Hiratsuka Beach Skimboarders

MJG Japan, People / Culture 12 Comments

Skimboarding is a lesser-known cousin to surfing, though quite different in the approach. Where surfers go from the sea to the beach under the sea’s power, skimmers go from the beach to the sea under their own power- which is to say, basically they run at the sea carrying a short board, drop it in the shallows, and jump on. Perhaps then it’s more like skate-boarding than surfing.

Vegetable Chu-Hi Cocktails

MJG Food / Drink, Japan 9 Comments

Japan-based companies Asahi (the brewer) and Kagome (the fruit and veg juicer) have teamed up to present us with a new and unique product: a range of fruit and vegetable sake cocktails. No longer will you have to choose between getting drunk cheaply or drinking a healthy vegetable juice mix, you can now do both at the same time. It sounds like a strange concept, and it is- the marketing ploy behind it must take its inspiration from the recent upswing in the number and variety of vegetable juice drinks available on convenience store shelves- but I have to wonder, who is thinking about their health when they want to get drunk? I would imagine none of us. But perhaps …

Ruins of the Queen Chateau Soapland

MJG Haikyo, Ibaraki, Sex Industry 40 Comments

Japan’s Queen Chateau Soapland is at once a grand but squalid folly; a ruin rising 5 fairy-tale stories into the sky, cornered with towers and capped with bright red tile, representing an era gone mad with indulgence, audacity, and hopefulness. Flanked by bamboo forests. A soapland is a kind of Japanese water-brothel, wherein customers (men, basically) go to a bedroom equipped with a bath and shower, possibly also bed, and engage in various sexual activities. Soaplands seem to exist in Japan in a curiously open fashion, flaunting the law with their obvious but veiled allusions to the services available inside. Prostitution is illegal- but they get away with it by simply stating something like “the girl is paid for a …

Sparkling Boysenberry and Choco Wafers

MJG Food / Drink, Japan 2 Comments

Japan loves Kit Kats, and exotic flavored drinks, and happily enough so do you and me, so let’s get down to some serious snack deconstruction: I’ve blogged Kit Kats before, as well as snack/drink combo Pepsi Blue Hawaii + Brazilian Pudding Pocky and others. This time we have a faux Kit Kat (Choco Wafers) and a Boysenberry Sparkling Soda combo:  

Please do it at the beach

MJG Ads / Signs, Japan 8 Comments

Recently this ad has been cropping up in train stations all round Tokyo: I’m glad as it’s about time- the number of people I’ve seen hemi-sliced like bacon rashers by those executioner-style train doors is more than I care to think about. Shlump! His upper body rolls around messily inside the carriage. Everybody politely ignores it, as they do if a drunk person has a food escape or a homeless person comes on and emanates. So, it’s certainly about time. Of course they could just de-sharpen and de-fang the train doors so people weren’t forever getting hemi-sliced, but then what kind of deterrent to dive-bombing Tokyo metro trains would that be? I’ve gotten myself caught in the guillotine maw doors …