Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hukuho surpases Asashoryu

Last autumn I saw Hakuho take the sumo title in Ryogoku. It appears this Mongolian's star is on the rise, according to Japan Times. The above pic is of defending champion Asashoryu on the left fending off Kotomitsuki. Can't wait till the Tokyo tournament in May.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A little too slick?

Spotted today in Daikanyama.
I know the wet-look is back but isn't this taking it too far?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bizarre detection methods

It's now been two years since Lyndsay Ann Hawker's murder and police have yet to catch the main suspect Tatsuya Ichihashi. A new officer is now in charge of the case and has decided to put five life-size cardboard cut outs of Ichihashi out on the streets around Chiba. If you press the button on his chest, you can even hear his voice. It's good they're trying to do something but I think the killer will be far from Chiba by now. This guy looks seriously scary and I think he's going to freak quite a few people out. Of course if the police hadn't allowed him to give them the slip in the first place... via Japan Probe.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Manner mode pen

Tokyo Mango posted this awesome interview with consultant Morinosuke Kawaguchi who explains the function of the manner mode pen. Manner mode is when you turn the volume down on something so it doesn't disturb other people. The pen was created by a female pen designer who was driven mad by the noise of engineers clicking their pens in meetings. Kawaguchi thinks the creation of the pen is a sign of Japanese society maturing. Personally I think everyone has gone manner mad lately in Japan. Manner as a Japanised English word means social etiquette and the campaign for better manners on public transport has intensified lately. I guess the picture below means 'don't dive into the train' but it's a pretty random way of putting the message across. As an inveterate pen clicker myself I must say that the noise is part of the satisfaction. Don't take it away!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fashion bot's clenched catwalk strut

Pink Tentacle reports on the debut of this gorgeous fashion robot. Designed to model clothes, the robot has a face capable of showing a wide range of expressions from anger to surprise. Though I thought her arm movements were very graceful, her odd walking style is rather reminiscent of somebody trying to hold in a big poop.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fun ski toilet

This from Colorbus: Georgia coffee have decorated toilets in ski resorts to look like the top of a ski run. Only the loo paper displays an advertising message: "Seriously kick-ass intensely sweet for the real coffee super zinging unstoppable Max! Taste-explosion!"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hurry up cherry blossoms!

I can't wait to get pissed under the cherry trees at the end of this month. This lovely tinted picture by turn of the (previous) century photographer Enami is part of a lovely collection up on Flicker by Okinawa Soba. This shot is of the Edogawa river before its banks were smothered in concrete.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hayfever spreads to snow monkeys

About 60 percent of the people I know are suffering pretty badly from hay fever caused by pollen from cedar trees. In order to protect themselves they are forced to wear surgical masks (some even sport goggles) in public and take anti hay fever medicine which can make you really drowsy. According to the Times, the problem now appears to have spread to snow monkeys who are also suffering from runny eyes and sneezing fits. A huge program of planting cedars was undertaken after world war two in order to build up a supply of timber that was never harvested. According to the Times the number of hay fever suffers in Japan is at one in four but I'd say that was higher in Tokyo as the problem is exacerbated by traffic pollution. I've also heard it's a cumulative problem and foreigners I've know who've been out here awhile suddenly find themselves suffering from it.
A new trend I spotted recently was people wearing colourful surgical masks like the ones above instead of the normal plain ones. These are made by Pico.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Large sizes for ladies

I've got fairly big feet and I really suffer when it comes to buying shoes in Japan. If you're looking for large size shoes in Tokyo you could try Ten shoe store in Shinjuku. They do shoe sizes up to 27 cm when normal stores stop at 25cm. The prices are quite high (around 15,000 - 20,000 yen a pair) but I found these boots on their website in the discount section for 8,000 yen. In a similar price range is Washington in Ginza. And finally the cheaper option is Covely in Sunshine City shopping mall Ikebukuro, they do large size women's clothes and have a small selection of shoes.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Blink and you'll miss it

This via AFP. It's SUCH a bother having to operate the remote, wouldn't it be great if your i-pod could respond to to a wink? The "mimi (ear) switch" invented by Kazuhiro Taniguchi of Osaka University allows you to do just that: wink to skip a track, stick out your tongue to stop and start play. The piece responds to movements in the ear caused by facial expressions. Taniguchi adds that the switch can be used for more serious applications like monitoring whether an elderly relative is eating or not.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Carnivorous women eat up herbivorous men

Wanting to find out more about the rumoured rise of the herbivorous man in Japan I did a quick search and came up with this article from Mainichi. Basically Japanese men have been said to become less aggressive in the dating game while women looking to snag a husband have stepped up to the plate. Apparently if you adopt the Ebi-chan look (see above) of girly curls and cutesy smiles, you'll be much more likely to hunt down your piece of man meat successfully. According to the article men are now less aggressive in dating, have many female friends that they don't try to sleep with, drive non-flashy environmentally friendly cars and don't attend go cons (organised dating parties). In short, they are rather passive when it comes to dating. It's no wonder that women are carnivorous when you think that if they catch their prey, they'll say goodbye to an underpaid career and hello to sitting at home in a cosy apartment while the man goes out to work for them. Traditionally men give all of their salaries to their wives who then dish them out some pocket money so they can go drinking with their pals. Good hunting girls!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Find your way round Tokyo

It's really easy to get lost in Tokyo which is why I always look up where I'm going on a diddlefinger map before I leave the house. It's great because you can input the address in English and get a map with landmarks in English. To save ink I usually take a shot of the screen on my camera but diddlefinger have just launched their mobile app so you can look up Japanese addresses in English on your phone. The only drawback is that it links to a Japanese map so all station names and landmarks will be in kanji.
Another great tool for finding routes around Tokyo is this website which plots your train route and tells you how long it will take, when the train arrives and how much it will cost.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happoshu sales rise

This via Japan Probe, CNN reports that Happoshu (synthetic beer) sales have risen strongly despite or rather because of the poor economy. Happoshu is taxed at a lower rate than normal beers because it contains less than 25 percent malt and is classed as a liquor. CNN's take is that it's almost the same as beer. Did they actually taste this stuff? It tastes really watery and synthetic and gives you one hell of an evil hangover. At a party I went to recently someone nabbed my can of lovely Sapporo beer and tried to give me Happoshu in exchange, the cheek of it! I went straight to the convenience store to buy myself real beer.