And now for the final post in our “cooling thoughts” series. Our subject today – cooling off with a frosty brew at one of Tokyo’s many summer beer gardens.
City center pick
Hibiya Park’s summer beer garden is + more
I really had second thoughts about posting this – I mean, monaka ice cream on ramen? Ramen with a hot chocolate soup instead of a pork-based broth? But in the end, I thought it best to put this out there. So if you happen to go to Kita Senju in Tokyo, you know what place to avoid.
Before I came to Japan, this was what I considered a rice cooker:
So to receive a hand-me-down rice cooker that originally retailed for nearly $1000 was a huge shock. I thought nothing could out-do this appliance – it maintains the cooked rice in a near vacuum for crying out loud. But the more I read of Japanese tech blogs like Kaden Watch, the more I realize the quest for rice perfection is never-ending, and the kinds of technology used are getting more sophisticated every year.
The tech is impressive and the graphics used even more so. So let’s play a game, shall we? The pictures below are a mix of rice cooker parts and nuclear reactors. Good luck trying to figure out which is which!
Rice cooker or reactor containment vessel?
Inner workings of a reactor or rice cooker? + more
A very tall float from one of Japan’s many summer Gion Matsuris. This was taken in Hita, Oita prefecture.
Since we run a web store for Japanese gadgets and toys, we have a lot of related catalogues lying around the office. And hidden among the RC cars and robots and Hello Kitty paraphernalia are tons and tons of jigsaw puzzles. The Tokyo Toy Fair alone yielded 4 puzzle-only catalogues, the top one weighing in at a hefty 90 pages. And what kind of treasures are contained inside? Read on to find out…
Of course, you have plenty of cute on offer. Some is clearly aimed at kids, but on a rainy day, I would love to attack the 1000-piece version of this Totoro puzzle…
Totoro is far from the only animated character making an appearance on a number of puzzles. In fact, anime characters seem to dominate. But there’s a new favorite puzzle subject in town it seems. Can you guess? I’ll give you a hint – it’s a subject that now rivals the evil feline for product liscensing ubiquity.
Yup. It’s the Tokyo Sky Tree.
3D puzzles are also a hot commodity. They tend to be smallish side, so a better fit for little kids than puzzle-loving adults.
And speaking of puzzle-loving adults, it seems in Japan, this category is not limited to older ladies and their kitty and/or puppy puzzles. No sirree. I can’t tell you how many examples of this kind of puzzle I came across in our catalogue collection.
Who buys this exactly?
Another beautiful video from Okanokumo – a nature videographer whose work we’ve featured before.
Ever since we added the Golden Half Half-Frame camera to our store, I’ve been kind of obsessed with the idea of split-frame images. You see, the camera uses 35mm film but only exposes half of the frame with each shot. So when you develop the film, each photo has 2 images on it. That’s pretty cool.
To get some inspiration for how to use the camera, I decided to peruse some of Flickr’s diptych photo galleries. I came away with a lot of new ideas, and what better place to share those than right here on the blog…
The action duo
From LOLren‘s Flickr photostream
Wide shot + macro + more
Apparently all it takes to make an adorable HK bento is 399 yen for some rice-ball molds. Oh, and some tiny cookie cutters. And scissors. And a lot of free time.
This post is our submission to the August Japan Blog Matsuri, hosted by Super Happy Awesome Fun Time with Sean and Alice. The theme of this Matsuri is “Summer Lovin’.”
One of my favorite things in Japan (as you may have noticed) is the stationary. And every new season brings a whole new array of designs and patterns that perfectly suit the season. Some summer symbols are nearly universal – fireworks, watermelon, sunflowers… But some of the images on the traditional summer postcard (syo-chuu mimai) may be a bit puzzling to the uninitiated. Let’s take a look at some of the classics and what they say about the hot months in Japan. Just so you know, all these images came from the Japan Post DIY summer cards page
Windchimes (and goldfish)
Many people hang windchimes (furin) outside during the summer months. I think the sound is supposed to + more
The always popular Kaminari (thunder) gate at Asakusa’s Sensoji Temple. Shot by Fernando.