Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Col. Reiwa

Col. Sanders was dressed up to celebrate the new emperor taking the crown on May 1.

Reiwa, Reiwa, Reiwa.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Apr. 27-28, Part Wan Wan Festa

The Wan Wan (Bowwow) Festa is back in Tenmonkan. Oddly, it was on the same weekend as Dai Hanya this year, and in the part of Tenmonkan where two of the Dai Hanya satellite locations have traditionally been. There was a food booth, this obstacle course, accessories tables, and a small petting zoo.

This table of small dog clothing and toys is run by one of my students, who imports them from Taiwan. She said that business was good that weekend.

On Saturday, the stage was used for photo shoots of the dogs by a professional photographer.

One table was advertising a dog-friendly housing construction company. They also had dog-friending minivans.

The petting zoo had cups of carrots for 100 yen to feed to the goats. They also had an overly-stressed donkey, boxes of rabbits and baby chicks, and the pony available for kids' rides.

Then on Sunday, the stage was used for a judged dog show. I didn't stick around for much of anything here (other than feeding the goats for a few minutes), since my main focus was still Dai Hanya.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Apr. 27-28, Part KYT TV

After weeks of pretty much nothing really happening on the weekends, things got crazy on the 27th and 28th. We had KYT TV doing their promo of their new TV shows in Central Park, the open space in front of Lotteria, and at little quiz rally spots around Tenmonkan. Tenmonkan had the Wan Wan Festa (dog fair) both days, there was Dai Hanya at Dolphin Port and various other venues around the city, NHK (next door to Dolphin Port) had their open house and advertising for their new shows, and Amu Plaza has its Beer Festa from Saturday to this Tuesday. It was impossible to catch everything, and I didn't even try to (this time). In part, because I had to teach classes on Saturday from 4-5 PM, and again from 6-8 PM. At least, I had a late start for the day, which gave me a bit of time from 1 PM to go watch some of it. Unfortunately, what I really cared about was Dai Hanya with the yosakoi dancing, and the yosakoi didn't start until just before 5:20 PM. Sigh. (More about that later.)

I got to Central Park at a little after 1 PM (after I did my milk buying for the week. The local supermarket near my place used to sell their 1 liter packs of milk for 197 yen regularly, but at 178 yen ($1.60 USD) on Saturdays. The price recently shot up to 230 yen regularly, and 198 yen on Saturdays. Stupid inflation. My paycheck hasn't changed.) KYT had their big boards with photos from the new shows.

You can tell this is a posed photo; Japanese reporters don't run for anything.

Lots of food and souvenir tables. Food from the big restaurant chains.

Slack lines for the kids.

According to the schedule I found, most of the stage events were with the TV personalities talking to each other, foamhead character performance shows, some TV programming PR, and a bit of live music on Sunday.

TV people joking around with each other.

The woman on the left is Nora Hirano, who I'm told is a very brash comedian on KYT. Right now, she's posing for the audience.

I think this is a new mascot for Hioki City. A cat in samurai armor.

After looking around Central Park for a few minutes, I went to Tenmonkan, thinking I'd be able to see some of the Dai Hanya dancing at the satellite site in front of Starbucks. Instead, the area was taken up by Wan Wan Festa (tomorrow). I took photos there, then went to Dolphin Port, which is where the main Dai Hanya stage was scheduled to be located. After that, I went to the school to teach one class, then ran back to Dolphin Port (probably losing one of my camera batteries along the way) during my break, then back to work for two lessons.

Sunday, I returned to Central Park a little after 1 PM. A boys dance group named 10-Jin Actor (10 Person/Gods Actor) was on stage doing some standard boys idol group dancing. They seemed fairly uncoordinated, but there was a huge audience in front of the stage watching them and cheering (easily 500 people), and no one was holding up smartphones. I figured there was a no-cameras policy in effect, and didn't bother trying to sneak a couple photos before getting caught. There's nothing I can easily find on them in English, although the Japanese wiki page says that they're based in Kyushu, probably Fukuoka.

The schedule showed Fantastics From Exile Tribe later in the afternoon, which was probably also very popular (I was at Dolphin Port then, and didn't see anything else going on here for the rest of the day). As a note, Exile is a huge boy idol dance group in Japan, and they have LOTS of members, who belong to what's called Exile Tribe. Fantastics is a new 9-member sub-group. They first formed in 2016, but their official debut was Dec. 2018. Since I didn't watch them, I can't comment any further on them. All I do know is that one of my students is a big Exile fan, and that she would know more about Fantastics than I do. However, with the 10-day Golden Week holidays coming on Tuesday, I won't see her to ask until sometime later in May. I'll probably forget to ask by then, because I don't really care that much.

Anyway, this was the KYT TV stuff I saw this weekend.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Yamakataya Ad - Boom Boom Bloom

And, we're back. Boom Boom Bloom, when you want cosmetics that really bring out that constipated look.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Life Energy to Go

When vampires order out for delivery...

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Bear Sticker

I've been seeing this sticker around Tenmonkan lately. Maybe some local band has claimed it as a logo, but it really looks like the Hamm's beer bear...

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Movie Fliers, Set 1

Detective Pikachu

Japanese movie theaters carry stacks of fliers advertising current and upcoming movies. I don't think you'll ever see anything like this in the U.S. (but, I've been in Japan for a long time, so I may be wrong). Anyway, I went up to Amu Plaza to grab some of the fliers to post on the blog (I've done this before, but it's been a while). This time, roughly half of the 20 movies being advertised were anime (4-5 of the remaining ones were dubbed American Hollywood superhero flicks, and even the live-action Spiderman movie comes with an animated short.

First up - Detective Pikachu.
"He may look cute from the outside, but deep down inside, he's an old man!?"

Anpanman, Princess Panilla of the Ice Country.

Next up, the latest in the really little kid's series, Anpanman.

The movie for people who thought that Sugar Rush wasn't diabetes-inducing enough.
That "crunching" sound you hear during the movie? That's the saccharine hardening in your arteries.

Birthday Wonderland

Birthday Wonderland is directed by Keiichi Hara. Nothing on the movie on wiki yet. IMDB just has a short description, saying that a girl with no confidence gets found by an alchemist, and ends up saving a kingdom called Wonderland, just before her birthday.

Looks visually impressive, but the story's kind of thin. And, Hara's main credits are on Crayon Shin-chan episodes...

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Era Change Fuchiko

If you have been unaware of the hype leading up to the ascension of the next Japanese Emperor, you haven't missed much. The main political issue is that the Emperor is a powerless figurehead who nonetheless represents the face of the country to the outside world. According to the constitution, the position is "for life," but the current Emperor, Akihito, is 86, and he's getting tired of all the stress, so he announced a while back that he wanted to abdicate and just relax during his remaining years. Of course, this triggered a raging debate over whether he should be forced to die in office, or be allowed to step down while he still could. And, if he stepped down, would this be a precedent that would require a major re-write of the constitution, or just the creation of a one-time waiver. The final decision was to write the waiver, and allow his son, Prince Naruhito, to ascend to the throne.

This decision is not just something that changes which dignitary gets to sit at the main dining table during State events. Each Emperor represents a specific era name that is used on all official documents, calendars, and store sales receipts. There was a big debate over what the next era name would be, until Prime Minister Abe pushed for Reiwa. This caused something of an outrage from China, oddly enough. Previous era names had been drawn from Chinese literature, while Reiwa is the first to be from Japanese poetry. Certain government officials claim the translation should be "beautiful harmony," while one reading of the first kanji could be "command" or "order." However, "beautiful harmony" is not an official translation, and is not legally binding.

Reiwa is to officially start on May 1st. To celebrate this, Georgia coffee is running a contest for an extremely limited set of "Era Change Fuchiko" figures. 100 Fuchiko's hold the old Heisei sign, while 100 more hold up "Reiwa".

Just a few weeks ago, Georgia had "Desktop accessories Fuchiko" figures. There were supposed to be hundreds of thousands of these figures packaged with random vending machine can coffee cans, but after buying over 30 cans of coffee over the course of one month, I failed to win even one. I'm not going to bother with something that has even worse odds.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Earth Day, April 22, 2019


A sign outside a hair salon celebrating the erection of the statue outside Shibuya train station in Tokyo in 1934, of famed dog, Hachiko.

Earth Day

A bunch of people got together to celebrate Earth Day in Central Park. It was a really nice day for it.

There were a number of food and drink tables, as well as jewelry and crafts vendors.

One table, for Dynamic Laboratories had low-tech machines for making stuff with "precious plastic".

Including the "precious plastic injector." Not sure how this fits in with the general theme of the day..

On a more practical note, there were children's games and activities.

They also had live entertainment, including this pair of women doing a traditional dance. I've seen most of this before, and the food prices were on the high side, so I only stuck around long enough to take a few photos, and then I left.

Ogojo Love Project

Meanwhile, over at the open space in front of Lotteria, in Tenmonkan, was Ogojo Love Project 49. I had to check this out just for the name.

Turns out it was just a workshop promoting aroma therapy, hand massage, and hair arrangement.

Kids were welcome, and they did have clowns making balloon animals for them.

There was an event stage, too, but I couldn't find a schedule for it. Maybe it was just for making advertising announcements.

Nothing else going on this last weekend. Up at Amu Plaza, people in bright costumes were handing out fliers for Dai Hanya, which will be next weekend. I'm really excited about that.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Kazuo Koike dies

Sigh, this has been a bad week for old manga pros. 5 days after Monkey Punch, we also lost Kazuo Koike, writer on Lone Wolf and Cub, Crying Freeman, Lady Snowblood, and many other manga. April 17, 2019, pneumonia, age 82.

Saturday, April 20, 2019


This banner is located just outside the back entrance to the Don Quixote (pronounced "Donkey") discount shop in Tenmonkan. I go there to get cheap tissue, toilet paper and whiskey. I've been wondering about this banner for a long time, and I finally got around to taking a photo of it for the blog. Turns out it's kind of an ad for the Bicycle Association, of which I know nothing. I assume it's just used to identify safe bicycle parking lots.

"Choose safety and strength - Bicycle Association approved."

Friday, April 19, 2019

Perry's Popcorn Banner

Advertising banner for a company calling itself Perry's Popcorn. I got a bag of chocolate-caramel popcorn for roughly $3.50 USD. Not too bad, but maybe half the coating you'd see with American caramel popcorn. I think the kid on the banner is over-selling this a bit too transparently.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Shin-Chan Adventure Poster

Looks like the next Crayon Shin-chan movie is going to be an Indiana Jones parody. The promotional campaign includes a treasure hunt.

The few winners may get a DVD box set, a music CD, a shaker for shaking stuff on top of your rice and a box of chocolate biscuits, and a water bottle plus cloth bag. 48 winners total, out of the millions participating...

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Monkey Punch died

The regular blog entries will be placed on hold today in a show of respect to Kazuhiko Kato, best known as Monkey Punch, who died April 11 of pneumonia. He will be missed.

There was one news story reporting this event on the radio last night, and only one article, in the English Asahi newspaper, this morning. Coverage of the story in Japan seems really poor.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

UCC Good Coffee Smile

Side of a UCC delivery truck. If you have a coffee smile, you may want to start using whitener strips on your teeth.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Hotto Motto Doraemon Bento Box

A couple days ago, I wrote about the promo tie-in between the Hotto Motto bento shop and the latest Doraemon movie. Well, I'd been eying the Dokodemo (Anywhere) Door papercraft, and 450 yen ($4 USD) for the kid's meal seemed like a reasonable price for it. Then, about last Friday, Hotto Motto switched campaigns and the Doraemon banners disappeared from the front of the shop near my apartment. However, they still had extras of the kid's meal boxes and the papercraft sheets. So, on Sunday I decided I'd get one of the kid's meals along with the regular rice bowls I wanted for dinner that night.

The food part of the meal is just marginal. The little bit of corn and potato salad were good, but way too small for serving sizes. The breaded shrimp and chicken bits were ok, too. The curry rice was too sweet and watery-tasting and the rice itself was starchy and slightly undercooked. The caramel pudding was downright bad. Most of the really young kids this thing is aimed at wouldn't care, though. Unfortunately, the plastic packaging is fairly flimsy and not really designed for washing and reuse, meaning that there's a huge amount of waste trash here.

This is the part I wanted, though.

While I was waiting for the bento to be made, I talked to the store manager. He commented on how challenging the Dokodemo Door was to put together. I have to agree. There are a lot of tricky little folds that need to be made to keep the door frame from disassembling by itself over time, but to still let the door to fully close and smoothly open. This is a project for adults.

The finished toy is about 3" tall and maybe 3/8" thick. It's small and fiddly to work with. I think, in total, it took me an hour to complete (although, I wasn't timing myself).

The little stand to the right is used to support the door when it's open.

Doraemon and the Moon Bunnies.

The papercraft also came with a sheet of stickers. I think I'll take the Door and sticker sheet to the school I teach at and see what the reaction is. The school has a bunch of Doraemon manga, and that's really popular with the kids waiting for their lessons to start.