Girl’s Generation Cheetos

MJG Food / Drink, Japan, People / Culture 12 Comments

Girls Generation is a big news 9-member pop group from South Korea. They are currently breaking into Japan and other Asian countries in a major way. This can be seen in their cute same-looking legs gracing the covers of many product ads, from cookies to Cheetos. Girls Generation prep for launch. My favorite is probably, um, the leader? 9 different …

Japan’s abandoned animatronic John Wayne

MJG Featured Story, Haikyo, People / Culture, Theme Parks, Tochigi 10 Comments

Japan’s abandoned wild west theme park Western Village (closed in 2007) is filled to the tip of its ten-gallon hat with animatronic cowboy dolls. A Stagecoach-era John Wayne with cyborg heart exposed stands by the park entrance, silent now that the tourists have stopped coming. Animatronic John Wayne with hair peeling back to reveal flesh-toned speakers reprises his Stagecoach (1939) …

Tiger Man sighted!

MJG Japan, People / Culture 1 Comment

Yesterday SY and I went to see `I love you Philip Morris` in Shinjuku Piccadilly. As is our style now, we bought KFC in with us, sat in the front rows, and guzzled for about half of the movie. The movie itself is pretty funny, and quite sweet at points, with Ewan Mcgregor acting all adorable and Jim Carrey hopelessly …

12 questions to J-painter Michael Beddall

MJG Japan, People / Culture 8 Comments

Last Sunday Michael Beddall opened up his latest art show at the Pink Cow in Shibuya- a delightful smorgasbord of Japanese beauty, animal still-life, and the occasional chilling fantasy. There was a great showing of fans and supporters, and several paintings have already sold.

Nihombashi Kimono 2016-ers

MJG Japan, People / Culture 5 Comments

Every year on the playground of a primary school in Nihombashi hordes of kimono-wearing ladies gather for a kimono festival photo-shoot, bunching up tight and staring up to the sky with a fist raised in the classic ‘ganbarimasu!’ yes-we-can pose to be shot by swarming paparazzi on the rooftops above. This time I moved amongst those authentic PRESS journalists like …

Kasai Rinkai Power-Kiters

MJG Japan, People / Culture 3 Comments

At the edge of Kasai Rinkai park off Tokyo Bay there’s a narrow sliver of sand-bar land perfect for kiting. Stunt kites soar and rip through the air like carbon-fibre assassins, paper-kites ruffle and chuckle in the wind, ‘let’s go fly a kites’ sputter and trail their ribbon-dangled threads behind them as their owners race their dogs and kids against …

Shibuya Walkers

MJG Japan, People / Culture 6 Comments

Hachiko Crossing in Shibuya is the Times Square of Tokyo- big streets intersecting, hordes milling and meeting and crossing, massive LCD screens flanking the sidewalk and up and down the nearby buildings. Stand outside the JR entrance for long enough and the world will walk by you. No cooler dude than this.

Yoyogi Poodlers

MJG Japan, People / Culture 2 Comments

Yoyogi Park is the consummate Japanese melting pot- perhaps the most varied and vivid spot in the whole country. On any given weekend you’ll find Cosplayers and Rockabillies near the entrance, frisbee throwers and spinners, hula-hoopers, and dudes doing comedy in leather face masks in the first stretch, African drumming groups, badmintonners, the artist with the stereo, the cyclist with …

Ryogoku Sumo

MJG Japan, People / Culture 12 Comments

Sumo is the traditional Japanese sport, beloved of retirees and tourists alike. On any tournament day at the Kokugikan in Ryogoku you can see them lining up for tickets at the single ticket box; the old folks nose-deep in their rikishi listings, the tourists in their guidebooks, coming up for air every now and then wide-eyed with anticipation, wondering if …

Barry Eisler (Author of John Rain)

MJG Japan, People / Culture 3 Comments

Barry Eisler is the author of the world-wide bestselling John Rain hit-man series, now 6 books in total, translated into 20 languages, winner of multiple awards and plaudits. He was in town this past week for a sneak preview of the movie made from his first book- ‘Rain Fall’- to which he’d invited his Tokyo fans via his website. I …

Shimoda Beachites

MJG Japan, People / Culture 7 Comments

Shimoda has some of the most beautiful and pristine yellow-sand blue-ocean beaches in all of Japan. Commodore Perry certainly picked a choice spot to roll up at in his black ships- further up the coast other trade envoys were met by steel-toting Samurai’s stood on the grey-sand grey-ocean cock-roach infested trash-havens of Enoshima and Kamakura. Not for Perry though, and …