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
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 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
It’s been a while since our last set of Japanese TV adverts, so this time we are posting 3 sets of wonderful ads for your viewing pleasure. Lots of great ads can seen in this section, that as always is uploaded by the user JPCMHD on YouTube. Some of our favourites from this time is the pepper robot advert (would love to get one!), some funny looking super heroes, a kind of a cool advert for pop noodles, Sprite made a fun ad with a hidden trapped door stunt, and a whole bunch of ads dedicated to mobile games and loads more – Enjoy!
As we previously wrote in our last book review Grace is Texan that moved to Tokyo to be with her husband Ryosuke. Grace is a self publishing comic book author, freelance writer and YouTuber. If you want to know more about Grace, you can either read our previous post or check her out on YouTube or her blog.
Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo
This is Grace’s third book. We were really looking forward to reading it, as we both are big fans of Grace and Ryosuke, and we enjoyed her two previous books and had high hopes for the third. Thanks to Grace we were able to get our hands on the pre-release version of the book before it was available on Amazon. We both got down to reading it straight away and within a day we had both read it, we couldn’t put it down.
The book follows Grace and her day to day adventures in Japan, with her husband and friends, and her imaginary rabbit Marvin. The book is a mixture of comic strips and tip bits of information on all things Japanese. One of the things we really like about the comic strips is that we can actually hear Grace saying the words, which makes it even more funny. The book also shows the cultural differences between a Japanese person and a non Japanese person. The book is both fun and informational, with lots of interesting facts about Japan, on every few pages. One of the fun facts that we didn’t know about before, was that there are shop dedicated to gift wrapping. We’ve always been impressed by our friends that have given us nicely wrapped gifts and now we know next time we are in Japan we can go to a shop and get ours wrapped just as good.
Another nice touch in this book was that Ryosuke had two pages with comics that he had drawn himself, which we hope to see more of in the future.
As with the previous books, we highly recommend this new one. Either buy as a hard copy, or as we did, download and read on a tablet. If you buy the book from Grace on Etsy you can get the book signed.
Japan Travel Guide – The Ultimate Itinerary Planner
We’ve been to Japan a few times now, and before each trip we always try and do some research, so we have a good plan of where we want to go and what we want to do. This can be very time consuming; searching websites, double checking sources, finding out important details are wrong, doing some more research, and so it goes on. This is where a guide would come in handy. The Japan Travel Guide – The Ultimate Itinerary Planner is a great source to turn to before (and during) your trip to Japan. They’ve done all the research for you!
Authors Christopher Crane and Emma Chan have interviewed dozens of expats and experienced travelers to give you all the information you need for sightseeing, fin and interesting experiences and great food. The guide focuses on five areas: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Okinawa. You get tips about traditional and modern Japan, eat and drink, festivals and the cherry blossom viewing, with descriptions, tips and useful information, adresses, opening times prices and more.
Find out about the The Zen Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto, a masterful example of Zen landscaping. Learn about the Waterfight Festival in Tokyo, where people fight each other with rotten tomatoes, oranges, colored pigments, and everything in between. Read about Yamachan in Osaka, one of the best takoyaki restaurants.
This is a very useful guide. We found information about well known must-see spots, but we also found great information about things we’ve never heard about before, the hidden gems you really don’t want to miss. The next time we plan a trip to Japan we will sure turn to this guide.
At the moment you can get Kindle edition of the guide for free on Amazon.
Tokyo Roar is a short film made by filmmaker Brandon Li. Brandon filmed Tokyo Roar while on a month trip in Japan. The video is Brandon’s own impression of both modern and the more traditional side to Japan. I think that Brandon has really captured Japan on film in 4 minutes. It might not be what everyone thinks and see of Japan, but from my experience in Japan it seems pretty spot on. I would say this video, for the most part, shows all the wonderful things in Japan, but it also shows to some part real life of homelessness, loneliness and also what life can be like for many Japanese day in and day out. The first time we watched the video it really hit us how he had catched Japan in the way we see it, and it had us having to watch it again to see even more details that we missed in the first viewing.
A very good friend of mine is a collector of Asian collection dolls. She introduced me to her hobby, and through her I’ve learned quite a lot. There are lots of different types of dolls, brands and manufacturers. From the world famous fashion doll Barbie to the more unique (and very expensive!) so-called ball jointed dolls of the highest quality. Then there are the in between dolls. The dolls are not toys, but are seen as collectibles or as a piece of art. Some collectors buy the dolls as they are, others modify them to make them their own. There are even specific artists who make a living on modifying and painting the dolls (doing “faceups”) and turn them into amazing creations. This industry is big in Asia and, of course, big in Japan. In this post I will introduce you to one of these collector dolls, and it is the Pullip doll.
The Pullip dolls
Pullip is classed as a fashion doll, originally from South Korea. When Pullip was first launched, it was marketed by the Japanese company June Planning. Nowadays the dolls are released by a company called Groove.
The Pullip doll is about 30 cm tall and has eye mechanism that allows the eyes to move and blink. Each month a new doll is released, and each doll is unique, often being a part of a specific theme along with previous and future releases. A popular set are the Sailor Moon themed dolls. Another on going series are the Rozen Maiden themed dolls. Sometimes a doll is a collaboration with a brand, like Japanese clothing brand Innocent World and Hello Kitty.
Where to buy Pullip
I’ve found a few places in Tokyo where they sell Pullip dolls. Kiddy Land in Harajuku, Hakuhinkan Toy Park in Ginza och Radio Kaikan in Akihabara. I’m sure there are more shops, but those are the ones I’ve stumbled upon when I’ve been in Tokyo. If you want to buy online, there are quite a few places to get them. Ebay or Amazon is a good start.
Collecting Pullip as a creative outlet
Itis common tobuy a Pullip second hand, or get a Make ItOwnkit (which is a nude Pullip with no clothes, hair or painted face)to workwith it.You can changewigs and eyes, carve the face to change it’s features andpaintthe face (faceup) to make it look completely different. It is alsopopular toreplacethe bodyto a more disposablebodyof the brandObitsu. Many collectors also make their own clothes and other types of accessories for the dolls clothes.
“I think the biggest misconceptions about doll collecting is that it is for kids.” says Pullip collector Kiki from Canada. “The reality is that doll collecting is often paired with other things such as clothes making, photography, customization, set design, etc. I believe that very few collectors actually play with their dolls like they did when they were five. So in this sense, doll collecting is no different from other forms of collecting (i.e. stamps, coins, model cars, etc.) except I will go out on a limb and say that doll collecting is even better because it often pushes collectors to become more creative and artistic.“
Kiki got into Pullips after first seeing a picture posted by @tokyofashion on Instagram in late 2012, from a window display at Matsuya Ginza for Groove’s annual Doll Carnival. “I’ve always been interested in big-headed dolls and Japanese traditional clothing and it just so happened that the Pullips in the photo were all wear kimonos. I started to research more about them and fell in love with them.“
TimmiLynn Johnson is also a Pullip collector. She’s from Minneapolis, and got into the dolls after her twin sister came across Pullips while searching for information on Blythe dolls, and then told TimmiLynn about them. “I bought Jaldet to customize but when I got her I thought she was too pretty to customize.” she says. “There are quite a few of my dolls that I am really found of.“
TimmiLynn and her Pullip collection.
The Pullip doll community
Doll collectors meet other like minded collectors both online and in real life. They share their hobby, ask and give help and advice. “It is great to see that there are other people who are as enthusiastic about dolls as I am.” TimmiLynn says. “I also really like seeing owner photos and reviews. I have fallen in love with dolls that I originally didn’t like. The doll community is a good resource for all sorts of doll related questions that I might have.“
Kiki has the same experience. “Everyone I’ve met so far has been incredibly friendly and helpful.” she says. “Many of the experienced collectors are always willing to share tips and tricks that they’ve learned and I’ve made quite a few friends from the community. Overall, it’s very inclusive and relaxing place to be.“
If you’re interested in the Pullip dolls and want to learn more about them, here are a few places I think is a good start.
Pullip Style – Link: Pullip Style
Web shop based in the USA and discussion forum.
Pullipsandjunk FAQ – Link: Pullip FAQ and Pullip release list
A very thorough FAQ where you can find all the information you can think of about Pullips.
Omocha Crush’s reviews on YouTube – Link: Omocha Crush on YouTube
Angela is a serious collector and goes through each doll in detail. You get to see exactly what you get before you buy.
Omocha Crush Pullip and Doll HQ – Link: Omocha Crush on Facebook
Angela also has a discussion group on FaceBook where people share photos, ideas and ask questions. It’s a “safe, happy place for Pullip and doll lover’s to post pics, ask for advice, and promote their favorite links to dolly goods.”
Many thanks to Kiki and TimmiLynn for taking their time to tell me about their hobby.