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

Characters

Gundam Robot in real life

Gundam robot odaiba why so japan

Gundam Robot

We found the Gundam Robot when we were out shopping on the Odaiba island. It was situated behind Tokyo DiverCity, which is one of the many shopping malls you will find on this island. It was a surprise to us to see this massive robot standing there. Is huge!

It was pure luck really that we decided to go out the back of the shopping mall and there it was standing in its scale of 1:1. This seems to the thing with Tokyo and Japan – you can plan everthing you want to see and do, but soon as you take a detour you find the most unexpected thing, like a robot in its full size. Its well worth to take a quick look around the back of DiverCity shopping mall if you are visiting the island.

Gundam Front Tokyo exhibition

The Gundam robot is part of an exhibition that is all about Gundam, a popular anime series. The exhibition is called Gundam Front Tokyo and its just next to the robot. It does cost to go in and you can find the current prices if you click the link at the end of this post. To see the robot only is free, its the exhibition part that has an entry fee.

Gundam TV series

Gundam is part of the popular amime scene where this TV series has become popular. Its franchise is vast and with the giant Gundam robot and the exhibition Im sure its going to become bigger. Even if youre not an amime or Gundam robot fan its still worth a visit.

How to get there

There are a few different transport ways to get out on to the Odaiba island. The public transport stop which is closest to the Tokyo DiverCity shopping mall is the Tokyo Teleport underground station. Its a few minutes walk from the underground station.

In up and coming posts we will talk more about shopping and entertainment centres that you can visit on the Odaiba island.

Heres the link to the site for Gundam front Tokyo:
http://gundamfront-tokyo.com/en/

Here is also a short video that I shot while we were there:





Posted on by Paul in Characters, Visiting Leave a comment

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

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

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





Posted on by Paul in Visiting Leave a comment