Tokyo tubbies

The longevity of the Japanese is fairly well documented, but just in case it needed confirming, the nation’s ladies have once again been lauded as the longest living people in the world. An expected innings of 86 years allowing plenty of time to amass absolutely loads of Louis Vuitton luggage, or alternatively suffer an even longer and lonelier marriage.

Japanese men don’t fare too badly either, with a second place spot behind the chaps of San Marino. A fairly substantial average of 79 possibly making up for the oodles of overtime they’ll be required to put in prior to retirement.

Yet despite these impressive numbers, a slowly changing diet is leading to an increase in the number of those overweight. A situation that has even led to fashion conscious fellas grappling with girdles in an effort to fit into some garments.

But that said, compared with many other countries, the Japanese are still super slim. Not that it has stopped many companies from attempting to cash in on peoples’ fears of becoming fat. The far from obese form of this character for a clinic arguably making the likes of Kate Moss look positively lardy.

Beach bums

Whether it was due to global warming or not isn’t clear, but Tokyo enjoyed a pleasantly warm winter this year, which, for the millions of residents living in poorly insulated apartments, was very welcome indeed. In fact, so temperate were the temperatures, that the capital went entirely without snow – the first time this has happened for 131 years according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

But those mild months could well mean that Japan needs to brace itself for an especially sultry summer, and with the mercury already rising, protection will be paramount. A topic that admittedly is not usually covered on Tokyo Times, but the recent discovery of a Japanese product called Anessa has prompted such a post.

Yuri Ebihara

Now whilst it’s supposed to be good for the skin and so on, much more importantly it offers perfect protection for young ladies who enjoy running along the beach in a bikini. An especially noble pastime it has to be said, but one that has sadly been neglected of late; however the arrival of Anessa will hopefully make it fashionable again – maybe even helping it gain entry into the Olympics at some point.

And what’s more, showering between bouts of bounciness on the beach is also ok.

Presumably meaning that despite even the most rigorous of rubbing, it thankfully won’t come off too quickly.

Yuri Ebihara


Japan Unwrapped #7: Foreign faces

Dear Tokyo Times

Having recently rewatched Lost in Translation, I was wondering if western movie stars are still used a lot for advertising in Japan, or has the country’s economic problems meant that companies are less willing to pay out huge sums of money for a famous foreign face?

Thanks a lot.

Joe, Melbourne

Whilst the hey days of fading film stars flocking to Japan for fat pay cheques may well be over Joe, the fairly recent upturn in the economy has created more openings for the money-obsessed mega-star. David Beckham for one has amassed an absolute ton of money making comically bad commercials, and Cameron Diaz is now, quite literally, big in Japan.

Yet with the purse strings still relatively tight for many companies, far from famous foreign faces are often the only feasible option. Like mobile phone navigation operator, Navitime, which unfortunately has been forced to make do with an unknown fella with unfashionable facial hair.

Japan advertising

His fees presumably much more of an issue than his moustache.

Japan advertising

And there is also a lot of similar work out there for the ladies, although whilst this bikini-clad beauty is thankfully free of dated facial adornments, in these days of political correctness, her picture has a similarly retro feel.

Japan advertising

A campaign that perhaps doesn’t have the same impact as the one by Ms Diaz, but it does have a certain charm. The only blemish being the supermarket advertisement next to it, which can be a little distracting.

Japan advertising

(click images for bigger bikini-clad biker)

Tokyo tee time

With club membership fees costing a colossal amount of money, the average salary man is unlikely to be whiling away every weekend on the golf course; however a large number of decidedly less exclusive driving ranges means that the option of going out and hitting a few balls is always open.

Yet whether its clobbering balls from inside a cage, or careering round the course in a cart, looking the part is paramount in Japan, so sensible slacks and a pastel-coloured Pringle polo are de rigueur. And it’s not just clothing either, as having the right equipment is considered equally important – regardless of the expense.

But even such meticulous preparation doesn’t guarantee success, and for the Japanese golfer who is struggling to get his club up and down, feels his shaft may not be stiff enough, or simply needs his balls gripped firmly, these bikini girl golf tees could be ideal.

Japanese tee

A set of these supposedly sexy girls no doubt doing a roaring trade on online retailer Rakuten, where 4 can be bought for 2,730 yen (22 dollar). A purchase that may well have players confidently whacking off from the tee in no time.

Japanese tee

(via the always jam-packed Japan Sugoi)

Generous Japan

Japan may well have been dealing with deflation for a decidedly long time, but that hasn’t stopped some shops flogging fancy foodstuffs for inordinately large sums of money. In fact, just over a week or so after a Sapporo department store was selling melons for a million yen each, an Osaka outlet is now trying to market mind bogglingly expensive mushrooms.

Yet whilst they would undoubtedly go well with the aforementioned melons, or alternatively do very nicely for a dinner party – albeit a small one – at 189,000 yen (1,550 dollars) for a packet of three, they are fantastically priced bits of fungus.

Japanese mushrooms

However whilst it does seem like an awful lot of money for a measly amount of food, they are by all accounts an extremely rare type of matsutake mushroom. Making them ideal for shoving in a pie or putting on a pizza perhaps.

Tokyo toys

When it comes to ways of whiling away the hours, Japanese kids aren’t exactly lacking in options: there are games galore, mountains of manga, plus more Hello Kitty merchandise than you could ever imagine – and then some.

Yet far from being put off by such competition, Japanese toy maker Bandai has bravely opted to carve out new niches rather than simply caving in to the competition – its new toilet-based toy undoubtedly treading previously uncharted territory.

A device that in a somewhat unorthodox manner flings rather than flushes faeces, making it both fun for children and ‘surprising’ as advertised.

Japanese toy

Thankfully rumours of a soon to be released full-sized version have purportedly been poo-pooed by Bandai.

Japanese toy