Japanese Manhole covers T-shirts from 47Regions

Japanese Manhole covers T-shirts from 47Regions Japan is a place of so many different and wonderful things to do and see. A lot of times when we are planning our trips to Japan we decide not always to have our whole day Read more

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

tokyo

Book Review: Tokyo Clash Japanese Pop Culture

Why So Japan Tokyo Clash Japanese Pop Culture

About the author

Tokyo Clash Japanese Pop Culture is written by Ralf Bähren, a German designer and photographer, that spent a year living  and working in Tokyo, where half of the time he documented lots of close relationships and cultural discussion with all different of sort of people that live in Japan. From the old-fashioned to the more interesting side of Japanese people. This is his first book that he has released. When Ralf Bähren is not writing books, he designs exhibitions, interactive experiences, animation and websites.

Why So Japan Tokyo Clash Japanese Pop Culture

Tokyo Clash Japanese Pop Culture

The book features lots of different pop cultures that can be found all around Tokyo. I remember on our first trip to Tokyo how so many things were so different compared to how things are here in Europe. Not always the big things, but the way day to day life can be. The way Japan looks at solving day to day problems can be an eyeopening experience. I think one of the things I really love about this book is that it presents so many of these things that we never see here in the Western countries, but are very present in Tokyo, Japan. It’s also highlighting the Japanese pop culture, and the way things look in modern Tokyo.

Why So Japan Tokyo Clash Japanese Pop Culture

On each page of this book you find a short piece of text in multiple languages (German, English and Japanese) describing subjects that goes along with one or several photos. I found the pictures to be of great quality and they really seem to jump out of the pages of this book. You can really see that someone has designed it well.

Why So Japan Tokyo Clash Japanese Pop Culture

It’s a perfect book for a coffee table read and I would really recommend it for anyone that loves Japan or is interested in Japanese pop culture.

More info about the book and author: http://www.visuaheli.com/blog/?p=409#more-409
Buy online at Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tokyo-Clash-Japanese-Culture-Style/dp/3833156996

 





Posted on by Paul in Reviews, Shopping Leave a comment

Music Video Filmed In Japan #10: The Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas – Just Can’t Get Enough

Just Can’t Get Enough is a song from the American hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas. It is the second single from the group’s album The Beginning. The song was written by the group and produced with help of DJ Ammo, Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins,  and Tommy Brown. The Black Eyed Peas have been a group since 1995 but they did not hit it big until their album Elephunk was released in 2003. To date the group are one of the all time best selling artists with 35 million albums and 41 million singles over the sold over the world. They were also ranked 12th on the Billboard ’​s Decade-End Chart.

Music Video

The video consists of all the members of The Black Eyed Peas: will.i.am, Apl.de.ap, Taboo, and Fergie. The video was shot while The Black Eyed Peas where in Japan on a press tour. It only took three days to shoot, it was filmed in Tokyo and directed by Ben Mor (who has also directed the music video for Scream & Shout).

What I love about the music video is the futuristic feel, with some of the locations being Sega Joypolis for like half a second, which was a shame. You can also see the driverless train in a couple shots, the one you can ride out to Odaiba to go to places like Sega Joypolis or go and see the massive Gundam robot behind Tokyo Diver shopping centre. There are also lots of street views of Tokyo at night in the video, which look fantastic. One of the shots features some of the led signs near the Shibuya crossing, and you can also spot Don Quijote in Roppongi in the background in of one of the shots.

The Just Can’t Get Enough video was released on Vevo on the 16th of March 2011 and the single was released about a month before that. The single reached number 1 on the UK dance chart and number 3 on the offician UK singles chart. It also reached the same position on the Billboard charts. The video was shot a week before the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and just like the music video Big in Japan by Martin Solveig and Dragonette., it features a message: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the people of Japan. We love you”

Official homepage
http://www.blackeyedpeas.com/





Posted on by Paul in Music Leave a comment

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

Halloween In Japan

Halloween in Japan

Halloween is growing in Japan year by year (we are seeing the same here in Sweden). It seems with more and more influences from America and other counties, Halloween is becoming more and more popular.

With the presence of places like Disneyland in Tokyo and Universal Studios in Osaka having up to a month of celebrations for Halloween, and with companies understanding that Halloween is a good way to sell stuff, Halloween is everywhere.

Halloween in Japan - Whysojapan

Lots of companies have limited edition products for sale under the lead up to Halloween. McDondals have a burger with a black bun to make them seem more spooky, KitKat have released pumpkin flavored KitKats and some companies just rebrand the packages to suit Halloween.

Kit Kat - Whysojapan

People in Tokyo love to dress up for Halloween and with Halloween costumes on sale in big discounts stores like Don Quijote, it can be quite hectic to look around the shops around Halloween, with loads of people out to buy their costumes before Halloween.

McDonalds  - Whysojapan

Dressing Up

There are lots of Halloween events on in Japan, like festivals for the family and nightclubs for the older crowd. One of the events in Shibuya was the Street Party Costume, where you could find thousands of people all dressed up for Halloween walking around and taking photos of each other. People were genuinely having a fun time! How often can you say that you saw a whole gang of minions crossing the world famous crossing in Shibuya? Group of friends like to dress up all as the same character, like a group of minions, or charachters that go together, like Super Mario and Luigi. From the pictures I’ve seen online (sites like tokyofashion.com) people spend a lot of time on their costumes, and in some cases also lots of money, to get their costume just right. No surprise, since the whole cosplay culture comes from Japan.

Cupcakes  - Whysojapan
Cupcakes  - Whysojapan

Even though Halloween is a very commercial holiday of sorts, it is still a lot of fun. Have a look at the video above to see just how much fun it can be!





Posted on by Paul in Characters, Events, Fashion Leave a comment

Things to think of before traveling to Japan, part 2

whysojapan_japan_rail_pass before traveling to japan
Transport while on holiday

Before traveling to Japan Part 2, Part 1 can be found here. We have mostly traveled within Tokyo and we normally use a Suica card. It’s a bit like the Oyster card that they have in London. You can charge it up with money and you just tap in and tap out via the barriers at the train/underground station. There are two cards that can be used in Tokyo, Suica and Pasmo. Both do for most part the same job while traveling in Tokyo the cards can be brought direct from the ticket machines at the train stations you can get the Suica from the JR green ticket machines and the Pasmo from the pink ticket machines. When buying the cards you have to charge it with a certain amount of yen to get you started and a deposit fee of 500 yen is also included, which can be refunded if you decide to return the cards when you leave Japan. Links for both Suica: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/suica.html and Pasmo: http://www.pasmo.co.jp/en/. On our first trip we did buy a sort of travel as much you want ticket for x amount of days, but that would only work on the Tokyo metro. See their site for more info: http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/

Traveling out from Tokyo

If you are thinking of traveling to different parts of Japan, maybe like Kyoto, then it might well be worth buying a Japan rail pass. The card gives you 7, 14 or 21 days of travel on all of JR trains across the country to a heavily discounted price. You need to purchase the ticket before you travel to Japan, either from you local travel agent that deals with Japan travel or sites like japan-rail-pass.com. Just google “japan rail pass” for more info.

why_so_japan_3g_modem_01 before traveling to japanInternet on the go while in Japan

We have always rented a 3G and now 4G wifi router while in Tokyo. It lets us use our smart phones on the go in Japan, which can be of great help if you need to look up something on the go, or just check where you are on Google Maps. The company we normally go with is Globaladvancedcomm.com. You can read our review about their service from a previous posts via think link: whysojapan.com/internet-while-on-holiday-in-japan/ or just search for “internet” in the search box on the right hand side of the site.

 

Money

You will need to get money exchanged before traveling over to Japan. Of couse, you could do it once you get to Japan, but it saves time doing it before hand. How much money to take is a difficult question to answer. I don’t know really, it all depends how much you are going to spend, which most times it’s impossible to know. I almost always end up coming home with some yen’s over, which I normally will exchange back (sometimes to a loss). I’ve also saved it till our next trip, because I know we keep returning. You can find ATM machines to use your MasterCard / Visa card in, but not evey machine works with them. Your best bet is to find a 7-Elven store, which normally has an ATM that will work with those cards.

whysojapan_exchange_money_yen before traveling to japan

Power

As we get all more tech savvy we like to take our electrical devices with us on holiday. Now you most probably will need to check if your device will work on the lower voltage in Japan, and in that case you will also need a plug adapter for your device. Check out this post which explains a bit about it all: whysojapan.com/electric-and-gadgets-while-in-japan/

Making plans

What we do each time before we leave for Japan, we make sort of our own guide book to things to see and do and thisis  where a lot of our research time goes into. We look up things to see and do. We always have certain things we want to see, so looking up addresses, opening times and all important info beforehand, saves you a lot of time and less time getting lost and stressed and more time enjoying your holiday. Another fun thing is to just walk around. It’s normally when you’re not looking for anything special you end up finding a gem of a place. A couple sites which are a good place to start with are: japan-guide.comjapantravelinfo.com/top/index.php, and tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g294232-Japan-Vacations.html. Of course there are tons of sites, so your best bet is to use Google as a good starting point.





Posted on by Paul in Visiting 1 Comment