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

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

Book review: American MaleWhore in Tokyo

whysojapan american malewhore in tokyo rowen boozewell

American MaleWhore in Tokyo: The Great White Host

Rowen Boozewell is the autor of the book. He lives in Tokyo with his best friend and seem to be enjoying a lot of football.

The book

We meet John Box, a man who comes to Tokyo, in pursuit of living the dream as a host at a host club. For those unfamiliar of what a host club is, here is a brief introduction: A host club is a place where females pay for male company. The hosts are charismatic and flirtatious, and they make their money by having the women pay for drinks, and the hosts get comission. Read more about host clubs on wikipedia.

whysojapan american malewhore in tokyo rowen boozewellJohn Box invites the reader into a world usually not known by an outsider. We get to see what’s actually happening in a host club, how they get their customers, what the customers are like and how the hosts charm them. We also get to see beyond the host club, what’s goes on behind the scenes. The relationships between the hosts, the rules of the industry, if there’s any brotherhood or rivalry.

While the book is often humorous, mostly because of Box being such a likeable douchebag, it’s momentarily sad and tragic. The host clubs seem like good fun, but there are also lonely individuals, yearning for love and attention. I think this is why a personality like Box is needed in the book, because he lights up the whole story, being a cheeky and carefree guy who just wants to have fun. Because host clubs are about that, having fun and escaping reality for a little while.

All in all, I truly enjoyed this book. It’s both educational and fun. For anyone interested in Japanese culture and curious to find out what host clubs are all about, I really recommend reading American MaleWhore in Tokyo: The Great White Host.

The book is very graphic, there’s a lot of alcohol, foul language and some very descriptive sex. Please be aware of that this book is for adult readers only.

The book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/American-MaleWhore-Tokyo-Great-White/dp/1495377598/
John Box on Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnbox68
John Box on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2051810.John_Box


Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Media, Reviews, Shopping Leave a comment

Perfume Concert Live In LA 2014

Whysojapan Perfume LA

Perfume world tour 3rd review LA

We are very grateful to Perfume-city.com forum member “b_ry29” for taking time to write a great review of the LA show and for sharing and organising photos from Jon (ogeeku.com), a Perfume fan from Facebook. Hope you all enjoy it!

You can only get the full Perfume experience from going to a live show. World Tour 3rd offered fans of America the opportunity to get together to see Perfume with their own eyes. Though this wouldn’t be Perfumes first time setting foot on American soil, it would be their first time performing. Their first visit would be at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. This gave many fans like myself, who couldn’t visit the ladies in Japan, the opportunity to watch them live. I decided to take a friend to see Perfume. He accepted to go with me, even though he was not a fan neither has he listened to any of their songs before I made him the offer. I took care of the expense so he could not refuse my offer!

Whysojapan Perfume LAWhysojapan Perfume LA

The queue

My friend and I began to queue much later than we would have wanted to but it was all fine. When we arrived to the Palladium, the line had barely begun making its first turn. I found a spot next to a friendly Japanese man. For the next few hours, I’d watch fans from all over come together to see Perfume. There was an amazing group that took care of some of our needs. We had received treats that were passed out to all of those that were queuing, which was made possible by fans who willingly donated money. There was a group that went around and asked for anyone’s trash, speaking in English, Japanese and even Spanish! One guy came around and gave anyone who wanted, a small paper. We were asked to write a short note for Perfume, our favorite song by Perfume and where we came from. Though I am not entirely sure what they would be used for, it was fun interaction with other fans. There were plenty of cosplayers too of course so there was plenty to be looking at.

Whysojapan Perfume LA

Entrance and Merchandise

As the time got closer, we were asked by the Palladium staff to get closer together since the line was close to completing a full circle around the Palladium. There was a camera crew walking around asking fans for interviews. The people next to me got the chance to be interviewed. As I listened to the people answering the questions asked by the camera crew, I could see in their words, their love for Perfume was strong.

When the line finally began moving, my excitement began letting loose. Watching the girls in person was finally nearing! There was a hold up in the line, as for why, I wasn’t sure. My patience was growing thinner. Simply waiting outside, not knowing why the line was halted, was no good for anyone. I was “spending all my time” watching others talk it out to pass time. Suddenly, the line moved again and this time, there were no signs of stopping. There was a stop where the people had to be quickly checked before allowed entrance. When it was my turn, I was asked to turn around once and I was permitted entrance. I waited for my friend and suddenly, he was told he couldn’t be allowed in with the bag he was carrying. He tells the lady “Isn’t there an item check so I can put this in?” She lied and said there was not. I feared I may have had to toss my bag into the trash which held very expensive belongings. Luckily we were told to wait in a separate line by another gentleman. I stood by my friend, refusing to leave his side. I don’t know why, but that very same man allowed my friend to enter and in shock, we asked him to repeat what he said. “Just go in” is what he says. A huge smile and excitement fell upon me as we both made our way to the venue.

The first sight I see is the merch and TENUGUI stand. The line for the merch was a little chaotic at first and all of us that were in line, bunched up, were told to make 2 lines. I found myself closer after that – so sorry if I cut anybody! The stand where you get the TENUGUI had a photo-book being displayed and it looked gorgeous. Some more time passed before I was finally next to the line. I asked for one of everything, including the PTA exclusives. The complete cost cost me a whopping $276 dollars but I came prepared in cash in case any issues with my card were to occur. Once receiving everything, I put everything in the tote bag I just bought and I begin making my way to the GA floor.

Whysojapan Perfume LA

The Performance

I began finding a good placement for my friend and myself. We found a good side on the right. The floor was maybe 1/3 full so I had a good view of the stage. The crowd was eager for the performance but there was a slight delay. In the mean time, I tell my friend what he can expect because remember, he wasn’t a fan. When the announcement began, people began shouting ecstatically. “What’s it going to be like? Will it really be any different than from the videos? Will I be more of a fan just by watching them live?” are questions that ran through my head as the lights dimmed and the performance was finally beginning.

Large projections of the girls were displayed on the curtains. The music was playing so loud that I wasn’t sure if my chest was beating because of that or if it was my heart racing. Just before the visuals end, you see life size projection of the girls. The light from the back of the stage light up and there they are, standing in perfect form. Everyone screams and chills run all over my body. The curtain drops and I was able to see A~chan perform such incredible choreography. It was so unreal, as if I was watching a programmed machine. She was flawless.

Whysojapan Perfume LAWhysojapan Perfume LAWhysojapan Perfume LA

Every glimpse I was able to get was an incredible feat due to the difficulties from the jumping crowd blocking a clear view. I was a little shy and felt uncomfortable to join as everyone jumped and danced away to the music. My friend encouraged me so I began raising my hand in the air. Even though this was my first live, and was slight hesitant to participate in jumping with everyone, I was quickly enveloped in everyone’s energy that I found myself jumping until it hurt. Even with that, I didn’t stop! Everything that I did felt so natural. All the visuals and lighting with mist coming off from the stage was a beauty to behold. With everyone pumped to dance and jump around, it became heated and sweaty but that only means we all were having a good time!

Once One Room Disco started playing, everyone pointed to the skies, including myself. I began forgetting there were people around me and for a short period, I was lost in the music. Because of my bad memory in order, I might accidentally combine something from the first segment with the second. Hopefully not, but here I continue. A~chan talks about the challenges of using American showers and questions how we use them! After, she asks us what our temperatures were. When the crowd shout out Fahrenheit, A~chan adorably mispronounces it by saying “very high”, pointing her fingers up. We had a good translator to… Well, translate! I got most of what the girls were trying to communicate to us but those who know Japanese probably got a better kick out of the jokes. Those who went to the LA performance know what I mean when I say I burger side is best! A~chan, the crowd stealer, divided us to two sides. There was cheese side and burger side. We chant as she calls our side out. CHEESE! BURGER! CHEESE! BURGER! CHEESEBURGER!! I shouted my lungs out saying burger, haha.

Whysojapan Perfume LAWhysojapan Perfume LA

I believe many fans were very pleased with the songs that were played, but the moment all the lights go off and GAME appears on the screen, excitement came flying out of everyone. I was so happy to see GAME during my first Perfume concert. I gaze at the girls as they tilt their heads and their hair waves about. I was telling my friend how excited I was about it but I don’t think he was quite able to get what I was saying. Performing Chocolate Disco followed by Polyrhythm was great, even Fake It as an encore was amazing, but my body was not ready for what I heard which came to a complete shock to me. Singing “Let it Go” from Frozen was unexpected to say the least. I was no fan of the song nor did I even know the lyrics, but I found myself singing the song with my friend and everyone else in that room! Incredible!! But back to Chocolate Disco. I was throwing my hands up, shaping my hands in a fist like telescope.

The people I was around were incredible. There was one person in particular I wasn’t to mention. My friend bumped into someone in front of us. My friend apologizes but the guy responds with “It’s all good. As long as you are having a good time it’s all good!” Then he and my friend shout “Yeaaaaah!!!” An amazing moment for me to see!

The songs that were played that night were all incredible to see being performed but after Polyrhythm, it ends. Perfume leaves the stage but everyone knew it wasn’t really over. We all begin chanting “Encore!” “Encore!” “Encore!” “Cheeseburger!” “Cheeseburger!” “Cheeseburger!” It finally appears as the girls are ready for an encore. The moment they played their first encore, “Fake It”, I lost it out on the floor. I don’t know if it was because of the repetition of flashing lights, or A~chan shouting “JUMP!” “Jump!” “Jump!” but I now have a new personal relationship with that song. I jumped my soul out with that song.

What’s that? A second encore? Their final song would be “My Color”. This time, the girls wanted us to take part in their furitsuke. If you haven’t practiced before, can be hard to get down at the spot of being taught. Even though I was familiar with the movements, I still had a tough time getting it done. This did not stop anyone from attempting it though. When the performance ended, some people in the crowd began asking, “What about our encore?” We were supposed to sing Puppy Love to Perfume but an announcement that came directly after the performance end made it difficult to do so. I stuck around looking for the head organizer, Ken, who from the beginning with the help of others, made many plans a reality, such as getting out flyers to the public. When I saw the time was already 10:30PM, I had to leave because of a plan I had made with a guy named John who goes by “jonks” in the Perfume City forums. All in all, the performance night ended with what I call, a dream come true.

Whysojapan Perfume LA

After Party

The night was not over yet for some of us. I went rushing out looking for John. I began to worry I wouldn’t find him because there were too many people. My friend and I head to the other side of the Palladium. My friend spots a guy holding a large yellow poster and tells me if this is the guy. I was relieved we found John. We gathered and waited for others who planned on grouping with us. The point of us grouping together was so we could walk to a reserved after party. We anticipated maybe 3-5 people but it ended up being a group of 15-20.

Before I proceed any further, I’d like to give a shout out to a Mr. Koh who currently resides in Osaka, Japan! That night, I dropped a 20 dollar bill which I had for the after part and he spotted it and approached me. He tells me I had dropped my money and the receipt I had just got.

Continuing from where I left off, once being brushed off to the sidewalk by Palladium staff, we waited to see if there was anyone left before heading out. The group begins it’s walk to “La Poubelle Bistro & Bar”. There were familiar people from the Perfume City forums such as “CourtneyKissMe” and “manuel”, the forums Administrator. Once we got to our destination, we formed a line to make our entrance. Once in, we were given wristbands made for the occasion.

Whysojapan Perfume LAWhysojapan Perfume LA

Whysojapan Perfume LAWhysojapan Perfume LA

The party was well organized as it had food out on tables and food being passed out by attendants. I spent this time to just talk to my friend about the concert. During the party, an announcement was made about the unsuccessful special encore and we were told that we would sing the song. Puppy Love begins to play and everyone participates in the hand movements or furitsuke so to speak. I didn’t socialize too much with everyone, though I did watch others do so. The night went on and gifts were being handed which were brought from a man coming from Hiroshima, Japan I believe. There were magazines and flyers and other goodies, but the real eye candy was the two copies of Love the World compilation album. The first copy was handed out and the second was being offered to anyone in the crowd. I reached for it but I felt too shy and pulled my hand back. I don’t know if it was for that, but I was then given the second copy. In disbelief, I held the copy tightly with my other belongings and looked around my surrounding to make sure I wasn’t in some crazy dream!

Later, there was a cake that was brought out for everyone to try. It had lovely artwork from what I assume to be one of the runner ups from the LA flyers for Puppy Love. Before the night ended, I was approached by one more person who showed me a photo of Perfume that was taken during their second world tour in London and gives me the last copy of the photo!

The night concluded with everyone singing Wonder2 and are thanked for their participation. “See you next live!” A quote by Ken Bednar which I will remember… That and the quote “Nocchi is a babe” by John!

My phenomenal experience is a thanks to all the amazing Perfume fans out there. The one thing I am ultimately grateful for is for everyone that helped my friend, who came as no fan at all, now considering himself a “mini fan” of Perfume and wishes to grow as a fan.

Whysojapan Perfume LAWhysojapan Perfume LA

We also have reviews from both the London and New Yorks shows linked below of just search for “perfume” in the search box.
London show review: http://www.whysojapan.com/perfume-live-london-2014/
New York show review: http://www.whysojapan.com/perfume-concert-live-new-york-2014/
Official world tour 3rd site: http://www.perfume-web.jp/cam/WORLD/

Posted on by Paul in Events, Music 3 Comments