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.


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 before, sometimes embarrassingly so- with my new pony-tail pinning me fast until the next stop rolls by. Solution- lean casually against the doors acting like it’s all part of the master-plan.

That aside- there really is nothing like bidding for this dive into the train and making it. I imagine it’s the exact same feeling Maradona had when he scored the ‘Hand of God’ goal. He shouldn’t have made it, it wasn’t supposed to be possible, it was ilicit, everyone knows he cheated fate- but still it worked!

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Kugenuma Beach Hole-Diggers

MJG Japan, People / Culture 11 Comments

I’m something of a life-long addict when it comes to digging holes at the beach. I’ve been digging holes since I was a kid alongside my Dad, fending off the sea, arming sea-shell soldiers along a sand-fort battlement, willing the walls to hold and the moat to stay fast.

These days however I forsake the battlements and soldiers and just go for the biggest, widest, and deepest kid-swallowing hole I can dig:

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Big Bob the Kanjiman

MJG Uncategorized 5 Comments

Big Bob is a Kanjiman- probably the friendliest Kanjiman out there. He has long shoelaces which he loves to tie, a sleek black bodysuit which he occasionally dyes, and is awfully prone to losing his keys.

Yes, he is a lovable fellow. And look at that smile!

Click for more to meet Kanjiman Bob!

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Coppertone Bikini Girls

MJG Ads / Signs, Japan 19 Comments

Coppertone have gone nuts recently in Shibuya station, plastering at least the Yamanote line north-bound platform with pictures of bikini-clad women (and little girls) with a dog biting their butts. When I first saw this I did a double-take, turned the other way, saw a similar ad where a little girl was getting her butt bit, and started to wonder if the whole thing wasn’t just a bit too weird for its own good.


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Dinning Bar

MJG Japan, Japangrish 9 Comments

I found the DINNING BAR in ultra-hip Shimo-Kitazawa a few weeks ago, and ever since have been scouring the net for what it could possibly be. My first thought was that it MUST be connected with the word ‘din’ as in “Lordy Mike’s making a din on that Double Bass!” or “Where’s that Godawful din coming from, is he on the Double Bass again?”

But I wasn’t sure if the noun ‘din’ could be made into a verbal noun (AKA- gerund) so I went to the font of all knowledge, my old friends Merriam-Webster:

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MJG Fantasy, Stories Leave a Comment

At the center of Flatland there was a tall sky-scraper, thirty stories high. In the skyscraper were many offices, filled with workers who spent their days typing at their ledgers, recording the business of Flatland that they could see out of their windows.

After their work was finished every day, they left the skyscraper and went to their homes. They lived in houses and farms spread around the town-†the only town in Flatland.

Flatland was not very big. Perhaps as big as six†football fields.

Fotheringay, the CEO of the skyscraper in the center of Flatland, lived on the thirtieth floor. He watched from the windows as the workers went to their homes. He walked up and down the aisles, checking the ledgers, adding a note here, revising there.

There was very little business in Flatland. There were only a few hundred people. What goods they had they bartered for. But the skyscraper was there, and so were the ledgers. So Fotheringay brought the workers in and they kept the ledgers. Some of them watched the farmers at work†and wrote about their tilling, the clothes they wore, the crops they had planted,†and which were sprouting tubers.

Others watched the school, where the young people were at study, and made notes of the things the teachers wrote on the black-boards, and about which children giggled, and which passed notes, or made paper airplanes from their textbooks’ pages.

Of course, they all used telescopes.

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The ‘other’ Colonel Sanders

MJG Ads / Signs, Japan, Japangrish 7 Comments

His name is Koichi Sanders. He and the Colonel were divided at birth, despite not sharing a common mother nor being born in the same country or year. After that tragic separation, they never saw each other again, but for in the distant redness of Red land. They live in Red land, which is why the space behind them is always red. Their uniquely black and white faces cause them endless shame, as everywhere they go they are mistaken for each other. This is a big problem, since they do not even speak the same language!

Koichi Sanders considers the Colonel ‘the other’ Sanders, and vice versa.

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What a wrecked Bowling Alley looks like – the Toyo Bowl

MJG Entertainment, Haikyo, Kanagawa 17 Comments

The Toyo Bowl in Kanagawa was a mammoth venture when first dreamed up, the second biggest bowling alley in the world behind the Nagoya Toyo Bowl, featuring 108 bowling lanes spread over 3 huge floors, along with a large pachinko hall, restaurants, gift shops, arcades, and a creche. It boasted state-of-the-art ‘natural lighting’ and ‘beautiful blue carpets’ on all floors. It encapsulated the vaulting ambition of the mid-Bubble era, when anything was possible and bigger always meant better. Now the ragged carpets, stripped lanes, trashed pachinko hall and scattered broken balls tell the story of how well that ambition fared.


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Scott and Makiko’s Wedding, Niigata

MJG Guides, Japan 12 Comments

2 weeks ago my good friend Scott and his long-time girlfriend Makiko had a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony, in a hotel up in Niigata. I say ‘had a ceremony’ rather than ‘got married’ because of course- as things are done here in Japan- you get married first in secret at a local ward office, just by signing some papers. Then, when its too late for the parents to protest, you notify them that they’ll need to pay for the ceremony.

Hay-ah! How do you like that, parents?

I went up with some friends on the Shinkansen to attend. I’m on the left in the picture below, alongside Scott and Makiko.

Click ‘Read more…’ below for the full video and details.

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Push Pops

MJG Food / Drink, Japan 7 Comments

Push Pops!

When I was a kid in England we had these. To have a Push Pop was a total status symbol.

Adults may have walked around with ivory gilt gold-headed canes and peacock feathers in their caps, but for kids the only thing that mattered was the Push Pop.


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