Japanese Manhole covers T-shirts from 47Regions

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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

Book Review: My Japanese Husband STILL Thinks I’m Crazy

My Japanese Husband STILL Thinks I'm Crazy

About the author

Grace Buchele Mineta is an author, blogger, freelance writer and YouTuber from Texas, who now resides in Tokyo with her Japanese husband.

Whysojapan My Japanese Husband STILL Thinks I'm CrazyWe first came across Grace (Texan in Tokyo), the author of “My Japanese Husband STILL Thinks I’m Crazy”, and her husband Ryosuke through our love for all things Japanese. In this particular case our first encounter with Texan in Tokyo was their YouTube channel. We stumbled upon the channel after hearing other J-vloggers (Japanese videologgers on YouTube) talking about them. After watching a couple of their videos we added them to our subscription list.

The YouTube videos are a part of her blog, Texan in Tokyo, where she posts a mixture of  personal essays, videos and comics, all from personal experience, or as she puts it on her own blog, “a window into the life of my husband (Ryosuke) and my entertaining and wonderful life in Tokyo”.

My Japanese Husband STILL Thinks I’m Crazy

This is the second book from the self published author. The book is an autobiographical collection of comic strip styled shorts about her and her husband’s life on a day to day basis and informative text snippets about Japanese culture and life.

As we were already fans of Grace and Ryosuke, it was great to read the comic styled book, with them both in. It was like watching some of the videos we had already seen on YouTube, but done into comic strip form. But you don’t have to have even heard of them before to fall in love with the book itself. It’s a charming, quirky and sweet look into their relationship. After reading the first couple of pages it is easy to get hooked. You can’t wait to see what Ryosuke gets up to on the next page, because he always has something crazy that he is up to.

Whysojapan My Japanese Husband STILL Thinks I'm Crazy

I found the book was an easy read, since it’s comprised of many short and comical comics, which is great for a person like me who hate to read page after page of text. You don’t have to be a Japanese fanatic to enjoy this book, but of course it does help. I am now looking forward to reading the first book, My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy, which is available on Amazon, along with her new book.

Whysojapan My Japanese Husband STILL Thinks I'm Crazy

Get the books on Amazon, and check out her website to continue following Grace and Ryosuke.

For the next couple of days you can download both books for free. Check the books on their Amazon page below for more info.


My Japanese Husband STILL Thinks I’m Crazy on Amazon:

My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy on Amazon:

Texan in Tokyo website and blog:

Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Media, Reviews, Shopping 1 Comment


Whysojapan Danbo


Danbo started her life off when she appeared in the popular Japanese manga series Yotsuba&!  which has been published since 2003. The series has been translated into English for the American market as of 2005 and both are still being published to this day. The manga series is about a five year old girl called Yotsuba Koiwai. Yotsuba is not your normal five year old, she doesn’t really care about the things a five year old normally would care about. She is described as odd, quirky and strange. The series follows her discovery of life with lots of misunderstandings of everyday life, all put together in a comedic way.

Whysojapan Danbo

Introducing Danbo

Danbo (ダンボー) first appared in issue 28 from April 2006 as Yotsuba older friend Miura Hayasaka who had dressed in costume as a robot made up of cardboard boxes for a school assignment. Yotsuba discovers Miura’s  costume and Miura tries to playfully convince her that she is some sort of “attack robot” that is powered by money that can be inserted in the slot on her chest. Miura names her cardboard box robot Danbo.

Danbo takes over the world

Danbo became internet famous around late 2007 when Japanese company Kaiyodo started to produce small action figues of Danbo with movable arms, legs and head (which also can light up and be removed and replaced with Miura’s head on certain models). Danbo is most known for her photos where people have placed her in different cute situations by their millions and sharing them on the net to sites like flickr.  A simple google image search will show just how popular she is. Danbo has several name variations, like Danboard, Danboru, Danbooru and Cardbo, but by far is best known as Danbo.

Whysojapan Danbo

Danbo Products

Lots of Danbo versions and products have been made since the first action figure back in 2007. As a fan of Danbo we bought our first Danbo back in 2010 after seeing loads of cute pictures online. We just had to have one! The one we got happened to be the Danbo mini amazon.co.jp version, which was a hard to get a hold of and cost a lot more than what it would have done nowadays, or if we had been in Japan to buy it. We’ve done two unboxing videos, which can be seen at the end of the post.

Whysojapan Danbo Whysojapan Danbo

Buying Danbo

If you can’t travel to Tokyo, we would say check online. Places like amazon have a great and not so expensive selection of products – from the figures to the very popular battery pack.

If you do get the chance to visit Tokyo, then jump on the train and head to Akihabara (electric town). There are at least two shops that we know of that sell Danbo products. The first is the newly renovated Radio Kaikan, which has lots of smaller shops inside. You will find Radio Kaikan just outside Akihabara train station. It’s a mega store with all your otaku dreams come true. We found a couple of shops selling Danbo products in there, even though one only had a small miniature figure for sale. The other store, which is more worth checking, out is on the 5th floor and is called Kaiyodo Hobby Lobby Tokyo. It had a couple different products, one being the limited edition Danbo with Japan post covering her. Check out the display of all the limited Danbo we found outside the store.

Map to store: Google maps
Homepage address: http://www.akihabara-radiokaikan.co.jp/



For the other store you will need to cross over the road to the back street of Akihabara. The shop is called Kotobukiya and has a great selection of Danbo products to buy. If you love Danbo I would recommend this shop. We found lots of different products to look at and buy, and there is even a life size model of her to been seen.

Map to store: Google maps
Homepage address: http://www.kotobukiya.co.jp/store/akiba/



Hope you enjoyed our guide to Danbo! If you have any other tips on good places to buy Danbo products please let us know.


Posted on by Paul in Characters, Shopping 3 Comments

Book Review: Halfway Home: Drawing My Way Through Japan

whysojapan halfway home Christine Mari Inzer

Halfway Home Drawing my way through Japan

Christine Mari Inzer, age 17, is the author behind the book. Christine is half American and half Japenese. She was born in Japan but moved to the States at a at young age with her family. She is currently a high school senior in Connecticut. “Halfway Home drawing my way through Japan” is her first published book and the book brings out two of Christine’s talents – a great young writer and brilliant comic book drawer. She has already recieved lots of appreciation from fellow writers.  With this book being her first, if she continues to persuit a career in writing books, it’s a great strong start.

About the book

whysojapan book review Halfway Home: Drawing My Way Through JapanWe get to follow Christine as she travels back to Japan on her own for the first time. The book takes us on every step of her journey, from the second she leaves the airport (all nervous about the long trip that she has in front of her), all around Japan and back home. I can really recognise myself in the way Christine feels about travelling to Japan. It’s quite hard work with all the airport stuff and then sitting on a plane not being able to sleep when every one around you is fast asleep. Once Christine is in Japan we get to follow her on her trip, from meeting her family that she hasn’t seen for a long time, to going it alone and taking on the street of Tokyo. We get to see and read about some of Christine’s favourite things in Japan, like going to MOS burger and more. Christine also takes us with her as she travels to over parts of Japan with her grandma and gets to see some more traditional Japan and a lot more. I don’t want to tell you what happens in the whole book because it’s best to read it in Christine’s own words.

whysojapan halfway home Christine Mari Inzer

What we thought of the book

I found the book to be a great and easy read with lot’s of comical pages. I love the mixture of both the sketches, photos and the text. I found that the sketches compliment the book in a great a way. Instead of having a whole page of text trying to explain something, Christine’s drawings explains it so well. The book is perfect for those who don’t like to read a lot but still enjoy a good story. What makes it different from a lot of books on Japan is that it’s written by a young person, it is something that’s not very often seen. Apart from being a good read, the book can also work as a little guide to Japan, since the book features places Christine visits, like Harajuku and Kyoto. Maybe you’re planning your first trip to Japan and maybe you need a more personal insight to Japan? Then this book would be perfect for you. And if you’re like me and can not sleep during that long-haul flight to Japan, then take “Halfway Home drawing my way through Japan” onborad with you –  a perfect way to spend your time flying into Japan. Even if you’re not going to Japan or have already been there, this book is still a fun read. The book is for ages 12 and up.

The book is available to buy online via stores like Amazon etc. Links to US & UK store.
Check out Christines official site at http://christinemari.com/

Posted on by Paul in Media, Reviews, Shopping Leave a comment