Architectural Corner Kamidana Altars by Naohiko Shimoda

The kamidana (literally, “god shelf”) is a miniature family altar found in many homes across Japan. Created as a way to bring the Shinto shrine into the home, most kamidana are fairly simple floating shelves, placed high on a wall. Architect Naohiko Shimoda has taken the concept a step further to create actual miniature shrines […]

The post Architectural Corner Kamidana Altars by Naohiko Shimoda first appeared on Spoon & Tamago.

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New taiko gacha capsule toys let you play Japanese drums with true-to-life sound

Now anyone can learn to play traditional Japanese drums, and there’s a safe that needs breaking into too!

We’re always on the hunt for new and exciting gacha capsule toys, which seem to be continually upping the ante every time a new range is released. Now, there’s yet another reason to go hunting for the plastic vending machines that dispense these little miniatures, because there’s a chance you’ll come across this latest collection from Tama Kyu, famous for their “New Standard Capsule Toy” releases.

▼ Say hello to the “Maji de Naru Taiko

Maji de Naru Taiko” translates to “Taiko That Seriously Sounds“, a name that captures the feeling of surprise people will get when they hit the little drum and discover that it seriously works, replicating the sound of a genuine taiko drum.

Real drums can cost hundreds of dollars to purchase, but these little toys retail for 300 yen (US$2.89) each, making them a much more affordable option for those wanting to enjoy taiko at home. The five colours in the range are:

▼ Brown

▼ Dark Brown

▼ Red

▼ Black

▼ Gold

The design of each drum has been faithfully reproduced to look and sound like a real …continue reading


The new Godzilla vs. Kong trailer is out! Here’s what Japanese fans think of it

Does Hollywood’s newest entry in the Godzilla Monsterverse live up to Japanese expectations?

Monster movie fans are probably chomping at the bit right now because the trailer for the newest Legendary’s MonsterVerse film is out, and it promises to be an epic watch!

The trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong is a lengthy and informative two minutes and 24 seconds long, filled with explosions, tense one-liners, and insane battles between Godzilla and Kong, including one on top of what looks like a naval aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean. Whereas in previous films, it was Godzilla who came to save the day against other monsters, it seems like this time Kong is the one destined to preserve humanity, while experts try to ferret out what happened to Godzilla and why he seems to have gone berserk.

The film stars several big name celebrities, including Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, and Rebecca Hall, as well as popular Japanese actor Shun Oguri (who makes an extremely brief appearance in the trailer), and although the story seems like it takes a backseat to the special effects (as it often does in kaiju movies), the fierce battle between the monsters is sure to be highly entertaining based on the sneak peeks presented in this trailer, and there also appear to be some stunning visuals included as well.

English-language responses to the trailer were overall positive, with many making jokes about the line in the film where someone says, “Godzilla is hurting people and we don’t know why!”. People seem to be excited to watch the two giant …continue reading


The good, the bad, and the ugly of half-price stickers at Japanese supermarkets

One person’s bargain is another’s burden.

One of the small pleasures in working late in Japan is that when stopping by the supermarket late in the evening for a quick pre-made dinner, you’ll often be greeted with a sticker knocking off anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of the regular price. This is of course because as closing time approaches, the supermarkets need to offload these perishable foods quickly, so at certain times an employee will come out and plaster all the bento with discount stickers.

For customers, it’s a great bit of value at the end of a long and hard day, but as Uncle Ben once told a young Peter Parker: “with great purchasing power, comes great responsibility.” The predictability of these sizable markdowns can sometimes have the power to corrupt people leading to uncivilized behavior.

Such a corruption occurred in a rural supermarket in Japan and has grown into a recurring nightmare for its staff. A 23-year-old part-time employee there explained her grief in detail in a post on the “Trouble Solving Bulletin Board” (Onayami Kaiketsu Keijiban) website. At 6 p.m., she puts 20-percent-off stickers on all the side dishes, such as fried chicken, spring rolls, and potato croquettes which are sold in her section. Then, at some point between 7:00 and 7:45 p.m. she puts half-price stickers on top of the 20-percent ones.

▼ Some items commonly seen in the side-dish section

Image: Pakutaso

In doing this, she always encounters a sub-group of regular customers who will hover around that section of the supermarket, sometimes for up to an hour, waiting for that half-off payday. That’s no problem for her or anyone, as those who want to invest their own personal …continue reading


Starbucks Japan unveils first sakura drink for cherry blossom season 2021

New chilled cup pairs sakura with fruit for a memorable springtime flavour.

The blooming of Japan’s cherry blossom trees may still be a couple of months away, but news of this year’s sakura-branded products are already beginning to hit us like a flurry of soft pink petals.

One of the first to take centre stage with their cherry blossom product announcements is Starbucks, and keeping in line with their release schedule from previous years, they’re kicking off the season with the release of a sakura-flavoured chilled cup.

▼ This year’s seasonal chilled cup combines sakura with vanilla and strawberry jelly.

Last year, Starbucks paired sakura with white chocolate cheesecake and milk pudding, and the year before that, they gave us the Sakura Chocolate with Strawberry Jelly chilled cup. This year’s flavour combination harks back to the 2019 release, but instead of chocolate, the focus is on vanilla. This pairing is said to highlight the creaminess of the drink while adding sweet aromas to the tart sakura notes, with the strawberry jelly pieces providing a delicious textural contrast.

The domed lid, reminiscent of traditional drinks served in Starbucks stores, is a vibrant pink colour this year, while the cup design features swirls of cherry blossom flowers and petals, dotted with bursts of strawberry.

The new chilled cup will be available for a limited time at convenience stores nationwide from 9 February, selling at a recommended retail price of 219 yen (US$2.11).

Source, images: Starbucks Japan
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The end of the pay phone? Japanese government considering getting rid of phone boxes

Let’s be real though — when was the last time you used one anyway?

For those of us who are old enough to remember life before the dawn of the cellphone age, pay phones were life-savers, whether you rang your dad to come and pick you up from swimming or called your mom, pretending you were staying at a friend’s house when really you were up to other nefarious deeds. But these days, the need for public phones is becoming less and less. Add that to the maintenance costs required to keep these almost obsolete relics going, and it’s fair to say the future doesn’t look bright for the humble pay phone.

Currently, pay phones are considered a ‘universal service‘ in Japan; a term meaning something that is easily available at an affordable price for all citizens. According to current regulations, city areas are required to have a public pay phone installed every 500 square metres (0.3 miles), with non-city areas every kilometre (0.6 miles). There are presently 110,000 pay phones dotted about Japan, with an extra 40,000 pay phones installed by companies, although according to statistics over the past 20 years their usage has dropped to just two percent of what it used to be.

As a result, the government are currently mulling over the idea of reducing the number of pay phones in Japan, and relocating existing pay phones to evacuation shelters, where they can be used in emergencies. Ryota Takeda from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will consult with the Information and Communications Bureau to make a decision, which is expected to be made by June.

▼ “What? No more pay phones?! I haven’t even found the super rare double pay phone yet!!”

<img src="" alt="" width="640" height="426" srcset=" 1600w,,100 150w,,426 640w,,512 768w,,682 1024w,,1023 …continue reading


Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken 2 Episode 3 Impression

Source: Supaku Blog

On this episode, Rimuru visits Dwargon to talk with Gazel. Later, Rumuru and his buddies visit the elf club to meet with the elf girls again.

So seeing Rimuru and Gazel talk about their nations is an enjoyable development. Also, it was awesome to see the Elfs from the Dwargon’s elf club once again. Other than that, the near ending is hiliarious because of Shuna and and Shion. Now what’s going to be the next plot? I’ll be really looking foward to it. Overall, enjoyable nation talk development and some nice elf club fan service. …continue reading


How To Cope With The Shock Of Being An Outsider In Japan

How To Cope With The Shock Of Being An Outsider In Japan

Gaijin da!” (It’s a foreigner!) It was far from the first time I had heard that phrase, but it had been a very long time since it was delivered in the style of “I’ve spotted a wild animal.” Yes, it caught me on a bad day and I found myself saying in Japanese – in as close as I could get to the same volume that my accuser had used – “rude child.” I now hang my head in shame because, yes, I was retaliating to a nine-year-old.

Although probably not intended to offend, her comment was discriminatory. At the very least, it defined me as separate from the Japanese people around me.

It appeared that my comment fell on deaf ears. I dearly hope that it did. Although probably not intended to offend, her comment was discriminatory. At the very least, it defined me as separate from the Japanese people around me. I’ve lived in this country for over 20 years and have been well liked and connected in my community. As a friend visiting from Australia remarked recently, “You’re embedded!” It’s pretty easy to see that if one looks at more than just the white of my skin. But many people don’t. So after a few tears and much introspection, I’ve come up with some thoughts to help you, and me, handle foreigner shock, because as long as we live here, we are set to have it thrust upon us again, and again, and again.

Put it in perspective

Some readers will no doubt say, “What’s your problem? You ARE foreign.” Yes, we get the point. But for many of us, that’s the reason we don’t need it pointed out. In my experience, the …continue reading


Do NOT eat this delicious looking bento and other Japanese food…because they’re not food!【Pics】

Japanese artist makes a delicious feast for the eyes out of non-edible material.

No other foodie culture values presentation as much as Japan does. It doesn’t matter if it’s a five-course meal at a fancy hotel or just something quick you whipped up for breakfast at home, if you want people to be impressed with your culinary skills, the food you make has to be as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the palate.

And at first glance, Japanese Twitter user @meganenooo seems to have truly taken to heart the philosophy that food should look as good as it tastes. These snapshots, for example, show a Pizza Margherita, plate of mixed tempura, fried egg with a golden, gooey yolk, and a bento boxed lunch with grilled salmon and a fried shrimp that all appear perfectly cooked and arranged.



— メガネのおじいちゃん (作品展*開催中) (@meganenooo) January 21, 2021

But the truth is that as mouthwatering as these meals look, you wouldn’t want to eat them, because each and every item is actually made out of paper!

All of these edible-looking (but not actually edible) works of art were made by @meganenooo’s father, who’s in his mid-70s and took up “fake food” papercraft as a hobby a few years ago when he found himself with some extra free time on his hands.

Even more impressive is that @meganenooo’s dad is self-taught. These aren’t standard origami exercises or pre-sorted kits he’s using. Instead, he selects the materials himself, primarily using the pliable Japanese …continue reading


A large retro robot in a small Tokyo park

Source: Tokyo Times
A large and retro concrete robot in an urban Tokyo park

A lot of Tokyo’s little urban parks have concrete playthings and structures. Animals for the most part, but occasionally bigger, more colourful additions such as this previously photographed gazebo of sorts. What aren’t so common, on the other hand, are large, retro-looking robots that double up as slides.

Rumour has it that this particular creation also wanders about when everyone is sleeping. A nice little story that could be straight out of a kids’ book, although the fella in the corner of the penultimate photo is possibly suggestive of something altogether more sinister.

A large and retro concrete robot in an urban Tokyo park

A large and retro concrete robot in an urban Tokyo park

A large and retro concrete robot in an urban Tokyo park

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