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
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
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
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
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
When Im in Japan I love visiting the confectionery shells in the convenience stores to see what I could find. Most of the candy I had never seen before. There are some that I know, like Pocky thats all over the world nowadays. But one of them that has a strong presents on the market is Kit Kat.
Kit Kat in Europe
Kit kat in Europe is quite normal and boring really. Its normally just milk chocolate, but I have seen more flavours starting to come out onto the market, but noting as a great as the Japanese market is.
Kit Kat in Japan
Since Japan is a hard market to break into for a western company its nice when you do find a brand that you heard of before. But for Kit Kat its not just the normal milk chocolate that we are most used to. Instead, in Japan you find them in all diffrent flavours. Lots of them that I had never even seen or dreamed of. Quite often Kit Kat is sold in a sort of gift box pack where you get many small packs of the same flavor in. A box which can be great to take home as a gift for someone.
Kit Kat is also often releasing limited edtion flavours. Here is a little list of flavours that are or have been available:
Spring has arrived in Japan and its the hanami season. The word “hanami” is the Japanese word for “flower viewing”. For about two weeks every spring, Japan transforms into a cherry blossoming paradise when the cherry trees are in bloom. The hanami enthusiast can make the most of the season by travelling through the country, starting in south and going north following the blossoming as it spreads up the country.
During daytime, people enjoy this beautiful time of the year by having picnics in the park. You meet up with friends and family or co-workers and you enjoy food and snacks together (often bento and dango).
People are playing and there’s music to enjoy. People often stay for hours until the evening, and thats when some parks are lit up by decorative paper lanterns. The night time celebration is called “yozakura”.
Since the cherry blossoming season is so short, its progress is closely watched by private agencies who will predict when it will start, and newspapers and TV will report as its happening across Japan.
A bit of Japan in Stockholm
In Sweden, where I live, we have cherry trees in central Stockholm, and every year when they’re in bloom there’s a celebration of both the flowers and the Japanese culture. In the past there’s been performances with taiko drums, kimono show, kyudo show and even Japan’s ambassador has been there and held a speech. Swedish cosplayer usually dress up in cosplay and have picnics under the cherry trees.
Have you been to any hanami events? In Japan or maybe elsewhere in the world?
Mameshiba is a merchandise franchise that you can find in Japan and also to the lesser amount in the rest of the world. I would say that Mameshiba is one the more well known characters in Japan. A mameshiba is a kind of bean dog character. The little bean has a face similar to a dog. Mame means bean in Japanese and shiba is a well known breed of dog in Japan. And the phrase mame shiba refers to a toy or puppy Shiba Inu.
What is even more special with Mameshiba is that he or she always has a little fact to tell you, something that you probably didnt know.
Mameshiba first became popular via interstitial program that where broadcast on TV over Japan instead of adverts. Each advert would run for about 30 seconds or so and would be animated and would always have an interesting fact to share with its audience.
That advert also become very popular on YouTube with most of them being subtitled into English. After Mameshiba became so popular more and more products were being produced in Japan and being sold as small plush toys in the US via the store Hot Topic. I think that’s where I bought my first one.
In Japan there are lots of products that have been made in connection with the Mameshiba franchise. Lots of plushies in every size possible. I’ve also seen key rings, chopsticks, books, stationary and more. To date four books have been made by Viz Media that are produced in English. In a later post I will show you them and give a brief review about each one.
There have also been what I guess you could say are spin offs of Mameshiba. You have Baby-Shiba which is a series of the baby shiba, Babyshiba Fruits and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu also has her own Mameshiba characters, the main one is being called Mameshipamyupamyus and both have appeared in TV adverts together.
One of the most popular Mameshiba is called Edamame. He is the green bean dog and his interesting fact is that “the inside of a kangaroo pouch is supposedly really stinky”. That I bet you didnt know, but you know now.
I would say that Mameshiba is definitely one of my most favourite Japanese character that I always return home with.
When you think of Japanese youth culture and fashion you most probably think of visual kei, the Harajuku girls dessed as lolitas and styles similar to that. You do see these extreme styles in Tokyo, especially in the Harajuku area. But most young girls in Tokyo do not dress like that at all. The typical Tokyo girl has long beautiful hair, very high heels, a very short skirt and a top that covers well and shows no clevage at all. The clothes are usually in soft pastel colours, like vintage pink and beige, and you see a lot of lace decorations. A very soft and romantic style, modern with a vintage touch. They look so pretty! This style is typical for a young woman in Tokyo. You see a lot of ther styles as well, of course, but this is the most common one.
Yohio has released a music video for his song Hearbreak Hotel, the song he competed with in the Swedish national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 (he finished in 2nd place, but was favourite to win). Yohio is very inspired by Japanese music culture, especially the visual kei artists, and the video was filmed in Tokyo.
Im very excited about Yohio and I really want him to do well in Sweden (and the rest of the world) because he is bringing attention to the Japanese music scene and showing people something that they are not used to seeing over here.
Yohio is signed to Universal Music in Japan and has worked with the Japanese artist Gackt Camu and the Japanese band Velvet Eden.