I missed my chance this summer...but Halloween is around the corner...

Good morning everyone,

About this rainy weather...you'd better get used to it. It's going to be either grey or rainy all week, into the weekend and the beginning of next week. Do you remember what color the sun is? I have no idea...

In Japan, there are certain annual events that are perfect for sparking new romances. With Halloween now lurking on the horizon, we wondered how the fall holiday fared in terms of igniting the flame between strangers, and it turns out it’s one of the best times of the year for meeting a potential partner according to an online survey.

The survey asked 200 women in their 20s to answer a number of questions related to love and Halloween. To kick things off, respondents were asked: “At which annual event do you think you can meet new men?” According to the results, Halloween ranked highly, coming in at second place on the list.

  1. Summer Festivals/Firework Events (72.5 percent)
  2. Halloween (61.5 percent)
  3. Hanami Flower Viewing Picnics (58.5 percent)
  4. Christmas (45.5 percent)
  5. Valentine’s Day (19 percent)
  6. Golden Week (17.5 percent)
  7. Tanabata (12 percent)
  8. My birthday (9 percent)
  9. White Day (8 percent)

One of the reasons women feel they’re able to meet men during Halloween is because of the fun costumes, which prove to be the perfect ice breaker for strangers wanting to strike up conversations with people they’ve never met before. It’s not uncommon for men to approach women on Halloween either, with 58.5 percent of respondents saying they’ve had a male stranger call out to them while they’ve been in Halloween costume.

Delving further, the questionnaire asked women if they actually liked it when men called out to them while they were in costume on Halloween, and 63 percent of respondents said it made them happy. Not only does it make them happy, it’s something that more than half of the women surveyed said they were seeking out, as 55.5 percent revealed they were hoping to be popular with the opposite sex on the night, which is something they factored in when choosing what outfit to wear for Halloween.

The fun and carefree atmosphere of a Halloween celebration is a great way for people in Japan to let go of their normally reserved characters for a night. And while some groups of people get dressed up in costume to simply have a good time with friends, others might just be on the lookout for a life-changing encounter with the one they’re destined to be with.

What do you think? Is Halloween a good chance to meet the man or woman of your dreams? Maybe I'll dress up like President Trump...it's a winner for sure, right? Ha ha!

Have a great day!

Some otaku are better than others...

Good morning everyone,

Did you see the sun yesterday? I did...briefly. And I'm glad I did, because it could be another week or so before we see it again. Tomorrow will start out overcast and then start to rain later in the evening and the rain will continue all through the week and into the weekend.

Once upon a time, otaku geeks were all grouped under the one banner, with the term generally being used to describe a person with poor social skills who chose to escape from the real world by staying at home and indulging in solitary past-times involving anime, manga and video games.

Nowadays, a lot of the negative social stigma attached to being a geek is slowly being chipped away, with self-proclaimed otaku proudly admitting their obsessions and distinguishing themselves from others in the group with niche interests. Still, when it comes to finding a partner in the real world, it’s not all that easy for an otaku to be accepted for doing what he loves, so Japanese survey team iResearch decided to poll 200 women between the ages of 20 and 30 to find out which otaku obsessions women can most put up with.

According to the results, there are two types of otaku that stood out from the rest as having the best chances of finding a romantic partner who can put up with their interests:

  1. Movie Otaku (62.5 percent)
  2. Manga Otaku (58 percent)

Those who are obsessed with movies and manga to the point of being called a geek are in luck when it comes to the dating pool, with more than half of the respondents saying this is an obsession they can put up with. Given that these are two of the most mainstream hobbies around in Japan, chances are that women are likely to have at least a passing interest in these things too, which means that some kind of shared bond can grow from spending time with someone who enjoys these pursuits.

While movies and manga represent some of the most mainstream types of otaku hobbies, there are plenty more out there in the world of geekdom. Let’s take a look at how the remaining 12 on the list fare below.

  1. Car Otaku (47 percent)
  2. Anime Otaku (44 percent)
  3. Computer/Internet Otaku (43 percent)
  4. Gaming Otaku (40 percent)
  5. Railway Otaku (35.5 percent)
  6. Airplane Otaku (34.5 percent)
  7. Bike Otaku (34 percent)
  8. Plastic Models/Models Otaku (25.5 percent)
  9. Idol Otaku (25 percent)
  10. Military/Survival Games Otaku (21.5 percent)
  11. Special Effects Films Otaku (18.5 percent)
  12. Figurine Otaku (18 percent)

※ 10.5 percent of respondents said there would be nothing they could put up with.

According to the results, less than one in five women would be able to put up with someone obsessed with figurines and special effects films like Kamen Rider. Though it’s a low result compared to the rest of the list, it’s still promising to know that there are women out there who wouldn’t cross this off as an absolute deal-breaker when it comes to finding the man of their dreams.

With only ten percent of respondents saying they wouldn’t be able to put up with any type of otaku hobbies, it appears that being a geek doesn’t automatically mean that you can’t find love. As long as you can find a way to spark up a conversation with a potential female partner, there’s no reason why you can’t have romance and be an otaku too.

So...how about you? Can you put up with all of these? Or are they deal-breakers for you?

Have a great day!

Top 10 Museums in Japan (according to foreign tourists)

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be a rain-free day out there today-we may even see some sun! But it might be the only day like it this week, so make sure you enjoy it. The rest of the week is looking grey and wet.

Japan is packed full of wonderful places for both foreign and local tourists alike. Taking in beautiful scenery or soaking in an onsen can be a great way to spend a holiday in Japan, but museums offer deeper and often enlightening cultural insights not found anywhere else.

A travel company has compiled a list of the world’s most popular museums in 2017, as chosen by tourists. Broken down by country, here are Japan’s top 10 museums:

1. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Hiroshima Prefecture, Hiroshima City)
2. The Hakone Open-Air Museum (Kanagawa Prefecture, Hakone-cho)
3. Samurai Museum (Tokyo, Shinjuku)
4. Edo-Tokyo Museum (Tokyo, Sumida)
5. Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum (Nagasaki Prefecture, Nagasaki City)
6. Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (Aichi Prefecture, Nagoya City)
7. Hiroshi Senju Museum (Nagano Prefecture, Karuizawa-cho)
8. Himeyuri Peace Museum (Okinawa Prefecture, Itoman City)
9. Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History and Human History (Fukuoka Prefecture, Kitakyushu City)
10. Ghibli Museum (Tokyo, Mitaka City)

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum instantly transports visitors to World War II, offering a haunting peek into how nuclear warfare changed Japan forever. Tourists often flock to see the message of peace left by President Obama in 2016, making the museum the most popular in Japan by far.

▼ President Obama’s message of peace

Another notable entry is the Hiroshi Senju Museum, an art museum boasting sleek architectural design that showcases numerous paintings. The beautiful coral reef garden, calm atmosphere, and curved walls combine seamlessly, making the museum an art piece in itself.

▼ Hiroshi Senju Museum

If gigantic monuments and dinosaurs are your thing, perhaps a visit to the Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History and Human History is in order. Filled with ancient relics and artifacts from ages past, the museum also houses two colossal Tyrannosaurus skeletons that’ll awe even the most well-traveled tourists.

▼ The entrance fee is a reasonable 500 yen.

The Samurai Museum is located in downtown Shinjuku, and is home to a collection of armors and swords from ancient Japan, allowing visitors to feel the power of honor flow through them by donning a samurai armor of their choice.

▼ Feel the spirit of the samurai.

Visiting museums lets tourists delve beneath the surface of society and discover what makes Japan the exciting country it is today. I'm glad that travellers to the country are taking the time to visit them. Speaking of which...I'd better start practicing what I preach...I haven't been to a museum in another country in ages...next time I travel abroad...I promise.

Have a great day! 

Wonder what's in your future? 'R' rated version (NSFW)

Good morning everyone,

Yep. It's raining. What can I tell you? I don't care what the weatherman says, it's like rainy season out there. Hopefully the forecast doesn't change and that we'll only have to put up with it till Friday...

Before reading on, today's blog is rated 'R'. That means, I wouldn't read this at work, in front of your wife or if you are under 18. Otherwise...enjoy...and please find the humor in it...

In Japan, fortune-telling paper strips called omikuji are often purchased at temples and shrines around the country. These omikuji contain fortunes ranging from “great curse” up to “great blessing”, and include details about what lies in store for aspects of the future, often written in austere or poetic prose.

While omikuji remain a fun and entertaining part of any shrine or temple visit, now the lucky paper strips are serving as the inspiration for a more unusual type of fortune-telling, conjured up by the creative team over at Melon Books.

Specialising in comics, merchandise and dojinshi works by self-published creators, all the products at Melon Books have one thing in common: breasts. So they’ve now come up with the Nyomikuji, a new gacha capsule toy product that combines their speciality with omikuji, both in design and name. Seeing as the kanji characters used for the words “nyo” and “mi” read as “woman” and “body“, the Nyomikuji literally translates to “Woman’s Body Fortunes“.

▼ An alternative reading, seen here on the right, is “Nyumikuji“, which uses the kanji for “nyu“, which can be read as “milk” or “breast“, giving us “Breast Fortunes“.

Like regular omikuji, each Nyomikuji contains a fortune, only these ones range from “flat chopping board breasts” up to “enormous breasts“. Divine messages from the gods include: “Your luck will increase if you buy dojinshi featuring bountiful breasts”; “Rather than size, you must buy dojinshi with supple breasts” and “Purchase goods with elegant breasts to your heart’s content so you can become well-versed in the subject.”

With 18 different omikuji available, featuring one of six different breast-size fortunes, these new capsule toys also come with an illustrated tin badge, a colour illustration on the back with a busty character that corresponds to your fortune’s proportions, and a handwritten note from the artist. If you’re extra lucky, you’ll find a note with the word “win” inside, which means you’ll be able to receive a clear file, again featuring an alluring character portrait.

On sale from 15 October, each gacha retails for 400 yen, which means they’re cheap enough to purchase in multiples, so if you want to increase your fortune with all shapes and sizes from the collection, you can try your luck again and again.

I wonder what my fortune is? Ha ha!

Ok...so, seriously...does anyone over 15 actually buy this stuff?

Have a great day!

Sweet potato in a bottle

Good morning everyone,

It's looking like another rainy day and the same tomorrow...but we may see the sun soon...well, if you call Friday 'soon'. Until then, it'll be grey, rainy skies...hopefully, once next weekend rolls around we won't see rain for a while.

Sweets fan will no doubt be happy to hear that JR East Water Business and House Wellness Foods will be offering a unique dessert beverage that’s basically a roasted sweet potato in drinkable form.

Roasted sweet potato, called yakiimo in Japanese, has been a popular snack in Japan for close to two centuries since the late Edo period, and a particular favorite during the autumn and winter months. If you’ve ever had yakiimo in Japan, we think you’ll agree that there’s nothing quite as delectable as biting into a piping hot piece of sweet potato when you’re in need of warmth on a chilly winter day.

What’s even better, the new roasted sweet potato drink will be available at a push of a button from vending machines at JR East train stations (don't ask me about here in West Japan, but I hope it happens sooner rather than later).

The drink, which is being marketed by the name Yakiimo Dayori (which roughly translates to “a message/gift of roasted sweet potatoes”), contains artificial flavoring to recreate the sweet taste and roasted scent of yakiimo. In addition, a bottle of the drink also includes 4.8 grams (0.17 ounces) of dietary fiber and 10 milligrams (0.000352 ounces) of Vitamin E, just to make it that much healthier.

The drink will be available exclusively from the “acure” vending machines located in JR East (East Japan Railway) stations starting October 17 at a price of 140 yen for a 280 milliliter  bottle. JR East Water Business’s acure vending machines offer a wide range of drinks from different brands specifically selected to suit the needs of customers using the JR East stations, and Yakiimo Dayori should certainly make an interesting addition to the selection.

If you’re yearning for the sweet nourishment of a roasted sweet potato this winter but can’t find a yakiimo vendor (or truck) around, than this hot bottled drink just may be the next best option!

Sounds good to me! What do you think?

Have a great day!