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

Japanese Characters: Mameshiba

Mameshiba why so japan
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.

Mameshiba 2 why so japanWhat 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.

Mameshiba 3 why so japan Mameshiba 4 why so japan
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.

Mameshiba 5 why so japan
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.

Whats yours?





Posted on by Paul in Characters 2 Comments

Buying clothes in Tokyo

Buying clothes in Tokyo why so japan

Fashion styles

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.

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

Yohio – Music video for Heartbreak Hotel

yohio why so japan

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.

Here is his page at Universal Music: http://www.universal-music.co.jp/yohio





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

Japanese Character: Rilakkuma

Rilakkuma why so japan

Rilakkuma by San-X

Rilakkuma is a bear that is made by the Japanese company San-X. He first was produced in 2003 by them. The name Rilakkuma is a combination of two Japanese words, the first part being relax and the second part being bear. Rilakkuma is said to be one of the most popular characters in Japan, while listing 5th in a survey of the character databank in Japan.

rilakkuma 1 why so japanSan-X makes many other characters that are available on the Japanese market. Others that are available are Mamegoma, Sentimental Circus, Chocopa, Kutsushita Nyanko and more.

Rilakkuma first appeared in picture books called Rilakkuma Seikatsu that are produced by the San-X company but are now just as popular as the plush cuddly toys are. Rilakkuma is the most popular character by San- and there are many different products made with Rilakkuma, from hovers to food and clothes and book and video games, but the most popular are the plush toys that widly available over Japan. All the toy shops that Ive visited in Japan always have a little section of the shop dedicated to Rilakkuma. There are also several Rilakkuma stores across Japan that mainly sell all things Rilakkuma, but you will also find some of San-X other popular characters available. At the end of this post you will find some addresses to some of the Rilakkuma stores in the greater Tokyo area and some in-store photos that we took on one of our trips.

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Posted on by Paul in Characters 2 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