Category Archives: SOCIETY

One in five Japanese have recently used a launderette

Have you used a launderette within the last year? graph of japanese statistics

With the rainy season starting, and given that drying clothes on one’s balcony is common, but washing machines with drier functions are relatively rare, this seems an ideal time to ask about usage of launderettes, in a survey conducted by Orange Page, a recipie magazine aimed at housewives in their thirties and forties.

I’ve not been to a launderette per se, but a couple of months ago in a hotel I used their laundry corner, where they had what looked like souped-up domestic Sharp machines that not just both washed and dried but also automatically added powder and softener.

Here’s a rather grim-looking launderette:

Research results

Q1: Have you used a launderette in the last year? (Sample size=1,190)

Yes (to SQ) 20.3%
No 79.7%

When asked about their image of launderettes, the top three reasons from users of them according to Q1 were that one can wash a large load all at once, 56.6%, convenience, 41.7% and cheaper than sending them to the cleaners, 39.7%. From non-users, the top three reasons were that one can wash a large load all at once, 43.4%, a bother to go to one, 40.9%, and a feeling of uncleanliness, 37.7%

Q1SQ: Why do you use a launderette? (Sample size=242, multiple answer, top five)

Can wash large items that are difficult to do at home 66.5%
Cheaper than sending items to a cleaner 30.2%
Can wash and dry clothes on rainy days 28.9%
Can wash a large load at once 23.1%
Quick 16.9%

Q2: What concerns you regarding washing clothes during the rainy season? (Sample size=1,190, multiple answer)

Takes time to dry clothes 73.7%
Smell of drip-drying washing inside 65.6%
Cannot get clothes completely dry 50.7%
Mold growth encouraged by drip-drying inside 49.7%
Damp atmosphere due to drip-drying washing inside 49.2%
Cannot wash big items like blankets 45.8%
Eletricity bill for air conditioner, dehumidifier 22.9%
Other 1.6%


Between the 27th of April and the 7th of May 2015 1,190 members of the Orange Page monitor group completed a private …continue reading


7 Don Quijote Home Products You Never Knew You Needed

The ultra popular lifestyle megastore Don Quijote — or Donki — is Japan’s home of everything wonderfully ridiculous and undeniably useful. As well as being the one-stop go for just about everything, one of the greatest pleasures of being a Donki regular is stumbling upon the store’s more obscure and straight-up bizarre stock.

Earlier this year we explored the Nakameguro outlet’s beauty range, but now we ventured into the homeware department of the Yokohama Nishiguchi branch to uncover other equally wonderful home products you never knew you actually needed — but you do.

1. Squeeze Until Empty: Lips for Toothpaste

These humble smiling lips are easily overlooked and passed off as another tacky piece of plastic that’ll soon be found in a landfill, but in reality they could be the best ¥498 purchase you’ll ever make.

The lips are a simple contraption with a small hole for your toothpaste and other creams that come in those otherwise impossible to empty tubes. By squeezing every last, tiny drop out of your toothpaste, they reduce waste and provide an unparalleled level of tube squeezing satisfaction. Not sure why they come in the shape of lips, but oh well, still better than teeth.

2. For The Wild Bakers: Waterproof iPhone Case Chef Navi

This is the perfect solution to that chef with a smartphone addiction. Whether you’re looking up recipes online or wanting to Instagram your latest culinary creation, there’s always a level of risk when it comes to bringing you phone into the kitchen.

Luckily, the team behind Chef Navi have minimized that risk by creating the waterproof, splashproof, grime-proof iPhone case — for just ¥1,480. How does it stand you wonder? …continue reading


Summer Music Festival Frenzy 2017

Source: Gaijin Pot
Summer Music Festival Frenzy 2017

People in Japan have the luxury of living in the world’s second-largest music market. This means artists cater to customers in the form of a surfeit of concerts and festivals that run the gamut of musical tastes from rock to electronic to jazz to classical and world music. Music festival culture really took off here in the late ’90s with the birth of Fuji Rock and has meshed nicely with Japan’s traditional summer festival scene — adding another facet to the ancient-modern dynamic that keeps the nation so intriguing.

Fuji Rock Festival

Photo by Masami Munekawa

After last year’s bill topped by guitar rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck and co., this year’s 22nd Fuji Rock Festival takes a more progressive turn. The opening Friday of the three-day summer music festival event at Naeba Ski Resort sees Damon Albarn’s virtual act Gorillaz headlining the main Green Stage. Promoter Smash’s Johnnie Fingers says lining them up was something of a coup. “Though they have a new album [Humanz],” he notes, “they hadn’t planned to do festivals this year, so we’re very happy. Their appearance at Fuji Rock will be the only festival they play this year.”

Two more main acts also chose Fuji Rock for some of their only festival appearances of 2017, a sign of the event’s key position in the world’s second-largest music market. “We were pleased Bjork agreed as she will only play two festivals this year, Fuji Rock being one,” Fingers adds. “Aphex Twin will also only do a few shows this year and there is a lot of interest as to what kind of show he’ll do.” In a show of his enduring legend in Japan, the British electronic music innovator tops the bill ahead of LCD Soundsystem, something you would be unlikely to see …continue reading


Kurotani Washi

Kurotani Washi.


Kurotani is well-known for its wagami (‘rice’ paper) production. Appreciation for this lifetime-absorbing craft has led to the paper art of Kurotani being designated an Important Cultural Property of Kyoto.

The history of Kurotani village traces back eight centuries to a warrior of the Taira Clan who, having failed at battle, saw it as his duty to leave an art form for following generations. A communal determination to stay with the traditional techniques employed from the start have led to paper of consistent quality, and to world-wide fame.

Wagami, or washi, is made from the Paper Mulberry tree of the Mulberry Bush family, characterized by its durable, fibrous quality. The delicate beauty of each sheet is apparent, and kept in good condition this kind of paper lasts literally a millenium or more – a stunning technical achievement for the craftspeople of the Heian era.

In the centre of Kurotani the Wagami Exhibition Hall provides paper information (mainly in Japanese). It also offers also a tour of neighborhood homes and workshops, where the paper making process can be viewed. Visitors have the opportunity to produce paper themselves and to purchase products made from washi such as wallets, name card holders, greetings cards, notebooks and zabuton cushions.

Kurotani Washi Kaikan
3 Higashidani, Kurotani-cho
Ayabe City
Kyoto 623-0108
Tel: 0773 44 0213
Monday-Friday 9am-4.30pm closed weekends and national holidays.

Take the JR Sanin Main Line from Kyoto Station to Ayabe Station (70 minutes by limited express) and exit the station from the south exit. The Kurotani Washi Kaikan is two minute’s walk from the Kurotani Wash Kaikan Mae stop on the Aya Bus Kurotani Line.


Goods From Japan delivered to your home or business …continue reading


How much does it cost to travel from Tokyo to Okayama?

Travellers may have unwittingly spotted Okayama en route to the attractions of Hiroshima or going the other way, Kyoto and Osaka. Okayama is the one with the splendid castle that you can see from the Shinkansen. The city name might not have a strong association with visitors to Japan, until they realise that this city is home to one of the nation’s most celebrated gardens, Korakuen. Constructed in 1687, Korakuen (後楽園) has seen it all, from floods to WWII bombs but has always been restored to its original state and today is ranked as one of the best three gardens in Japan. Still, Okayama is more than just flora and fauna. The city holds a special place in the hearts of the Japanese being the setting for the cherished fairy tale Momotaro (Peach Boy). Oh, and then there’s Okayama Castle. Okayama the city is an important stop on the Sanyo Shinkansen with rail links to Shikoku. The city is also the capital of Okayama Prefecture, Japan’s “Land of Sunshine”. Sounds good? We take a look at how much it costs to get to Okayama from Tokyo.FlightsOkayama is served by Okayama Airport (OKJ), a little over 10 km northwest of Okayama Station where the Shinkansen stop. Flights from Tokyo to Okayama take around 1 hr 15 mins.Buses from Okayama Airport to Okayama Station (West Exit) run from about 7:00 to 22:00. Journey times are around 30 mins and fares are 760 yen.ANA operate a handful of flights daily from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Okayama.One wayReturnFlex Fare36,49072,980Flex Round trip Faren/a63,380Basic Farefrom 15,29030,080Value Farefrom 12,29024,580ANA Premium FlightsOne wayReturnPremium Flex Fare43,29086,580Premium Basic Farefrom 22,29044,080Premium Value Farefrom 20,29040,580Premium Disability Discount24,19054,180JAL (Japan Airlines) also have a handful of flights daily with departures from Haneda Airport.One wayOne …continue reading