Coat + Dress 2

Bag Lady Chic

The Look

Lately, flipping through Japanese fashion magazines, I’ve noticed trend. It’s a kind of Allison Reynolds (from The Breakfast Club) look; the combination of a simple, feminine dress and a more practical, sporty thigh-length anorak. Often, there are tights and boots involved, too. Pick up any Japanese magazine that deals with clothes, and I guarantee you’ll see this outfit.

I quite enjoy this look. I feel like a lot of fashion is impractical for every day life, especially during the fall/winter months when pretty shoes can’t stand up to the rain or snow, and even the cutest outfits must be covered up by bulky hoodies or jackets anyway. So, I figure, if you’re going to dress like that, you might as well be more pulled together and deliberate about it, right? [Read more…]


Top Japanese Impulse Buys of 2007: Part 1

We’re halfway through Black Friday (the American tribute to consumerism) by now, so I thought I’d share with you the top trendy, must-have items that debuted in Japan this year.

ビーフ天国1) The Mega Mac: A recurring menu item, the Mega Mac showed up again on Japanese McDonald’s in January this year. It’s advertised (see left) as being “beef heaven” (ビーフ天国 or beefu tengoku ), which may be a bit of an overstatement, but only a bit. It’s basically just two big Macs stacked on top of each other (+ extra cheese), so you could try recreating it at home if it sounds appealing to you, haha.

Koichi and Viet partook of this Mega meal while we were in Japan; I’ll try to find the video, if anyone’s interested.

Due to the success of this item, McDonald’s has created a few spin-offs which include the Mega Teriyaki, the Mega Egg (メガたまご), and the Mega Tomato (メガトマト), which is actually more like a BLHT (bacon, lettuce, hamburgers, and tomato).

[Read more…]

vanuatu port-vila

Erotic Weather Channels…yes, that’s plural

erotic weather

If you take a look at the sunny days, and you happen to be able to read katakana, you’ll notice that they spell out the word エロ (ero), which, if you do read katakana, you’ll know notice means “erotic.” Considering they were showing eight different locations, as well as the weather for each of them between 6am – 9pm, the chances for this coming up is nil to none. Unbelievably, something similar happened at a different time on the Wii Weather Channel: [Read more…]

Noodle Macro

Customizable Cup Noodles

My Cup Noodle Factory

Come lunchtime sophomore year of high school, all the cool kids were eating Cup Noodles. I wasn’t cool, unfortunately, but I loved them as well—with an instant ramen in my hands, I looked very much like that kid in the picture up there: excited, elated, and full of MSG-goodness.

Towards the end of the school year, though, the novelty of eating freeze-dried foodstuffs was wearing off, and that urban legend about the guy with the waxy stomach started going around, so Cup Noodles went the way of Twinkies and Spaghetti O’s—I just kind of stopped eating them, and eventually I forgot them all together. That is, of course, until I discovered the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, which has rekindled my love of all things Nissin. [Read more…]


Nothing Scarier Than a Gaijin

I know this is coming kind of late, but I sort of forgot to post this earlier D:


Apparently, somewhere in Nagoya, 外人さん (Mr. Foreigner) “costumes” consisting only of a nose and a pair of eyes are being sold. Not the most politically incorrect costume I’ve ever seen, but I thought it might be good for a chuckle (hopefully). Which makes me wonder, what do you perceive as the attitude Japanese people have toward foreigners? Here’s a little blurb from Wikipedia (the source of nearly all hastily gotten knowledge):

By global standards, Japan is highly homogenous ethnically. Thus, there are some issues which many non-Japanese find insensitive. The debate over these issues parallel the debate over political correctness in the West.

Anyway, you guys, have a good night, whatever you may be doing. We (the Tofugu team) probably won’t be doing much in the way of tricking or treating, so maybe we’ll finish up those other articles we’ve got waiting in the wings.

Source: merefflorescence

** 11/2 Edit: It’s not that Japanese don’t like foreigners. In my opinion, I would say that (generally speaking, of course) they merely find non-Japanese people to be intrinsically different from them. Not that foreigners aren’t human or anything, they’re just different. I think, perhaps, that it has something to do with the idea of uchi (内 or “inside”) and soto (外 or “outside”), too. Maybe we’ll explain this concept further in a different article, if anyone’s interested. Also, I feel that Japanese have a better sense of racial humor in general. They’re not too sensitive about that kind of thing. **

Pikachu Pulls a Britney

My Pokemanz, Let Me Show You Them

The title’s not so clever, I know, but there’s really no need to be witty, here—the picture says it all. Now, I know everyone and their mother has seen this, but I just have to say, this may be the absolute worse placement of an opening/entrance in inflatable bouncer history:

Pikachu Pulls a Britney

How could anyone have thought that this was a good idea? Couldn’t they have made a regular-looking doorway instead of a flap that needs to be held open by two people? I’m really not trying to be crude, here, but I’m just so mind-boggled by this decision. What do you guys think?

Source: おはようwwwお前らwww

**10/27: Edited out some of the questions that where more or less redundant**

New Pivo

Pivo 2 Unveiled: Generation of Lazy Drivers in the Making

The 2006 Pivo

If you’ve browsed Tofugu Flickr at all, you’ve probably seen this picture of Nissan’s 2005 concept car, the Pivo. It’s stout, round body makes it incredibly cute, like something a young Tokyo-ite would slap a Hello Kitty decal on and carry around in her over-sized purse. The car runs off of a lithium-ion batter (like many electronics now days), which makes this a more environmentally-friendly vehicle, as well. The most awesome thing about this car, though is the fact its body pivots (get it?) on the spot—a full 360 degrees—effectively eliminating the need for pesky reversing, as it allows you to face/drive in any direction you like. If you can’t quite envision this, please check out this video. It’s quite cool to see the Pivo in action… but now that I watch this again, it also seems incredibly lazy. All that work just to save yourself the hassle of driving backward?

Fortunately, in its newest reincarnation (creatively named the Pivo 2), the car’s usefulness, and perhaps even its cuddly-factor, have been significantly increased. [Read more…]

japanese transvestite

How to not talk like a Japanese Transvestite (or a boy/girl)

japanese transvestite

!!! Hey! View the updated version of this post in our guides section: Japanese Gendered Language

Learning to speak Japanese doesn’t get any easier. Right when you think honorifics make sense (which will never happen), you suddenly realize you’re not speaking like your own gender, which is usually a big surprise because nobody tells you about this for a really long time. So here I am, telling you that you need to think about your gender when you are speaking Japanese. It’s really not that tough at all, and yet, since 90% of Japanese teachers in America are women, 90% of students end up learning women’s Japanese. By clicking through you’ll be able to see a video, some of the history behind this, and a chart that plainly lays out women’s/men’s language for you. Here’s to making things easy (clink!). [Read more…]

Fu? Hu.

Putting the “hu” in Tofugu

Fu? Hu.

I recently had a discussion with my friend Max about the nuances of Japanese pronunciation (maybe not so recently; it was when I was back home in Hawaii). One of the more interesting things we talked about was the fact that, in Japanese, there’s no “f” sound. This is a result of the fact that Japanese people don’t fold/bite their bottom lip when pronouncing it; they shape their mouth almost as if they were blowing out a candle (go on, give it a try). So, in Japanese, the “f” in fu (ふ) is pronounced more like an “h”, and the sound becomes hu.

Consequently, Japanese words that have been incorporated into the American vocabulary (such as tofu, futon, or Mt. Fuji) are not really pronounced the way most people think they are. For example, it’s not “tofu”, it’s “tohu”. Of course, when the Japanese word for “bean curd” (とうふ or 豆腐) is romanized, it’s still written as “tofu” because… well, just because. It’s traditional, maybe. [Read more…]

same time grammar

Advanced Japanese II: “At the Same Time” Grammar

same time grammar

The other day I stumbled across of a list of “at the same time” grammar points in one of my Japanese text books. I’m studying for the Japanese Proficiency Test, ikkyu level, so all the Japanese I’m learning now either appears only in writing or is used by pompous bastards (sometimes). Still, I thought I’d share them with you anyways. Included in each paragraph will be the grammar point, a definition (though they are all basically the same), an example or two, how “usable” they are, and finally, how and when to use them. If you don’t know a kanji in a sentence, please look it up over at Mr. Breen’s house. And now…grammar! [Read more…]

My Empty Closet

Super Short Style Guidance Post

Sad ClosetEver feel sad about the state of your closet? Like everything you try on is unoriginal and boring? That’s me right now. I’m in a rut (welcome to my pity party, haha).

To remedy that, I’ve started browsing fashion/shopping websites for shopping and dressing inspiration; below is the list of those websites. Though many of the stores don’t ship internationally, most of them have really good “Coordination/Cordi” tips in their item descriptions.

I hope this will be of use to some of you! I’ve neglected to do a fashion post recently, so this is my attempt to make up for that. Oh—this list has both men and women‘s fashion sites, in case you were wondering . More boys have asked me about fashion on this site than girls, actually D: [Read more…]

Learning Japanese

Beginning Japanese III: Taking Steps

Learning Japanese

Surprisingly, learning Japanese really is like going up stairs in a wheelchair, possibly sans the ninja. I get so many emails of people asking me why their Japanese isn’t getting any better. Here’s how these emails usually go:

Hey Koichi, I’ve been studying Japanese for a few years now. I take classes, I talk with Japanese people, and I use flashcards for kanji…but I don’t feel like I’m getting any better. What am I doing wrong?

Response: You just have to keep on studying. Not “getting any better” is really normal. You’ll feel like this for a while, and then all of a sudden a bunch of things will fall right into place. You just need to keep on persevering, and then there will be a moment where everything suddenly gets better!

I don’t really delve into the details of this phenomenon via email, so I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you everything I know (which might not be that much, so all of you studying out there can help me). [Read more…]