I’ve been looking for an excuse to write about Japanese toilets for years (see our first Japanese Toilet article here). Now I’ve got Steve Jobs and his avid Japanese team of iPhone app developers to thank! Who else but the Japanese would think of designing an iPhone app that replicates the sound of a toilet flushing.
After being developed in Kyoto in the early 80s as a next generation version of bottomless coffee shops (ノーパン喫茶, nopan kissa), the so called “Fashion Health” industry was and still is a key aspect of the neon alleys in Japan’s red light districts. Fashion Health was a product of the bubble and began to proliferate in 1981. Nowadays, the government has tightened the regulations (風営法, fu’eiho) considerably and it’s now practically impossible to open a brand new Fashion Health shop. However, due to one of those wacky loopholes that you often find in Japanese law, Fashion Health establishments that were already in operation before the enactment of the new regulation are allowed to remain in business. Continue reading Japan’s real-estate market won’t take it lying down→
Yet another “Only in Japan” story, but we just had to delve deeper into this one! According to many of the foreign press outlets this week, hundreds, possibly thousands of Japanese women have been conned into buying baby lambs, which they thought were in fact poodles. Coming from a background where an annual highlight is Christmas lamb, this story tested my limits. Continue reading Actress Maiko Kawakami Roasted Over Sheep-Dog Incident→
I have always been a supporter of leaving key services up to the central government to run. Services like the police, prison, schools, universities and up until now I thought the post office of Japan was no exception. In my mind the postal system here in Japan has always provided efficient service, despite being blatantly over-staffed. That was until last week.
Japan, despite its lax attitude toward tobacco and alcohol, has always been very strict when it comes to matters of “more illicit” drugs. Laws regulating soft drugs such as marijuana are as strict as those toward heroin and cocaine. This was not so until the American Constitution was imposed on Japan after World War II; actually hemp has been an integral part of Japanese culture and religion since ancient times (see www.taima.org for more details), but that is another article altogether.
Earlier this week Nepia, one of the nations largest manufacturer and distributor of domestic paper products released a very limited number of what may be the most expensive tissue paper in the world. Nepia very shrewdly made their new product available only through their internet shop at mid night on Friday, by the time the Saturday morning talk shows had picked up on the campaign it was all but over and all 3000 sets had sold out.
Japan is supposed to be the land of conformity, a land where nobody has original ideas, where everyone unquestioningly follows the pack. But every now and then, people in Japan come up with some things so bewildering that you wonder where the idea could possibly have come from!
The Hello Kitty “Snow Kitty” is one of these. The ultimate present for kids who have never had a chance to play with snow, I was told by the Sanrio employee who invented this. For 4,800 yen, payable online or by bank transfer, the reliable blokes at the Sagawa Kyubin delivery service will deliver right to your door a frozen Kitty-chan snowman made of snow hand-packed in Hokkaido the very day before! Continue reading Mail Order “Snow Kitty” – Made of Real Snow!→
This is the part two of Stippy.com’s Love Hotel in Japan series, showcasing the best, weirdest, and more interesting love hotels in Japan. Part one was the introduction to the series, and from today onwards, we will be introducing a different love hotel, and delving deep inside with our cameras and camcorders to show you the darker underbelly of Japanese culture.
The love hotel is an icon of Japanese culture, the thought of which warms the hearts (and loins), of both Japanese and foreigners alike. Stippy.com plans to showcase the most wacky and interesting love hotels in Japan, complete with video footage of the interior of each one, including Alcatraz – The Rock in Gunma Prefecture, the conspicuous Hotel Sexus in Kyoto, and of course the historical Meguro Emperor. Look out for these original videos and critiques throughout this year!
Earlier in Summer you may have missed the a new chewing gum phenomenon, “Otoko Kaoru” (Literally: ‘Man Scent’).
What’s unusual about this gum is that it causes a rose fragrance to be emitted from the chewer’s body for about one to two hours after its chewed. The Rose Menthol flavoured gum, contained a fragrant component geraniol, which is found in roses. According to Kanebo’s food research laboratory, the component is easily emitted from the body’s sweat glands, in much the same way as Continue reading ‘Man Scent’ Chewing Gum→