Archive for October, 2005


Random interesting photos from Japan

Posted by on Thursday, 27 October, 2005

My cellphone’s memory is filling up, so I started to erase some unnecessary photos when it hit me that some of the photos I’ve snapped around Tokyo might be entertaining for you. So I present some random shots taken with my cellphone camera (thus the bad quality):

(Mouse over the images for a description/Click to enlarge)

Terrifying roller coaster at Tokyo Dome CityDoraemon et al on parade in AkihabaraHottest instant curry I've ever eaten!Great Hawaiian restaurant in AkasakaIce Cleam!?Apparently the KKK is active in Japan...Speaks for itself!Coca Cola-flavored milk!Japanese are crazy about Marimekko!Huge 200-slot driving range in Yokosuka


That is a lot of cassette tapes!

Posted by on Tuesday, 25 October, 2005

This guy seems to love cassette tapes – he has collected a whole page of pictures of different brands and models of them! It’s a huge nostalgic kick, that’s for sure!

Check it out here: Cassette Jam ’05



Most annoying behavior in Japanese trains

Posted by on Monday, 24 October, 2005

The Organization of Private Railroads in Japan (日本民営鉄道協会) [my translation] recently released the results of the 5th annual poll on annoying behavior in commuter trains.

I first read this last week somewhere but I forgot to comment on it, although I found some of the results quite amusing. And then today I read Simon’s Blog where he had taken a picture of the poster displaying the results, so I got the inspiration to post about it again. On the official site of the organization, you can read about the poll. Basically they polled people commuting with any of the 16 major private railroads in Japan about what they thought was the most annoying behavior of fellow passengers. Here are the results from this year’s poll (as best as I can translate it):

1.How people sit in their seats 24.8%

  • Sitting down with their legs spread too wide.
  • When young or healthy people sit in the priority seats.
  • When people don’t squeeze together enough in the seats to fit more people in rush hour.

2.Usage of cell phones 19.9%

  • Speaking on a cell phone with a loud voice.
  • Loud ring tones.

3.Behavior when getting on the train 8.6%

  • People who ignore the line of people waiting for the train and just boards ahead of everyone else.
  • Not waiting for people to get off first before boarding.

4.Sitting on the floor of the train 8.1%

  • People sitting close to the doors blocking boarding/getting off.
  • When 5-6 people sit in a ring-formation on the floor.

5.General noisy behavior 7.0%

  • Groups of people acting loud and rowdy.
  • Parents who don’t tell off their loud children.

6.Headphones turned too loud 6.1%

  • Having the volume too loud in a crowded train so everyone has to listen to the sound.
  • Bass and beats too loud.

7.Women putting on makeup 5.1%

  • Hair and smell when putting on makeup/fixing hair is annoying.
  • Things better done in private should not be done in public.
  • Even as a fellow woman, it can be unpleasant to watch.

8.People carrying bags 4.9%

  • People who don’t take off their backpacks when in the train.
  • Placing bags on the seat.

9.Smoking on/around the train 4.7%

  • People who smoke anywhere outside the designated smoking area.
  • Throwing cigarette butts on the platform.

10.Eating and drinking on the train 4.0%

  • The smell fills up the whole car.
  • Just leaving garbage in the train after eating/drinking.

Well, most of the answers I fully agree with! There’s nothing more annoying to me when people waste space in the seats by sitting like sack of potatoes and/or with their bag next to them! Further, people rushing onto the train before you have time to get off is so darn annoying, too. I always try to elbow them in the chest to make a point! But, I can’t say I am particularly bothered by women putting on their makeup on the train. I find it amusing that they do, but it doesn’t bother me at all.


Tsurugi sword performance group O-Getsu Ryu in Tokyo

Posted by on Thursday, 20 October, 2005

O-Getsu Ryu will perform their latest work “Colorful” in Tokyo on October 25-27 at Space Zero in Yoyogi, Tokyo, Japan. To get tickets, visit their homepage at

O-Getsu Ryu is a unique performance group that mixes very traditional Tsurugi style sword techniques with modern music. Their shows are often based on old Japanese tales, like The Tale of Genji or stories written about the 17th century samurai Musashi. They recently toured Taiwan, and last year they toured around Europe with their show “Sakuya” to high critical acclaim.

The leader of the group, Ms. Mihoko Kamiya, also sings in a very old, extinct language dating back to the Yamato period (250 – 710 AD), which hardly can be experienced through viewing photographs! If you can read Japanese, there’s an interview with her to be found on

It’s very hard to describe O-Getsu Ryu any further – it’s a truly unique experience mixing old and new, aggressive weapon techniques with beautiful fluid dance motions. The pictures below capture at least some of the magic. (Click on the thumbnails to see original photo.)

critical blow


Maid cafes and maid hair salons

Posted by on Tuesday, 18 October, 2005

Unless you’ve lived under a rock during the last few months (or, perhaps, if you’ve lived outside Japan and not paid any attention to articles in the media or blogs) then you know of a phenomena known as “maid cafes” which have become really common here.

A maid cafe is simply a cafe/coffee shop were the waitresses happen to be dressed up as maids, to cater to the fantasies of the patrons. There are maid cafes where the waitresses also dress up as your favorite manga-character or playstation game heroine – but they are all generally referred to as “maid cafes.” Another general term that is used is moeten (萌店) where “moe” literally means “bud” or “sprout” but recently is almost exclusively used to describe the ideal youthful and innocent femininity as it is often portraid in anime and manga.

Anyway, through Epitmetheus blog I found that there also exists “maid salons” where the hair stylists are dressed in maid outfits. Wow! This country never ceases to amaze me. There is such a salon called “Moesham” (derived from “moe” and “shampoo”) in Akihabara. They even have ceiling-mounted mirrors so you can get a good view of your hair dresser from every angle!!

If you’re interested in other varities of moetens and maid cafes, there’s a good resource here at Here are some examples:

Chocolatte (maid cafe in Akihabara)
chocolatte maid

@Home Cafe (also a maid cafe in Akihabara)
athome maid

Little MSN (maid mahjong club in Yurakucho)
little MSN maid