Saturday, July 31, 2010

Only in Japan? McDonald's straps.

I was at the mall the other day and we went to "mac" (as they say here) as my honey wanted a burger. We saw these and I thought I would take some pictures for my blog (I sure got some funny looks while I was taking the pictures!). I assume they are only available here in Japan but I could be wrong. As you can see from the guy holding it-they aren't small (I think they are too big to be strap-at least for me)!
ADDED ON AUGUST 2nd. Sorry if I confused some of you! The straps are cell phone straps and they are all made of plastic! Japanese LOVE cell phone straps (or maybe some countries call them charms?)!

And I just saw this picture today online. It is so amazing I thought I would share. There was a "matsuri" or festival in Tokyo and of course, there were "hannabi" (fireworks) which literally translated means "fire flower"! You can also see the new (and not yet finished) Tokyo tower which is actually called "sky tree".

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Planning on taking the train or subway in Japan? Here are the rules!

I saw these and just knew there was a blog post here!, you want to take the train or subway and aren't quite sure what you can't do worries! You might be able to find pictures like the ones I found in the train station and subway station. Now...some of have to kind of wonder why you have to tell people not to do them as it seems obvious but really....I have seen all these and more on the train!
Let's start with the first picture

In many of the drawings in the picture above the idea is basically to be quiet, don't take up too much space and give up your seat for the elderly but...see the superman like drawing in the bottom right corner? Can you guess what that means? No? It basically means "don't fly on to the train". So...the train is at the station but ready to leave and you are running down the stairs and are desperate to make it on to the train so you "fly" on to the train and probably knock over a bunch of people. Don't do that! But note that it happens ALL the time (so try not to stand right in front of the doors on the train) which is probably why they had to add that drawing!
Next picture:

In this picture again it is about giving your seat to the elderly and don't take up too much space, don't litter etc. But...from the top left hand side...2nd picture in....there is a girl in a blue and white dress. Can you guess what that one means? It means you should let the people off the train first and then you can get on.
The last picture:

This picture is pretty easy to understand....don't use cell phones, don't be noisy, don't listen to loud music, don't "fly" on to the train etc. But the don't this is a sign for the subway I am assuming it is only for the subway as people eat on the train all the time but I'm also going to guess that people probably eat on the subway as well. might be wondering why there is a a big "X" across a lipstick and compact. Perhaps you are thinking...really, no powdering your nose or touching up your lipstick? That isn't what it is about....I have done both. The reality in Japan is that many teens and young women put on ALL their makeup on the train. I mean, they pull out monster sized makeup bags, HUGE mirrors and start with foundation and go from there-they will even spray on their perfume! It really is unbelievable and I really don't get it. happens all the time. you know what not to do.....though you will see it happen all the time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fish or meat? And answers to other questions!

In the post "What would you ask?" I asked readers to send me questions. I picked three for this post.
The first question I asked was "Which do you prefer fish or meat?" . I asked this question to many different ages-from 4-71. Some gave me reasons why they picked one over the other. Most like both but preferred one a bit more.

Sarina-(girl, 17) LOVES meat -HATES seafood/fish

Saya (girl, 16) fish

Mifuyu (girl, 15) meat

Kayo (woman, Dr. 60's) Loves meat-Likes sashimi and sushi.Hates cooked fish because of bones.

Kyoko (girl, 12) meat

Riho (girl, 9) meat HATES fish

Sawa (girl, 9) fish - meat is too fatty

Hina (girl, 9) meat-hates fish

Kazuki (boy, 10) meat

Shuhei (boy,8) meat

Ayano (girl, 8) fish

Yayoi (girl, 7) meat

Yoshihide (boy,9) fish

Aiko (girl, 7) fish

Haru (girl, 13) fish

Airi (girl, 12) fish

Saki (girl, 13) meat -hates fish

Ren (girl, 12) fish

Michiyo (woman, teacher, 50's) fish-She likes it because it is simple and she like simple.

Yuika, (girl, 13) meat

Mako (girl, 14) meat

Takeko (woman, housewife, 60's) fish-because it is healthy

Kodai (boy, 7) fish

Hina (girl, 7) fish

Mai (girl, 6) meat

Manami (girl, 6) fish

Kana (girl, 6) fish

Natsumi (girl, 17) meat

Chika (girl, 16) meat

Yuna (girl, 16) meat

Yuka (girl, 15) meat

Sachiko (woman, housewife, 71) meat

Litsuko (woman, works in a dentist's office, 61) fish- HATES meat.

Kikue (woman, business owner, 56) fish

Aiko (girl, 4) fish

Rena (girl, 10) fish

Risa (girl, 8) meat

Wakaba (girl, 8) meat

Mami (girl, 9) meat

The next questions I only asked teenagers and women. It would have been too difficult to ask the younger kids.

What is your favorite word in English? What is your favorite word in Japanese?

Sarina (girl, 17) Her favorite English word is "guilty" but not because of the meaning...she likes the sound. Her favorite Japanese word is "kitsui"which means "tired".

Saya (girl, 16) Her favorite English word is "struggle". She doesn't have a favorite Japanese word but she has a Japanese word that she really really hates. She hates "gambare" which means "good luck" or "do your best". She feels it is used too much and that it really has lost meaning. It is really is thrown around a lot!

Haru (girl,13) Her favorite English word is "happy". Her favorite Japanese word is "zamamiro"
which means "I told you so".

Airi (girl, 12) Her favorite English word is "thank you" and her favorite Japanese word is "ikiru" means "to live" or "life".

Saki (girl,12) Her favorite English word is "crazy" and her favorite Japanese word is "okebokujyo"which really just means "ok" but because this word was in a popular movie it is a little famous to say ok this way.

Ren (girl, 12) Her favorite English word is "idiot" and her favorite Japanese word is "ukeru" which means "so funny".

Michiyo (woman, teacher, 50's) Her favorite is "love" in both English and Japanese. In Japanese "love" is "ai".

Yuika (girl, 13) Her favorite English word is "thank you". She doesn't have a favorite Japanese word.

Mako (girl, 14). Her favorite English word is "happy". She doesn't have a favorite Japanese word.

Natsumi (girl, 17) Her favorite English word is "summer". Her favorite Japanese word is "warau" which means "smile".
Chika (girl, 16) Her favorite English word is "meat" (she really really loves meat!!). Her favorite Japanese word is "tanoshim" which means "enjoy" or "having fun".

Yuna (girl, 16). Her favorite English word is "fun". Her favorite word in Japanese is "warau" which means "smile".

Yuka (girl, 15) Her favorite English word is "smile". Her favorite Japanese word is "arigatou" which means "thank you".

Sachiko (woman, housewife, 71) Her favorite word is "fantastic". Her favorite Japanese word is "yasashisa" which means "kindness".

Litsuko (woman, works in a dental office, 61) Her favorite word in English is "happy". Her favorite Japanese word is "wa" which means "harmony".

Kikue (woman, business owner, 56) Her favorite English word is "beautiful". Her favorite Japanese word is "nasebanaru" which means something close to "may all your dreams come true".

I also asked some teens about today's popular words.

"googoolu" from "google". Means "to search" on the internet.

"amazoru" from "" and it means "to shop".

Now the next one is a bit strange to me. The say "zabito" in the Hakata dialect or "zabiru" in proper Japanese. This is used when you see old men with "unique" hair. What is unique about this is that it comes from Francisco de Xavier, a Spanish Jesuit missionary who came to Japan in 1549. I"m not sure I have the right picture to show his "unique" hair but maybe the just mean bald on top?
Young Japanese really love to shorten words so for example "Mcdonalds" (which is pronounced macu donaludo) is "macu" and "starbucks" is just "staba". So "tanjobi presento" (birthday present) is too long so it is now "tanpre".
I will post more questions and answers another day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Makeup Tutorial for the Harajuku "Ganguro" style

Ever wondered how to get this look?

Here is a tutorial that I think you will enjoy. While I can't say I like this fashion style, the girl in the video is pretty cute! Oh and for those who don't know "ganguro" literally means "black face". It is about tanned skin, white makeup around the eyes and a whole lot more. I NEVER see this style where I live but it can be seen in Tokyo! Enjoy!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What do you think of this combination?

In Japan, eating snacks while drinking is big business! I know what you are thinking....same in the States and Canada etc. But I'm not talking about just peanuts, wings and chips. In Japan, there are very specific kinds of beer snacks and if you go to the 7-11 (convenience store) there is a whole section of these beer snacks which include peanuts (normal and peanuts covered in a crunchy coating often tasting like wasabi), peanuts with dried mini fish, dried sliced squid, salami, cheese, shrimp flavored snacks etc. Eating edamame (steamed soy beans in the pod) with beer is the norm here. And going out for ramen after a night of drinking is popular. BUT I think this is a pretty bizarre idea. Sweets and beer. As you can see from the pictures they are pairing beer and sweets. I highly doubt this will become popular...even here!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tanabata Star Festival

On July 7th, it is the star festival, called Tanabata, in Japan. There are apparently a few versions of the story behind this festival but it goes something like this: the daughter of the sky king was a weaver and weaved beautiful cloth but because she worked so hard, she couldn't meet any one or fall in love. The sky king arranged for his daughter to meet a cow herder -they met, fell in love and got married. After they were married they forgot to do their work so cows were roaming around and she stopped weaving. The sky king got angry and separated them. His daughter was very upset and cried a lot and so the sky king agreed that they could meet once a year on the 7th day of the 7th month. The problem is, if it rains they cannot meet and must wait another year.
For Tanabata, people write their wishes on paper and hang them from bamboo along with other decorations-it really can be beautiful!


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