The word Itasha describes a car that has been plastered with stickers of anime (Japanese cartoons) or eroge (Japanese dating sims) characters. "Itasha" literally means "painful car" and comes from the feeling that one would usually be painfully embarrassed to drive around in one. "Itasha" also means Italian Car. You can see a whole bunch of these Itasha that I snapped a while ago. But, not only are some Japanese folks most creative when it comes to decorating their car, they be also creative when it comes to car accessories too - as you can see from the photo below... Would you drive around in an Itasha?
The smoking stats for 2008 in Japan are up at the Japan Health Promotion and Fitness Foundation site. Statistics show that 39.5% of Japanese male adults smoke - in a slightly better shape than 1966 where 83.7% (!) where smokers. Males in their 40's smoked the most - 47.8% of them. As for adult females - 12.9% are smokers - most of them being in their 30's. Complaining does not really achieve much in life so I tend not to moan about the fact that everybody in Tokyo *seems* to smoke. There are very few restaurants in Tokyo with non-smoking sections and even if there are then it looks something like you see in the photo above. I approached the entrance and asked if they had non-smoking sections and they said yes. I was lead to the small round table you see on the left of the photo - the smoking section is where the guy reading the newspaper is... After working for Amazon in the Tokyo offices for a few years, I spent about 5 months in the Seattle offices - loved the fact that most restaurants were non-smoking. Came back to Japan to take up passive smoking again but the readily available otaku merchandise more than made up for that ;-) So, even if you don't smoke - you will be guaranteed to smoke passively in Japan whether you rike it or not. I guess the price of cigarettes over here helps - a pack of cigarettes in Japan costs between 2 and 3 USD for a pack of 20. Are non-smokers in your region treated well or expected to passive smoke? News and photo plucked from my News Items. Related Smoker awareness campaign at Kirainet.
See more photos and images of weird and wonderful medieval armor at Dark Roasted Blend. Speaking of armor - the video below shows how one puts on Stormtrooper armor. Via Karapaia.
These numbers can be seen at every Koban (police box) throughout Japan and show how many people got injured or died in traffic accidents. 166 people were injured yesterday. 4 people have died so far this year and 1675 people have been injured. Photo taken when I went to get my drivers license renewed - you can read about the process in my Japan Drivers License article where I also talk about the incredibly depressing video that they show you before the license is issued - and before watching the video, the officer says that if you fall asleep while watching then no license for you ;-)
Seen the Free Hugs in Tokyo for many a moon now but this was the first time I saw Free Tosses. "Free Toss" in this case meaning where they throw you in the air like this. Folks visiting from the UK however may get the wrong idea about a "free toss" - "tossing" in London slang means to wax ones dolphin... Photo dug up from my Japan Photos category. Vader and a TK unit giving out free hugs in Harajuku - larger photos at Kirainet.
This video, and official release from Peter Bjorn and John, shows a day in the life of a very interesting guy with very big hair, and his dancing comrades. Whether seen as macho to a humorous fault or just so cool we can’t keep up, the dancers in Yoyogi Park have been at this for years.More videos of what goes on at Yoyogo Park at NihongoNotes. Photo was taken at Harajuku (where Yoyogi Park is) on the day of the iPhone launch - see more photos of the coverage and a related Peter Bjorn and John video in my previous iPhone japan article. Via JapanProbe.
Why is it that your relatives or friends in Japan tell you that they got their fully functional electronic goods such as TVs, refrigerators, music centers etc from the streets for free? Many folks over here upgrade their electronic goods regularly to keep up with the Suzuki's. They've only had their TV for a couple of years and want an upgrade. By law, one should not just throw out their old electrical appliances. The owner of a TV for example would go to the local convenience store and purchase a recycle sticker (which looks something like this) that they stick on the TV - the sticker in this case may cost something like 3 USD. An appointment is then arranged with the local ward office to come and pick up the TV at a particular time. Despite what the law says, some folks just leave their stuff on the roads for others to pick up and do this because they think its a waste to have a fully functional appliance just taken away - *and* the fact that they have to pay for it to be taken away too. Do folks in your region just leave electrical appliances in fully working order around? Photo dug up from somewhere in my A Week in Tokyo series.
This Japan Telecom chap is installing our second optic fiber 100Mbps Internet connection which I'm currently using to dish out images for dannychoo.com from a Mac Mini - uncapped connection with an average of 64Mbps down/55Mbps up. Cost is 11 USD per month with no setup fees either. The installation takes less than an hour and you can watch the whole process in my previous article. I remember when I first started out using the Internets back in the UK over ten years ago on a 56k modem - my first phone bill was over 200 pounds! How much does the Internets cost you in your region? Is it cheap or does your ISP require 7.2 pints of blood from you?
In Japan, the American Spider Man works part time to promote apartment rooms - in this case its for the snazzy Bloom Tower. And this is because the Japanese Spider Man is elsewhere giving aerobics lessons as you can see from the video below... Photo taken from my 7pm in Tokyo series where I snap and post a shot of what I'm doing/where I am at around 7pm.
Xeni and I have been secretly working on a Japanese version of Boing Boing not. But maybe this is what it would look like - threw together during a PG Tips tea break using Fireworks. And in case you are wondering - the first post in the mock is about an online Japanese book that was published which features photos of men's faces being squashed by women's thighs - more pics and instructions on how to see more are available if that sort of thing tickles your fancy. The other post in the mock is about a popular American manga (Japanese comics) illustrator Fred_Gallagher who's work has become so popular outside of Japan that now the Japanese want to see his work. Larger version of this mockup in my Flickr pool.
A side of Tokyo that folks outside of Japan may not usually get to see - a collection of architecture around Tokyo with some personality - more photos available in my previous Tokyo Housing article.
This abandoned Russian fortress is probably one of the creepiest places I have seen. The reason for it to have such a strange look is because it was used later by Russian army to test the influence of Russian alternative to napalm inside of the brick houses. Due to very high temperature of napalm the bricks started melting just like ice melts in the spring forming the icicles, but those icicles are of red brick.See more pics of this lovely but eerie fortress at EnglishRussia. Via Karapia.
So why exactly do most Japanese folk do the V-sign when having their photos taken? According to Wikipedia, the earliest confirmed usage of the V-sign was by Winston Churchil during World War II - the V-sign meaning "Victory." The Japanese Wikipedia for the entry Peace Sign however says that there is a theory that the two fingers mean that two nuclear bombs where dropped on Japan meaning that peace is near...
During the 1972 Winter Olympics in Japan, skater Janet Lynn (who was also a peace activist) was photographed by the Japanese media doing the V-sign. Although the V-sign was already recognized in Japan, it was apparently these photos of Lynn that popularized the use of the V-sign.
The Japanese entry in Wikipedia does not mention Lynn at all and instead says that the V-sign took off in the 80's when usage of the V-sign was used when kids were having their photos taken.
Do you like your cake? Do you like your sushi? Well how about a sushi cake? These yummy cakes are available from Ryu Gu Jo Sushi Studio and cost between 57 USD and 74 USD depending on the fish used. And for those who are new to eating sushi, the tutorial below will tell you everything you need to know. How good is the sushi served up in your region?
Breaking suchi cake news from CScout
Plucked a few photos from my Tokyo Photo Walk category and uploaded the original resolutions (containing EXIF Info and all) to my Flickr Wallpaper Pool. Photos taken with either the Lumix LX3 or Canon Kiss2 which I think is called the Rebel in the US?