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

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu live in London 2015

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu live in London 2015

This year’s Kyary Pamyu Pamyu concert in London coincided with the Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival. The festival was held in the day time and the concert started at 8 pm.

Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival 2015

The festival opened a few hours before the concert at the Roundhouse in London, with a few stalls showcasing different food and products from Japan. As an added bonus, the original dress from Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s music video Fashion Monster, was on display for everyone to see.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

Some of the other stalls were marukome×MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON and Kawaii & Oishii. Appearing on a ministage was a j-pop group called Musubizm, who performed for the public and later on took photos with their fans.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015 whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015
This year’s festival had free admission, which was great for those who just wanted to see the festival in the day time, but didn’t have any tickets to the actual concert in the evening.

After the festival we headed into London, to visit some of our favourite Japanese shops, and to get a bite to eat.

The venue

We joined the queue outside the Roundhouse around 19.15. The queue was very long, but moved quite fast. It was fun seeing so many different sorts of people had turned up for the concert. Of course, lots of Japanese people, cosplayers and lolitas dressed as Kyary, and more.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

Before we knew it we were inside the venue, heading upstairs to find our seats. The concert was held at the Roundhouse in London this year, and had both seating and standing. We chose seating this year, which was fine. The only thing I would have liked to change about it was the supporting beams for the roof that were somewhat in the way of the view sometimes.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

The show started promptly at 8pm and the crowd went mad when Kyary Pamyu Pamyu appeared on stage.

The show – Crazy Party Night

This year’s show  was seat up with a theme around a night at a night club called Crazy Party Night. Joining Kyaryu Pamyu Pamyu on stage were her dancers and her very own DJ who kept the music going all night and playing music for the dancers and entertainment between costume changes.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

The stage differed quite a lot from the previous two London concerts, this time the stage was given a more grown up theme with a DJ booth, compared to last time with toys. The stage felt like it has grown with her now that she is old enough to drink and go clubbing.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015 whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015
whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

Kyary played a  lot of her new songs this year, but also mixed in all her hit songs from her past albums. Something they did a little bit different this year with one of the tracks, Candy Candy, was to remix part of the song with other music, giving Kyary a chance to really get the crowd going, which we all enjoyed.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

The show ended, as all Kyary’s shows have ended in London, with Chan Chaka Chan Chan, with the exception that this time there were lots of confetti shot out over the public.

whysojapan kyary pamyu pamyu london roundhouse 2015

Trying to pick out which of the songs was my favourite from the concert is always going to be hard, but I did enjoy Candy Candy and one of my favourites – Fashion Monster.

Previous posts about Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Moshi Moshi Tokyo App
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu live in London 2014
Quick magazine feat. KPP
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu World Tour 2014
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Nanda Collection
Dokidoki Wakuwaku Pamyu Pamyu Revolution Land DVD review
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu live in London 2013 – part 1 | part 2 | part 3
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Space Invader
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Posted on by Vega @ in Events, Music, Reviews Leave a comment

Zui ki tei, a Japanese tea house in Sweden

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

A Japanese tea house in Sweden

The first Japanese tea house in Europe was built in 1935 in Stockholm, Sweden. It burnt down 34 years later, but in 1990 – 25 years ago – a new tea house was built, and it can be found in the garden of the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm Sweden. The museum has a collection of historical and cultural objects from all over the world, including a lot of items from Japan, and until spring 2016 there is an exhibition about Japan at the museum, called “Japan takes place“. We recently went to the exhibition, and we took the opportunity to attend a guided tour of the Japanese tea house, Zui ki tei. The name Zui ki tei (瑞暉亭) translates to “The dwelling of the light of promise” but it can also be read as Sweden and Japan.

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

A Japanese tea house, where you leave your worries behind

The Zui ki tei tea house was designed by Japanese architect Masao Nakamura. It was built in Japan, taken down, and re-built in Sweden and now stands in a garden next to the Museum of Ethnography, called “Dew’s ground“. During the summer months, when the trees and bushes are covered with green leaves, the tea house is quite well hidden. When you are standing in the garden, it actually feels like you’re cut off from the work outside. Everything is quiet and peaceful.

When you walk up to the tea house, you start by stepping on a stone and then walk along a pathway, and this symbolizes that you’re now leaving all the stress of your every day life, and stepping into the calm. You leave all your worries aside and slow down and enjoy the moment. Before entering the tea house garden you go through two gates, another symbol of leaving stress and entering the calm.

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

Tea Philpsophy and Wabi

Before you are invited into the tea house, you have a sit in the waiting hut. You can have a chat with your friends and you can enjoy your surroundings. Wabi is part of the tea philosophy, and it stands for “Appreciating the beauty of things that are simple and natural”. In the autumn when the leaves start to fall, the leaves are left on the ground. It’s all part of Wabi – that’s how nature is and it is enjoyed that way. The waiting hut wooden pillars are left raw and unpainted, another part of Wabi, they’re left to look just like nature. There is a stone lantern, used during darker evenings.

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

Entering the tea house

The photo below to the left is of the entrance to the tea house. All guests enter via this small door, no matter of your status. Even though there are different levels of statuses, this is a symbol of how we are all equal. Unless you’re part of the Emperor’s family, then you will enter via another, bigger, door.

The photo below to the right shows where the samurais leave their swords before they enter the tea house. The shorter shelf is for the seppuku / harakiri sword, the shorter sword a samurai would use for suicide to avoid shame.

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

The design of the tea house

Even though most tea houses may look very similar to an untrained eye, they are all very individually designed. This specific tea house is close to Djurgårdsbrunnsviken Bay, so the element of water has been incorporated into the design as waves along the sides. It recently went through a renovation and restoration process, by craftsmen from Yasuimoku Komuten Company from Kyoto. They used traditional Japanese tools when doing the restoration.

The tea house consists of two tea rooms. The smaller room is more simple and the bigger room is more formal. The sliding rice paper walls inside the house (which are not actually made of rice paper) are designed to block off what’s happening outside, but still let the light through. This is so you can concentrate on the moment and the tea ceremony, without any distractions.

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

The interior is kept simple. Tatami mats cover the floor, and there is a built in space called tokonoma where you display a piece of art to appreciate. It can be a painting, and it follows whatever is happening in nature at that specific time. For example, during autumn there could be a painting of a tree with falling leaves. It is also displaying a vase with a simple flower arrangement, ikebana.

whysojapan japanese tea house Zui ki tei etnografiska museet stockholm

The tea ceremony

The bigger room can take up to 20 guests, but because of the intimacy of the ceremony, the number is kept down to 12. The conversation is polite and typical discussions can be about the pottery that is being used. To study the Japanese tea ceremony takes years, and you study with the same master, you don’t change tea schools. Together with the Japanese Tea Society, you can attend beginner courses in the Japanese tea ceremony at the tea house in Stockholm. You can also host your own private tea ceremony for business events or family celebrations, or for a private experience of traditional Japanese culture. There are also open house days and demonstrations of the tea ceremony during the warmer half of the year, but you have to book beforehand to attend the demonstrations.

Learn more

If you want to know more about Zui ki tei or Japanese tea houses in general, here are some links:

Museum of Ethnography
Zui ki tei tea house
Japanese Tea Society Sweden
Japanese tea ceremony

Posted on by Vega @ in Visiting Leave a comment

Japanese TV Adverts #51, #52 and #53

Our new post with the best TV adverts from Japan is now here! I could watch Japanese adverts all day. They always bring a smile to my face and I always find a product that think I’ll have to pick up next time I’m in Japan. In this selection of adverts you will find some of the following: talking dogs riding a train, an ad from AKB48, a bunch of gaming apps (a few I must try out), Strong Zero drink (I have to try next time I’m in Japan), cotton snow candy from Mr Donut, Sofbank has a robot hover on sale, a cat on holiday and a lot lot more. Enjoy!

As always, please check out this YouTube user for more adverts:

Also check out older posts with Japanese TV adverts under the media category to the right of this post.

Posted on by Paul in Media Leave a comment

UFO Catchers In Japan

whysojapan ufo catchers prizes

UFO catchers

UFO catcher – or claw machines as there are also known as – are arcade machine that are very popular all over the world. The aim of playing the machines is to pick up the prize with the claw, It’s normally made up of two to four prongs, which will grip or move your prize over to the prize hatch and drop the price down, where you then claim the price through sort of a cat flap door in the front of the machine. The machines are usually see through from all sides, which makes it easier to play, or so you would think.

whysojapan ufo catchers prizeswhysojapan ufo catchers prizes

Playing claw machines 101

Is there any skill to playing the machines? Well, the claw machines that I’ve played here in Europe I’ve never had any problems playing. Getting the claw over and even pick up the prize is the easy part. The only real skill you need is being able to place the claw over the price in the right way.  After that it’s down to chance from there on. The machines in the UK are simple to play and once you’ve got the hang of the technique, you could win at them all day –  if it wasn’t for one thing. The only thing stopping you are the owners of the arcades who set the machines up. The machines are set to only tightly grip the prize for a longer period of time after machine has been feed a certain amount of cash.

One good tip is to try and go for prizes that are close to the hatch, because what happens is the claw becomes weaker the further it has to travel, and the price might drop before it reaches the hatch. Unless the machine is up in the quota it needs, only then will it stay strong enough to carry the prize all the way. You can also try and move prize bit by bit, until you have it close enough. That’s another good work around to getting the prize you have your eyes set on. I usually start with prizes close to the hatch, and the technique works good for me. Another good tip is to watch others play. If they have put loads of cash in the claw, it will normally hold the prize for longer before it weakens. This is giving you more of a chance on bagging the prize you want, if the previous player gives up.

The machines I’ve played in the UK have prizes that are mostly plush toys. One of my best wins as to date on a machine in the UK was a Minion, winning it made my day.

whysojapan ufo catchers prizes

UFO Catchers in Japan

Playing UFO Catchers in Japan is very different than playing the machines like I’ve played in the UK. You still have the element of the the settings by the vendor for how strong and how long the claw will grip the price, but there is so much more skill to it than the other machines I’ve played outside of Japan. First lets start off with the prizes, there are a lot more to choose from. Yes, you do have the plush toy machines, but you also have so much more. Some of the prizes we have won when playing in Japan for example are figurines that are only made as prizes for UFO catchers. There’s also food, bath towls, cutlery, small electrical devices, and so much more.

whysojapan ufo catchers prizes

Most arcades in Japan normally have at least one floor designated to UFO catchers. Usually it’s the first floor of the building. A couple of popular arcades we have played in are the Taito Game Station and Sega’s arcades. Most machines cost around 100 to 200 yen to play, and if you buy more games at once it can sometimes be cheaper.One great thing when you do win your prize is that the staff will usually see you win it and come over and congratulate you and give you a plastic bag to carry your prize away, which is great service.

Playing in Japan

The machines in Japan really do take it to the next level. Of course, you can find the normal claw machines there as well, but they have developed other ways to play, which requires a lot more skill to it, and a lot of the machines only have two claws to the pick up the prize with. There are a couple of different setups of UFO catchers. Of course the basic pick up and drop, but they also have other setups.

whysojapan taito game station archade hall

One being where the machines has got the prize laying across two metal bars with a gap big enough to pick up the prize and drop it between them. But that would be to easy. Yes, the gap is big enough, but you can’t just pick it up and drop, because mostly of weak claws due to settings. Also the way the staff place the prizes, laying them over the two metal bars and the bars are covered in rubber, which makes it even harder to just push and slide. The main trick is to ether pick it up one end and drop, and do so on and so on until it tips though between the bars.

The next setup is where the prize is hanging on underneath a little piece of plastic, which is balancing on a little rubber ball. At first it seems easy, but then you learn that the plastic rubbing on the rubber ball is a real pain. It can be done, but you have to move the piece of plastic from side to side until the plastic and the prize finally falls from the ball.

whysojapan ufo catchers prizesThe final setup is were the prize has a sort of a plastic ring stuck to the box of the prize. What I found was a good way to win at these sort of UFO catchers is to hook and try to lift it, which can be possible. Another technique is to bring one of the claws to side of plastic hole, so you use the power of the claw closing to drag the prize closer to the hole, which is a good way of winning at this sort of UFO catcher.

My last tip is, if you find one prize you just can’t win but really want (mine was a Super Sonico figurine) is to look around the shops in Akihabara, because there is a chance you find it for sale. They might have one or two available, since they’re not really made for retail. I’m guessing someone has won it and sold it on to the shop and then the shop sells it on – which was great for me, who really wanted it.


It is great fun playing the machines so I really recommend playing them at least once while in Japan.

Check out Taito Game Station homepage to find your closest arcade hall while in Japan:


Posted on by Paul in Gaming 2 Comments

Top 9 Japanese Instagram accounts to follow

Top 9 Japanese Instagram accounts to follow

There are more than 300 million people on Instagram and 70 million photos and videos are uploaded each day. With so many users, it can be hard to find the gems. We’ve put together a list of our favourite Japanese accounts that we love to follow, and maybe this list will help you find new favourites.

whysojapan instagram _tuck4 japanese instagram accounts whysojapan instagram 10_ya japanese instagram accounts
_tuck4 | Link:

About: Takashi Yasui is a freelance photographer based in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo-

10_ya | Link:
About: Tomoyasu Koyanagi is from Japan and shares photos of people, landscapes and more.

whysojapan instagram japanloverme japanese instagram accounts whysojapan instagram rainbowqolic japanese instagram accounts
japanloverme | Link:

About: Traditional, kawaii and otaku Japan.

rainbowholic | Link:
About: The lovely Kaila is a motivational blogger and is promoting a kawaii lifestyle.

whysojapan instagram hirozzzz japanese instagram accounts whysojapan instagram nao1223 japanese instagram accounts
hirozzzz | Link:

About: Hiroaki Fukuda, a photographer with photos from Tokyo and everywhere.

nao1223 | Link:
About: Naomi O Kobe from Japan shares food, flowers and beautiful photos.

whysojapan instagram tokyofashion japanese instagram accounts whysojapan instagram kohji405mi16 japanese instagram accounts
tokyofashion | Link:

About: Daily pictures from Harajuku, Shibuya & other areas of Tokyo, featuring people on the street.

kohji405mi16 | Link:
About: Kohji M is from Tokyo, and the account is mostly focused on children and family life.

If you have any favourites, please share in the comments! Don’t forget to check out our Instagram account, @whysojapan

Posted on by Vega @ in Media 4 Comments