Japanese neckties go to the mat

white space is good for the soul

–Taking your Japanese necktie to the mat?–

There’s nothing more quintessentially Japanese than tatami–the traditional type of flooring mats made of woven soft rush straw packed with rice straw.
Not so traditional is this tatami mat necktie that my drinking buddy, Mulboyne, found, which will be for sale starting tomorrow for 5,800 yen or about US$53. Mulboyne says you can’t actually tie it: there’s a band to hold it around your neck.

The poor guys at Japan’s Tatami Industry Promotion Association grasping at straws, don’t you think?
Anyway, read more details in this Japanese PDF.

Soy sauce chocolate from Kit Kat Japan

Besides being the Official Chocolate of Japanese Exam Hell, Kit Kat Japan is always working overtime to come up weird new varities for the hypertrendy but fickle Japanese market.

soy kitkat

Nestle KitKat “soy sauce flavor”
trendy – Nikkei Weekly Feb. 28, 2008 [machine translation]going on limited sale in Tokyo from the middle of March, “Nestle KitKat soy sauce flavor”…It is said that the scent of soy sauce will drift faintly if a bag is opened, a scent matches the sweetness of chocolate… the “soy sauce flavor” can enjoy unexpected delicacy…kit-kat breaktown

As I reported to before you are able to Drink Kit Kat from a can dispensed from a soda machine in Japan. More noticeably, you would think it was the peek of Sakura cherry blossom time (rather still snowing) with a plethora of Sakura Kit Kat kits ready for sale on the Japanese market.
sakura kit katkitkat little <img src=
Sakura Kit Kat is available via JList.com.



It’s that time of the year again!

zebra-370x280.jpgAFP News. Feb. 20. 2008—Zoo staff spread a net to catch a fake zebra, which made a break for freedum from its cage, as it strolls in the zoo park during the annual exercise for runaway animals at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo on February 20, 2008. Some 150 zoo staffs and policemen participated in the annual exercise.

Previously posted on Feb. 28, 2007….

Every year the Tama Zoo has this “escaped” animal drill. However, the 3Yen found out last year about the scary truth in, Tama Zoo Reveals Secret. Now, there are more revelations about the zoo…

‘Don’t cry children, I was only aping about’
The Daily Mail, 20:55pm on 27th February 2007
As acting goes, it was a little too convincing.
The idea was to test the readiness of zoo staff for the escape of a dangerous animal.
But despite the ludicrously obvious disguise of the runaway beast, its pre-ordained destiny – to be shot with a tranquillizer gun – had children in tears...more...monkey man

‘Saru mo ki kara ochiru’ ‘THE NATURE OF MONKEY WAS IRREPRESSIBLE!’ [猿も木から落ちる]

Hello Kitty monkey bobble —Hello Kitty monkey bobble

Japanese horse mask man frolics and cooks “magic” mushrooms

horse head Japanese  masked man aka WOTAKEN

This Japaneseque video is what YouTube was made for!

Marvel in wonder at this frolicking Japanese man wearing a horse mask and a slingshot mankini as he brews up a batch of Amanita muscaria aka Sacred Soma magic mushrooms. –2008/Jan/28

It has taken more than a week for Boing Boing to discover my Horsehead Freak is, “a performance artist from Japan that goes by the name of WOTAKEN” whose website is at http://katura.is.land.to (funky machine translation).

The background music is from Final Fantasy VI complete with the Kefka laugh while he frolics around making his own special Final Fantasy Potion.
Final Fantasy Potion bottles

Drink Kit Kat®

Kit Kat in soda machine
Would you drink a Kit Kat from soda machine?
Well, in Japan there is a mega-abundance of drink machines—even dozens along uppermost trail leading to top of Mount Fuji. However, candy or snack machines are quite rare. So they fill round cardboard containers with Kit Kat bars and stock them in drink machines if the demand is high such as now when with are entering Japan’s Kit Kat season.

Yep, right now Japan is entering the Kit Kat season—-the juken/test season in Japan, when thousands upon thousands of pathetically-sleepy high school students are making the the final push to taking the university entrance exams they’ve prepared for over the past three years. So of course, all the students here in Japanese Examination Hell need to buy Kit Kat chocolates.KitKat for exams
What do Kit Kats have to with entrance exams?
Due to a happy linguistic accident, the name Kit Kat sounds similar to kitto katsu (“you will surely win”), which has made it the official snack to munch on while preparing and taking their tests. Sounds Japanese, doesn’t it?

Kit Kat “drink” jar (L)
kit kat jar condom kit-kat

Kit Kat parody (R) via J-List

Hello Kitty eyeballs


All the rage everywhere on the Internet for the past day, has been Creepy ‘Hello Kitty’ Contact Lenses (Digg).
While many bloggers are freaking out, others are questioning whether this a just a Photoshop manipulation of the image.

Whether this particular blog-posted photo is real is a valid question—I did a quick search of Yahoo Japan’s online shopping and found not sources of “Hello Kitty contact lenses” [ハローキティ コンタクトレンズ ].

On the other hand, the technology to create contact lenses with Hello Kitty on them certainly exists as you can see in the website, selection from WildEyes by CIBA Vision.wildeyes200x222.jpg

J-List Hello Kitty collection
Anyway, as we say in Japan upon first meeting in the New Year in Japan, “akemashite omedeto” (ah-keh-MASH-tay oh-meh-deh-TOH) which literally means, “Congratulations on opening the New Year.”

Japan 2008, a real Mickey Mouse Year

new year mouse

Welcome to 2008, the year of the Rodent/ Rat/Mickey Mouse!
In the 12-year cycle of the Orient [Wikikipedia], the Year of the Rat is thought as a year for go-getters with charm. In other words, it’s gonna be a real Mickey Mouse Year.

And enjoy starting off this funky Mickey Mouse kind of a year with an MP3 of the “The Mouse” by Señor Soul from his 1969 album of gumbo-funk, It’s Your Thing.

rat-year 2008 Japan
The 2008’s Mouse cup made of TOKONAME-ware available from our sponsor J-List.com.

‘Naked’ shoes for Japan


‘Naked’ feel is in works for shoes
December 30, 2007 / ChicagoTribune.com—
…James Stoxen, a chiropractic physician at Team Doctors Treatment and Training Center in Chicago…. is working with Converse Footwear Co. in Japan to develop a shoe that allows the feet to flex. The company plans to launch it in Japan next spring. We may never see it here, but who knows how much that “naked” feel could catch on?more...

Nike has given up promoting their popular niche-market “Air Rift” toe shoes and companies like Converse see an opportunity to the void. There’s even an underground market for Air Rifts on e-Bay. In addition, Vibram Corporation is selling their “FiveFingers” footwear (see right) for those who want to going barefoot with some protection and grip.
It’s no wonder that Converse is going to launch their ‘Naked’ shoes product in Japan where there is PRIOR ART for …

Jikatabi“—often referred to as ‘Ninja Shoes’— the type worn by the ninja of long ago, and are still used today by Japanese workers who need more agility, safety and grip than regular construction boots. Jikatabi navy Japanese prefer Jikatabi [地下足袋] for their split toes and softness of their soles that gives tactile contact with the ground, as well as their gripping ability that allows workman to use their feet more agilely than rigid-soled shoes allow.
For example, Japanese iron workers who traverse steel girders on construction sites like to know what is under their feet, and Japanese craftsmen such as carpenters and gardeners additionally use their feet as if they were an extra pair of hands to hold objects in place.
ninja tabi shoes
(Jikatabi are available via our sponsor J-List.com.)

Sixty-one percent of teachers in Japan are mentally ill…

crazy teacher in JapanSixty-one percent of teachers in Japan are mentally ill and the rest are just batshit crazy…

61% of teachers taking sick leave in 2006 suffered mental illness
JapanToday.com – Saturday, December 29, 2007 at 05:00 EST
The education ministry said Friday that 7,655 teachers at public elementary, and junior and senior high schools took sick leave in the 2006 academic year, of whom 4,675, or 61%, suffered mental illness including depression. Both figures are record highs, according to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology...more

Why do I say “batshit crazy”?
The average public school class size in Japan is 45 students, teachers have to work from 7am to 7pm, Japanese students cannot be expelled or punished, they have to teach-to-the-test according to an often bogus curriculum that is set on the national level, etc., ad nauseum.
Here’s a conversation from the ultimate must-read book, Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Japan (Chapter 12) talking about Japan’s “juku” scam that requires most students to attend eight to ten extra hours a week of cram school classes (costing parents additional millions of yen).Japanese babe principal

Alex Kurr– “If Japan’s schools are so very good, why do you have to spend so much money for extra education?”
Education mother*– “The children do not learn what they need to know to pass the exams for university in public schools.”
Alex Kurr– “Well, what are they doing in school, then?”
Ed. mother– “They are learning to be Japanese.”

*Kyoiku Mama (教育ママ)

Sign of the coming Apocalypse, Hello Kitty Homme

Hello Kitty for men…Why not?
Just color all the Kitty goods black or charcoal and voila, a new product line.
As the Sanrio Company said in their press release Hello Kitty for men is the, “Gift of social communication…and it’s important men to be gifted (sic) with a Kitty thoughtful mind, right?”  
Hello Kitty for men

Hello Kitty Turns Attention to Young Men
Friday December 28, 2007 12:16 PM, TOKYO (AP) – The cute cuddly white cat from Japan’s Sanrio Co., usually seen on toys and jewelry for girls and young women, will soon don T-shirts, bags, watches and other products targeting young men, company spokesman Kazuo Tohmatsu said Friday.
“We think Hello Kitty is accepted by young men as a design statement in fashion,” he said.
The feline for-men products will go on sale in Japan next month…more

Hello Kitty Fluffy Hood via J-List.com