Category Archives: SHOPPING

Japanese watch brand Seiko collabs with Evisen Skateboards, surprises watch and sushi lovers

Out of all the motifs to come out in this collab, there was one which completely blindsided us.

One of Japan’s premier watchmakers and the inventor of the quartz watch, Seiko is not only known for its craftsmanship but also for its special collaborations. Time and time again Seiko wows the world with its creative and stylish takes on our favorite franchises, and starting from the end of April, the renowned watch maker will be collaborating with stylish Tokyo-based Evisen Skateboards to create a series of snazzy watches with one tongue-in-cheek exception.

In total, there are three new watches in this limited edition collab. The first watch is based off a kabuto, or samurai helmet, which is no surprise seeing as the “E” in “Evisen Skateboards” is based off the crest of a kabuto rotated onto its side. For the kabuto-themed watch, its design includes a black silicone wristband set in a paisley pattern as well as a golden case to complements its darker colors.

One more special touch to this particular watch is the inclusion of daiji. Daiji are a specific set of kanji used for numerals in financial or legal documents in order to prevent unscrupulous folks from messing with monetary values, given how easy it is to change certain numerical kanji with one stroke. The daiji are engraved on the watch’s outer case as numerical denominations, providing a practical and cool but not overly flashy touch.

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Japan Sumo Association prepares a sakura-styled sumo screenshot game for your pleasure

Use your speedy fingers to unite a sumo wrestler with his sakura mochi!

Spring is in the air, and you know what that means! It’s time to take a safe and socially responsible stroll down sakura tree-lined streets and enjoy all the signs of budding life that Japan has to offer. The shelves are stocked with seasonal treats, the birds are chirping, and the sumo wrestlers are doing their level best to catch the sakura mochi being hurled in their direction.

Okay, okay, so that last one isn’t an especially common sight. However, it is the focus of a brand new game posted by the official Twitter of Japan’s Sumo Association. Take a look! You may think it’s just a GIF at first, but we promise that it’s a game.

“Screenshot Game!
Catch the sakura mochi and share your screenshot with us! #sumo #Meisei”

桜餅をキャッチして、画像をシェアしよう!#sumo #相撲 #明生

— 日本相撲協会公式 (@sumokyokai) April 7, 2021

You see, tucked inside the gif is a single frame of sumo wrestler Meisei Chikara, from the Tatsunami stable, catching the sakura mochi, alongside a congratulatory message (“Nice catch! You did it!”). Perfectly timing your screenshot to capture this mochi moment is easier said than done, though, and the replies to the initial thread are a testament to that.

▼ This poor person has a recent images folder full of failed attempts.

🍕of🍕 (@Prvt20) April 7, 2021

“This is so hard. I really wanna eat a sakura mochi now…”


— yummy (@yummytaipi) April 7, 2021

“After 16 tries I finally got it. It’s really hard, but that made it all the …continue reading


Linemo, Ahamo, Povo or Rakuten Un-Limit: Which New Phone Plan is Right for You?

Source: Gaijin Pot
mobile phone prices

Mobile phone contract prices have been a bone of contention in Japan for a number of years now. When he entered office last autumn, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledged to lower mobile contract fees as one of his flagship policies.

Revisions to the Telecommunications Business Act were made that would, among other things, ban carriers from locking in customers with archaic contracts. Lawmakers also hoped the move would encourage price competition amongst passive phone carriers.

Since the big three phone carriers were forced to offer these prices, they don’t make it easy for you.

Earlier this year, Japan’s big three mobile companies—SoftBank, Docomo and Au—announced plans to launch new, cheaper price plans called Linemo, Ahamo and Povo respectively.

The prices are largely the same (so much for competition), but there are a few minor differences that could sway you to one carrier over another. Big shout out to CorruptPhoenix and other users for compiling much of this info on the r/japanlife subreddit.

Use the links below to jump to a section:


Not the competitive prices we were expecting.

Since the big three phone carriers were forced to offer these prices, they don’t make it easy for you. They won’t even provide in-store assistance because the plans are offered at such a low cost.

Thus, you must sign up for the plans online, and previous mobile apps you may have been using, such as My Au, will not support these plans. You have to download a completely different app. After signing up, the service is activated by entering your eSIM details (excluding Docomo’s Ahamo) or having a SIM card sent to you by mail.

Switching from your …continue reading


Neo Kimono releases innovatively traditional heel covers made from artisanal fabric

The new “Obi de Boots iki” line of footwear represents a modern take on traditional styling.

Neo Kimono has banded together with Tokyo’s vocational Vantan Design Institute to pave the way for a traditional take on modern pumps with the Obi de Boots iki heel covers. Designed by stylist Chihiro Hitomi, the covers are made using gorgeous patterns from Nishijin silk fabric, a traditional textile from Kyoto that’s been produced for over 1,000 years.

▼ Obi de Boots iki lend a stylish flair to pumps that also makes them appear slightly taller than ankle-high boots to the casual observer.

The lineup currently features 10 pattern varieties with four colored pumps to choose from, though buyers can also simply purchase a pair of covers and attach them to their own pumps as long as their heel height clocks in between 4-7 centimeters (1.57-2.76 inches) and the instep is 5.5 centimeters or larger. Shoe sizes for the lineup range from 22.5-25.5 centimeters, increasing in 0.5-centimeter increments.

▼ The 10 fabric pattern varieties

It’s important to note that Nishijin fabric is typically used not only for kimono and obi, but in interior cloth and hanging decorations as well. Therefore, incorporating the fabric into the actual design of a wearable accessory is not being disrespectful to traditional art forms, contrary to this recent Valentino ad which featured a model walking in heels on top of an actual obi.

▼ How would you mix and match the patterned heel covers with traditional garb?

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What’s it like to shop at Family Mart’s first “unmanned convenience store” in Japan?

We pay a visit to a Tokyo convenience store where there’s no human clerk to pay.

On Thursday, Family Mart opened a new branch inside the Sapita Tower building, near Tokyo Station. Inside, you’ll see the sort of food and beverages you’d expect in a Japanese convenience store, but what you won’t see are any employees at the registers.

That’s because the shopping transactions are all done through a slick, unmanned system. The store, technically part of the slightly fancier “Famima” sub-brand, is located on the first floor, so we stopped by to check it out for ourselves.

One difference you’ll notice right off the bat is that there’s a gate you pass through when entering the shop. As we stepped through, a recorded voice called out “Irasshaimase!”, the standard greeting shopkeepers in Japan give to customers.

▼ There’s also a sign explaining the purchasing process, so that you don’t end up waiting in front of the register for a clerk who’s never going to come.

Once inside, the shelves look they would at any other Family Mart branch, with bento boxed lunches, onigiri rice balls, and bottles of coffee and tea.

The total selection isn’t quite as wide as it is at some Family Marts, but considering the compact floor space, that only makes sense. We noticed that no books or magazines are sold, but you can still get toiletries and face masks.

There actually is one Family Mart employee on the premises, but just for shelf-stocking and customer inquiries. …continue reading


Pandemic life hack: This Muji wet tissue box is perfect for storing disposable masks

That is, if you can get your hands on it.

The “new normal” brought about by the pandemic has also come with a new demand for things we never needed before. Now that we are all wearing masks, for example, we also need ways to safely store and carry them, and that’s where this “Polypropylene Wet Tissues Case” from minimalist home goods store Mujirushi Ryohin comes in.

It’s technically a case for wet wipes, probably intended for baby wipes or maybe even antibacterial wipes, but as it turns out, it’s exactly the right size for storing disposable masks. This is a pandemic life hack that has been known by many in Japan since the start of the pandemic, which has resulted in this little case being extremely hard to find. In fact, the wife of one of our Japanese-language reporters has actually been trying to buy one for about a year now!

Of course, knowing that not all life hacks are actually good, we had to get our hands on one to test it out. It took some scouting around, but we were finally able to find one at a Muji that’s a little far from where we live. It set us back just 490 yen (US$4.44) (plus the cost of transportation).

At home, we immediately took a pile of disposable masks out of their original packaging and plonked them right in there. They fit perfectly! Neither too tight nor too spacious.

<img src="" alt="" width="640" height="518" srcset=" 768w,,121 150w,,518 …continue reading


Family Mart recalls “skin-coloured” women’s underwear

Inappropriate branding sees Convenience Wear products pulled from shelves nationwide.

Japanese convenience store chain Family Mart made news on social media last December when it was revealed that stores in Kansai, the region in and around Osaka, had an unusual new range of “Convenience Wear” for sale.

Consisting of everyday essentials like hand towels, socks, basic tees and underwear, people around Japan had their fingers crossed for a nationwide rollout of the new products, some of which were emblazoned with the green-white-and-blue stripes featured in the chain’s logo.

Family Mart sells “Convenience White” socks and hand towels with their logo on them. Reports say they’re limited to the Kansai region only at the moment. #ファミマ #konbiniwatch #FamilyMart #Japan #Kansai

— Oona McGee 🇯🇵🇮🇪🇦🇺 (@OonaMcGee) December 19, 2020

Earlier this month, it was announced that the chain would in fact be expanding sales of the Convenience Wear line nationwide, but while most people had their eyes on the striped items, it was one of the less colourful items that ended up creating headlines.

The collection’s beige-coloured underwear, initially sold in Kansai with “beige” written on the packaging, was found to be sold in packs with “hadairo” written on the front after the national release. Hadairo literally translates to “skin colour” in English, and it’s a shade people in Japan learn to identify from a very young age by way of their coloured pencil collections.

▼ The colour of hadairo.

Image: Wikipedia/湖の国の王子

As the above image shows, hadairo refers to a pale orangey beige colour. However, in recent years, use of this term has been declining due …continue reading


Starbucks celebrates its 25th anniversary in Japan with a special commemorative drinkware range

It may be Starbucks’ quarter-century anniversary, but it’s us who’s getting the presents.

Fifty years ago, Starbucks was born in Seattle, U.S.A., and twenty-five years later, the coffeehouse chain expanded its operations overseas for the very first time, by opening a store in Ginza, Tokyo, in 1996.

As Starbucks’ first overseas market outside of North America, Japan has played an important role in the history of the now-global brand, and to celebrate its 25th year here, the company is celebrating with a series of upcoming promotions planned for 2021, starting with a special anniversary drinkware range.

The collection covers everything from stackable mugs through to gift cards and tumblers, all decked out with a special 25th anniversary logo and other cute Starbucks-related motifs that pay homage to the chain’s roots. So let’s get to it and take a look at the new range below!

1. Glass Tumbler (473 millilitres [16 ounces]) 2,640 yen (US$24.01)
2. Handy Stainless Bottle Starbucks Roots (500 millilitres) 4,840 yen
3. Silicon Strap Bottle Siren Tail (473 millilitres) 2,420 yen
4. Curved Stainless Bottle Starbucks Roots (355 millilitres) 4,290 yen
5. Collectable Stacking Mug (355 millilitres) Red / Green / Yellow 2,200 yen each (available online only)
6. Bearista 25 Years 3,630 yen
7. Tumbler Starbucks Roots (355 millilitres) 1,980 yen
8. Stainless Steel Bottle 25 Years (473 millilitres) 4,620 yen

9. Cold Cup Tumbler Bearista Red (355 millilitres) 2,090 yen
10. Tumbler Icons Circle (355 millilitres) 1,980 yen
11. Heat-Resistant Glass Mug Starbucks Roots (355 millilitres) 2,200 yen
12. Starbucks Mini Cup Gift Starbucks Roots 1,045 yen
13. Collectable Cold Cup Glass Coffee Cherry (414 millilitres) 1,760 yen
14. Stainless To-Go Cup Tumbler Icons Loop (355 millilitres) 3,960 yen
15. Beverage Card Starbucks Roots 682 yen
16. Snow Gloves 25 Years 4,290 yen
17. Whip …continue reading


Japanese beauty brand drops the word “whitening” from its products

Kao leads the way in eliminating the notion of “white is beautiful” in the skincare industry.

Beauty ideals differ somewhat from country to country, and here in Japan, one of the longstanding trends has been to lighten the skin, using all sorts of products from cleansers through to moisturisers and makeup.

It’s a beauty standard supported by the skincare industry, with the word “whitening” widely used to promote products, but now one leading cosmetics company is working to end this wording, citing concerns surrounding racial inequality as highlighted by the current Black Lives Matter movement.

The word often used to describe whitening in the Japanese skincare industry is “美白” (bihaku), which contains the kanji for beauty (美) and white (白), promulgating the notion that white is beautiful.

While bihaku is still commonly used by beauty brands, Kao is the first to take steps to address the issue by announcing it would no longer be using the word in its new products from March. The company aims to eliminate the word from all its products in several years.

Kao says they didn’t want to send out the message that one type of skin tone is inferior or superior to another, and came to the decision to drop the wording as part of their overall commitment to promoting diversity.

Despite their decision to stop using the problematic wording, “whitening” products are likely to remain popular in Japan as they’re believed to reduce the appearance of freckles and dark spots.

Kao says it will continue to cater to this demand, but instead of using terms like bihaku or “whitening”, they’ve now chosen to adopt the word “brightening“, starting with the new Twany range of products released in mid-March.

<blockquote align="center" data-width="550" …continue reading


This new Onsen Mask is here to help you soak in the steam, not the germs

A specially constructed mask designed for use in all kinds of public bathing facilities.

It comes as no surprise that visitors to onsen hot springs and other bathing facilities like public baths, spas, and saunas, have dramatically decreased during the past year of the pandemic. Even as Japan and other countries begin rolling out increased vaccine distribution in the coming months, those folks who feel comfortable enough to begin frequenting such facilities again will appreciate an added preventative measure from contracting or spreading coronavirus through use of the new Onsen Mask.

Swimsuit and nursing goods retailer Footmark developed the Onsen Mask to help prevent the spread of saliva and respiratory droplets from sneezing and coughing in public bathing spaces. It will first be limited to sales at onsen facilities, travel industry buildings, and governmental offices from March 30 and subsequently for individual use on May 26. The manufacturer’s recommended retail price is 550 yen (US$5.00).

▼ A promotional image for the Onsen Mask

The mask itself is made of stretchable silicone with an attached spiral cord that loops around the back of the neck to fix it securely in place (extending up to 100 centimeters [39.4 inches] in length). A gap below the mouth area ensures that bathers can breathe without an issue in a variety of steamy settings. When it’s time to wash the face, they can simply hang it from their neck for a moment.

It’s also wearable by people of all ages. The medium-sized version (28-32 centimeter circumference) is intended for children, while the large-sized version (32-38 centimeter circumference) is intended for adults. There’s even a choice of three colors: white, blue, and mint.

▼ Illustrations showing how to wear …continue reading