One piece of advice that I was given before coming to Japan was to bring plenty of deodorant with me, because “Japanese deodorant is weak”. The supposed reason for this was that Japanese people just don’t sweat, compared to us smelly foreigners.

While there are a number of effective deodorants available in Japan if you look for them (both Japanese and foreign brands) and there’s a lot of information on which ones are good online, the idea that Japanese people sweat less than foreigners actually does have some scientific basis.

I think anyone who has been on a crowded subway train in Japan in the height of summer, or caught a whiff of a baseball team that’s just finished practice, can confirm that Japanese people do indeed sweat. However, as is explained in the video, most Japanese people actually have less sweat glands than most races, including Caucasians and Africans, so they produce less sweat and less body odor.

Interestingly, the same gene that determines the number of sweat glands we have also affects the consistency of our earwax. So, (most) Japanese people have different earwax from other races.

Anyway, I thought this information was interesting, and it gives me more reason to complain about summer, something which is always welcome.

I had an awkward moment today when I walked into a public bathroom and saw a urinal. My first thought was “oh crap, did I just walk into the wrong bathroom?” but after a small pink sign confirmed that this was not the case, my second thought was “what the hell am I supposed to do with this…?!”.


A Pikachu Cafe will be opened in Tokyo this coming weekend. This is a sample of the kind of stuff they’ll be serving. From top to bottom: Pikachu burger, Pikachu curry rice, Pikachu parfait with mango pudding, and Pikachu curry bun.

Oh wow. I need a moment…

Right now the Gion Festival, probably the biggest festival in Kyoto, is taking place. Large portions of the street in the Gion area have been cordoned off to make way for lanterns, intricately decorated floats, and a huge number of night stalls selling various goods.

In addition to the standard yakitori and takoyaki stalls, there are many stalls offering the opportunity to win a prize in a carnival-style game, as well as plentiful plastic masks and inflatable hammers for sale. This reminded me a lot of the stalls at the local agricultural fair I used to go to in New Zealand when I was a child, apart from that almost all of this plastic-fantastic merchandise is adorned with the face of a popular Disney or anime character. Also popular, particularly with children, is the goldfish-catching game. I can’t help but wonder how many of those goldfish will still be swimming about a week after the festivities end.

Many people wear yukata (浴衣) a comfortable, summer version of the kimono made from light fabric, to the festival. Both men and women wear yukata, though the men’s designs are generally plain in colour and design compared with the elaborate floral patterns often seen on women’s yukata. One thing which caught my eye was the number of children wearing their own small, adorable yukata.

Many people flock to the Gion Matsuri and the atmosphere is busy and energetic. It’s hot in Kyoto now, at 30 degrees even at night (though August is the hottest month) and you’ll be sure to see many people at the festival fanning themselves with paper fans, exclaiming “atsuiThe street is awash with the voices of thousands of people and the smell of a variety of different kinds of meat on a stick.

I’m glad I headed down to Gion to soak up the atmosphere, but I don’t think I’ll go tomorrow for the parade, as I’m told there are even more people then! The best time to check out the festival, I’ve heard, is in the few days leading up to the famous parade.

I go to a cultural exchange / Japanese language practice group on Thursdays and one of the ladies there makes adorable pictures out of coloured paper for things like posters and nametags.
I thought I would share this one with you all because it’s just so sweet!

I go to a cultural exchange / Japanese language practice group on Thursdays and one of the ladies there makes adorable pictures out of coloured paper for things like posters and nametags.

I thought I would share this one with you all because it’s just so sweet!

I thought I would share with you this cool app that the confectionery company Glico (makers of delicious, delicious Pocky among other things) have released to promote the upcoming 3D Doraemon movie, Stand By Me.

For the uninitiated, Doraemon is a popular anime character for children (although he is loved by children and adults alike). A blue, cat like robot, he is able to use various fantastic tools which he pulls out of his magic pocket.

The free app allows you to transform 2D pictures of Doraemon which you can obtain either by buying Glico products or downloading from the internet into 3D animations. The animation will appear as whatever colour you choose to apply to the picture.

I went for a classic blue (Doraemon’s original colour) because I lack creativity and imagination, but if you like, you can bring a bright pink Doraemon, or even a spotted Doraemon to life.

Here you can see Doraemon before and after colouring, and later hovering over my desk. The app allows you to take pictures with Doraemon.

Free counters!