Little in Japan: Trying to Be Something Other Than a Teacher

January 18, 2015

In the latest Little in Japan comic strip, Dave tries his luck at various non-teaching jobs in Japan, without much luck. It was a nice chance to commiserate with (and poke fun at) my fellow Tokyo creatives, who say they are in bands or writing novels, but are all secretly teachers.
Read the whole story here:


Dark Horizon

January 18, 2015

I recently read a copy of Brian Reyes’ outrageous book, Dark Horizon, which he describes as “a vulgar yet playful book of insults”. It’s a spoof of the popular English textbook series, New Horizon, which has been read in Japanese public school since 1965. Here’s how Brian describes it:

I thought about the characters from New Horizon, and what they would be like 10 years later if they fell on hard times. In my version of the book, the character Mike is homeless, Emi is a prostitute and good ol’ Ann Green sensei is a suicidal hostess. They have rude conversations and Japanese can learn some very rude English insults. I included Romaji in the book, so it works well for English speakers to learn naughty Japanese phrases too!

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It’s a hilarious, irreverent read. You can get it in Amazon and lots of Japanese shops.

Funny Japanese T-shirts at T-Shitsu

June 24, 2010

After several years of wearing the same mouldering clothes (which no doubt went out of fashion in the late nineties) I’m pleased to have found a site, T-shitsu, which has lots of funny Japanese/English T-shirts. Now I can get some new clothes to sweat in this summer!

This shirt, with the Gordon’s Gin logo changed to “Gaikoku-jin” (foreigner), is a particular fave, for obvious reasons.

There’s also a topical T-shirt, featuring the slogan “Yes we Kan” (in reference to the new Japanese Prime Minister). Snap it up fast- chances are, there’ll be a new bloke in office in a few months!

Mainly aimed a foreigners in Japan (or elsewhere), the T-Shitsu T-shirts are all cheap, at 2500yen or less, and the site’s all in English.
The shirts all seem to play on amusing similarities between Japanese and English words.

There’s one with the sitcom alien, “ALF”, as an A.L.T complete with mortar board, and another featuring a gormless Chewbacca with the phrase “Cho-Baka” (complete idiot.)

Poor Chewy. He’s not as scholarly as ALF, but I’ve often thought of him as merely a “medium-sized idiot”, as his name means just that in Japanese. (There are loads of Japanese words in Star Wars, come to think of it. Obi-Wan means something like “Belt Bowl”, and there is a Yoda stadion somewhere in the outskirts of Tokyo.)

Speaking of Yoda-like wisdom, apparently there’s a higher goal to T-Shitsu, beyond selling amusing clothes.

This site is not just about T-shirts.
Its about sparking conversations, merging cultures, breaking down barriers and generally enhancing our fun-loving foreign community in this awesome country.
If our merchandise spreads further then these Japanese shores, so be it.
Put plainly, for one person to say, ‘Woah… where did you get that T-shirt?!’ makes us (and you) happy. Simple.

Uniting the world through goofy puns. I’m all for that!
Also, anything that encourages ladies to talk to me is good.

Check out more T-shirts here

I Love KY

June 24, 2009

I know the Japanese are notoriously sexually liberated, but I wasn’t expecting to see signs like these in a supermarket!

Boobs and Tits in Japan

February 2, 2009

I can understand why the owners of a surf shop for women might choose a name for their store which reflects the gender of their target market, but surely these shopkeepers in Sumida, Tokyo, could have come up with something better than “Boobs.”

There must be alot of disappointed male customers in brown raincoats trudging out of that shop.
The same, no doubt, can be said for the following establishment, a quaint and charming tearoom in the historical city of Kyoto. It’s called “Tits Cafe.” The poor proprietors must have been innocently thinking of the little birds rather than mammary glands when they decided upon that name. I’m sure Tits gets alot of business, though!

“Get Your Picture Taken with F*cking Angels”

December 3, 2008

I’m a big fan of Japanese clothes with appallingly mis-translated English on them. They make great Christmas presents for friends back home. Here’s an unnecessarily rude T-shirt, available from this website.

New: Love Hotel Listings in English

September 17, 2008

Readers in Japan will know that a “love hotel” is a place that couples can visit for some discreet nookie, and pay for the room by the hour. The rooms come equipped with fun things like jacuzzis, karaoke machines, playstations, as well as all manner of weird sexual paraphenalia that you might want to make use of.
The hotels are easy to spot- they’re painted in garish colours, with flashing lights, and enormous, grinning, cartoon-character statues. It’s a wonder that people get planning permission for these jaw-dropping eyesores. They look like something out of Walt Disney’s wet dream!

In Japan, people are often inexplicably content to live with their parents until they’re about fifty, so they need a place to go if they want to get down to some hanky panky without Mum strolling in with a cup of tea. Love hotels cater for these folk. They are also havens for married men and women having illicit affairs- some rooms even have tape recorders with noises from bowling alleys that you can play in the background when you phone your spouse, so you can pretend that you’re having an innocent, after-work party at the bowling alley with your colleagues.

For such sleazy, uninhibited places, love hotels have some pretty archaic rules. Apparently, while cheating on your wife/husband is perfectly fine, being gay isn’t- same sex couples are not usually allowed in. You can’t get in on your own either, in case you decide to kill yourself. (Personally, I’d hope most people would choose a more poignant and poetic location to top themselves than a room full of dildos and Mickey Mouse wallpaper.)
Still, strange things can happen in a love hotel. I once read a story in the newspaper about a couple who found the week-old dead body of a prostitute under the mattress they had just been frolicking on. If anything’s guaranteed to kill a romantic mood, it’s discovering a rotting corpse!

Now, some considerate person has made a website in English, called Japan Love Hotels, which features a big directory of love hotels throughout Japan for the discerning customer. They even have maps in both Japanese and English. You can choose from a variety of weird, themed love hotels, with all kinds of bizarre novelty rooms (although, most people, when someone has spontaneously agreed to go to bed with them, are not going to waste time quibbling about wallpaper.)

The hotels have some unusual names, too. Here are a few listed on the site: “Hotel Mickey Cookies”, “Adventure Hotel Chapel Coconuts”, “Hotel Vanilla Resort”, “Hotel Movie Movie”, “Hotel Dolphin Resort”, “Amusement Hotel I’m”, “Hotel Tropicana “The Oh””, and the utterly insane “Hotel Magical Little Pumpkin” (pictured below.)

A personal favourite of mine is the demented chain of Christmas-themed love hotels, “Hotel Chapel Christmas”, where Christmas becomes Triple-X-mas. The owners have missed the message of Christmas by several thousand light years- at these places, it’s Christmas all year round, and you can get your rocks off surrounded by lit-up trees and leering Santa Claus statues.
Santa won’t be bringing any presents to the naughty boys and girls who get freaky in the “Hotel Chapel Christmas.” Ho ho ho! (that’s “ho” in the hip-hop sense of the word.)

Check out Japan Love Hotels here.