July 31, 2010

Beauty Supplement Goes Too Far

The grimace induced every time you consider the fact that you are drinking something called "White Placenta" will probably cancel out any skin-firming or smoothing effects this beauty supplement may have.

July 28, 2010

Faintly Religious

(In Nakano-Shinbashi.)

This door looks laden with religious symbols, but the stars lined at the top are just snowflakes.

Mummy Sandals and Fireworks Jeans

Strategic bleaching is taken to an extreme with these fireworks-print jeans, and gladiator sandals are given a twist with mummy-bandage strips.

July 26, 2010

Girls at the Kagurazaka Awa Odori Festival

The annual Awa Odori (Awa dance) Festival, held in Kagurazaka every summer. Groups of dancers are each allotted a strip of the street, and they do a folk dance accompanied by live music played with traditional instruments.

The sidewalks were crammed with viewers enjoying a nighttime picnic while watching the dancing.

Lots of girls opted to wear their pretty yukata, in spite of the sweltering heat.

Female dancers wear unusually shaped straw hats.

Badminton for Big People

I didn't know shuttlecocks came in extra large.

Admittedly, this photo does not do it justice.

July 25, 2010

Come Here and Comb Your Hair?

A sign in front of a hair salon in Funabashi. This being Japan, it's hard to tell whether the pun is intentional, or a happy accident.

Freeze Frame

Fake fried rice made of wax, part of a window display for Chiba Gas' showroom. If the gas burners actually did work, the food would melt.

July 22, 2010

Keeping Cool While Ruling the Roost

(In Sakura, Chiba.)

Up Close and Personal

At Sakura Joshi Koen (Sakura Castle Park), blue dragonflies can currently be seen in abundance, particularly near the Ubage pond. Their gossamer-thin wings are still substantial enough to have a shadow.

Water lilies are in bloom on the pond, though they can only be viewed in the morning. By mid-afternoon, the flowers are all closed up. Oddly fierce turtles swim underneath the lily pads (if you wave at them, they make a beeline for you). Less visible are the fat frogs that sit on the pads, giving themselves away only when they croak.

For some reason, the park is home to a handful of semi-feral cats. They race along tree branches like any self-respecting animal in the wild, yet someone seems to be supplying them with store-bought cat food.

Fake Bomb Scare

A toy or bottled drink resembling a hand grenade, carelessly thrown out onto the street.

I have to say, it made me freeze just a little bit when I first noticed it. I wonder how this would have gone over in the US.

July 21, 2010

World Travelers

A pair of swallowtail butterflies from a tropical land who knows where, making their way through the Myogadani sky.

July 15, 2010

Keeping Fake Food Hygenic

A long-established eatery near Waseda University. Samples of dishes (made of wax) are displayed in the little glass cabinet in front of the restaurant. Once a week, a man uses a rag and a can of foam and carefully wipes each one clean.

Giving Glass Goldfish a Chance to Breathe

My summer earrings: red demekin goldfish, made of glass and discovered at a Shizuoka street festival. Literally "pop-eyed goldfish", telescope eye goldfish aren't the most popular, but I find their bumbling ways entirely endearing.

July 10, 2010

A Cheap Trick to Lure Female Consumers

The logic behind this heart-shaped watermelon is much too simple: "Square watermelons are convenient but not cute. If we can make a heart-shaped watermelon, lots of women will be fascinated and snap them up!" However, a heart-shaped watermelon merely looks like a deformed green pumpkin. Find a way to make the rind the same pale berry-pink color as the inside, and then you'll have yourself a sure hit.

July 7, 2010

Restraint and Lack Thereof

A tastefully decorated tanabata tree in front of a restaurant in Kagurazaka.

A tanabata tree at Kayabacho metro station, absolutely weighed down with wishes.

Dinner, Grandma-style

An impromptu visit to my grandmother's in Tsukishima resulted in an invitation to dinner, after which it was determined that my attire was not suitable for dining out. Instead of staying in and cooking at home, I ended up borrowing my 84-year-old grandmother's dress, belt, necklace, and sandals. I did not receive any compliments.

Okada's Stock

Seen from the window of a hairdressers' near Waseda University, a dummy figure of Takeshi Okada, Japan's coach at the World Cup. The message reads, "Thank you Oka-chan" (-chan is a nickname used in affection.) From reviled to tolerated to respected, this man's ascent in public opinion during this World Cup was as unexpected as the Japan team's success.