Tag Archives: curiosity

Fukubukuros! Find out about the so called Japanese “Lucky Bags”

24 Jan

I was recently going through my Christmas gifts and  suddenly,  I got this urge to buy more Japanese items from J-list.

My consumer compulsiveness took me through pages and pages of items (all which I wanted) and found a very curious one..a fukubukuro bag.

This curious item is also known as a lucky bag and it carries a New Year’s tradition back in Japan. In fact, after I did some reasearch on it, it is a big thing in Japan. People actually look forward to the fukubukuro selling time.

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Comedians in Japan—the good, the bad, and the idiotic

8 Nov

By Glenn-sensei our Language Instructor

Japanese TV programs have, like many other facets of Japanese pop culture, gained a bit of a cult following in the West.  First it was the anime: Dragonball Z, Pokemon, and more recently, Naruto and Full Metal Alchemist.  Also Japanese dramas have a following as well, and even a nickname—dorama, which is the pronunciation of the word “drama” in Japanese.

These genres are well-known and have large, international followings online.  My wife loves her dorama.  They are the ultimate chick flicks—so emotionally manipulating, some lady coworkers of mine from the USA were moved to tears even without being able to understand a single word of the dialogue.

So what are your choices if you’re not that in to tearjerkers or detective stories?  You probably know the answer.  Variety shows, the flagship of Japanese television, are steadily gaining popularity and spawning copycat versions in Europe and the USA.  Pop culture references in America, like in an episode of the Simpsons, tend to parody the sadistic element of Japanese game shows (these contests are usually part of variety shows).

Variety shows are usually based on either comedy, or music, and contain elements of both.  Kind of a mix of game shows, sketch comedy, talk shows, and music.  These shows are great fun, and really deserve their own article, so I won’t go too much into detail here.  Chances are when you’ve seen a clip online of one of these “crazy game shows” or funny scenes, it’s from a variety show.

On the receiving end of these depraved acts of sadism are the “geinin,” 芸人, also referred to as talents (タレント).   They’ve broken into showbiz—which means years of being debased and tormented on national TV, unless they really do have talent, in which case they can eke out a dignified career.

Today, I’m going to introduce (or perhaps re-introduce) you to some of the comedians who fill the ranks of these shows—their shelf life is shorter than that of any one-hit wonder you’ll hear on the radio.  The only difference is, musicians can fade away into obscurity until later generations fetishize the decade their hit was in, and VH1 drags them out into sunlight for one of those shows like “Where are they now?.”  Well for comedians, oftentimes you know where the hell they are—on TV, wearing a pink monkey costume, getting hit in the crotch with a jai alai ball going 200km/h.

One Joke Comedians

These are the comedians who had only one joke the entire time they were famous, and the faded into obscurity after being a national phenomenon for about 6 weeks.

1.    How would you feel if the most internationally recognizable of your countrymen was this guy?

And I should qualify.

Japanese people start getting a bit defensive when foreigners tell their friends back home about HG Razor Ramon.  Really.  Look at the comments under any video of this guy on YouTube.  You have to empathize with the Japanese.

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Harajuku Omotesando: Hello Halloween Pumpkin Parade

30 Oct

The Hello Halloween Pumpkin Parade, an annual Halloween parade in which approximately 1,000 children under twelve dress up to form a parade that spans the 700m long zelkova-tree-lined section of Omotesando, takes place for the 28th time this year. Plus, in addition to the parade itself, there will also be a special Okashi Rally Map available that shows the whereabouts of a number of participating shops in the Omotesando/Harajuku that will be giving away free okashi (sweets) to children.

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Venue: around Harajuku/Omotesando area

How to participate: children (under 12 years-old) who dress up in costumes can join the free-contents To join this event, you have to be under 12 years-old, but, you can watch the parade and see a lot of cute costumes for Halloween! So, adults can also enjoy this event! Official website here

I also found some sort of brochure with more details on other events. The brochure is in English and you can download it directly through here

Animal Sounds in Japanese

21 Oct

These are just some of the sounds that animals make, according to the Japanese. It is interesting to note that there are some that do not exist in English, like the elephant’s paoon. (I verified this with the people at Webster’s, just to make sure.) These are written in romaji (Romanized Japanese), so please remember to pronounce them correctly. For example, the horse’s hi-hiin is pronounced “hee-heen,” etc.

Wouldn’t it be fun to make a Japanese recreation of old mcdonald had a farm with Japanese sounding animals? 🙂

cat – nyaao ; (purring) gorogoro
dog – wan-wan ; (growling) uuuu
mouse – chuu-chuu
horse – hi-hiin
cow – moo
sheep – mee-mee
pig – buu-buu
chicken – (clucking) kokkokko
rooster crowing – kokekokkoo
duck – gaa-gaa
sparrow – chun-chun
owl – hoo-hoo
fox – kon-kon
elephant – paoon
monkey – kyakkyaa

Snake Ice Cream

18 Oct

I was talking to a friend about going to Mitsuwa, a Japanese market near Chicago, when she told me about the snake icecream.

At first, I thought she was kidding. Who would eat snake icecream? and how can you possibly get the taste of it in the icecream?

I quickly opened a google page and did a quick search. She wasn’t lying.

In fact, I found out that there are many odd ice cream flavors:

1. Ox Tongue Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

What better way to tickle your taste buds than with another tongue? Though Ox Tongue Ice Cream may not be the first delicacy to come to mind, its taste is nothing to have a beef with.

2. Fish Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

Something must smell fishy about ice cream flavored with saury – a saltwater fish popular in Japan. But there’s no worries about that with this offering from Kimura Shoten as the fishy fumes have been drowned out by liberal doses of brandy.

3. Wasabi Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

Sushi gets its punch from the horseradish paste known in Japanese as wasabi. While its tingling taste makes a delightful addition to raw fish, wasabi’s tangy flavor also makes for a surprisingly edible ice cream.

4. Nagoya Noodle Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

Some would think you’d be off your noodle to imbibe an ice cream flavor such as this. Fortunately, Chakkiri Musume Honten, the inventors of this ice cream, were able to develop noodles that didn’t turn hard when they were served under 30 degrees Celsius.

5. Chicken Wing Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

Nagoya is famous for its poultry, so it should come as no surprise that the taste of this ice cream is best described as foul. It actually tastes like a fried chicken wing, which is fine if that’s what you’re eating, but not if you’re tucking into some ice cream.

6. Raw Horseflesh (Horse Sashimi) Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

The mere thought of putting raw horseflesh into ice cream may be enough to produce plenty of neigh … And, rightfully so. You can get it straight from the horse’s mouth, this would have to vie for the vilest ice cream ever created. The chunks of meat inside it offer ample proof of why horseflesh is usually used in dog food.

7. Dracula Cool Garlic Mint Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

At last! An ice cream that lets everybody around you know you’ve eaten it! Garlic-flavored Dracula Ice Cream is a summer delight you can really sink your teeth into. Designed to ward off vampires, this uncommon choice of flavoring may ward off a few ice cream lovers, too. Garlic may well be a wonderful condiment for an assortment of foods, but, as for a substance vampires really hate, this is bloody awful. Incidentally, Garlic Ice Cream was made in the tiny Aomori Prefecture village of Shingo, which claims to be the place where Jesus Christ’s grave is located. A taste that seems to leave the mouth in an undead state. Definitely not to be eaten during daylight (and nighttime is best avoided, too).

8. Squid Ink Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

If the idea of Squid Gut Ice Cream seems unpalatable, perhaps Squid Ink flavor is more of a tentacled taste-bud tantalizer.

9. Soy Sauce Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

Soy sauce is the undisputed flavor of Japan. But why it had to be put into an ice cream is anyone’s guess. Diving into Soy Sauce Ice Cream leaves you with the feeling that when it comes to soy based edibles, perhaps soylent green may have been a tastier choice. Each bite is a reminder of foods that should never be mixed.

10. Indian Curry Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

Definitely not a taste to give others if you’re trying to curry favor. Curry flavored ice cream goes a long way toward putting the bomb into Bombay. The adventurous ones who try this ice cream will be rewarded with the taste of curry lingering in their mouths for hours.

11. Pit Viper Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

The pit viper is one of the most dangerous poisonous snakes inhabiting the Japanese archipelago. And a bite into this reptilian flavored ice cream can certainly seem deadly. Pit viper is regarded as an aphrodisiac in Japan, but the terrible taste makes it hard to fall in love with this ice cream.

12. Charcoal Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

The “coalden” child of Japanese ice creams. A must-eat for the coal miners. Not cool, but undoubtedly “coaled.” An ice cream that could char reputations. But the taste? Char-ming.

13. Miso Ramen Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

An ice cream that really gets on the noodle of some, but the ramen and miso are both Japanese culinary favorites. If only the delicacies had been left in the noodle bowl instead of blended with ice cream.

14. Cheese Risotto Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

Italians are famous for raising their arms and gesturing in exasperation at the slightest provocation. Imagine how they’d be after learning that the Japanese have added one of Italy’s national dishes, and a savory one at that, to sweet ice cream.

15. Natural Viagra Ice Cream

Amazing Japanese Ice Creams

Just what the ice cream shops have been missing – Viagra flavored ice cream.

Too learn more about the many flavors of Japanese ice cream check out this webpage:



It features never before seen flavors. I might man up and try some of them. I’m quite curious about the chicken wings one. If I do, I’ll make sure to post a review and recap the unique experience.

How about you

What’s the weirdest flavor of ice cream you’ve tried in your life?

Was it good? How would you describe your experience?