mameshiba is one the more well known characters in Japan. A mameshiba is a kind of bean dog character. The little bean has a face similar to a dog. Mame means bean in Japanese and shiba is a well known breed of dog in Japan. And the phrase mame shiba refers to a toy or puppy Shiba Inu.

Mameshiba 2 why so japanWhat is even more special with Mameshiba is that he or she always has a little fact to tell you, something that you probably didnt know.

Mameshiba first became popular via interstitial program that where broadcast on TV over Japan instead of adverts. Each advert would run for about 30 seconds or so and would be animated and would always have an interesting fact to share with its audience.

That advert also become very popular on YouTube with most of them being subtitled into English. After Mameshiba became so popular more and more products were being produced in Japan and being sold as small plush toys in the US via the store Hot Topic. I think that’s where I bought my first one.

In Japan there are lots of products that have been made in connection with the Mameshiba franchise. Lots of plushies in every size possible. I’ve also seen key rings, chopsticks, books, stationary and more. To date four books have been made by Viz Media that are produced in English. In a later post I will show you them and give a brief review about each one.

Mameshiba 3 why so japan Mameshiba 4 why so japan
There have also been what I guess you could say are spin offs of Mameshiba. You have Baby-Shiba which is a series of the baby shiba, Babyshiba Fruits and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu also has her own Mameshiba characters, the main one is being called Mameshipamyupamyus and both have appeared in TV adverts together.

Mameshiba 5 why so japan
One of the most popular Mameshiba is called Edamame. He is the green bean dog and his interesting fact is that “the inside of a kangaroo pouch is supposedly really stinky”.  That I bet you didnt know, but you know now.

I would say that Mameshiba is definitely one of my most favourite Japanese character that I always return home with.

Whats yours?





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Japanese Character: Rilakkuma

Rilakkuma why so japan

Rilakkuma by San-X

Rilakkuma is a bear that is made by the Japanese company San-X. He first was produced in 2003 by them. The name Rilakkuma is a combination of two Japanese words, the first part being relax and the second part being bear. Rilakkuma is said to be one of the most popular characters in Japan, while listing 5th in a survey of the character databank in Japan.

rilakkuma 1 why so japanSan-X makes many other characters that are available on the Japanese market. Others that are available are Mamegoma, Sentimental Circus, Chocopa, Kutsushita Nyanko and more.

Rilakkuma first appeared in picture books called Rilakkuma Seikatsu that are produced by the San-X company but are now just as popular as the plush cuddly toys are. Rilakkuma is the most popular character by San- and there are many different products made with Rilakkuma, from hovers to food and clothes and book and video games, but the most popular are the plush toys that widly available over Japan. All the toy shops that Ive visited in Japan always have a little section of the shop dedicated to Rilakkuma. There are also several Rilakkuma stores across Japan that mainly sell all things Rilakkuma, but you will also find some of San-X other popular characters available. At the end of this post you will find some addresses to some of the Rilakkuma stores in the greater Tokyo area and some in-store photos that we took on one of our trips.

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Book review: Tokyo On Foot

Tokyo on Foot why so japanOn our trip to Tokyo last November we meet up with two of our friends who live in Tokyo. At the end of our evening we exchanged gifts – like we always do, which I find is such a fun thing to do. We always try to find things to take with us that you would not find in Tokyo, thats typical of Sweden or England, since we know that our friends love both countries.

This time we got this lovely book called “Tokyo on foot”.

What makes this book unique from other tour books is that you wont find the typical information you might find all the others. It is an illustrated tour of Tokyo. This book is great if you dont like reading page after page of text. All the pictures are hand drawn, something thats rarely seen nowadays.

The illustrator of this book, Florent Chavouet, spent 6 months visiting different neighbourhoods in Tokyo and drew a very personal picture of the neighbourhoods – from the local police station to the small food shops and restaurants. The book also includes maps of each neighbourhood.

It is a really unique book and a great “read”.

tokyo on foot 2 why so japan tokyo on foot 3 why so japan





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Internet while on holiday in Japan

3g wifi router internet why so japanBefore our first trip to Japan I started looking into how we could access the internet from our smart phones. We had free wifi at the hotel, so that was good, but I really wanted to be able to use the internet wherever I was in Tokyo. I started to look up how it was with free wifi hot-spots but I gave up in the end. Sure you can go to Apple Store to use in store wifi and a lot of cafes have wifi, but I needed internet on the go while I was in Tokyo.

The main reason I needed internet on the go was so I could use some of the apps on my smart phone, like Google maps, since I always get lost while in Tokyo, and transport information apps, and of course I wanted to be able to use Facebook and check-in whenever and where I was and also be able to use Skype to so I could call home if needed.

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Japan and its characters

Characters in Japan why so japan

Before when I knew very little of Japan and its character culture, the only character I had really evey heard of and seen was the very well known Hello Kitty. It’s hard not to have missed Hello Kitty it since she’s on anything you can turn pink and put a cat on. You name it  – from cans of fizzy drinks to clothes and even hotel rooms that are coved in the lovable kitty one might say.

After seeing videos on YouTube of some other character that also came from Japan it started to become more fun. Hello Kitty seems so boring to me now because she can be seen and brought all over the world.

But there are certain character that are very popular in Japan to those in the know that I had no idea about. Every character seems to have a world built around it, where almost every week there a new product is coming out in Japan with a character either on it or a character promoting a product for another company.

You end up becoming a bit obsessed with them. One week you buy a drink just because you favorite character is on the can. Even if you don’t like the drink you like the character so you just have to have it. I’m very much the same when I’m in Japan. I will buy almost everything with my favorite character on.

Over the next months I will post all about the characters I know and love from Japan.

What Japanese characters do you like? Please share in the comments!





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