Category Archives: CULTURE

Recycling Clothes in Tokyo

Recycling Clothes in Tokyo

Until relatively recently, used clothes in Japan have had one fate: burnable garbage. If you’re from a country with a collection bin and a few secondhand shops in every neighborhood, this just feels wrong. Some people take suitcases full of cast-offs back home rather than throw them out. Happily, the Japanese concept of mottainai (avoiding wastefulness) is catching on and leading to more options.

Sell it!

Do you have too many designer clothes and accessories in like-new condition? You’re in the right city. There are many brand-conscious secondhand shops that will buy your things.

Komehyo or RagTag

Start with Komehyo or RagTag, both of which have some half dozen outlets throughout Tokyo. Be prepared to take a number and wait a while if you go on a busy day, but if you can read Japanese RagTag has a wonderful online option. Through which you can send in a box of clothes free of delivery charges, and you’ll get an email within a week or two telling you how much the store is willing to offer you for them. If you accept the price, a deposit will be made to your bank account, and if there are any items whose prices you disagree with, they’ll send them back to you at no charge.

Pass the Baton

Pass the Baton in Omotesando sells items that fit its quirky aesthetic on consignment (they call it “relighting”), but the store requires an appointment for anyone wishing to sell items, during which you’ll have to explain the “story” of each piece. Expect to spend at least an hour with a staff member, even for a small number of items, but you’re likely to get more cash for designer clothing and accessories that sell than you …continue reading


Japanese government discussing stricter copyright laws on cosplay, top cosplayer Enako chimes in

New rules may regulate social media photos and profit made from cosplay.

Cosplay is an awesome way for fans of shows to get creative and express their love for certain characters, but as we’ve seen before it also skirts the line of copyright law when it comes to making money.

For example, if you dress up as Goku, Tanjiro, or Ronald McDonald, and you make money from selling photos or costumes, are you infringing on the copyright of those characters?

It’s been an ongoing debate within the Japanese government, and according to the online news site Nikkan Sports, the government is moving forward to create laws to alleviate ambiguities in current copyright law. While cosplay that is not for profit will be unaffected, cosplay photos posted to social media, and cosplayers who make money from events may become liable for infringement.

▼ Luckily Little Red Riding hood is in the public domain,
so our selfies of dressing up as her are okay.

Right now nothing is official, and the government is in discussions with professional Japanese cosplayers such as Enako, who is well known for her significant income from cosplay and is also an ambassador for Cool Japan.

▼ This potential change understandably has a lot of people worried,
and Enako recently posted her take on Twitter. (Translation below)

#コスプレ著作権ルール化 について、拡散されている情報だけでは少し誤解があるかと思いますが…こちらの記事の方が分かりやすいかと思います。


— えなこ (@enako_cos) January 24, 2021

“I think there are some misunderstandings on the information being spread out there about the changes to cosplay copyright, but this article is easy to understand.

(Link to Nikkan Sports article)

I had a discussion with Minister Inoue, and we’re searching for a way to protect copyright without interfering with current cosplay …continue reading


Evangelion joins the fight against COVID-19 with this amazing awareness campaign


If Shinji and the gang can fight Angels, surely they can fight coronavirus too!

In Japan, there have been a number of COVID-19 awareness campaigns, with even Doraemon getting in on the mask-wearing action. But sometimes, cute characters and charming messages aren’t enough. Sometimes, something much more impactful is needed.

For example, Fukuoka Prefecture recently declared a state of emergency and needed an effective way to make sure all Fukuoka residents took it seriously.

To do so, the team at the Fukuoka Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters came up with this billboard, posted at the entrance to Tenjin subway and brought to the Internet’s attention by @tenjinsite:

“The concourse at Tenjin Station in Fukuoka during state of emergency. Had a surprise when I got off the train! Let’s wash our hands, gargle, wear masks, and avoid the three mitsu.”

#緊急事態宣言 発生中の 福岡県・天神、西鉄福岡(天神)駅コンコースの様子です。電車降りて驚きました❗

手洗い・うがい、マスク着用、3密回避に努めて頑張りましょう💪😷👏#福岡県 #天神 #西鉄電車

— 天神サイト (@tenjinsite) January 21, 2021

Even non-anime fans will likely be able to recognise the billboard inspired by the font and motifs from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Whereas previous awareness campaigns may have been traditional (or even adorable), this Evangelion-inspired campaign is not only eye catching, but properly instills the seriousness of the coronavirus by conveying a sense of urgency.

The billboard’s scrolling message reads as follows:

“State of Emergency — a request from Fukuoka Prefecture.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are issuing a state of emergency.
Please refrain from going out unless absolutely necessary.
Especially after 8 p.m, we strongly request you stay indoors.
Wear a mask, wash your hands, and keep your distance.
Please be vigilant and take proper infection prevention measures.”

A representative from the Fukuoka Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters commented that they hoped the billboard would help young …continue reading


Japan now has talking Evangelion ATMs

I mustn’t run out of cash…I mustn’t run out of cash…

One of the great ironies is that back in the beginning, Evangelion had trouble working out merchandising deals. That’s obviously no longer an issue for the anime juggernaut, though, as there’s now a near-constant flow of Eva figures, fashion, and even food.

If anything, the problem for fans isn’t finding some merch they want, but keeping enough cash on hand for those impulse buys. So it makes sense that as of this week, Japan has talking Evangelion ATMs.

On Monday, convenience store Lawson reconfigured its in-store ATM terminals with a new user interface with an Evngelion motif, featuring the characters, fonts, and other visual design cues of the series. The really special part, though, is that the ATMs also talk with one of three iconic Eva voices.

Currently, your transactions will be guided by the voice of Misato (portrayed by voice actress Kotono Mitsuishi). On January 25, Misato hands off ATM duties to Evangelion Unit-02 pilot Asuka (Yuko Miyamura), and, protagonist Shinji’s stint starts on February 1 and runs until February 14.

▼ Yeah, he has to wait the longest, but Shinji should probably just be happy he wasn’t left out entirely.

Initially, the promotion was meant to overlap with the release of the final Rebuild of Evangelion movie, Thrice Upon a Time, which was supposed to start playing in Japanese theaters on January 23. That premiere has since been delayed indefinitely, but at least in the meantime, the Eva cast will be there for you if you need to make a withdrawal to pay for one of those crazy Unit-01 …continue reading


Four photos, five years – A father’s beautiful pictures of his daughter growing up at Nara temple

Loving dad also has a heartwarming idea for what to photograph next.

The biggest sightseeing draw in Nara is Nara Park, with its herds of free-roaming deer and adjacent historical buildings. But the prefecture’s points of interest aren’t limited to Nara City, and one that’s worth venturing out of the prefectural capital to see is Hasedera Temple, in the town of Sakurai.

Situated part-way up a mountain, climbing the covered staircase to the top will reward you with a beautiful view from an observation deck, and it was there that Japanese Twitter user and photography enthusiast @shingo_camera snapped the above photo of his daughter as she offered a prayer against a backdrop of crimson autumn leaves.

However, Hasedera’s full beauty isn’t something that can be conveyed in just one trip. It’s also known as “the temple of flowers,” and each season offers uniquely enchanting scenery. So @shingo_camera eventually took another trip to Hasedera with his daughter, this time in the summer, when the leaves on the trees were a vibrant verdant hue.

You might notice that @shingo_camera’s daughter is taller in the second shot than the first. That’s because the they’re part of a series that he took over the course of roughly five years, with the girl standing in the same spot, and with the same pose, each time.

▼ The spring photo, with sakura cherry blossoms on the branches

In the first photo, she’s still just six years old, but by the time we get to winter, she’s turned 10.

…continue reading

Do you know about paid online live music services? graph of japanese statistics

This survey from MMD Labo looked at the safest way to enjoy live music these days, viewing online live music.

I’ve not watched any online live music free or paid, although over the New Year my favourite Japanese band, Southern All Stars, did an online live concert (they normally see in the New Year with an in-person concert) with tickets at 4,500 yen each, and I was sorely tempted…

Here’s a random song of theirs off YouTube; I’d not actually seen or heard this one before:

Research results

Q1: How do you usually listen to music? (Sample size=15,735, multiple answer, top ten)

On free video playback service 53.6%
On television 39.7%
On bought CD, DVD, Blu-ray 33.2%
On AM, FM radio 25.8%
On rental CD, DVD, Blu-ray 15.2%
On internet radio 13.5%
On fixed-price music distribution service app 11.6%
On bought digital downloads 11.1%
On free music distribution service, app 10.7%
On free option of fixed-price music distribution service app 9.9%

Q2: Do you know about free online live music distribution services? (Sample size=15,735)

Know and use them 31.2%
Know about them, but haven’t used them 17.2%
Just heard the term 28.6%
Don’t know at all 23.1%

Perhaps not surprisingly, the younger people were, the more likely it was they had heard of and used such services.

Q3: Do you know about paid online live music distribution services? (Sample size=15,735)

Know and use them 14.4%
Know about them, but haven’t used them 25.6%
Just heard the term 33.9%
Don’t know at all 26.1%

Once again, the younger people were, the more likely it was they had heard of and used such services.

Next, 48.9% of the 15,735 people from the previous questions had attended an ordinary live concert in person. They were then asked this:

Q4: Why do you attend normal live concerts, etc? (Sample size=7,688, mutliple answer, top ten)

It’s an artist I particularly like 46.0% 39.0% 51.6%
I wanted to hear their songs live 44.9% 37.7% 50.8%
I wanted to see them live 44.6% 37.0% 50.9%
Load music is powerful 19.4% 18.9% 19.7%
I wanted to listen to the artist’s MC live 15.0% 12.3% 17.2%

…continue reading


Tokyo Virtual Art Book Fair

Hello Sandwich Table 02

Hello Sandwiches!

My booth at the Tokyo Virtual Art Book Fair is now live! No matter where you are in the planet you can visit with this link! Come and say hello and check out my new zines!

Japanese Online Dating Zine


はちゃめちゃなGoogle翻訳についてのジンは日本でのオンラインデートの一部です。しかもコロナ自宅待機期間中にどうして私がティンダー利用禁止になったかも載ってます。 変なことはしてないから心配しないでっ!

A zine about the odd and random google translations that are all a part of online dating in Japan. Also includes the story about how I got banned from Tinder. Haha. I promise I didn’t do anything wrong!

See the zine here!

Hello Sandwich Booth TABF

The VABF is so cute, each time you visit they change my ‘furniture’. So cute! I want that pink arch in real life!

VABF Promo image



A collage collection of artworks and photographs taken during coronavirus isolation in Tokyo

See the zine here!

…continue reading


Men in Japanese Kimono -Stylish and Charming in the Edo Period

Young men with gorgeous attire, gentlemen dressed in refined patterns, and hipsters enjoying extravagant costumes. We encounter many fashionable men in ukiyo-e. In the Edo period, men enjoyed fashion just as much as they do today. Kabuki actors were the most popular fashion icons of the time. In their daily lives, men expressed their taste not only through the kimono they wore, but also through items such as hoods, cigarette cases and hair styles. Their elegant look in kimono, is one of the unique charms of the men of the Edo period. Tracing the history of male figures in ukiyo-e, young men with fringes were preferred as models in the early to mid Edo period, while gallant men were more commonly depicted in the late Edo period. This exhibition on men in kimono, presents the rich costume culture of Edo, the charm of men in kimono, and how the idea of an attractive man has evolved over time.

…continue reading


Evangelion can (not) get released – Final Rebuild film gets delayed again

Is the coronavirus the 19th Angel?

When you’re really enjoying a work of fiction, part of you can’t wait to see what happens next, triggering feeding frenzy-like impulses to consume the media as quickly as possible. At the same time, though, there’s a reluctance to get the to the end, because you don’t want the story to be over.

That’s definitely something fans of Evangelion can relate too. The franchise started all the way back in 1995, then went dormant for a 10 years until the Rebuild of Evangelion movie series fired up in 2007. Then Rebuild stalled after its third installment nine years ago, but even after nearly a decade worth of waiting, it’s kind of sad to think that once the next installment, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, hits theaters, it’ll be the last piece of Eva anime ever.

Well, it looks like fans will get to look forward to the true end of Evangelion for a little while longer, since Thrice Upon a Time has been delayed yet again.

▼ Back to rewatching the trailer it is…

Creator Hideaki Anno’s final punctuation point for the series was supposed to come out on Saturday of next week, January 23. Then Japan’s coronavirus infection numbers started spiking, causing the producers to call off planned opening day midnight screenings for Thrice Upon a Time. Last week, the Japanese government declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three of its neighbors, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba Prefectures, and on Wednesday night the emergency status was expanded to Osaka, Kyoto, Aichi, Hyogo, Fukuoka, Gifu, and Tochigi Prefectures, which include the majority of the most populous cities in Japan.

So once again, Studio Khara has made the decision to delay Thrice Upon a Time’s premiere, issuing a statement through its website that reads:

“To start, …continue reading


Letters from Japan: “He Gave Me Money”

Ask Hilary: He gave me money

Dear Hilary,

My boyfriend and I have been together for six months. Due to the pandemic, he advised me to quit my night job in Japan and go back to my country to be with my kids (I’m a single mom). He gave me enough money for a year since it’s hard to get a job nowadays. He also gave me money for my son’s therapy. He also gave me advance gifts for Christmas and my birthday in March.

It’s my first time having a long distance relationship. I am 36 years old and he is 52 years old. He doesn’t have any social media accounts. His cell phone is old and only good for calls, texts, or emails. When I asked how we would communicate, he said by emails only.

He said our target to meet after the pandemic was maybe for his birthday in June, he could come visit me in my country. Or if it’s possible, I can visit him for my birthday in March.

Do you think he really loves me, or he just enjoyed my company, or are his feelings only starting to develop?

— First LDR

…continue reading