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Top Japanese places to visit in London

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Japan Candy Box review + giveaway

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Video game arcades in Japan

arcade why so japan

The Japanese love their gaming

Video game arcades are hard to miss while in Japan and especially Tokyo since theyre everywhere. In the UK and Sweden there are some video arcade centres, but nothing that compares to the size of centre, the amount of games and that most of the machines are very new and up to date games.

In Japan gaming is different in general. Its big business. The Japanese love to play games. If theres not a video game arcade they will be playing some sort of hand held device, like PSP or 3DS.

So the need for the video game arcade is big. Its quite common that you will find a video game arcade that is a multi storied complex. I think the ones that I played in, a lot where at least five floors of games.

Smoking and gaming

arcade 2 why so japanEach floor was dedicated (some time even two floors) to a certain sort of game genre. For example, on one of the floors you would find the cabinet games, where there were a lot of fighting games. What was normally different with this floor was that you are allowed to smoke while playing, which is something we did not notice on the other floors of the video game arcades that we visited. If you was to go to an arcade in the day time around lunch time, you would find this floor normally filled up with Japanese men playing a game and having smoke while sitting there in a suit and tie. I guess this might help to relieve some of the stress before going back to work.

Music games

arcade 3 why so japanThe next floor would be dedicated to music games. Some games were very popular to play and sometimes we had to wait our turn. The sort of games you could find would be games like Jubeat, an up beat game where you have to push buttons in time to music. A very addictive game! We will do a full review of this game in a later post. Another game called Taiko no Tatsujin where you either play against someone, or your own. The aim of the game is to hit the big drums in time to the music. We will also do a post about that game later on. You could also find games like DJ Hero, where you use the DJ decks to control the game. And of course there would be some sort of dancing game. This floor was the floor we could easily stay there for hours and probably did some days.

Loyalty cards for dedicated gamersarcade 3 why so japan

For dedicated gamers there are club cards that can be purchased. Depending on what company that game is made by you have to choose the right card for it. We played Jubeat a lot so we had the card from Konami, who are the makers of the game and their card would work on all of their games that have the card reader function on it. Each time before you start to play you could register your card so you can save over your points and earn extra stuff, like new songs. You can also register the card on the game site which would allow you to log in and see how good you are playing in ranks and stuff, which is another way to get people back into the arcade to play again.

Purikura photo bootsarcade 4 why so japan

There would always also be a floor for the photo booths “purikura” photo club. Those floors are always busy with loads of girls running around deciding which machine to use to take the photos. This is  another reason game arcades are still big in Japan. The photo machines are very Japanese, something thats not seen in many other countries on this scale and its also bringing in girls to the video game arcades, which sometimes feels like a very man dominated place. I’m sure Vega will have a more in depth review about the photo booths in a later post.

Gambling for money

Some arcades also have a floor for the gambeling machines, but since its illegal to gamble for money in Japan you end up playing for prizes. When you win you can choose a prize at the arcade, or you can choose for that prize to be a money token that shows how much you have won. You bring your money token to a little store somewhere outside of the arcade to change it for cash. The most common gambling game is called Pachinko where you shot metal ball bearings around inside a machine to win points. This game is very popular. Ssome places only have this sort of game there, normally called Pachinko Parlors and can found a lot in Tokyo.

UFO catchers

arcade 5 why so japanThe other floors, normally the first floor, would have the UFO catchers, claw machines. In the machines you could find a plush toy of your favourite character, candy, anime figure or even electrical goods like MP3 players. The claw machines are a bit more advanced in Japan compared to what Ive seen elsewhere. Normally you just have a normal 3 fingered claw, but in Japan it can be just one big scooper arm and the prizes might look easy to move but they have stacked the prizes in a way thats hard, so theyre hard to move but not impossible, and the good thing is whenever you win a prize the staff will give you a bag to carry it away in so you don’t have to walk down the street with a big cuddly toy under your arm unless you wanted too.

Play early to avoid the crowds

The video game arcades in Tokyo are open till late, at least till 24:00 or so, most of them later than so. One of the arcades that we played at a lot was Tatio Game Station, which has a lot of arcades and not just in Tokyo. They can also be found in other cities in Japan. Another one that we played at was in Akihabara. Its a video arcade run by Sega where a lot of the prizes in the UFO catchers are be different Sega character, like Sonic.arcade 6 why so japan

We found it easier to go to the video arcades early in the day time, rather than late at night. There were a lot less people earlier in the day, which means you don’t have to queue to play some of the more popular machines and you also don’t feel like a fool when you are trying to understand the Japanese part of the game which most of the time we ended up guessing.

If you like video arcades I really do recommend you to visit one while in Japan. You will be blow away by the choices of games to play.

Have you been to an arcade in Japan? What was your favourite game?

arcade 7 why so japan arcade 8 why so japan arcade 9 why so japan arcade 10 why so japan arcade 11 why so japan arcade 12 why so japan arcade 13 why so japan

 

 





Posted on by Paul in Gaming, Visiting 3 Comments

Kit Kat in Japan

Kit Kat and Japan

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.

Why so Japan KitKat why so japan kit kat 2

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.

why so japan kit kat 3 why so japan kit kat 4

Limited edition

Kit Kat is also often releasing limited edtion flavours. Here is a little list of flavours that are or have been available:

  • Rum & Raisin
  • Wasabi
  • Green tea
  • Strewberry cheese cake
  • Dark Soy Flour
  • Halloween Pumpkin Pudding and Cinnamon Cookie
  • Petite Bitter Chocolate
  • Vanilla Ice cream
  • Sweetness Raspberry
  • Yubari melon
  • Tea
  • Soy Sauce Limited
  • Shinshu Ringo Apple

 

Check out this link for more flavors and pictures:
http://stuffwecollect.com/kit-kats-from-japan-a-culinary-collecting-obsession

So, whats your favourite flavor of Kit Kat?





Posted on by Paul in Food & snacks, Shopping 1 Comment

Hanami – a celebration of cherry blossom

why so japan hanami cherry blossom celebration Hanami celebrations in Japan

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.

hanami cherry blossom spring 1 why so japanDuring 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.

hanami cherry blossom spring 2 why so japanA 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?

 

Image credit: Picnic photo by AKphotos





Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Other 4 Comments

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.

Read more





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