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 #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

cute

Suica Penguin Mascot

whysojapan_suica_penguin_japan_03

Suica card

If you have used public transport in Tokyo you might well have used one of two smart travel cards: the Pasmo or a Suica card. In Tokyo the cards have pretty much the same function, both  allowing you to pay for travel on the public transportation system in and around Tokyo. Both smart cards can be also used in other parts of Japan for travel, but sometimes you can only use one and sometimes both. It’s always best to check with the local transport for the area you are visiting. The cards that you pre charge can also be used to purchase stuff in different shops and be used as payment on most vending machines.

whysojapan_suica_penguin_japan_01

Suica Mascot

Japanese companies love you to have a mascot to represent their company. Normally the cuter the better. While traveling in Japan you will almost certainly come across the cuteness of the company mascot that is one of my favourites – the cute penguin that represents the travel card Suica. You might wonder what a penguin has to do with travel? Well, penguins are seen to swim through water with ease and that’s how it should feel when using the Suicacard, a smooth moving process as such.

whysojapan_suica_penguin_japan_02

Sucia Penguin

The mascot named Suica Penguin, or just Penguin, was designed by Sakazaki Chiharu and has been used as the mascot since 2001. The penguin has become very popular and I can understand why. Who could not like the cute penguin? I’m sure a lot of people choose that smart card for travel just because of the cute penguin on the card. I know I did on our first trip. whysojapan_suica_penguin_japan_04We saw the Sucia penguin on a lot of posters on the public transport in Tokyo, but didn’t really know what it was to do with, since we had a different travel card on that journey, but after coming home and looking the penguin up, I had a better idea to why we saw it on a lot of places. After that we started to watch a lot of the TV adverts on watch here YouTube featuring the cute penguin, showing how to use the card which I loved. Silly that it might sound, like I said, I’m a sucker for a penguin. I also received some merchandise with thanks to a friend in Japan that hunted the products down and sent them to me, and to this day when we meet always manages to find me some cool Suica penguin stuff. The latest thing being a 2015 year calendar, that we now have on display at home. After our latest trip back in 2014 we found the Suica Penguin store in the Tokyo station, called Penguin Stadium, Pensta. They had loads of stuff to sell, like books, food, games, tea towels, inflatables, key rings and more. Now I will never run out of Suica Penguin stuff. If you’re looking for the shop, it can be found via this link.





Posted on by Paul in Mascots, Visiting 1 Comment

Hyper Japan Shop London

whysojapan_hyper_japan_london_07

Hyper Japan London

Hyper Japan is a well known exhibition fair held ever year in London. The fair celebrates everything Japanese, from the traditional to ultra modern, all can found at the fair. The fair has become very popular and if you have a love or just a little interest in Japan, it’s well worth a visit. The next fair is to be held in the summer of 2014.

whysojapan_hyper_japan_london_04 whysojapan_hyper_japan_london_01 whysojapan_hyper_japan_london_03

Hyper Japan shop

Hyper Japan has now opened it’s first shop as of the end of oktober 2013. Its located in the Camden stables market area in London. The shop, being its first, is a small shop. But content is growing. Since its a very new shop, I’m sure the stock will grow and try the market to see what sells. On our visit the shop had a lot of kawaii goods. A lot of stuff we had only seen in Japan or on the internet before, and rarely found in local shops around London. Some of the stuff we found was a collection of the J-pop princess Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – a mixture of her CDs, DVDs, t-shirts and more. We also found stuff from Tofu Cute, a selection of Japanse sweets, a selection plush alpacas (the ones you see all over Tokyo), t-shirts and bags too.

whysojapan_hyper_japan_london_02

As you see, the shop has a good selection of products which I’m sure will improve even more as time goes by. Walking into the shop gives the feeling of walking in to a little Japanse shop in Tokyo, seeing all the goods available for ourchase. Nowadays when we are in London we jot from shop to shop, like Japan Centre, Art Box, China Town and now recently we have added the Hyper Japan shop to our list of some of the shops we will keep visiting in the future. If you are in London and love things from Japan, then this store is well worth visiting.

whysojapan_hyper_japan_london_06 whysojapan_hyper_japan_london_05

Shop Info

Finding the shop took us a little time at first, since we always seem to get lost around all the small shops in Camden. But after looking on a map we ended up finding it. Please check out the map and shop information below, and also check with their site for the up to date information on opining times and more.

******* From the 24th jan 2014 the shop has closed down *****************

Adress: Stall 713, Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AH
Opening times: 10:00am – 6:00pm, Wednesdays to Sundays (times are on trail)
Websitehttp://www.hyperjapan.co.uk (for shop info klick tab righthand side of page)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hyperjapan

whysojapan hyper japan shop london





Posted on by Paul in Shopping, Visiting Leave a comment

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

Japan and its characters

Characters in Japan why so japan

Before when I knew very little of Japan and its character culture, the only character I had really evey heard of and seen was the very well known Hello Kitty. It’s hard not to have missed Hello Kitty it since she’s on anything you can turn pink and put a cat on. You name it  – from cans of fizzy drinks to clothes and even hotel rooms that are coved in the lovable kitty one might say.

After seeing videos on YouTube of some other character that also came from Japan it started to become more fun. Hello Kitty seems so boring to me now because she can be seen and brought all over the world.

But there are certain character that are very popular in Japan to those in the know that I had no idea about. Every character seems to have a world built around it, where almost every week there a new product is coming out in Japan with a character either on it or a character promoting a product for another company.

You end up becoming a bit obsessed with them. One week you buy a drink just because you favorite character is on the can. Even if you don’t like the drink you like the character so you just have to have it. I’m very much the same when I’m in Japan. I will buy almost everything with my favorite character on.

Over the next months I will post all about the characters I know and love from Japan.

What Japanese characters do you like? Please share in the comments!





Posted on by Paul in Characters Leave a comment