Japanese photographer captures a flying Daruma doll “escaping” the flames of a ritual bonfire


Daruma dolls like the ones shown below are traditionally sold with the eyeballs unpainted. Those who are setting goals paint one eye to ask for Daruma (representing Bodhidharma, the Buddhist monk credited for creating Zen Buddhism in ancient China) for help and the second eye once their goal has been achieved. Then, they take the “spent” Daruma to a temple to be burned in a bonfire.

Photo courtesy of © wasabitool (H.Fujinami) (@wasabitool)

The image of bright red Daruma dolls enveloped in red flames was so impactful that it gave rise to the Japanese expression hidaruma 火だるま referring not only to Daruma dolls but something that has figuratively or literally “gone up in flames.”

Perhaps one of the best examples of this impressive sight is at the famous “Daruma Temple” of Aichi Prefecture, 大興寺 Daikōji, at their 開運大日福だるま大祭 kai’un dainichi fuku-daruma taisai (“Great Luck-Bringing Daruma Doll Festival”) held once a year on January 10th.

Talented Japanese photographer H. Fujinami, who goes by the name wasabitool (@wasabitool), attended this year and took some amazing shots of the hidaruma. In fact, the photo above is from the Daruma dolls at the festival before they began to burn.

As they trained their camera on the scene, wasabitool captured this amazing shot of the bonfire with a lone Daruma above it in mid-flight:


— wasabitool(H.Fujinami) (@wasabitool) January 16, 2022

Reproduced with permission from wasabitool (H.Fujinami) (@wasabitool)

“A hidaruma soaring through the air”

It almost looked as if the Daruma doll was trying to escape…

We asked wasabitool why the Daruma doll was flying and as we waited for a reply, we wondered if it was a Daruma who wasn’t ready to face the flames. You can’t see its other eye, so maybe it …continue reading


Japanese woman wears duck head to Coming of Age ceremony, experiences most popular day of her life


Turning 20 marks the commencement of one’s life as an adult in Japan, and that journey into adulthood is celebrated on Seijin no Hi (Coming of Age Day). Every year on the second Monday of January, those who turned 20 in the year before or will turn 20 by April are honored at a seijinshiki (Coming of Age Ceremony) held at their hometown’s local city office.

Typically, those celebrating their newfound adulthood put on stylish clothes, with men wearing their finest suits and women donning their most gorgeous kimono. The city of Kitakyushu in Fukuoka prefecture is particularly famous for young adults going all out and celebrating in gaudy and garish outfits that annually become a hot topic in the news.

While Japanese Twitter user and newly celebrated adult Beef Pie (@Beef_Pie_kuri) may not have had the gaudiest gear, she certainly got plenty of attention and made some lasting memories with a very unusual number at her recent Coming of Age Ceremony in Kitakyushu.

She shared photos of her getup with the caption “I attended my Coming of Age Ceremony in my hometown of Kitakyushu. It was the most popular I’ve ever been in my life”, and we can certainly see why!

Source: @Beef_Pie_kuri
Source: @Beef_Pie_kuri
Source: @Beef_Pie_kuri


— ビーフパイ (@Beef_Pie_kuri) January 10, 2022

As you can see, Beef Pie decided to celebrate her passage into adulthood by wearing a giant duck head. This obviously resulted in a lot of attention and pictures, but she also was covered by national TV news. She clarified that during the actual ceremony she did not wear the duck head, but …continue reading


Japanese illustrator leaves his creative stamp and a good dose of UFO humor on an envelope


With the spread of smartphones and computers, there are fewer opportunities to send letters to friends and family members.

However, sometimes we like to send hand-written messages the good old-fashioned way to our loved ones for birthdays, weddings and other special occasions.

For those who want to go the extra mile or those who truly enjoy letter-writing on a regular basis, stamps can be more than a practical necessity. They can figure into the entire design of the letter which comprises everything from the choice of letter paper, writing instrument, ink, envelope, stamps, stickers, labels, and even monogrammed wax seals if you’re getting fancy.

Take a look at this arrangement of stamps, including an original one made by illustrator 百瀬ガンジィ Gandhi Momose (@abaraharawata).

You can be sure that it made the recipient smile!



— 百瀬ガンジィ (@abaraharawata) December 1, 2021

Reproduced with permission from 百瀬ガンジィ Gandhi Momose (@abaraharawata)

“I’ve made a lot of things this year, but the one I’m most excited about might be “Hisoka Maejima’s cattle mutilation* made with UFO stamps”. I also like the way the Japanese serow next to him looks like he’s being pulled upwards.”

* In a common mistranslation, the term キャトルミューティレーション, literally “cattle mutilation,” is often confused with “alien abduction” in Japanese.
Baron Maejima Hisoka 前島密 (1835-1919) was a Meiji-era statesman, politician, and businessman who founded the Japanese postal service.

The three stamps below are arranged so it looks like the Baron, a Japanese serow and a Japanese macaque mother and baby are being abducted by the UFO!

Of courses, the original stamp is the one at the top!

Japan Post Co., Ltd. offers a service whereby you can create original stamps with your own design, so anyone can easily create their own stamps.

Momose designed an envelope to match the design of his …continue reading


Enjoy the New Year with the whole family with this dog friendly Osechi-ryōri


Whilst the west focuses on starting the new year with a lovers kiss, in Japan the celebrations put an emphasis on spending time with family. For those of us with dogs, that means sharing that special moment with our fur babies too – and what better way is there to get them excited about 2022 than with their very own Osechi-ryōri set.

A traditional part of the Japanese new year, Osechi-ryōri is a selection of dishes all put together in an elaborately decorated stacked bento box. Each dish holds a special meaning and is selected carefully to bring in luck to the consumer in the new year. For an in depth introduction to Osechi-ryōri and the meaning of each dish check out this article we wrote previously.

Produced by With Pet Family Co. – the company that operates the pet friendly yakiniku restaurants ‘Ushisuke’ in Yokohama and Tokyo – this dog-friendly Osechi-ryōri set has everything a dog needs and wants.

Roast beef, sweet potatoes and datemaki-style fish cake can be found inside the container resembling a traditional Osechi-ryōri bento box. A lot of thought and research has gone into the choices of ingredients, with consideration and priority given to maintaining dog immunity and improving health. An additional positive of the set, is that the partitions between each dish slow down speedy eaters and prevent overeating.

Ushisuke’s Wanchan Osechi 2022 bento box is available to pick up from the following stores until the 12th of December 2021:
– Wami Yakiniku Ushisuke Head Store
– Meat Vegetable Ushisuke Daiba Store
– Meat Vegetable Ushisuke Rose Garden Tama Store
– BISTRO Ushisuke Odaiba Store
– GRILL&BAR Ushisuke VenusFort, Odaiba
– Ushitan Ushisuke Mosaic Mall Kohoku Yokohama Store
– Ushitan Ushisuke Kichijoji Store

Alternatively, the set will be available to purchase from Ushisuke’s online store from the 18th …continue reading


Japanese farmer’s grows most ripped tomato when bodybuilder grows out of it


Farmers can sometimes be treated to some truly funny surprises when their produce doesn’t exactly go according to script. With sexy daikon radishes and epic action hero carrots, vegetables find a way to keep farmers on their toes. Japanese tomato farmer (of Soga Farms) knows that very well, having grown viral “ugly duckling” tomatoes in the past.

Soga Farms recently shared another surprise their highly regarded tomatoes (which took top prize at the Vegetable Sommelier Summit) that has Twitter delighted. When they went to check a new batch, they were greeted by a type of tomato that was in far better shape than the rest!

Source: @pasmal0220

“A bodybuilder grew out of my tomato so please take a look.”

…continue reading


Losing track of your Corgi in a crowd of 200 Corgis and other cute Corgi stories from Japan


Kids grow up so fast.

You may not be able to tell how fast they grow when you spend time with them every day, but when you see them after a long time, you may be surprised to see how big they’ve gotten already!

Little Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppies are the same. They grow up before you know it!

If you love Corgis (or maybe recently became a fan after seeing Ein on Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop), we have the perfect eye candy for you!

This Japanese couple has been raising their Corgi, Tsumugi, since she was a puppy.

By filming her eating from the same angle every day for 300 days, they were able to create an amazing video.

Take a look at how fast Tsumugi-chan is growing!

She’s getting bigger and bigger…!

In the beginning, she fit in the center of the screen, but after 300 days, she had grown to the point that her rear end was off-screen.

In addition, you can see that the amount of food that she ate was increasing as her body got bigger and bigger.

As all Corgi lovers know, it’s cute to see how short her legs are in relation to her body, even as she grows.

Vaccinations are also necessary for a dog’s health. Tsumugi went to the vet to get vaccinated.

She was still a puppy, so she didn’t know what the vet was like or what they would do to her.

However, when she got on the examination table, she was so afraid that she couldn’t even stand…

Flapping her short legs, she desperately protested!

Still, she managed to go through with the examination and the injection. You’ll get over it, Tsumugi…

As she grew older, Tsumugi also participated in “Corgi events.”

At the Corgi Festival in 2020, where more than 200 Corgis had gathered, a major incident occurred when her owner lost …continue reading


Christmas in Japan – 5 Things To Do To Celebrate This Magical Event

Christmas in Japan - KFC

The magic of Christmas is something that can be felt by anyone, anywhere around the world. The joy of celebrating the wonderful season with great food and better company is one of the most anticipated events of the year, and in Japan, it’s no different.

Watch as shops slowly roll out their ‘santa-san’ decorations and figurines, enticing children and adults alike to come hither. Marvel at the stunning light illuminations which go up as early as October. Take photos with the Christmas trees that pop up all around the cities, decorated with tinsel and baubles and everything in between.

If you happen to be in Japan over the Christmas period, there are a heap of things to do to celebrate with the locals. Try and tick off as many as you can from this list so that you can have the quintessential Japanese Christmas!

1. Eat KFC

Yep, you read that right! Ever since the 1970s, when a bizarre but sensical KFC chicken campaign took off in Japan around Christmas time, KFC has become as much as a tradition as turkey in the U.S.!

On Christmas day, family and friends will gather around to happily feast on a massive KFC feast. It’s become so popular that KFC stores all around the country will become inundated with orders; you pretty much have to get your order in a few weeks earlier to get a spot!

Over the years, the Christmas offerings have been chopped and changed, but one thing has stayed the same: Colonel Sanders Santa is a must-have guest at your Japanese Christmas celebration.

2. Shop at the Christmas Markets

Christmas in Japan - Christmas Market
Roppongi …continue reading


Lantern Dinner – A New Concept To Dine Safely During The Pandemic

Lantern Dinner Hoshinoya Resorts 2

Today, there’s no more debate about the value of the use of facial masks to protect yourself (and others) against the COVID-19 virus. Even before the current pandemic, a lot of Japanese people use to wear a mask, specially in public transport, when they feel sick.

As you probably know, the state of emergency in Japan has recently been lifted and people are starting to go out more and more as the number of new cases hit record low levels.

One of the remaining challenge people face went they go out for dinner is to keep wearing a mask when they eat or drink. Some just put off the mask when they are seated. Others keep the mask all night long and put it on and off when they eat or drink.

To make the life of people easier, the famous luxury hotel chain Hoshinoya came up with a new concept: the lantern dinners!

As you can see, they equipped their dinning rooms with lantern-type partitions to isolate each individual. With this set up, people can see the face of each others as they don’t need to wear a mask anymore.

To make it even easier to see the face of the people at your table, they added a small light on top of the lantern. It’s also a great way to better see your food.

Lantern Dinner Hoshinoya Resorts 3

Hoshinoya said that they used lantern-shaped partition because they are already an important part of Japanese culture. People will feel familiar with the design of these new equipments as they will remind them Japanese traditions.

These lanterns were actually produced by Kojima Shoten in …continue reading


Minami Takahashi Accuses Husband of Not Brushing His Teeth

Former AKB48 member Minami Takahashi appeared on the NTV variety show “Odoru! Sanma Hoden!!” on October 12, and she had some things to say about her husband who is 15 years older than her.

Minami married her husband, a man who works for an IT company, on May 1, 2019, the first day of the Reiwa era.

“I think to myself that I’ve never seen him brush his teeth since we started dating”, Minami said. Her husband would say he was brushing his teeth, when in reality he was just standing in front of the sink with the water running, so that it appeared he was brushing his teeth.

When she asked him if he brushed his teeth when he returned to the living room, he lied and said that he had. This caused the show’s studio to burst out in laughter.

Minami has said “toothpaste” and “go to the dentist” repeatedly to her husband, to no avail. He now has several cavities.

About three months ago, he would groan with pain about not being able to sleep due to the advanced state of his tooth decay. Minami confessed, “I kiss him because we’re married, but I really don’t like it anymore!!”

Minami never had a cavity before, but recently discovered that she has one, which really upset her.



…continue reading


Photographer shows why Nara’s deer are the “messengers of the gods” by finding most stylish deer ever


The free-roaming deer of Nara Park in Nara, Japan (said to contain at least 1,500 wild deer that sometimes wander into train stations and use crosswalks) have become somewhat of an emblem of the area. Visitors to Nara often purchase shika senbei (deer crackers) to feed the deer, who very much welcome the attention.

Another reason they’ve become the symbol of the area is Nara Park’s proximity to Todaiji Temple, where the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue and the UNESCO World Heritage Site is enshrined. Deer are sometimes said to be the messengers of Shinto deities, and so it’s a fitting spot for them to hang around.

A gorgeous shot captured by talented Japanese photographer Hisa (@Hisa0808) might just back up that claim. The photographer recently visited Nara Park and snapped a picture of what he is calling “the most stylish deer in history”, and that certainly seems to be true!

Source: @Hisa0808


— Hisa (@Hisa0808) September 23, 2021

The perfectly set up show captures the beautiful autumn scenery of Nara Park in full glory, and the cover of a the rest area in the background looks like a halo above the deer’s head. The photo has gotten a lot of deserved praise on Twitter, with some saying it’s like a scene out of Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke, and that it has a divine quality.

Be sure to follow Hisa on Twitter and Instagram for more awesome photography from around Japan.

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