Why So Japan has now started using Instagram to share lots of photo that we take when we are in Japan. We take so many photos there, that we just don’t get the time to share them all with you in this blog. We use a lot of our photos as part of posts here on Whysojapan, but we have a lot of random photos that we might not be able to use in a post. That’s where Instagram is great for us. We can share each photo as a little post and that’s why we love Instagram!
Please feel free to follow us on Instagram. You can either click the Instagram icon on the top right of the page, or click this link here: http://instagram.com/whysojapan, or search for us on Instagram (search for user: whysojapan). See you there!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Here comes a new selection of Japanese TV adverts for your viewing pleasure. Now with subtitles in English, so you don’t need to wonder what’s being said in the ads. Just make sure you choose subtitles in the YouTube window, button at the bottom. At the moment it seems like the subtitles are only on the video at the bottom of the two in this post, we hope more get added soon.
In this section of adverts we find some of the following: our favourite Softbank dog is at a baseball game, an ad for Wonda the coffee in a can drink, Google play, mobile giant au has a new cute monster in it’s lastest advert, GU showing of some of it’s clothes on sale, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in an ad for Nintendo, oh and iPhone 6 too.
As always, please check out this YouTube user for more adverts: http://www.youtube.com/user/JPCMHD
Also check out older posts with Japanese TV adverts under the media category to the right of this post.
Perfume the girl group from Japan that consists of 3 members – Ayaka Nishiwaki (A~chan), Ayano Ōmoto (Nocchi) and Yuka Kashino (Kashiyuka), stage names in brackets. The girl group was originally going to be formed of Ayaka Nishiwaki, Yuka Kashino and Yūka Kawashima back in early 2000. But before the girls could even debut, Yūka Kawashima decided to leave the project, as she was leaving the talent academy Actors School in Hiroshima, where the girls were studying at that time. Yūka Kawashima then went on to form another group called Pinkies. Ayaka Nishiwaki set out to find a replacement for Yūka Kawashima, in which they found Ayano Ōmoto, who was also at the same academy. The group’s name originates from the 3 original members’ names, where each of them had the Japanese character 香 for fragrance in parts of their names.
In March 2002 the group debuted with their first single Omajinai Perori and later on that year in November they relased their second single Kareshi Boshūchū. Both singles were only sold in Hiroshima under the label Momiji. The same yeat they met Mikiko, a choreographer, who has worked with the group on all there coordinates from this point to the onwards. The group later on moved to Tokyo where they ended up meeting Yasutaka Nakata, a music producer and writer, who has worked with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Meg and Ami Suzuki. He has also worked on many remixes for artists and is a part of his own music duo with Toshiko Koshijima called Capsule, an electronic music group. It is very present that Yasutaka Nakata works on Perfume’s music as a lot of their songs have a very electro feel to them. Perfume have been one of the most successful acts in Asian music with more and more of their songs being listened to, not just in Asia, but across the world.
In 2012 the girl group changed label to Universal Music Japan, which would help them to be even more present around the rest of the world. Before that they had been with Bee-hive and Tokuma Japan. The group have been touring on and off internationally for the last two years, with gigs in Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Germany, United Kingdom and France, with more tours to come. The group has also performed at various places in Japan and been on TV and radio numerous times.
The girls as of date have released 4 original studio albums and one compilation album: Perfume: Complete Best (2006) Game (2008) Triangle (2009) JPN (2011) Level3 (2013) A fifth album in the works has been reported
The group has released concerts on DVD and BluRay and they have a DVD/BluRay called Perfume Clip out, which is a a collection of their music videos. Check out cdjapan.co.jp and local digital music retailes like iTunes or others for more of their music and DVDs and BluRays.
The latest DVD/BluRay to have been released is the recording of the 2013 live show from London. Perfume are soon to be back in the UK and other parts of the world with a new set of gigs.
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.
Internet 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.
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.
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/
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.com, japantravelinfo.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.