Japanese Manhole covers T-shirts from 47Regions

Japanese Manhole covers T-shirts from 47Regions Japan is a place of so many different and wonderful things to do and see. A lot of times when we are planning our trips to Japan we decide not always to have our whole day Read more

Kizuna Japanese subscription box

Kizuna Japanese subscription box This is a promotional post. We were offered the opportunity to try a new subscription box from Kizuna Box from Japan. Of course we jumped at the chance. We were given the option of two different boxes, Read more

Sakura Matsuri Stockholm 2017

Sakura Matsuri Stockholm – Cherry Blossom Festival On April 22nd was the annual cherry blossom hanami festival in Stockholm (“Körsbärsblommans Dag”), Sweden. It's an event organized by the Japanese Association, and we were very happy to see that they - once Read more

Top Japanese places to visit in London

Top Japanese places to visit in London In this post we have collected our top Japanese places to visit in London. The city has so many places that are connected to Japan in one way or another. In our top Read more

Best art, crafts and stationery shops in Tokyo

Best art, crafts and stationery shops in Tokyo As a person who love all things art and crafts I've hunted down the best shops that I could find during my travels in Tokyo. Here's a guide to my personal favourites. Read more

Mascots

Suica Penguin Mascot

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Suica card

If you have used public transport in Tokyo you might well have used one of two smart travel cards: the Pasmo or a Suica card. In Tokyo the cards have pretty much the same function, both  allowing you to pay for travel on the public transportation system in and around Tokyo. Both smart cards can be also used in other parts of Japan for travel, but sometimes you can only use one and sometimes both. It’s always best to check with the local transport for the area you are visiting. The cards that you pre charge can also be used to purchase stuff in different shops and be used as payment on most vending machines.

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Suica Mascot

Japanese companies love you to have a mascot to represent their company. Normally the cuter the better. While traveling in Japan you will almost certainly come across the cuteness of the company mascot that is one of my favourites – the cute penguin that represents the travel card Suica. You might wonder what a penguin has to do with travel? Well, penguins are seen to swim through water with ease and that’s how it should feel when using the Suicacard, a smooth moving process as such.

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Sucia Penguin

The mascot named Suica Penguin, or just Penguin, was designed by Sakazaki Chiharu and has been used as the mascot since 2001. The penguin has become very popular and I can understand why. Who could not like the cute penguin? I’m sure a lot of people choose that smart card for travel just because of the cute penguin on the card. I know I did on our first trip. whysojapan_suica_penguin_japan_04We saw the Sucia penguin on a lot of posters on the public transport in Tokyo, but didn’t really know what it was to do with, since we had a different travel card on that journey, but after coming home and looking the penguin up, I had a better idea to why we saw it on a lot of places. After that we started to watch a lot of the TV adverts on watch here YouTube featuring the cute penguin, showing how to use the card which I loved. Silly that it might sound, like I said, I’m a sucker for a penguin. I also received some merchandise with thanks to a friend in Japan that hunted the products down and sent them to me, and to this day when we meet always manages to find me some cool Suica penguin stuff. The latest thing being a 2015 year calendar, that we now have on display at home. After our latest trip back in 2014 we found the Suica Penguin store in the Tokyo station, called Penguin Stadium, Pensta. They had loads of stuff to sell, like books, food, games, tea towels, inflatables, key rings and more. Now I will never run out of Suica Penguin stuff. If you’re looking for the shop, it can be found via this link.





Posted on by Paul in Mascots, Visiting 1 Comment

Things to think of before traveling to Japan, part 2

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Transport while on holiday

Before traveling to Japan Part 2, Part 1 can be found here. We have mostly traveled within Tokyo and we normally use a Suica card. It’s a bit like the Oyster card that they have in London. You can charge it up with money and you just tap in and tap out via the barriers at the train/underground station. There are two cards that can be used in Tokyo, Suica and Pasmo. Both do for most part the same job while traveling in Tokyo the cards can be brought direct from the ticket machines at the train stations you can get the Suica from the JR green ticket machines and the Pasmo from the pink ticket machines. When buying the cards you have to charge it with a certain amount of yen to get you started and a deposit fee of 500 yen is also included, which can be refunded if you decide to return the cards when you leave Japan. Links for both Suica: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/suica.html and Pasmo: http://www.pasmo.co.jp/en/. On our first trip we did buy a sort of travel as much you want ticket for x amount of days, but that would only work on the Tokyo metro. See their site for more info: http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/

Traveling out from Tokyo

If you are thinking of traveling to different parts of Japan, maybe like Kyoto, then it might well be worth buying a Japan rail pass. The card gives you 7, 14 or 21 days of travel on all of JR trains across the country to a heavily discounted price. You need to purchase the ticket before you travel to Japan, either from you local travel agent that deals with Japan travel or sites like japan-rail-pass.com. Just google “japan rail pass” for more info.

why_so_japan_3g_modem_01 before traveling to japanInternet on the go while in Japan

We have always rented a 3G and now 4G wifi router while in Tokyo. It lets us use our smart phones on the go in Japan, which can be of great help if you need to look up something on the go, or just check where you are on Google Maps. The company we normally go with is Globaladvancedcomm.com. You can read our review about their service from a previous posts via think link: whysojapan.com/internet-while-on-holiday-in-japan/ or just search for “internet” in the search box on the right hand side of the site.

 

Money

You will need to get money exchanged before traveling over to Japan. Of couse, you could do it once you get to Japan, but it saves time doing it before hand. How much money to take is a difficult question to answer. I don’t know really, it all depends how much you are going to spend, which most times it’s impossible to know. I almost always end up coming home with some yen’s over, which I normally will exchange back (sometimes to a loss). I’ve also saved it till our next trip, because I know we keep returning. You can find ATM machines to use your MasterCard / Visa card in, but not evey machine works with them. Your best bet is to find a 7-Elven store, which normally has an ATM that will work with those cards.

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Power

As we get all more tech savvy we like to take our electrical devices with us on holiday. Now you most probably will need to check if your device will work on the lower voltage in Japan, and in that case you will also need a plug adapter for your device. Check out this post which explains a bit about it all: whysojapan.com/electric-and-gadgets-while-in-japan/

Making plans

What we do each time before we leave for Japan, we make sort of our own guide book to things to see and do and thisis  where a lot of our research time goes into. We look up things to see and do. We always have certain things we want to see, so looking up addresses, opening times and all important info beforehand, saves you a lot of time and less time getting lost and stressed and more time enjoying your holiday. Another fun thing is to just walk around. It’s normally when you’re not looking for anything special you end up finding a gem of a place. A couple sites which are a good place to start with are: japan-guide.comjapantravelinfo.com/top/index.php, and tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g294232-Japan-Vacations.html. Of course there are tons of sites, so your best bet is to use Google as a good starting point.





Posted on by Paul in Visiting 1 Comment

Moshi Moshi Tokyo App

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Moshi Moshi Tokyo App

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is the go-to person when it comes to all things popular in Tokyo these days with this new app Moshi Moshi Tokyo that has just been released in the iOS app store. It’s available for both iPhone and iPad, but not Android as of yet. I think it is great for those that might like to have a guide book in a regular book size and then just having it on an iPhone or iPad screen is a big bonus. The app is available in three languages, English, French and Japanese. Kyary puts on her guide uniform and is ready to be your personal guide to all her favorite places around Tokyo. You’ll find a mixture of places to see and shops to visit, plus more.

Moshi Moshi Tokyo Guide book

Moshi Moshi Tokyo is also the name of her guidebook that has been available for some time now, but is sadly only available in Japanese. But it can still be a great buy, just for the pictures alone. We got our copy of the book from cdjapan.co.jp and we found it quite a cheap buy. But now that the app is here – and in English, I’m sure next time we are heading to Tokyo we will have it loaded up to our iOS devices without a doubt.

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The App

Once you have downloaded the app and you have opened it, you come to the library section where you get to chose what language you want to download. Note that it is only in English and French at the moment. I’m guessing that they will add Japanese later on. Here I clicked to download the English version. As stated in the App Store infomation about the app, you’re only getting a sample of the book, which allows you to read up to the first half of Harajuku station. In the future I’m guessing that you will either be able to download the rest of the book via the app library in sections at a set price, or maybe you will be able to download the book in its entirety, once it becomes available. The price and how the book will be available has yet to be announced.

App VS. Book

The app is a copy of the book, but I think between the app and the book is the interactive side to the app that somewhat wins over the book. Of course, that it is in English is great too. The interactive bits I’ve seen of the book so far are clickable boxes that pop up with more info about certain things (i.e. price of her uniform and more), rolling banners of what Kyary thinks of a certion shops, google map links to where the particular shop is located and more.

Final Thougts

I think if the pricing is right for the rest of the book I’m sure it will be a great success. I’m sure even if you’re not going to Tokyo you might end up buying just for all the stuff with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in it. If you are going to visit Tokyo it might be a great read on the plane trip there, helping you to decide where to visit first once you get to Tokyo. The only negative thing I can think of with the app is that all the pricing, shop locations, opening times for different places are as of 2012, which since then might have changed, moved or even shut down, so it would be great if they could do a bit of an update to the information. If you’re unsure, it might be a good idea to do a quick check on the web to see if that place or shop you want to go to is still there.

The app is available from the app store now via the button below or search for moshi moshi tokyo in the iTunes store.

Check our other posts on Kyary Pamyu Pamyu via this link or use the tag Kpp or Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in search box on the left.





Posted on by Paul in Visiting 1 Comment

Video of Tradition And Modernity Journey in Japan today

Tradition And Modernity Journey in Japan today

This is a video of A Journey Between Tradition And Modernity in Japan from Kyoto to Tokyo. The video is beautifully shot with some very nice scenes from both Tokyo and Kyoto. The video is showing two sides of Japan, the modern and busy city Tokyo, and more of the traditional side of Japan in Kyoto. Watch the video and enjoy!

Check out the YouTube site from where the original video comes from and for more information: http://www.youtube.com/user/AmnesiArt





Posted on by Paul in Visiting Leave a comment

Tour Akihabara with maids

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Tour Akihabara With Maids

Akihabara in Tokyo, also known as Electric Town, is one of the most amazing places in the world for of us geeks out there. It’s got everything a geek loves and needs. From all your DIY electric projects, to buying your favourite anime figurines – you will find it there.

I just saw this fun video over on mtv81.com where they follow the Akiba maids showing you around the maze of streets in Akihabara. It is something different, not many can say they’ve had a tour of Electric Town by their own maids. It’s a fun idea!

You can check their homepage for more information here: http://www.akiba-tour.com/index.html
To watch the video click the link here or the picture above which will take you over to mtv81’s site: http://www.mtv81.com/videos/japon/akiba-land-tour-guide/





Posted on by Paul in Shopping, Visiting Leave a comment