Looking out of my window in Japan

This is the view from our spare bedroom. We’ve lived in this apartment for about three years now, and despite its age (it was built in the late 1960s, which by Japanese standards makes it practically medieval) it’s a great place. Noisy neighbours are not a problem for us as the walls are solid concrete - almost 2 feet thick in places - which also helps to keep the heat in in winter. In fact, we rarely need to put the heating on.

This photo is looking east towards central Tokyo. Roughly speaking, Shinjuku is straight ahead, Ikebukuro is to the left-hand side and Yokohama is to the right. The construction work in the foreground will eventually be a car showroom. They’ve been working on it since May and the noise is ABSOLUTELY EFFING RIDICULOUS.

One of Tokyo’s main train lines (Chuo/Sobu) isn’t quite visible in this shot, but can be clearly seen from our balcony. The nearest train station is a mere 3 minutes walk, which is very handy indeed. forex trading

(Thanks to Shane at the Nihon Sun for the idea!)

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Universe for Rent

While the image above may typify the tourist image of Japanese homes, the reality for most Japanese is very different. Writer, editor and photographer Tsuzuki Kyoichi’s two-volume title Universe for Rent (賃貸宇宙 in Japanese) provides a voyeuristic peek into the living spaces of ordinary folk living in and around Tokyo:

Photo: Tsuzuki Kyoichi

Photo: Tsuzuki Kyoichi

Photo: Tsuzuki Yoichi

Photo: Tsuzuki Kyoichi

Photo: Tsuzuki Yoichi

Photo: Tsuzuki Kyoichi

Unfortunately this title isn’t readily available outside Japan. Luckily, Amazon.co.jp do deliver overseas. Volumes one and two are available for JPY1,785 each (here and here). Both come highly recommended by yours truly.

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Kimoi!

Japanese stand-up show Enta no Kamisama has produced its fair share of superstar comedians. One of the most popular at present is Kameko Nobuo, who bounces around stage in a ridiculously tight spandex shirt waving gold pom-poms in the air before telling the audience some decidedly kimoi (disgusting or gross) things.

I haven’t been able to add Japanese subtitles to any of Kameko’s YouTube videos (anyone know if it’s possible?), but even if you don’t know what he’s saying I think the general kimoiness of his character shines through in this clip:

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Who is John Francis?

Chances are you’ve never heard of him, in fact from the age of 27 nobody heard anything from John Francis for the next 17 years. A remarkable man with a truly remarkable story:

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UNIQLOCK for the iPhone

For the past couple of years UNIQLO have been using their UNIQLOCK - an online timer/screensaver thingy - to promote their latest wares. The idea is quite simple: get several good-looking Japanese girls, dress them in this season’s new clothes, get them to perform weird manouvres, add a quirky song by Fantastic Plastic Machine, and Bob’s yer uncle, a sure fire hit!

You can now download the UNIQLOCK to your iPhone (or iPod Touch). I’m not really sure why you’d want to, but there you go. You can also add a fancy widget thingy to your blog or website, like this:

Click on the clock above for full-screen dancing girl goodness.

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