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

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

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

Visiting Sega Joypolis Odaiba

whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega

Joypolis

Joypolis, or Joiporisu (ジョイポリス) in Japanese, is an amusement park chain in Japan and China, where the games and rides are based on Sega’s characters and games. The first Joypolis opened in Yokohama in Japan in 1994, and has since then spread to Odaiba in Tokyo,  Umeda in Osaka, Okayama City in Okayama and Qingdao in China. There used to be more parks, but they were forced to close due to not enough visitors.

On one of our first trips to Tokyo we saw the Joypolis out at Odaiba, but it was closed for refurbishment, which was a shame, since it sounded really fun to go to. Luckily enough, the next time we were in Japan we decide to go there with a couple of Japanese friends. To get to the Odaiba park you can take the Yurikamome line to the Odaiba Kaihin Kouen Station, or the Rinkai line to the Tokyo Teleport Station, and then walk a few minutes to Decks shopping mall. It’s located on the western side of the mall, and once there you can’t miss it.

whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega

whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega

We all meet up at the venue and used the lockers outside to store stuff we didn’t really want to carry around with us inside. We payed our entrance fee and we were in. You can either pay an entrance fee and once inside use the vending machines to buy tickets for each ride, or you can buy a passport for entrance admission with rides included. We got the passports, so we could go on any ride without having to bother with getting tickets.

As soon as you enter the venue your brain is filled with lots of sights and sounds. It’s like entering a night club, but with theme park attractions instead. It was very obvious we were in a Sega run company, with loads of Sonic the Hedgehog and other Sega characters. The place definitely felt like an amusement park, even though it was all inside.

whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega

 

First we went on a roller coaster ride, which also involved shooting at monsters. We rode a few cool simulators rides, which were great fun. My favourite was a racing car ride, where you sit in real cars that are up on hydraulics with a big screen in front of you, giving you the feeling that you are driving a real car at high speed. Great fun! One of the more scary things was a walk through horror story of The Ring. Sadly it has now been replaced. There were lots of arcades, which were fun too. There’s even an archarde game above the urinal in the men’s toilet! I think in rides way, the roller coaster is probably the biggest ride at the venue. I wouldn’t say it’s an amusement park for thrill seekers, it’s more of a place for all ages to have a good night out.

whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega

whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega

It did come in handy that we visited Joypolis with two native speakers, since some things were only in Japanese and they could help translate for us, but for the most part we did not find the language barrier a problem at all. We would recommend this place and it’s the perfect place to for a great night out with a minute of rides, 3D movies, even a live digital show on the stage sometimes and a whole lot more. Check with the homepage for the different price packages before visiting Joypolis to get the best value ticket.

Link: Ticket information in English

 





Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Reviews, Visiting Leave a comment

Don Quijote – Japan’s Best Discount Store

whysojapan Don Quijote discount store Donki

Don Quijote

Our first experience with Don Quijote (ドン・キホーテ) was the Kabuki-cho Shinjuku store in Tokyo. It was stocked with goods, floor after floor. On our first trip to Tokyo we must have gone into that particle store almost everyday and we would check out one floor at a time. We found that it was best to visit the shop when it was not so busy, because the shop could get really crowed at certain times of the day. We soon learned that the best times were early in the morning, around 10am, or late at night after 10pm.  Even better was after 12 at night, because the store is open 24/7, which is great. In the store you get to listen to the store’s own theme tune, playing on a loop, called “Miracle Shopping” (ミラクルショッピング?) sung by Maimi Tanaka, who was a store employe.

whysojapan Don Quijote discount store Donki

whysojapan Don Quijote discount store Donki whysojapan Don Quijote discount store Donki

whysojapan Don Quijote discount store Donki

Stores

There are a few other Don Quijote stores that you can visit in Tokyo. One night, while we were walking around in Shinjuku, we found this other Don Quijote. It was late at night, like 12:30am I think, and we just saw loads of neon light and the Don Quijote penguin mascot Donpen. We followed the bright lights to what we decided to call Donki World, just because of the size of this place. It was really big! It was all on one floor, but spread across different buildings, and the best thing was that it was open 24/7 too.

whysojapan Don Quijote discount store Donki
Other Don Quijote stores we have seen or been in: There’s one in Ikebukuro, close to the station. There’s one in Akihabara, which has its own theatre, where the idol group AK48 play daily. We also found a store in Roppongi, which has a half pipe theme ride on the roof. The ride has never been used though, because of complaining neighbours. There is another store with a ride, and its in Osaka. It has a ferris wheel stuck to the outside of the store, which I would love to try sometime. There are a lot more stores to check out, not just in Tokyo, but all over Japan. The best place to check is the website for store listings: http://www.donki.com/index_en.php

What you can buy in store

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki productsI would like to say you can buy everything, because that’s what it seems like when you are browsing the stores hour after hour. But ok, maybe not everything, but almost. Some of the products we have seen are clothing (love buying Japanese Kigurumi in Don Quijote!), everything and anything for mobile phones, cases, batteries, selfiesticks – you name it. There are also lots of cosmetics and beauty products, lots of electrical products – from toasters to instax mini camera (including cheap film for them), and more. The food section is always a great place to look through. Last time we were in the store we bought loads of the Poppin Kitchen DIY sweet boxes at a great price. I could go on and on about all the products they have. We have taken some photos just to show how huge the product range is, which can be seen below.

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products fake beard

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products Daruma Maneki-neko whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products Totoro

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products

whysojapan_Don_Quijote_Donki_products_05 whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products game

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products

About Don Quijote

Japanese love to shop and one of the biggest and best discount stores you can find throughout Japan, with its 160 stores, is Don Quijote. The stores are also known as Donki, which is a shortening of the company’s name. Don Quijote started off in the 80’s under the name Just Co. with its first retail store opening in Tokyo. Just Co then changed from retail over to wholesale after a couple years of business. The company’s first Don Quijote named store opened in Tokyo 1989, and it was also then the company changed back to focusing on retail again, with the company changing it’s corporate name from Just Co to Don Quijote Co., Ltd in 1998. Don Quijte also operates three stores in Hawaii.





Posted on by Paul in Shopping, Visiting Leave a comment