This week, my picks are almost all videos… Perhaps my attention span for reading got shorter the closer we got to Golden Week?
Inspirational post-earthquake bullet train commercial goes viral
The inaugural run of the Kyushu bullet train was March 12 – not a good date for celebration. But JR has put its commercial back on the air, and Tokyo Mango is right when she points out that it’s becoming a bit of a viral hit. Check out the video
Japan’s Terrifying Day Saw Unprecedented Blown Roof Expose Tepco Fuel Rods
Let it not be said that I did no serious reading this week – this Bloomberg piece is bordering on long-form journalism. It’s got interviews, great analysis, a clear timeline… If you’re interested in the details of how Fukushima turned into the third March 11th disaster, then this is a must-read
Videos: Japanese Spider-Bot Hexapod Up And Close
Crunch Gear had me at “Spider-bot.” The videos sealed the deal. I don’t know what this robot is good for, but I know for sure that it’s officially awesome. See the spider-bot do its thing
Cherry blossom makeup lesson – not for beginners
Here’s our most popular post of the week, in case you missed it. It’s a video of a Japanese woman applying her own makeup, cherry-blossom style. I think the sheer number of tools and products she uses draws people in… Watch the video for yourself
Any good articles or blog posts to share? Leave us a link in the comments section…
Today marks the start of Golden Week… I thought this silly video (part of the ongoing nyan nyan dance meme) might be an appropriate way to celebrate.
And in case you’re wondering, “nyan nyan” means “meow meow.”
You’ve got your fancy iPhone case, a fisheye iPhone camera lens adapter and some deluxe headphones. Is there any iPhone accessory left to explore?
Oh yes, there is. You clearly need a home button cover.
These stickers are getting some attention in Japan, and since they’re well under $10 a pack, you can afford to festoon your iPhone or iPad with a cute – or angry – face of some sort.
Check them out on Amazon Japan
Oh – and the winner of yesterday’s mini-contest (you haven’t forgotten that there was a placenta mask at stake, have you?) is Alice! I’ll email you to arrange delivery of your prize!
The famous Kinkakuji temple in Kyoto.
Another business trip, another set of strange bathroom products to peruse. I was particularly impressed with the Engrish on this beautifying face mask…
They have one perfectly fine sentence, but they blew it with “It si…to you berween the time when it is comfotable.”
And what’s that large text down the side?
Placenta?? You already know my feelings on placenta.
So, I brought this home but I certainly won’t be trying it anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean this fine mask (suggested retail value – 500 yen) should go to waste. So let’s give it away! Just tweet out this post and mention our handle – @TokyoBounce – to win the chance to rejuvenate your face with the fine combination of placenta, collagen and, uh, sodium hyaluronate. I’ll pull a name out of a hat and announce the winner in tomorrow’s afternoon post.
Last Sunday we had local elections in Tokyo. It was such a relief, because the election meant the end of obnoxious campaigning. This video covers the basic tactics hopeful politicians take. Head directly to the 3:30 mark to see the most famous and annoying type of campaigning you’ll encounter in Japan.
And if that video seems a bit too serious, you may prefer this 11 second gem…
The bathtub seems like a pretty low-tech place – plug the drain, turn on the water, take a bath. How limited and sad. Of course, Japan is full of gadgets that aim to make the experience a little more, err…, gadgety. Here are some of our favorites.
AquaRain Floating Bath Fountain
Colored lights and a jet of water – it’s the affordable alternative to replacing your tub with a disco jacuzzi.
Swimming with a manta ray, bathing in rose petals, a dip under a starry sky – the Homestar Spa project covers a lot of ground for one floating gadget.
Sweet Bubble Relaxing Bath
Why settle for ho-hum foam when a this gadget can provide you with a sumptuous bubble buffet?
Music Planet waterproof mp3 player
No matter how careful you are, reading in the bath = a wet, crinkled book. Better to go for some auditory entertainment instead.
Japanese women famously spend a lot of time and money on makeup, clothes and the other necessities of looking good. This video demonstrates that admirably. No less than 8 different products on the eyes alone.
What do you think – worth the effort? Of course, if you’re interested in Japanese makeup techniques, check out her YouTube channel, with over 200 instructional videos. They’re perfect if you’ve ever wanted to recreate the Ganguro look, or even better – a blue android.
Golden Week – Japan’s week of more or less non-stop national holidays – kicks off this Friday. Because it’s difficult for most Japanese to take a holiday when they like, everyone tends to travel during the same few time slots – Golden Week, the summer Obon holidays and New Year. There should be fewer travelers this year, thanks to the prevailing mood of self-restraint (as well as the fact that many companies are still sorting out their operations and had to cancel holidays). But the numbers of people hitting the road should still be quite high.
This will actually be my first year doing a proper Golden Week trip, so I decided to do an office Q&A to get some advice on how to survive the crowds.
If you are in Japan
“If you are traveling by car, leave in the middle of the night. During Golden Week, I got stuck on the Central Highway out of Tokyo for 3 hours. It was a 25km traffic jam. Never again.”
“Forget the unreserved seats on the bullet train, unless you like standing for hours at a time. Pay the extra for a seat reservation.”
“If at all possible, offer to work during Golden Week in exchange for a week off later. You’ll save money and a lot of hassle. Plus, there’s nothing to do at work during Golden Week since no clients or customers are working.”
If you are overseas
“If you live in a major tourist center – Paris, Rome, London or maybe New York – watch out for packs of Japanese running after their guide in the art museums. And if you start to feel annoyed don’t worry – they’ll be gone to see the next sight before you know it.”
“Avoid getting to any tourist destination right when it opens. Because there are going to be at least 5 buses’ worth of Japanese tourists waiting for the gates to open.” (Versailles – I’m looking at you!)
“Any restaurant that seats a large Japanese tour group – mark that out as a place to never patronize. The tour package companies aren’t selling authentic flavor to their travelers – just barely recognizable ‘local’ food at rock bottom prices.”
How about you? Have any good Golden Week survival advice to share? Leave a note in the comments section…
From Sushi no Midori in Tokyo.