Clearly yakiniku

As a non-meat eater, I will never visit this neighbourhood restaurant, but I do appreciate the clarity with which it states its focus. It’s a 焼肉 (yakiniku) or grilled meat restaurant, which is noted about 20 times on the building, plus the cow image if you weren’t quite sure!


Halloween tree

Spotted in a housewares store: this is the first time I’ve ever seen a Halloween tree. I surmise that the point, from a marketing perspective, is to combine the two most popular “American” holidays. Christmas has been popular in Japan for quite a while, but Halloween has vastly increased in merchandising in recent years.

Funny font

Another one for the neighbourhood file. This is just a run-of-the-mill dry cleaning shop, but the striking red font on the sign always strikes me as rather sinister.

Not the font I would’ve chosen for a dry cleaner

In Japanese, a cleaning shop is a クリーニング (“kureeningu”).

The shop window also features another interesting “Japanese English” word: Yシャツ (pronounced “why shahtsu”), occasionally spelled
ワイシャツ. The origin is “white shirt”, but the meaning is a man’s dress shirt in general.

Neighbourhood snaps

A section of the old-timey shopping street

Japan, like many countries, has seen a huge increase of big box / chain stores while small, local, family-owned businesses decline. But there are still a lot of unique shops to be found in every city.

We live near a formerly famous shopping street, which still has lots of small specialized shops that somehow stay in business. Many of the shops focus on just one item, like tea, fish, senbei (rice crackers), watches, alcohol, clothes, or vegetables.

There are also quite a few shops that are generally quirky or that just strike my fancy. So I decided to take some pictures to post some here occasionally. To start, this is one of my favourites, a shop called Tip (I think): “Dog and Lady’s Fashion”, with clothes for both women and their pets.

A one-stop shop?

Sun and rain protection

Japanese women are very much into sun avoidance, and as the weather heats up, the latest in protective and cooling accessories dominates the shops. The merchandise below, spotted in Loft (the department store Sogo’s best shop), shows the array of possibilities.

Out of necessity, I’m also a fan of sun protection, and whenever I’m out in the sun for a long time, I wear long sleeves, including UV protection shirts, a straw hat, big sunglasses, and often a parasol. (The latter are pretty typical here, so I can use one without looking ridiculous.) But I haven’t yet tried a veil…maybe I should so that I don’t stick out as a foreigner for once!

(Click to enlarge)

June is the rainy season, so the rain gear is also making an appearance.

Encouraging sayings

If you’ve ever read Japanese manga (comics / graphic novels) or watched anime, particularly those targeted at female viewers, you may have heard phrases of “encouragement” that don’t really sound natural in English. As a native English speaker, for example, I don’t think I tend to say things like “let’s all try hard and do our best together to share happy memories.” But that would be a perfectly normal sentence for a teenage girl to say in a manga translated to English.

Similarly, food, shopping bags, toiletries, household items, etc. frequently have “encouraged sayings” printed on them, often in English or French. The more mundane the item, the more I love the encouragement! Here are a few examples (click to enlarge):

Pharmacy shopping bag
Inspiring toilet paper
Encouragement from the laundry basket

Perusing a catalogue

I’ve had some lovely short summer trips lately, which I really want to document. As usual, the posts have been composed in my head; the difficulty lies in getting them onto paper (as it were). But to get going, here are some very amusing items on offer in a catalogue that I perused on a train en route to a holiday.