Nippon Express – 80 Days in Tokyo

happenings and experiences during my stay at RICOH Software R&D, Tokyo

Get Ready For Your Daily Dose Of Engrish March 2, 2008

Okay, I just came back from a shopping spree in Harajuku. I thought it was about time to get some fancy new clothes, and Harajuku is definitely one of the better places to shop for clothes in Tokyo. For one, there’s Omotesando, sometimes referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Élysées. I don’t know, has been quite some time since I have been to Paris, but to my understanding, Omotesando has little in common with Champs-Élysées (apart from the expensive shops). Anyway, shopping in Omotesando kind of breaks my budget anyway, so I went to Takeshita-dōri, which is near Omotesando and is more catered towards cheap people like me who don’t drive Ferraris.

More pictures in my Shibuya picture gallery.

Yesterday I recovered from a bad hangover after a looooong Friday night. But I don’t want to bore you again with event diners and Hookah bars so let’s talk about something really funny: Use of foreign languages in Japan! Using English and German on signs, t-shirts, book covers and basically anything you can label somehow is really popular in Japan. The funny thing about this is that only few people can actually read it, so whoever writes these texts does not really care much about spelling and grammar, resulting in some pretty funny sights, like these:

Or how about these. The first one is a sign I found at a counter (I think it was at Kawaguchiko Station) and it reads (it’s a little blurry, sorry for that): “This is an exclusive cash register selling a thing.” The second one is maybe my favorite. It’s a power button I spotted in a ropeway in Kawaguchiko and its creator actually managed to misspell the word “power” (it reads “POEWR” instead). I mean, seriously, a button with a typo in its label?! Gimme a break!! 😀

Okay, you still think this is not that funny? Then take a deep breath and have a look at this gem (sorry, only for my friends from Germany — unless you’re not from Germany and speak German of course). This is the cover of a notebook (a college block) we found at a 100Yen shop…

Whoever wrote this apparently didn’t even try to make sense of this. Too funny!

For more entertainment of this kind, please go to Engrish.com. Now. 😉

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The Little Big Differences (Part II) January 29, 2008

Continuing “The Little Big Differences (Part I)“, here are some more interesting and noteworthy observations, again presented in no particular order and without any judgmental intentions. This time, less differences, but more pictures!Coca-Cola corn soup!This is the stuff!

  • Gas stations have a service staff as I only know from 1950s US-American Hollywood movies. If you drive into a gas station, several people will come by and service your car. Again, this shows how well customers are treated here in Japan.
  • The Coca-Cola company sells hot canned corn soup at vending machines (“Bistrone”).
  • Although such a busy city, subways will stop their service at around midnight.
  • There is a Japanese noodle dish which is served cold.
  • Shops like convenience stores, supermarkets and department stores are open on sundays and holidays.
  • Power outlets operate at 110 Volts.
  • Washing machines wash with cold water.This is what you wear in Tokyo!
  • The McDonalds here has the biggest burger I have ever seen — the Mega Mac! Seriously, it puts any Big Mac to shame. I heard Wendy’s has an even bigger one. Sheesh!
  • Every like tenth person or so wears a protective mask over his/her mouth, just like hospital staff does during surgery and stuff (see picture at the bottom). I heard this is either because people who are ill don’t want to spread their germs and potentially infect other people, or because they simply don’t want to catch anything themselves. Considering how crowded many places (subways!) are in Tokyo, I can see why they do that, although personally I wouldn’t want to wear it. So far, I didn’t catch anything (I guess? Whaaa! Let’s change the topic…)
  • If you thought hooded coats and jackets with fur collars are (were?) hip in Germany, then please, come to Tokyo! Literally everyone between 10 and 30 is wearing these here. Seriously, not having one of these really makes you feel like an outsider here!
Protective Masks
 

Save Your Dime – 100 Yen Stores January 15, 2008

Filed under: funny or noteworthy — Matthias @ 11:15 pm
Tags: , ,

So yesterday we took off to buy some usual necessities for our households, like dishes and so forth. The only problem is, we won’t be able to take all that stuff back home to Germany, which basically means we will have to throw it all away when we’re going to leave in March. So I think it is needless to say that we tried to get all that stuff as cheap as possible, because there are better ways to spend your money.

Fortunately, this is very possible here! They have these stores called 100 YEN stores, where (almost) every item is… you guessed it, 100 YEN. That’s roughly 60 €-cents (!). Be it batteries, dishes, knives, towels, underwear, food, whatever; everything is 100 YEN (there are a few exceptions, like spices and other things though). I got my complete household set for only 2500 YEN — that’s 15 Euros!

100 YEN Store Stuff

A cooking pot for 60 cents? Try beating that! In case you’re wondering how this is possible… only three words: MADE IN CHINA!