Cool Biz candour

After its introduction several years ago, Japan’s energy saving Cool Biz summer clothing concession has been a resounding success, with salary men the length and breadth of the country boldly going to work without jackets – some of them even turning their noses up at ties.

Yet perhaps not surprisingly, it is Japan’s ladies that have really taken to the idea of dressing cool for summer, with this video showing how far behind the nation’s sombre shirt-wearing salary men have already slipped.

A trend that some analysts are predicting will soon take over the workplace, with cooks it seems already keeping cool in the kitchen.

Japanese beauty

Along with a few eco-conscious care workers feeling the need to help cut energy costs.

Japanese beauty

This new found environmental awareness also spreading from work-related wear to recreational regalia, all the way from horse riding

reon kadena

to darts.

reon kadena


Japan Unwrapped #8: Food for thought

Dear Tokyo Times

I’m lucky enough to have been offered a job in Japan, but along with the financial and family considerations of uprooting to Tokyo, being a vegetarian I also have a dietary dilemma. Will it be possible to eat out without any real trouble, or will a meat-free diet mean I’ll be mostly eating at home?


Rod, Exeter

Well Rod, if you are reluctant to constantly have to pick out small pieces of meat from meals then you may indeed have some trouble, as descriptions of dishes that make no mention of containing meat, quite often do. And to make matters worse, the rigorous interrogation of restaurant staff may gain little insight into the true ingredients. Possibly resulting in an innocent order of this meat-free ‘green’ salad for example.

Japanese food

In fact, for a country that at one time ate next to no animals, the concept of vegetarianism is nowadays strangely unfathomable. So much so that a simple request of “Does this contain meat?” is often met with a puzzled expression and the comically inaccurate response of “No, only a little”

An especially vague answer that could mean just a few pieces of pork or alternatively a vast bowl of beef.

Japanese food

That said Rod, it is possible to regularly eat out, but for all the frustration you will inevitably face, adding at least chicken and fish to your diet would make your time in Tokyo far more fulfilling.

At least that’s what I opted to do.

Hello Kitty heaven?

The Japanese may well live for an unbelievably long time, but when they do finally meet their maker, they rest in rather grand surroundings. Emperors perhaps not surprisingly securing the most spacious spots.

emperor showa grave

But even less regal members of society often manage to bag spaces bigger than many apartments.

Japanese resting place

In fact, so much care is taken with such post-cremation accommodation, that there is even a prize for the best design. This year’s winner of the 13th Grave Photo Contest being a stone bearing the character for ‘sky’, with the heart-shaped offering below taking the new design prize.

Japanese resting place

Surely meaning that it’s only a matter of time before the emergence of Hello Kitty headstones…

Manga mania

Many people have their passions, but whereas the likes of soccer and cycling are perfectly acceptable in public, the donning of massive manga-esque masks perhaps isn’t quite so permissible. Thanks to Anigao Girls in Tokyo however, those partial to humongous headwear now have a place to parade around in private.

Those interested it seems can rent a room for 3,800 yen for 15 minutes, the space coming complete with a mask and a collection of costumes, including, perhaps predictably, a maid outfit.

Japanese manga mask

And for those wanting to bare all in a bikini or have a friend film the fun, then the price goes up somewhat.

Japanese manga mask

But as this bizarre little video shows, it’s well worth forking out a little extra for such frivolity.


(via the FG Forums)

Japanese juice

Japanese soft drinks change at an alarming rate, with new beverages appearing on a disturbingly regular basis. An especially irritating practice when one comes across a drink that is particularly pleasant – only to find it gone the following week.

Yet as far as so-called sports drinks are concerned, the old stalwarts of Aquarius and the perennially popular Pocari Sweat are thirst-quenching constants.

This longevity then is perhaps what prompted one drinks maker to market a similar product for pooches, allowing dogs that have being doing a bit of exercise to relax and recharge.

Japanese drink

Or alternatively it’s a product aimed at those with a penchant for pet perspiration.

Wrist-related release

It has to be said that repeated mouse clicks may well cause some repetitive stress related problems, but whether this novel new mouse pad will ease any painful and pent up pressure remains to be seen.

Japanese mouse pad

And even if it does, it’s highly unlikely it’ll be in the wrist department.

Japanese mouse pad