Tag Archives: Tokyo

5 reasons to slap on a pound of makeup to turn into a gyaru

One of Japan’s claim to fame is easily the gyaru, a type of subculture in Japan that has both men and women dressed to the nines; that is, if they were going to some sort of fashionable barbie slash anime character ball. Simply, it’s every beauty and fashion trend you know, done to the extreme. The word gyaru comes from the Japanese pronounciation of “gal,” but this special society isn’t just for women — plenty of men do it, too. I may sound derisive of it, but I actually think it’s really cool and just another example of the creativity thrumming in the young people in Japan.

Here are some pretty convincing reasons you should become a gyaru:

5) Because a regular hair weave ain’t got nothing on a on a gyaru’s do.

See the ashy blond locks curled to oblivion, the pouf that will make Bridget Bardot tear her hair out in frustration because she will never reach this epic poufiness perfection, and the frippery bits of lace, faux pearls, and ribbons weaved in and out of the locks.



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What it’s like to fly Hello Kitty class

I’m crazy about all things Hello Kitty, so imagine my delight when I discovered the plane I was flying on from Tokyo to Taipei was the famed Hello Kitty plane we talked about two years ago. Just so you can have a glimpse of what it was like, I took photos from start to finish!

Check-in counter:

hello kitty check-in counter















My airplane ticket:

hello kitty plane ticket















The tail end of the plane as I was boarding:

Back of Hello Kitty Plane















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Tommy Lee Jones back in Tokyo, makes me crave canned coffee

Kudos to Tommy Lee Jones. The actor is one of the few Hollywood stars to visit Japan after the March 11 disaster.  Jones was in Tokyo earlier this month to film the latest in a long series of commercials for Suntory’s BOSS coffee.  I didn’t realize this until recently, but Jones has been starring in these popular Japanese commercials for years now.  The TV ads feature him as an alien disguised as a human à la “Men in Black”  and is living in Japan to learn more about Earth.

Here’s one that I found particularly hilarious. He’s in the Akihabara shopping area in Tokyo, working as a camera man as he learns the ways of Japan’s quirky, anime-inspired people.  It’s so awkwardly awesome…you gotta watch it!

Suntory has made over 30 commercials featuring him in these ads. Watch more here!

Hoppy Rabbity New Year!

I can’t believe it’s a New Year again! 2011 is the year of the rabbit, which means a more chill and laid back year compared to the 2010 tiger volatility. I kept in with the rabbity tradition by having a very relaxing New Year countdown — didn’t go too crazy and face hordes of people unlike all my previous new years. I considered going to a temple for hatsumode, or making the first visit to  a shrine in the New Year (equivalent to Times Square countdown, albeit with more religious and cultural significance), since I was in Tokyo to ring in the New Year Japanese style. However, I decided against it, and I’m kind of glad I did. Check out the picture to see how crazy crowded it was!

Hope you had a relaxing New Year countdown as well AbFob readers. Hoppy Rabbity New Year to you — here’s to a fobulous 2011!

OJS48, an “over-the-hill” Japanese pop sensation

While the Koreans are busy churning out young and cute K-pop groups, the Japanese are turning to another demographic—old, retired men averaging the age of 61.  A new Tokyo group, OJS48, consists of 16 old men who are all retired police officers and detectives. OJS48, produced by Akimoto Yasushi (who is also known to have produced famous Japanese idol groups like AKB48), will debut on October 13 with a song titled “Shinkokyu” (deep breathing). I’m not sure how well a song entitled “deep breathing” will resonate for a group consisting of men my father’s age, but who knows, this could be the next revolution of “boy” bands.  Check out their singing below!


Paranormal Activity seeks to scare Japanese audiences

For the first time, the Japanese are doing a remake of an American horror film instead of the other way around.  Released in 2009, Paranormal Activity made over $100 million in ticket sales on a $15,000 budget. The movie became super popular among Japanese audiences and, as a result, a Japanese distributor, Presidio Corporation, will be creating Paranormal Activity: Tokyo Night.

The Japanese sequel takes place in Japan with a girl who visits San Diego as an exchange student.  She brings back into her own family’s house the evil that had originally haunted the main character of the American version. After watching the Japanese versions of The Ring and The Grudge (OK, Googling these links will not help me sleep tonight), I have no doubt the Japanese version of this movie will leave me with more sleepless nights.

Check out the trailer for Paranormal Activity 2!


Manga man charms streets of Japan with magnetic storytelling

Remember the days when you were a little kid, when listening to someone read a storybook drew you into the imaginative world of fiction?  Well, meet Rikimaru Toho, 35, who has caught the attention of passersby and international newspapers alike with his passionate manga readings.

“I was a classic hikikomori (recluse) and NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) type of person. I couldn’t fit in,” Toho tells CNN. “Now I get offers to perform on stages in clubs and theaters. Media people in Japan are interested in me. But the best thing about my manga performances is when audience members are sweating when they thank me after a reading. I’m the one who performed — but they’re the ones sweating!”

Check out this highly entertaining clip from one of his regular Saturday night readings on the streets of Shimokitazawa, 10 minutes west of central Tokyo.  Toho is reading from “Slam Dunk,” Takehiko Inoue’s bestselling manga series about competing high school basketball teams.

The scene depicts a crucial moment in the story when the hero, a newbie, manages to steal the ball from a veteran captain. Toho starts with streams of onomatopoeia, evoking mayhem on the court. At around the 50-second mark, the hero says: “Heh-heh. I got the ball!” and at 57 seconds, the crowd roars: “Amazing! He finally got it! He got the ball away from the captain!” Finally, at 1:05, Toho impersonates a young female fan featured in close-up gushing “He’s so awesome. And now everyone understands how great he really is. Yes!” (Translation by CNN.)


(Thanks Dunks!)

Minority Report technology: This vending machine remembers you

This Japanese vending machine could have been from the sci-fi flick, Minority Report.  There’s a scene where Tom Cruise is bombarded by personalized advertising — infrared sensors recognize his identity by scanning his eyes, allowing companies to know things like his name and how many times he’s visited a store.

Similarly, this digital, uber high-tech vending machine has an embedded camera that identifies your gender and age, allowing the machine to suggest products typical of your demographic.  It even remembers your purchasing history, so it will tailor its ads to you every time you use it.

If you’re in Japan, go visit Tokyo’s Shinagawa Station to check out the brand new vending machine!  Five hundred more units will be installed around Tokyo over the next two years.

And if you haven’t watched Minority Report yet, here’s what I’m talking about.


(Thanks Dunks!)

Banana vending machines anyone?

banana vending machines|

The bananas of Japan’s first banana vending machine have been selling like hotcakes. The machine was installed on June 23 in Shibuya, and has been so successful — bananas were sold out everyday since its debut — that the company wants install more fruit vending machines in places like commercial buildings and colleges. One yellow fruit will cost you about $1.50 and a bunch is priced around $3.90.

We need cool vending machines like that here in the States!


Suffocation to be expected on daily train ride to work in Japan

Below is a snapshot of what you would have to face going to work everyday in Japan.