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

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 Read more

JAPAN - Where tradition meets the future

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 Read more

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

Music Video Filmed In Japan #11: Will.I.Am

will.I.Am – #thatPower

#thatPower is a single from Will.I.Am’s 3rd album #willpower which was released in April 2013. The song was written by Will.I.Am, DJ Ammo (who has worked on other tracks with Will.I.Am and Black Eyed Peas, a group Will.I.A. is a member of) and Justin Bieber. The track features Justin Bieber who sings. The track was first released on YouTube the 15th of March 2013 with the iTunes release a couple of days later on the 18th of March. It had it’s first radio play in the UK on Capital FM the 15th of March. The track made it quite high up in both the UK week chart and the US Billborad, with UK ending up at 2 and the US at 17th place. The music video to #thatPower was first released on the 19th April 2013.

The Music Video

The music video to #thatPower was filmed in Japan. It features Will.I.Am and a hologram of Justin Bieber dancing in different locations across Tokyo. The locations being more of an architectural standing. Some locations I did recognize and some I had no idea about. The video features the well known dance/music group World Order, which if you haven’t yet seen I suggest you check out one of their videos on YouTube. Some of the places that can be seen in #thatPower are Tokyu Plaza Omotesando, which is kind of a shopping centre that has a futuristic entrance with mirrors pointing everywhere, which gives you the effect of a kaleidoscope effect when going in. The shopping centre has a great rooftop café, which gives your nice sights over the city and it’s a really nice place to sit down for a while and relax. Another well known location in the video is the Eye of Shinjuku, a big art installation in the west exit of JR Shinjuku station. The Eye of Shinjuku has been there since 1969 and can be seen in the Beastie Boys – Intergalactic music video from 1989. Other places that can been seen in the video are the Tokyo Big Sight, a large convention centre in Tokyo and the Florian Claar’s “Fragment No.5″ which I had never seen before. It can found in Tokyo Midtown. There are a lot of very modern design buildings as backdrops in the video, which does not surprise me, really. Will.I.Am is a very creative person with an eye for something different and the locations that are featured in #thatPower are of the more modern architecture to what you might be used too seeing.

Official site http://will.i.am/

 

 





Posted on by Paul in Media, Music Leave a comment

Sakura Matsuri Stockholm 2016

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

Sakura Matsuri Stockholm – Cherry Blossom Festival

It’s hanami season and the blossoming of the cherry trees is sweaping across Japan. For the past couple of weeks we’ve been enjoying seeing photos and videos from Japan, of the pink and white flowers on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Now it’s finally our turn here in Sweden to do some cherry blossom viewing. To kick off the season we attended Körsbärsblommans Dag, Sakura Matsuri, which is the annual cherry blossom festival day in Stockholm, arranged by the Japanese Association. You never know if the trees will be in bloom during the festival, and this year they had just started coming out. We will try and come back later in the week, to see them in full bloom.

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

The stage

There were performances on stage throughout the day. Wa-Taiko drums, a fashion show, dance performances, choirs and more. Even Hello Kitty made an appearance. Here is Satoko Salme doing a traditional Japanse dance performance.

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

The stalls

There were also a lot of stalls spread around the area. You could find Japanese food, like teriyaki, and lots of different pastries. One stall was selling Belgian waffles, but with a Japanese touch for the day, matcha or azuki waffles. Here’s a matcha waffle with whipped cream and cherries, perfect to eat during a cherry blossom viewing festival.

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

Other stalls had merchandise for sale. We were very happy to see FUKU iro Pierce ear rings available for purchase. After the Fukushima earth quake and the Nuclear power plant incident, local women from the area started making these ear rings to have something to focus on and to feel hopeful about the future. They ear rings are made of Aizu cotton from Aizu, a safe area in the Fukushima prefecture, and acrylic resin.

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

Hans and Yoko Kimono Boutique had a stall. You can find them on Etsy too: HANSandYOKO on Etsy

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

Other stalls had cute stuff for sale, like lots of Totoro, accessories, makeup, stationary and more. J-Fashion Sweden were also there, an association for people interested in Japanese street fashion.

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

Every year I enjoy looking at the wonderful bonsai that the Swedish Bonsai Association has for display. We used to have a little bonsai before, but it died during the winter months. Mangakai, for people interested in manga and anime, also had their own stall at the festival.

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

Hello Kitty was on stage, and when her appearance was over and she was walking away from the festival, she stopped for anyone who wanted a photo or a hug. She was adorable and made a lot of people happy.

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

We saw lots of people cosplaying, like the beautiful Nathy in this amazing costume. You can visit her page on Facebook here: Nathy on Facebook

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri Stockholm cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

All in all, it was a lovely event, just like previous years. Shame about the weather this time though. It was chilly and rainy. But still, a lot of people came anyway to enjoy a little bit of hanami.

whysojapan hanami Sakura Matsuri cherry blossom korsbarsblommans dag kungstradgarden

Previous posts about Sakura Matsuri in Stockholm:
Sakura Matsuri Stockholm 2015
Sakura Matsuri Stockholm 2014
Sakura Matsuri Stockholm 2013





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