Japanese jokesters

With the brief cherry blossom season practically upon us, residents of Tokyo will soon move en masse to parks and opens spaces throughout the capital, sloshing down beer and slurring their way through impromptu sing-alongs.

Yet due to a spot of ‘nude but not nude’ controversy that was broadcast on TV over the New Year holidays, parties in the park may well be brightened further this year by an invasion of body suits.

Japanese body suits

Outfits of such breath-taking realism that they are set to both delight and dazzle revellers the length and breadth of the city. The manufacturers rather optimistically labelling them ‘sexy body suit’ and ‘powerful body suit’.

Japanese body suits

I’ll let you decide which one is which.

Japan Unwrapped #4: Naming nonsense

Dear Tokyo Times

I’ve heard that a lot of apartments in Tokyo have English rather than Japanese ‘names’, and that many of them are a little odd. Is it true?

Thanks!

Bob B, Seattle

It is true Bob, although it’s not just restricted to English, as there is a generous sprinkling of French and Spanish names out there too. That said, English monikers are very much in the majority.

Unfortunately – at least as far as truly nonsensical names are concerned – there’s no dearth of ‘dragons’.

Japanese apartment

And certainly no lack of ‘lions’ either.

Japanese apartment

Thankfully though some landlords do have a little more imagination. A love of colour – or indeed fruit – clearly influencing the naming of this brightly coloured abode.

Japanese apartment

Others however are clearly not so sure about what they want, and invariably just end up choosing something at random, regardless of how inappropriate it is.

Japanese apartment

Yet gauging the mindset of the building’s prospective rent payers appears to play a part in the process for many property owners, with this particular dwelling hoping to attract especially laid-back leaseholders.

Japanese apartment

Whilst others actively seek out those with a rather more transparent temperament.

Japanese apartment

An interesting approach that appears to have been taken to a whole new level in the country’s second city. The picture below, taken by the always amusing An Englishman in Osaka, proving that rather than matching the moniker with the inhabitants’ mindset, it can be used to actively try and mess with it.

Japanese apartment

Mechanical man Friday

“A human being may be faster, but you have to say ‘Thank you.’ That’s the best part about a robot. You don’t have to feel bad about asking it to do things.”

University of Tokyo Professor Tomomasa Sato on the merits of mechanical friends after he and other researchers revealed a robot that poured tea into a cup and then delivered it to a person.

Quite right indeed. A breakthrough that possibly paves the way to a life lived without the pain of having to be polite to people. And maybe even the eradication of irksome social interaction altogether.

japanese robot emiew

How splendid…

Well-meant mascot

Whilst the Japanese love of excessive product packaging is hardly easy on the environment, recycling on the other hand is taken quite seriously, with many cities producing mind-boggling monthly schedules for garbage disposal. The powers that be continually changing them to possibly keep people on their toes and at the same time utterly bamboozle the elderly.

Japanese gomi schedule

Yet just like practically every other service or public body in Japan, saving the planet inevitably needs a cute character for promotional purposes, with energetic Earth-kun earnestly entering the fray. Although that said, the little chap’s cap-cum-air-conditioner might be deemed somewhat counterproductive.

Japanese environment character

Japanese fashion and fetishism

It’s not necessarily unusual for a Japanese TV talent or idol to have very little of the former – a particularly prominent body part (or two) often enough to secure someone fame and fortune. The point perfectly proven by the Kanou sisters, with their super-sized breasts earning them regular media exposure.

Yet whereas bulging boobies are one thing, garnering a reputation for merely wearing a hay fever mask is arguably another; however that’s exactly what young Anna Nakagawa appears to be doing, whilst at the same time earning herself the moniker of ‘mask idol’.

anna nakagawa

That said, there does seem to be a Japanese market for such facial fashion/fetishism, with an upcoming DVD called ‘Mask & Musume’ competently covering such, erm, coverings.

Japanese DVD

A quality release that will apparently feature mask-wearing maids,

Japanese maid

bikini babes,

Japanese bikini model

and the odd obligatory high school girl.

Japanese high school girl

Fun for both allergy sufferers and the appearance conscious alike.

(via the FG Forums)