Category Archives: FEATURED

Cute, Cool and Colorful: Stationery Shops in Tokyo

Source: Tokyo Cheapo

Japan is great for many things, food, culture and believe it or not stationery. This doesn’t come as a big surprise though, with the Land of the Rising Sun of course being the home of the artistic craft of origami. Stationery always seems to be one of those necessary staple items. Pens, paper, post-it notes—we all need ’em and we can all buy it from a range of incredible Tokyo stationery shops. Whether for yourself or a loved one back home, as always, Japan doesn’t disappoint.
Kakimori (Kuramae Station)

This place is top for writing. It is a stationery shop specializing in pens, inks and letter sets. Everything is chosen based on level of comfort and you can try different fountain pens to find one that suits you. You c

The post Cute, Cool and Colorful: Stationery Shops in Tokyo appeared first on Tokyo Cheapo.

…continue reading


"Security researcher cautions against striking Japan’s favorite picture pose"

Text from Japan Today, 1/12/17.

Japan has always loved photography, even back when taking a picture meant fiddling with switches and dials. That sentiment has only intensified now that just about everyone over the age of 15 is walking around with a smartphone that can be used to swiftly snap a pic and share it with friends online.

As such, no gathering of classmates or coworkers is complete without a commemorative photo. Even solo achievements, like finding a really tasty crepe or getting a stylish new haircut, often call for a celebratory selfie, usually while smiling for the camera and holding up two fingers to make a peace sign.

Isao Echizen, a professor at Japan’s National Institute of Informatics, has no problem with the selfie phenomenon. However, if you’re using one hand to take the picture, he says it’s wise to keep the fingertips of the other out of frame. That’s because consumer camera technology and image quality has now progressed to the level, Echizen says, where your fingerprint data can be derived from a photo of your fingertips.

In an experiment, Echizen was able to obtain fingerprint data from photos taken as much as three meters away from the subject’s exposed fingertips. That’s a distance far greater than even the tallest person’s arm, and so the results suggest that if you’re taking a selfie while giving a peace sign with your off-hand, you’re putting your fingerprint data at risk.

Echizen goes on to say that celebrities, because of the large stockpile of photos of them in festive situations, are at the greatest risk, but even many non-famous people use their fingerprint to lock their smartphones or for security measures in the office. And as Echizen points out, once your data has been compromised, there’s not much you can …continue reading


It’s Strawberry Harvest Season near Tokyo

Japan’s vivid changing seasons are not only beautiful to witness, but they can also be very delicious to taste! Throughout the year across the country, various produce farms take their turn growing and harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead of waiting for these healthy treats to arrive at the local supermarkets, many farms offer the option for visitors to get involved in the picking and harvesting process themselves! Strawberry season is one of the most popular and delicious fruit-picking opportunities in Japan, and it’s just beginning!

These juicy red berries are grown throughout Japan, with the most abundant supplies hailing from the Tochigi, Fukuoka, and Shizuoka prefectures. You might be surprised to find out that there are over 100 unique varieties of strawberries, including the Tochiotome varietal from Tochigi, the round and sweet Amaou from Fukuoka, and Shizuoka’s bright and fragrant Benihoppe.

Most of the strawberry farms are located slightly out of the main city areas, so the best option for a day’s harvest is usually jumping on a tour. Different tour companies offer slightly different packages, but similarly delicious experiences. When you arrive on site, you will be directed to greenhouses bursting with fruit ready to be picked. One of the best parts of strawberry picking in Japan is that many of the farms don’t use chemicals, so you can eat while you pick straight from the plant! Additionally, there is often the option to carry a small tray while you pick that has some sweetened condensed milk on it for you to dip your berries in for an additional burst of sweetness.

Depending on where you’re located this spring, check out which strawberry farms are most accessible and be sure to make the trip! Your tastebuds will thank you later!

Departing from Tokyo:

Kawatsura Strawberry Farm (Chiba)

Where: By train, take the express train …continue reading


Theories on Racial Profiling Discrepancies in Japan

Been getting so many comments on today’s #BlackEye article that I believe I’m going to have to do a follow-up. Perhaps even something investigative, either on my blog or on my column. haven’t decided yet.

Because these comments are ALL over the place!

(by the way, If you haven’t read the article, you can peep it HERE:

It seems these incidents just happen or don’t happen, case by case. Regardless of wardrobe or location or time of day or night, etc…

Perhaps even regardless of race. That is, as long as your race is non-Japanese.

I’ve got white commenters saying it happens all the time, and black commenters saying it never happens. I’ve got people in the countryside feeling targeted and people in the inner cities saying they’ve never felt targeted.

I learned from reading the comments on this story that one white gentleman learned that the police in his case were stopping foreigners just for training purposes!!! (see the comment section HERE for more info on this incident).

There seems no discernible pattern. So hard to put your finger on a definite profile.

I’m beginning to think that it happens in waves everywhere…you know?

My theory is, it’s not a standing profile or order. But periodically there are sweeps (for whatever reason – an incident, a training exercise, etc…) that target foreigners and last for weeks or months, in any given area, and then stop. So you’ll get people who get caught up in these sweeps feeling the impact of the profiling, but once it’s gone people in that very same area will say they experienced nothing of the sort because somehow the sweep missed them.

Anyway, just hypothesizing…trying to discern a reason for the discrepancies. I would love to hear your thoughts or theories. Perhaps we can get them translated into Japanese and …continue reading


Japan’s favourite characters

2010 Japan Trip 1 Day 10

Today let’s have a ranking from Macromill Research for a change, a look at Japan’s favourite characters.

My favourite is number 10, followed by number 8 then 5, I suppose. Number 3 would be much higher-ranked if it wasn’t for the fact that in Japan it is only the Disneyfied version that does the rounds.

Let’s do this ranking graphically and in reverse order:

Ranking results

Q1: Which are your favourite characters? (Sample size=1,000, multiple answer, top 10 answers)

Rank Percentage
10 Rilakkuma 22.4%
Donald Duck
8 funasy フナッシー
7 Moomin Café at Canal City, Fukuoka
6 Doraemon
5 Jason Bourne Japan Premiere: Matt Damon & Kumamon
4 Snoopy cafe, Yufuin
3 READ the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
2 Cubic Mouth Mickey
Mickey Mouse
1 Ghibli Museum ジブリ美術館

Q2: Which are your favourite characters? (Sample size=1,000, multiple answer, top 6 answers)

Rank Twenties/>N=200 Thirties/>N=253 Forties/>N=298 Fifties/>N=249
1 Totoro Totoro Totoro Totoro
2 Mickey Mouse Mickey Mouse Snoopy Mickey Mouse
3 Winnie the Pooh Doraemon Winnie the Pooh Snoopy
4 Pikachu Winnie the Pooh Mickey Mouse Winnie the Pooh
5 Donald Duck Snoopy Doraemon Kumamon
6 Snoopy Kumamon Gundam Funasshi, Moomin

Q3: Which are your favourite characters? (Sample size=1,000, multiple answer, top 6 answers)

Rank Male
1 Totoro Totoro
2 Doraemon Winnie the Pooh
3 Mickey Mouse Snoopy
4 Gundam Mickey Mouse
5 Kumamon Moomin
6 Funasshi Minnie Mouse


Between the 29th of December 2016 and the 4th of January 2017 1,000 members of the Macromill monitor group aged between 20 and 59 years old with demographics reflecting the demographics of the population of Japan according to the 2015 census.

…continue reading