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

Japan Candy Box review + giveaway

Japan Candy Box This is a promotional post. The Japan Candy Box was kindly sent to us to try and review for Why So Japan. We've been wanting to try a Japanese themed box for a long time now and thanks Read more

Japanese TV Adverts #54

It's been a while since we last posted about Japanese TV adverts from YouTube user JPCMHD who uploads them regularly. They're always fun to watch, and the latest upload includes adverts for Mouse the computer company, Y! Mobile with Read more

Elvis Presley’s influence in Japan

whysojapan elvis presley

This is a collaborative post.

Often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King,” Elvis Presley’s influence and image makes him one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. He’s so popular that people today still honor his legacy with the plethora of impersonators and commemorative items, as well as all the Graceland celebrations. Elvis’ brand of music, his style of rock ‘n’ roll, has even reached the far corners of the globe, more specifically in conservative Eastern nations such as Japan.

Fotoroom featured a story about a particularly trendy zone in Tokyo, Japan where stumbling upon a group of people in black leather jeans and pants is as common as ramen and sushi restaurants. In more ways than one, Harajuku represents Elvis Presley’s effect in the country. From diehard rockabilly fans who eat, sleep, and breathe the subculture, to style junkies with their slick pompadour haircuts and Grease-like outfits, there’s no denying Elvis’ popularity in the Land of the Rising Sun.

In hindsight, remembering Elvis Presley through various outlets has been a common theme throughout the world. Apart from the obvious musical aspect, its Western heavy culture, and his longstanding worldwide fan clubs, it’s also worth noting how Elvis’ likeness is the basis of other popular forms of media. Venture Beat has an article that talks about the ten Elvis Presley references in video games. It highlights the King’s image and how it’s used in 16-bit games such as Super Nintendo System’s Clay Fighter, as well as the more modern 3D Rock ‘n’ Roll Adventures on Wii. He even has his own online slots game on Pocketfruity, appropriately called Elvis: the King Lives.

Aside from famous media platforms and ventures, Elvis Presley has some sort of political effect in Japan. So much so that even its former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi declared his love for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and openly shared the enthusiasm of the thousands of Presley fans in the country. In 1987, Junichiro, along with his brother Masaya who was also a former senior advisor of the Tokyo-based fan club at that time, financed the construction of an Elvis statue in Harajuku. His loyalty to the King may or may not have even helped him with his campaign in the early 2000s.

Japan represents how people from other parts of the globe, those who didn’t exactly get to experience Elvis Presley’s charisma firsthand, can appreciate greatness in every sense of the word. Even though he’s never performed outside the United States and Canada during the peak of his career, Elvis remains one of the pioneers of a universal music movement. His influence may be more significant in some parts of the globe than others, but one fact remains: the King’s legacy is still alive and well, up to this day.





Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Music Leave a comment

JAPAN – Where tradition meets the future

whysojapan Where tradition meets the future tourism

Japan National Tourism Organization

JNTO in Europe has just started it’s largest ever promotional campaign for inbound tourism from Europe, as a part of the visit Japan project. The tourism organization based in London has launched a site showcasing what Japan has to offer in “tradition and “innovation”.  The JNTO will be promoting Japan in 15 different European countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and more via several media platforms. The campaign showcases Japan through the eyes of Europeans with an interactive site, with it’s main feature being a video that was made by filmmaker Vincent Urban from Germany. Vincent Urban has also made the video “In Japan 2015”, which to date has been viewed on Vincent’s Vimeo channel over 2.2 million times. Check our previous post on his video and other great filmed in Japan by clicking here: http://www.whysojapan.com/videos-filmed-japan/

Where tradition meets the future

The film was shot in 45 different locations in Tokyo, Kyoto, Kumano and Ise – from the modern to the traditional and beyond. The video takes you on a whirlwind journey through the modern sites of arcade centres, Tokyo Skytree and the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, to the beautiful picturesque scenes of the the Great Buddha of Nara and the unbelievable Sagano Bamboo Forest Road in Kyoto, just to name a few. After watching the interactive video on the site you can click back to all the different parts of the video and read more information about the certain location in the film. I found this to be a great feature, because I’ve now been able to discover more parts of Japan that I want to visit.

whysojapan Where tradition meets the future tourism

The second section to the site is an interview part with people from Europe have been asked questions about Japan and their experiences. The site is available in five different European languages (English, German, French, Italian and Spanish).

whysojapan Where tradition meets the future tourism

I found the whole site to be beautiful. A great read, I loved the interactive video, and even the background music that is played while on the site is lovely. I think that this will be just the start as we look forward to the 2020 Olympics, where Japan is going become more and more in demand.

Visit the site here: http://visitjapan-europe.jnto.go.jp/en/

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Posted on by Paul in Media, Visiting Leave a comment

Vending machines in Japan

whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan

Vending machines

Japan has the most amount of vending machines per person in the world. Because of the population of people and there is a very limited, space vending machines are very popular things in Japan. A lot of people on foot and bike use them. Since there is very little crime in Japan it is not that often you will find a vending machine vandalized leaving it out of order, which makes them a great way of selling things to people that are on the move.

You find vending machines everywhere in Tokyo. It seems every small side street, car park and train station will have at least one. Normally it will be a row of them, selling different sorts of drinks.

whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan

The most common vending machine we have come across while out in Tokyo was the drink ones where you normally find fizzy drinks, like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. You will also find a lot of machines that just sell energy drinks too, and then you have the machines that sell warm drinks. Sometimes there will be a machine for each sort of product and in some of them you can find all of the above products in the same machine. The cold drinks are normally marked with a blue colour around the selection button, and the hot drinks would have a red colour around them. Depending on what time of the year is it, the hot drinks might be available more or less.

whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan

You can also find vending machines that sell hot food, like burger and fries and other fast food styl . Even though I looked for the machines I haven’t been able to find one in Tokyo as of yet. Other machines sell hot pasta noodles, which I’ve seen at a hotel we stayed in. A perfect late snack. And then, of course, there are machines that sell different candies.

whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan

Other machines that are a bit different can be ones that sell bananas, books and umbrellas, which all can come in handy of course. Machines that sell alcohol have a smart card reader on them that you have to swipe a card to prove your age.

A lot of smaller restaurants use vending machines to sell their food. Normally the machine will just be outside the entrance of the restaurant. On the machine you will find pictures of the different dishes available to buy. You put your money in, choose the dish you want, and then it prints out a ticket that you take in to the restaurant and hand over to the staff to get your food.

whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan whysojapan_vending_machines_tokyo_japan_06 whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan

You can also use your Suica transport prepaid card to buy stuff. The machines will detect the amount due from your card for you, which comes in handy if you don’t have any other money on you at the time.

Some vending machines even have cameras in them that try to detect what sort of mood you are in and decide what sort of drink would suit that mood.

Do you have any experiences with vending machines in Japan?

whysojapan vending machines tokyo japan

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Posted on by Paul in Food & snacks 1 Comment

Videos filmed in Japan

why so japan tokyo japan travel blog video Videos filmed in Japan

Videos filmed in Japan

Once in a while we stumble upon videos filmed in Japan that really connect us back to Japan. It’s that feeling the videos give that sort of sums up how you have seen Japan and how it makes you feel – from the ultra modren sights of Tokyo with everyone and everything working and moving at a high pace of life – to the more traditional and not in rush way of living. Even though both the videos are filmed in a modern style I still think they capture Japan in the ways that we have seen it while traveling around. Of couse, every one has a different take on Japan.

Japan 2015

Filmed by: Vincent Urban, Alex Schiller and Alex Tank. A collection of moments and memories of a 3-week railway journey through Japan. What we love about this video is that you get to see so many different things from Japan in just one video. Check out Vincent’s Vimeo page for more of his work: https://vimeo.com/vincenturban

 

Hello Tokyo

Filmed by: Christoph Gelep. A collection of time lapses shot around Tokyo, this was Christoph’s first time in Tokyo and the videos are shot over 5 days. This is another great video and we just love how he managed to capture the busy life of Tokyo on video. Check out Christoph’s Vimeo page for more of his work: https://vimeo.com/user16483724

 

 

why so japan tokyo japan travel vlog video Videos filmed in Japan

These were just two videos that we came across that really made us think of why we love Japan and why we must visit Japan as often as we can. Through these videos we can relive stuff we love and find new things to see and do. When you think you have seen all Japan has to offer you find the next new amazing place or thing just around the corner.

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Posted on by Paul in Media, Visiting Leave a comment

Takeshita Dori – Shopping in Harajuku

Takeshita Dori

Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street in English) is a very famous shopping street in Harajuku. It’s a pedestrian only street and the shops are focused on fashion, Japanese pop culture and young people. The street is about 400 meters long and there are a lot of shops on both sides.

The area

This part of Tokyo is seen as an youthful area. There are a lot of clothes shops with the latest trends in fashion, alternative styles and independent designers. Harajuku has become famous for young people dressed in more fun or alternative fashion styles, such as visual-kei, lolita and cosplay and hanging out on the Jingu bridge and in the Yoyogi park. Takeshita Dori is the place where new trends are tested and where you can spot Harajuku celebrities like Shironuri. It’s also where Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was discovered.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan harajuku station

Shopping

Of course, everyone won’t have the same favourite shops, it depends on your personal taste, but if you like Japanese fashion you’re very likely to find something you like here. You’ve got shop after shop after shop along the street. Some are more expensive, some are cheap. I didn’t have any problems finding clothes that were just as nice as the ones you find in Shibuya 109, but a lot cheaper, the difference being they’re no brand here. But you can also find very famous and more expensive brands too, like Liz Lisa.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan liz lisa

Here’s a list of a few of my favourite shops:

Paris Kids
Cheap and fun jewellery. You’ll find lots of teenagers coming here, because everything is so cheap. I think it’s a set price, 324 yen last time I was there, for each item. You’ll find necklaces, ear rings, bracelets, hair accessories and more. I found lots of nice necklaces that were typical Japanese and Harajuku style. I loved it! You’ll find the shop on your left hand side, if coming from the station, and it’s at the beginning of the street.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan paris kids

Daiso 100 Yen Shop
Daiso is a 100 Yen chain shop. They sell everything and anything, and it’s fun browsing the shop. It’s pretty big, several floors, and you will find beauty products, stationary, sweets, kitchen items, crafts and lots more. A lot of the things are of lower quality, but you can find some great bargains too. Daiso is also located at the left hand side.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan daiso

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan daiso 100 yen

Wonder Rocket
I absolutely love this clothing shop. You’ll recognize it by the mannequins with hare masks. The clothes are very Japanese, I’d say romantic and mori girl would describe their style. Lots of muted earthy tones and pastel colours, lace, ribbons and flowers. I absolutely love just browsing the shop and looking at all the pretty things they have for sale. It’s located on the right hand side, a bit further down on the street.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan wonder rocket

The crepes
Not really a shop, it’s a food stall. Harajuku is famous for it’s delicious crepes, and I dont think it’s possible to walk though Takeshita dori without stopping for a crepe. The queues can be long, but they move pretty fast, and it’s well worth the wait. They have loads of different fillings and I try to remember to try out a new one every time we are there. They’ve got whipped cream, strawberries, mochi, red bean paste, banana, chocolate sauce, ice cream, custard, peach… I could go on forever. Remember to stand to the side or have a sit down while enjoying your crepe, since it’s considered rude to eat and walk in Japan. If you go to the big crepe stand somewhere in the middle of the street on the left hand side, there’s a good area just behind the crepe stand for eating. You’ll probably see it, because that’s where everyone else is sitting or standing.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan crepes

How to get there

Takeshita Dori is located in Harajuku, an area in Shibuya in Tokyo. to get there, take the Yamanote Line to the Harajuku station. There are two exists, the southern exit is closer to the Yoyogi Park and northen exit is closer to Takeshita Dori, and it’s this exit you want to take, because as soon as you’re out of the station, you just have to cross over to the other side of the road, and there you have Takeshita Dori. If you happen to come out the other exit, you walk down the hill to the left until you reach the crossing and then cross the street. It’s very easy to spot Takeshita Dori once you’re close to it, because the entrance has a gate you can’t miss and the street is probably packed with people.





Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Fashion, Food & snacks, Shopping, Visiting Leave a comment