Friday, September 29, 2006

plastic mobile

What makes this coin machine special?
You can get canned drinks by some mobiles with the same feature as credit cards.
To get canned juices, you only need to close it onto the machine and push your PIN.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A king of mushroom

This mushrooms in vegetable stores remind people of the upcoming autumn. Autumn is best season especially for eating and some fruits and fishes comes to appear in the market. This mushroom, with nice scent, is called "Matsutake", the king of all mushrooms in Japan, just like truffle in France and porcini in Italy.

Rice is boiled with sake, soy sauce, dashi and sliced mushroom and it is tasty. Grilled Matsutake is also good. The fungi is added to clear soup, slightly flavored with dried bonito, which is also tasteful.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The most recommended sushi restaurant in Tokyo

People are lined in front of a sushi restaurant in the Tsukiji Fishing Market, the largest fishing market in the world. Of all sushi restaurants in Tokyo, this, "Sushi Dai", is definitely the most recommended restaurant. It is both reasonable and very delicious. If other restaurants provide the same quality as this shop, it will cost 1.5 times or twice at least.

This restaurant is always crowded because you cannot make a reservation. This is open from 5:00 to 14:00 and before 7:00 it is relatively not crowded.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tiny wheels

A man is riding bicycle around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. It is very tiny wheel and may be slower than running. But good for exercise!

Tokyo girls

Here is Tokyo girls. They are cute!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Big wave

They are CM photos from Sharp, one of the best companies in LCD(liquid crystal display) television field.

The upper is the famous Ukiyoe, Japanese wood block prints, by Katsushika Hokusai. He astonishingly managed to catch big moment of the beautiful curving lines. Plus, composition of the wave and the mount Fuji is quite dynamic. This dynamic composition is the essence of his works.

Anyway, it is big moment for surfers, too!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The 12 best selling fashion magazines for women

Convenience stores in Japan have many kinds of women's magazine near the counter and women flip over. The 12 most selling magazine in Japan is the following.

1. more: 681 thousand copies
2. with: 628
3. CanCam: 626
4. nonno: 507
5. ViVi: 468
6. JJ: 434
7. anan: 263
8. Ray: 246
9. mina: 245
10. Zipper: 244
11. Oggi: 233
12. classy: 232

Friday, September 22, 2006

Expressway: Tokyo


Many expressways in Tokyo were made over the rivers just before Tokyo Olympic in 1964, without any elaborate plans. And many rivers and canals were filled in to make them. A river used to flow under this expressway.

Many canals covered the whole of Edo, the old name of Tokyo, like a web and boats were major transportation. But now most of them disappeared and autotrucks took place of boats.

Now many roads flow like blood vessel in Tokyo and they are usually in arteriosclerosis. Because Tokyo is located in the middle of Honsyu, extending north and south, and you need to pass through Tokyo to go to the northern part to the southern one.

Haphazard bypass surgery makes expressways in Tokyo "slow" ways.

at Tokyo

Thursday, September 21, 2006

On the bridge: Sumida River, Tokyo

Sumida River, Tokyo

This photo is from a bridge over Sumida River, the biggest river in Tokyo.

Many tall apartments are building along the river. The building in the photo is the pioneer, built 16 years ago. They are also called as Oku-shon, an expensive apartment, costs more than a million USD.

Before the construction of the buildings, the land was for shipbuilding plant, and for the prison before the plant.

Tokyo is metamorphosing city as time goes by.

At Sumida River, Tokyo

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Skyscrapers: Shiodome, Tokyo

Shiodome, Tokyo

Still now many skyscrapers are under construction in Tokyo. These brand new buildings are built a few years ago. The clear sky in autumn make them look very sharp.

at Shiodome, Tokyo

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How much? Answer the question and Get the tenugui!!

This is the 200ml iced coffee and sold at around-the-clock convenience store.
Starbuck and a Japanese beverage manufacturer produce this coffee.

Anyway, how much is it??
Answer the price at JPY, including the tax, and the closest answerer will get the tenugui, Japanese traditional towel!!
Let me know the answer by comment or by e-mail.

(This question is only for foreigners who don't live in Japan. The deadline date is at 21:00 on Sep. 24 in Japan time. 117 JPY is about 1 USD.)

The Chinese characters: Tokyo


The Chinese character, kanji, have more than 50,000 letters, I hear.

Of all of them, leaning 3,000 letters are said to be enough to read Japanese newspapers or books. The character is more than 100 times as 26 letters of the alphabet.

What is the difference between the alphabet and the Chinese character?

The alphabet itself has no meaning until the letters are combined. The Chinese character itself is pictographic letter and has the meaning each. For example, :-) means "smile", five letters, and in Chinese character "笑", only one letter. Each letter in Chinese character is very specific, and so they have many letters.

By the way, when I was walking in the city of Florence, I found the young boy wearing T-shirt printed "onara" in Japanese, then I burst into laugher. Because "onara" means gas, breaking wind, in English.

Now I hear some foreigners have a Japanese letter tattoo on their arms. Ask Japanese to make sure the meaning before it's too late!

at Tokyo

Monday, September 18, 2006

The most popular movie now: Tokyo


This is the most eye-catching place in a rental DVD shop. 24, American TV drama, is also popular with Japan. The identical DVDs are arranged and most of them are in rent.

Actually, I am hooked on this pulse-pounding action movie. Two days on a weekend are enough for me to watch the entire 24 hours movie of the series two.

The toughness of Kiefer Sutherland reminds me of Bruce Wills in Die Hard.

One comment for 24.

A few treachery make the story exciting,
but many make it confusing and people mistrustful of others.

at Tokyo

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Why don't they spill over the soup in the bowl?: Tokyo


They are fake and you cannot eat the delicious-looking dishes.

They are, in general, put by the entrance of low or middle class restaurants and made from a kind of wax. Many shops in Asakusa-bashi, Tokyo, sell them.

at Tokyo

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A condom shop: Shibuya, Tokyo

Shibuya, Tokyo

This is a shop selling only condoms.

It sells a large variety of condoms, from colorful ones to ones with nicely fragrance, and in the shop many normal couples enjoy shopping.

Two decades ago condoms are mainly sold by tiny coin machines, installed by pharmacies because getting them at shops directly embarrassed people.

But now it is very natural to get them there and they are sold at pharmacy, around-the-clock convenience stores and supermarkets.

at Shibuya, Tokyo

Friday, September 15, 2006

Game arcade: Tokyo


This is a game arcade and most of the customers are young. In the dim space are arranged many games, costing 100 or 200JPY.

This young boy is dancing and stepping to the music of the computer.

Some games are to play the guitar and to beat the drum.

I think that it is better to enjoy the real guitar, or the real drum, not virtual.

at Shinjuku, Tokyo

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Space is money: Shibuya, Tokyo

Shibuya, Tokyo

This is one of the busiest intersection, and tons of people go across every day. This crossway is "scramble" and people have to wait more time for turning green than usual.

The photo shows that two big screens, just like a movie theater, are installed on the wall. Those show ads, something of a music clip and spot news.

Walls in this city are quite covered with many flashy ads, and in this city space is money.

at Shibuya, Tokyo

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hooked on the moon: Tokyo


This is a special autumn menu of some hamburger chain store.

This says that a sunny-side up egg is on the hamburger, and the yellow means the moon.

Japanese has long been captivated by the moon, quite unlike the Western. Sep. 13 is the day of tyushu-no-meigetsu, the excellent moon day in the middle of the autumn, when is the best season to watch the moon because of the mild temperature and less humidity.

at Tokyo

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Host club: Tokyo


Who are those men? Actors? Models?

Non. They are "hosts", serving and flattering rich women in lounge bars with some drinks. Hosts are almost 20's and most of the guests are, so called, ladies-who-lunches and women who working on sex industry, as far as I know. Some of them spends as much as a million JPY only a night.

This is another world!

at Tokyo

Monday, September 11, 2006

Pachinko: Tokyo


Pachinko is one of major industries in Japan, selling 30 trillion JPY and 6 percents of Japan's GNP. In another word, Japanese spends 6 % for Pachinko of all the spending.

Pachinko is a kind of gamble, like slot machines, and I sometimes watch people waits in a line before the store opens on Sunday.

Anyway, what attracts so many people? I think it contains something of an addiction though I don't play Pachinko and don't know exactly the attraction.

Pachinko looks like a drug, taking your time and money away, I'd think.

at Tokyo

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Love Hotel: Tokyo


This slightly showy building is called at "love hotel", a hotel only for lovers. The hotels is only for making love.

The entrance is off a main road since lovers go there in secret.

After entering the hotel, you can see a big plastic board at a entrance lobby and beside the board is a small counter, where you and a hotel person don't face.

On a plastic board are printed each room's photo, and under the photo is a button to stay. After pressing the button, a ticket for a room is automatically issued. Then, you need to go to the counter with the ticket to enter the room.

In a room are a double bed, sofa, TV and refrigerator. Beside a fridge is a coin machine selling sex toy, like vibrator. In a bathroom is a big bathtub with Jacuzzi besides shower.

This seems to be a reasonable and comfortable hotel for lovers.

at Tokyo

Friday, September 08, 2006

An information center for sex service: Shinjuku, Tokyo

Shinjuku, Tokyo

This is an information center about sex entertainment shops in Shinjuku, the biggest bustling area in Tokyo. In Shinjuku you can see that kind of centers here and there.

Japan has surprisingly many styles of sex entertainment shops, and the prices vary according to the service. There seems to be roughly six kinds of services, as far as I know. (I don't know exactly since I am not the authority.) They are: 1. cabakura(cabaret club), 2. sekkaba(sexy cabaret club), 3. pin-salo(pink salon), 4. fashion health, 5. image club, 6.soap land.

1. cabakura (cabaret club)
Young women (about less than 30 years old), dressed to the nines, serve guests and talk with them, drinking. No sexual service at all and you cannot touch even her legs. Charges start from about 5,000JPY.

2. sekkaba (sexy cabaret club)
Inside a shop are some sofas and tables just like cabaret club. Guests can drink with young topless women, kiss, touch their legs, fondle and lick their breasts. But they can touch only their legs in lower body. Charges start from about 6,000JPY.

3. pin-salo (pink salon)
Unlike sekkaba, pin-salo has several sofas, partitioned by curtains. Topless women do oral sex after they wash guest's penis by wet hand towel. Guests can only kiss and touch her breasts and legs. Charges start from about 8,000JPY.

4. fashion health
After guests choose a woman you will be served by photo at the entrance, you go in a small partition with the woman. After taking a shower with her, guests enter the small room with bed and naked women do oral sex and six nine in a bed. Charges start from about 15,000JPY.

5. image club
The service is almost the same as fashion health. The difference is that women wear the clothes you want: for example, waiters uniform, high school uniform, corporate uniform, white uniform for nurse, flight attendant and so on. Charges start from about 15,000JPY.

6. soup land
After guests choose a woman they will be served by photo at the entrance, you go in a room with the woman. After washing their body, they make love in a bed. Charges start from about 30,000JPY.

Note that starting price many change up to shops and time and the price is subject to change.

Sign boards: Shinjuku, Tokyo

Shinjuku, Tokyo

Here is Shinjuku, the biggest bustling area in Tokyo.
These sign boards is about restaurants, bars and izakaya, Japanese pubs.

This area is flooded with tons of people even after last train, and lots of sign boards are glittering through the night.

About five in the morning the first train runs and people hanging out there all the night go to the station to catch the train.

As the sun is up, many crow come there from nowhere to eat the raw garbage from restaurants and the illusions coming from booze in the midnight are completely gone.

It is quite the ordinary scenery.

Shinjuku, Tokyo

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cells on sale: Tokyo


Some decade cell phones are launched out every year in Japan.

They are no longer more than the basic telephone.

First of all, cell phones with e-mail was sold seven or eight years ago, and cells with digital camera five or six years ago.

Then they has worn several kinds of new function: Internet, games, radio, TV, music playing and plastic money.

They will be covering all our life.

at Tokyo

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

lots of bars: Shinjuku, Tokyo

Shinjuku, Tokyo

On the both side of the narrow path are many sign boards and outdoor units of air conditioners.

This area has lots of bars and was, decade years ago, noted for media persons, authors and young actors hanging out there.

The zone had gone out in 90's and some of them was closed down. But recently it has come back because the not-neat and retrospective air of the area attracts young people.

This is, at a glance, like the ruins of the good old days in 20th century, but the town for young people in 21st century.

at Shinjuku, Tokyo

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

So many shampoos: Tokyo


This is a typical pharmacy in Japan.

Every year many kinds of shampoos are launched out in Japan.

I heard that some women in Japan bough a new kind of shampoos before they finished up the old one, and that their fathers used the old one.

This photo surely shows it.

at Tokyo

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Beautiful Women: Ginza, Tokyo

Ginza, Tokyo

Here are four Japanese beauties.

This is a poster of the leading cosmetics company in Japan, Shiseido.

The poster is displayed on the wall of a building near the intersection, and caught my eye while I wait for the light to change. So I could not find the light change.

Japanese sayings have "men are bored with beautiful woman in three days."
But that is not the case with these four women.

at Ginza, Tokyo

A symbol of the city: Ginza, Tokyo

Ginza, Tokyo

Ginza is noted for the capital of shopping spots in Tokyo and have a sense of elegance.

In the center of Ginza is standing this building.

This somewhat classic building was built in 1932 and miraculously unfired by the U.S. attack in 1945. After World War 2, it was temporally used by Allied Occupation.

It have rung on the hour every hour, like a bell tower, watching for the city tenderly.

Ginza, Tokyo

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Under the bridge: Tokyo


Tokyo used to have more rivers and waterways than it is.

The increasing cars and people, and the less riverboats drive the waterways under the surface, changing into the drainage.

The traces of these canals are only left at the names of the street crossings.

But, some big rivers still remain.

Under the bridge are passing passenger liners, houseboats and small pleasure boats. On the bridge are passing people and cars.

The waterside scenery is still very comfortable for me.

at Kachidoki Bridge, Tokyo