Tuesday, 19 January 2010
My local J-Mart (a hardware and interior furnishings megastore) was having a Wan Wan Matsuri today. Wan Wan is woof woof in Japanese, so it was a woof woof festival. Puppies and kittens were on sale. The average price for the really small dogs - daschunds being the most fashionable dogs at the moment - was 130,000 Yen, that is 866 pounds.
Pets are an obvious status symbol. They require space to house and leisure time for walkies. And that`s even before you start putting clothes on them.
Since J-Mart sells pets and pet supplies, you are allowed to take your pets inside the store ... in your shopping cart. It is not uncommon to round a corner and come eyeball to eyeball with a large dog standing in a cart. Alternatively you can leave your pet in the Dog Parking.
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Picture this, non-Japanese readers. You`re a Japanese wakamono (young person) and you`re out and about making essential calls and sending thousands of vitally important text messages to all your friends about what time you got up this morning (after 11am if my students are anything to go by), and what you had for breakfast (nothing for the girls, a black coffee from a vending machine for the guys), and how totally boring Burton-sensei`s class is (you think I can`t see you trying to send messages when my back is turned whilst I`m writing on the whiteboard? I can). Suddenly ... oh no! Your keitai battery has died. You risk being out of contact with your besties for the rest of the day. Social suicide! What to do? No problem. You simply find a public mobile phone charger (see above). 100 Yen for 10 minutes` charge. So now you can watch TV on the train home.
Thursday, 7 January 2010
Odaiba is a waterfront entertainment area in Tokyo Bay. It takes about 30 minutes to get there from Tokyo station changing at Shimbashi and taking a train over the Rainbow Bridge. There are several shopping malls, museums, swanky hotels, a ferris wheel and a hot spring theme park with 14 bathhouses. The photos above are of the Venus Fort shopping mall, three floors of discount outlets, shops, restaurants and a games arcade. That is not the sky you can see, that is their famous sky ceiling. At 3pm, the sky darkens, and there is a light show. Odaiba itself is beautifully lit at night, as is the Rainbow Bridge - hence the name.
Saturday, 2 January 2010
It is the Year of the Tiger. In celebration of all things feline, I went to Cats Livin in Odaiba, home of the Cat Cafe (where you can have a coffee and play with cats), cat hats and cat costumes. Weird, yes but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sometimes Japan is so far through the looking glass it blows my mind.
Friday, 1 January 2010
Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu! Happy New Year! This year is the year of the Tiger, a good year for creative projects apparently. Today Japanese people are sitting around eating special New Year`s Day meals and talking about last night`s `Red and White` Singing Competition in which various talentos sang a song, and it is generally agreed that Susan Boyle (who sang live on the show) was the best thing on it by far.
Me, I`m sitting at home in front of the heater eating dried sugared persimmons and reading my New Year cards (the post office makes a special delivery on the day).