Category Archives: SHOPPING

This gachapon capsule machine dispenses real Akoya pearls, with certificates of authenticity

We sent a reporter to go gamble for a genuine gachapon gem.

Who doesn’t love a good gachapon machine? The machines are a common sight in arcades and shopping malls across Japan, offering a random prize for a typical offering of 200-500 yen (US$1.92-US$4.81). These prizes run the gamut from plastic figures of animals going to the toilet to hand-written letters from your imaginary, homicidal little sister.

More expensive editions of gachapon exist too, like the mega-sized machine that costs 2,000 yen a try and offers a Nintendo Switch as a potential prize. We’d heard rumblings of another expensive gachapon machine in our midst — this one asking for 1,000 yen per try. Interestingly, this is one gachapon where it’s impossible to lose since every possible reward features a genuine, bona fide Akoya pearl. Your capsule prize will also come with a certificate verifying the pearl’s authenticity. How could we resist?

So off we sent SoraNews24 reporter P.K. Sanjun to go win an Akoya pearl.

▼ To Tokyo’s Kichijoji neighborhood!

There are two of these Akoya pearl gachapon machines in Tokyo, with one installed at the trendy knick-knack store Majerca. As P.K. traversed the 10-minute walk from Kichijoji station to the capsule machine, he wondered…just how good could a pearl from a 1,000-yen gachapon machine be, anyway? He imagined the pearls in question must be minuscule, or maybe riddled with holes.

▼ The sign attached to the machine explains its offerings in both Japanese and English.

The range of pearly prizes covers clip-on earrings, stud or dangling earrings, and a variety of different necklaces. P.K. rummaged in his pockets for some …continue reading


Tweet of the Week #106: Farmer’s Creative Vending Machine Hack

Source: Gaijin Pot
Tweet of the week vending machine hack

Japan has earned its reputation as a country that loves vending machines. There are around five million dotted around the country. That’s more than the entire United States. From Tokyo’s busiest streets to the loneliest back alleys, train platforms, schools, offices, and even Mount Fuji’s hiking trails, you can quench your thirst practically anywhere.

That’s approximately one vending machine for every 23 people. They also sell more than your classic drinks and on-the-go snacks. Of course, there are cigarettes and beer, but you’ll also find daily necessities and even fresh fruits and veggies.

Perhaps no other country like Japan has embraced the convenience of vending machines.

Rural vending machines

Egg-cellent vending machine in rural Japan.

While places like central Tokyo have the most high-tech vending machines you’ll ever see, suburban and rural areas have more low-cost and pragmatic traditional coin-operated machines. Even regular old coin-lockers.

Local Japanese farmers are particularly fond of coin-lockers to sell their products because they do not require electricity and are big enough for baskets of produce. They’re relatively cheap to run and can set up anywhere.

Insert your coins, open the locker and voilà — you’ve got yourself tomatoes or strawberries. The problem is, these low-cost vending machines only work with ¥100 coins and can’t give back change. However, a resourceful farmer has MacGyver’d a solution that has Twitter folks smiling.


— MAE (@CHE_M26_7) November 15, 2020


“This is a coin-locker style vegetable vending machine. Chinese cabbages cost ¥150, but you can’t insert a ¥50 coin so…”

While stabbing the cabbage with a toothpick holding your ¥50 change is certainly a clever trick, coins are not exactly hygienic.

How to use ので (node) to …continue reading


Shopping Diary – Asia Super Store: Okubo


One of the better-stocked international grocery stores in town, this spacious second-floor shop carries a wide range of prepared foods and ingredients from Thailand. Shop for fresh vegetables and tropical fruits, spicy sauces and fermented fish elixirs, fresh herbs and packaged spice mixes, shrimp chips and cookies – it’s all here.

At the front of the shop is a section devoted to Thai cookingware and oversized mortar and pestle sets for grinding your own spices. There’s also a good selection of magazines and souvenirs from the old country, and freshly prepared desserts. …continue reading


Starbucks unveils second new festive Christmas drinkware range for 2020

Limited-edition collection includes some special items for the home and kitchen to keep you cosy and warm through the holiday period.

One thing to look forward to as the seasons change in Japan is the release of limited-edition drinkware from Starbucks Japan. Now with the holiday season around the corner, the coffeehouse chain is following up on their first festive range of exclusive products with a second release, this time based around the theme of “Brilliant Season“.

The collection celebrates the “glittering atmosphere of winter” with stars, snowflakes and gold accents adorning tumblers, bottles, mugs, and a cosy blanket. And there are even snow globes and cutlery rests in the range as well.

So let’s get to it and take a look at the lineup below!

1. Holiday 2020 Stainless Bottle Gems (360 millilitres) 4,000 yen (US$38.41) + tax

2. Holiday 2020 Bottle Snow Globe Lid (443 millilitres) 2,500 yen + tax

3. Holiday 2020 Stainless Tumbler Diamond Gradient (355 millilitres) 3,400 yen + tax

4. Holiday 2020 Tumbler Snow Flake 1,800 yen + tax

5. Holiday 2020 Ribbon Band Blanket 2,300 yen + tax

6. Holiday 2020 Stainless ToGo Logo Tumbler Pearl Blue (355 millilitres) 3,500 yen + tax

7. Holiday 2020 Mug Comet Star (296 millilitres) 2,000 yen + tax

8. Holiday 2020 Bottle Pompon Charm (473 millilitres) 2,300 yen + tax

9. Holiday 2020 Mug Ribbon Stripe (296 millilitres) 2,000 yen + tax

10. Holiday 2020 Mag Ribbon Lid (355 millilitres) 2,600 yen + tax

11. Holiday 2020 Cutlery Rest Set 2,200 yen + tax

12. Holiday 2020 Bead Handle Heat Resistant Glass Mug Star (296 millilitres) 2,300 yen + tax

13. Holiday 2020 Stainless Logo Bottle White Snow (473 millilitres) 4,000 yen + tax

14. Holiday 2020 Stainless Mug Pink (414 millilitres) 2,900 yen + tax

15. …continue reading


Erotic Japanese woodblock print underwear makes a statement when you take off your pants【Pics】

Hokusai and other ukiyo-e masters of the Edo period are here to help your crotch look its best.

Earlier this year, Tokyo-based underwear maker Hipshop released a collection of Pokémon underpants for grown-ups. The company’s newest line celebrates an equally Japanese artistic style, but one that’s much more adult, with the Shunga Series.

Shunga literally means “spring pictures,” but in Japan spring is considered to be the season of not only new life and vitality, but sex as well. Shunga, therefore, are erotic ukiyo-e woodblock prints, showing lovers getting it on in Edo-period aesthetics. Graphically provocative, shunga were purchased for use both as old-school pornography and as early how-to manuals for an era without formalized sex education classes, and they’ve since taken on historical significance as a snapshot of some of old Japan’s attitudes about sex…and now you can wear those snapshots on your crotch.

Three designs are on offer, each featuring the work of a shunga master, including one from Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), the most famous ukiyo-e painter of all. First, though, here’s Making Love in Winter by Katsukawa Shuncho (1783-1821).

▼ Note that the actual underwear is uncensored, with the subjects’ pleasurable bits on full display.

Next is Kitagawa Utamaro’s (1753-1806) Lovers.

And finally, Lovers Seated with a Plant in the Background, by Hokusai (1760-1849).

▼ No, we didn’t forget the censor mark for this one. That’s the dude’s forearm, wrist, and hand at the bottom right, with a bit of crimson kimono lining showing at the edge..

Hipshop boasts that the comfort-oriented polyester material …continue reading


Japanese overtime work culture captured in new dice collection

Roll the dice with employees apologising in the windows of office tower blocks late at night.

Even the most normal of everyday objects has a special wow factor in Japan, where mops look like shaggy dogs, toilets have functions one can only dream of and pillows look and sound like fried chicken.

So it should come as no surprise that the humble six-faced die is another item that looks far from boring in Japan, and one specialty store dedicated to the cubes now has a lineup featuring a darker aspect of Japanese life: overwork.

Called “Late Night Overtime“, the new collection from Dice Shop Dorataco takes its inspiration from corporate office towers. And like the office blocks themselves, what goes on inside these buildings isn’t immediately evident until the sun goes down and the lights turn on, exposing some of the people and the late-night work that goes on inside them.

Expressions written on the below image show that “rewarding jobs” by day (left), look like they care for workers’ welfare with their beautiful office buildings, despite the fact that meetings take place during lunch hours. On the right, the night image shows that workers live for the company, lives shine by phosphorescence, and at midnight, it’s time to move onto the next work agenda.

Each side of the die has a different office scene to represent the numbers one to six. One = New Company Employee; Two = Apology; 3 = Office Romance; 4 = Cutting Work; 5 = Phone Correspondence; 6 = Document Validation.

…continue reading


Turn Your Feline Into a God With This Cardboard Shinto Shrine for Cats

Your cat already acts like a god. And you probably treat it like one. So why not take the next step with this cardboard Shinto shrine for cats, created by a Japanese cardboard company. From scratching pad and hiding spot to litter box cover, there are multiple ways to use the shrine to further your […]

The post Turn Your Feline Into a God With This Cardboard Shinto Shrine for Cats first appeared on Spoon & Tamago.

…continue reading


Animal Crossing: New Horizons joins Japanese fashion line Gelato Pique for cute, comfy PJs

You’ll be snug as a Nook in a rug with these adorable, fashionable collaboration items!

It seems simultaneous years and seconds ago that Animal Crossing: New Horizons hit shelves, providing a much-needed respite from the menace of the pandemic. Though the game has been out for months now, in-game updates and the re-release of the ever-popular villager Amiibo cards mean that there’s plenty of content for animal enthusiasts to sink their teeth into. And that’s not even getting into the mountains of custom clothing!

Something that has felt lacking, though, is tie-in merchandise. The previous games have had plastic figurines and the like in their honor, but due to the ongoing pandemic similar goods haven’t appeared for New Horizons…until now!

Gelato Pique, a Japan-based luxury loungewear brand, offers up the goods.

Gelato Pique has rustled up some impossibly comfy pajama sets, as well as a host of bedtime accessories, which sport the game’s most iconic tanuki characters. The pajama sets even come with precious, animal-eared hoods so you too can feel just like a tiny, cute villager!

▼ Each hooded fleece parka top costs 6,800 yen (US$65.23).

The hooded parkas come in cream (with squirrel ears), grey (with cat ears), and brown (with tanuki ears). You can also purchase fleecy shorts in the same colors for 4,200 yen to complete the look. But those aren’t the only pajamas available! If you’re not quite as committed to cosplaying a cuddly critter, Gelato Pique has some more conservative prints. The Character and Fruits prints feature small, cute patterns of villagers’ faces or the series’ classic native fruits.

▼ Each shirt …continue reading


Mayhem at Uniqlo in Japan as customers fight to grab the Jil Sander collection

Mannequins stripped, glass displays broken and website down as limited-edition range sends everyone into a frenzy.

Time and time again, Uniqlo has proven they know what their customers want. In summer, the fashion retail chain had customers running to stores to buy out their Airism summer masks, and not long before that, their Pokémon UT T-shirt collection sold out across the country.

Now, on 13 November, the Uniqlo x Jil Sander “+J collection” was released, and this is how customers reacted.

ユニクロ 雑すぎる。

— [keitoku] (@keitoku1115) November 13, 2020

The above video was taken just moments after Uniqlo’s Nagoya Gate Tower branch opened in Aichi Prefecture, with the person who filmed the video saying that some of the glass from the display broke and scattered on the ground during the tussle.


— りく (@ohaelis87) November 13, 2020


— しんは (@junno_0902) November 13, 2020

They also said the escalators were packed with people, and products were crushed and covered in dust due to the frenzy of customers.

▼ Another angle of the chaotic scene at the Nagoya Gate Tower store.


— you1 (@you_bford) November 13, 2020

▼ Even the mannequins lost their dignity as they were stripped for their Jil Sander pieces.

身ぐるみ剥がされてる#UNIQLO #ユニクロ #ジルサンダー

— エーラク (@he_p3) November 13, 2020

Uniqlo says they failed to use a ticketed entry system at the Nagoya Gate Tower branch, which is the largest Uniqlo store in the Tokai region, as they weren’t expecting such demand for the +J range. Some called it an irresponsible oversight, …continue reading


Family-Owned Osaka Bookseller Designs Playful Book Covers

Seiwado Book Store in Osaka began producing playful covers as freebies for their customers If you’ve ever purchased a book in Japan you’re undoubtedly familiar with the phrase kaba otsuke shimashouka? “Would you like a cover?” The book cover is a free service that booksellers in Japan offer, giving your newly purchased book a thin, […]

The post Family-Owned Osaka Bookseller Designs Playful Book Covers first appeared on Spoon & Tamago.

…continue reading