Kizuna Japanese subscription box

Kizuna Japanese subscription box This is a promotional post. We were offered the opportunity to try a new subscription box from Kizuna Box from Japan. Of course we jumped at the chance. We were given the option of two different boxes, Read more

Sakura Matsuri Stockholm 2017

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

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

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 #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

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Japanese TV Adverts #48, #49 and #50

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 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.

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Book review: Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo

whysojapan confessions of a texan in tokyo grace buchele mineta

About the author

whysojapan confessions of a texan in tokyo grace buchele minetaAs 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.

whysojapan confessions of a texan in tokyo grace buchele mineta

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.

whysojapan confessions of a texan in tokyo grace buchele mineta

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.


whysojapan confessions of a texan in tokyo grace buchele minetaAll books by Grace on Amazon:

Texan in Tokyo on Etsy:

Texan in Tokyo website and blog:




Posted on by Vega @ in Reviews 1 Comment