Japan Food: Aoyama Flower Market TEA HOUSE

The other day, I went to a nice little cafe behind a florist aptly called "Aoyama Flower Market TEA HOUSE".

Aoyama Flower Market TEA HOUSE
Its like a garden... indoors....

Being located behind a flower market, the concept of the cafe is to create atmosphere like a "greenroom". Hence the vines and flowers growing from the walls and tables (it's aesthetics not lazy cleaners).

The cafe specializes in herb teas. Out of the several different blends (such as the Refresh blend, Relax blend) I picked myself a "Summer Time blend".

I was expecting more of a punch of pineapple to the face

Not sure if it tasted like summer but it was a nice sweet blend.So naturally sweet that it even make Paula Deen think twice about a dose of sugar.


Japan News: "JAPANESE GRAVURE IDOLS - Boy meets Girl" in France

As part of the Japan Expo in France, a photo exhibition title "JAPANESE GRAVURE IDOLS - Boy meets Girl" will be held, presenting photo of the various Gravure Idols in the popular magazine "Weekly Young Jump" over the past 20 years... And how much I wish to be in France...

Japanese Gravure Idols - Boy Meets Girl ///// by Weekly YOUNG JUMP


Japan News: Yamapi got his water scooter license

Do you guys know what made headline news on Yahoo News Japan today?

Johnny's Actor and Singer, Tomohisa Yamashita (28) obtained a water scooter license!

Tomohisa Yamashita water scooter license
Front page stuff...

Preview: Gintama film 「劇場版銀魂 完結篇」

Am I the only one excited about this?

Yes, the cult favourite series "Gintama" (銀魂) is getting a second movie made, which will act as a finale to the anime series.

Gintama (written by Hideaki Sorachi) originally started as a manga series in "Weekly Shonen Jump", about the adventures of a carefree samurai, Gintoki Sakata, in a world where aliens invaded Japan in the edo period. Over 44 milllion copies of the manga novels have been sold, and the TV anime had a run for 7 years in total. It's meta-narrative, references to pop culture and more successful manga make it one of my personal favourite comedy series.


New Dragon Ball Z game annouced: "Dragon Ball Z Battle of Z"

Oh yeah!! Bandai Namco games have annouced a new Dragon Ball Z game is in the making titled "Dragon Ball Z Battle of Z".

Dragon Ball Z Battle of Z
Double the "Z"s means double the fun!!

It been two years since the last Dragon Ball Z fighting game and since every game is pretty much the same, what do we get this time around? 

Dragon Ball Z Battle of Z
Translation: Prepare for craziness!!
Well according to the trailer, we are getting 4v4 action!!

Dragon Ball Z Battle of Z 4v4
or 4v1 (aka gang rape mode)

Fights against giant monsters!!

Dragon Ball Z Battle of Z
This guy is huge!! I'll just punch his armour!!

And the big reveal at the end is the canon-ruining Super Sayain God mode...

Dragon Ball Z Battle of Z
Oh? There's more??

It will be released for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and the Playstation Vita.
The release date or price are yet to be confirmed.


Leah Dizon is back!! (and more voluptuous than ever)

Yes, the Eurasian bombshell that rocked Japan 5 years ago is coming back!!

Leah Dizon playboy
Me so happy... me want to cry...

For those of you who were living an unfappable life under a rock of abstinence, she was a "gaijin talent" who was often referred to as "the black ship of the Gravure scene" (A reference to the black-colored Western ships that arrived on Japanese shores during the edo period). Debuting as a model in 2006, she went on the appear in a countless number of TV shows and a myriad of photo magazines, releasing 6 singles and 2 albums, and all despite having a limited knowledge of Japanese!

Leah Dizon return
But I don't think anyone notice because of her... err... what was I saying?
But her time in the spotlight was cut short when in 2008 she became pregnant and married a hairdresser (yes, in that order).  where Alas, the marriage didn't last long as the couple filed for divorce in 2010 then she returned to the States, where she went to Acting school. And we didn't hear a peep for the next 3 years...

But recently, a post on her official blog (later removed) revealed that she was back in Japan for a photoshoot! And boy, has she changed! See for youself...

Back in 2008:
Leah Dizon return
No complaints

And fiver years later:

Leah Dizon playboy
Remember, she is a mother of a 5 year old daughter!

A little curvier than before... But hey! Is that a bad thing?! C'mon!

She is also slated for the theme song for the upcoming "Samurai & Dragons" video game. 

So, coming back to the Japanese Entertainment Industry, how will she fair against stiff competition with the likes of Rola, Akeme Darenogare, and Maggy all in the same league? 

Leah Dizon playboy
She's always be "the black ship of the MILF scene"


The new Super Smash Bros roster will have Megaman, the Animal Crossing Villager, and... the Wii Fit Trainer!!

So there's gonna be a new Super Smash Bros game!! Hell Yeah!!

And aside from the obligatory Mario, Link, Samus, Kirby, Pikachu etc there have been three new names announced for the roster.

Like, Megaman:

Whoring himself out to another fighting game
 The Villager from Animal Crossing:

Remember... He has an axe

And... The Wii Fit Trainer!! F*ck Yeah!!
The second best ass on the roster (after Donkey Kong)

Another gimmick character or a decent fighter... Only time will tell...

Fan buys $20,000 worth of an AKB48 single

Recently, one eager fan of the Japanese Idol group AKB48 bought roughly $20,000 worth of the same single and uploaded a photo of the boxes to his twitter account.

191,7800 yen worth to be exact

Why, you ask? Well a few days ago in Japan, AKB48 held an election to determine the ranking of the popularity of the 130 or so members and also who will take centre spot for their new single. It is a big deal in Japan. It even gets better TV ratings than the actual government election.

And much like the government election, it always ends in tears

The ways to vote for the glamorized popularity contest are:

1. Be a member of the fan club (one vote per member)
2. Suscribe to the mobile club, On Demand channel, or Smartphone application (one vote per subscription)
3. Buy a copy of the single "Sayonara Crawl" (one vote per CD) [retail price 1600yen]

For those who can't add up the math, this guy bought approx. 1500 CDs to vote for his girl 1500 times!!

And... no one wins! This guy loses close to a years worth pay. Since the total number of votes was 267,6874,  this meant that he only had 0.05% of a stake in the votes!

But if you look at it in a positive way, you could say that he is trying to be the Warren Buffett for AKB48.

I'm sure he has the same smirk

Except Buffett made a fortune off good decisions as opposed to this guy that lost a fortune for making a shitty one...


News: An interview with the Japanese schoolgirl uniform wearing middle aged man

Remember this guy?

The one on the left

Yes, Mr. Hideaki Kobayashi or "Growhair" or the Japanese schoolgirl uniform wearing middle aged man on reddit or "Sailor Suit Old Man". You may have seen him on some message boards or social medias (and may have performed a self lobotomy to forget the rancid image). 
Well, he was recently interviewed for a Japanese website and I took the liberty of translating it below. Now you too can understand the inner-machinations of a cross-dressing old Japanese man...

Italics: Interviewer
Blue: Japanese

When and why did you start cosplaying(?) as a schoolgirl?

I have had an inclanation for women's clothing since primary school, and I started enjoying secretely wearing garments at home from about college. And although I was fulfilling my own narcasism, I understood that objectively it wasn't socially acceptable, so I knew I could not go out and show people.

The chance I finnaly got to come out was at the 2010 "Design Festa". I had a booth of various photos of dolls, and I heard that Candy Milky (a famous crossdresser) was going to pay a visit. I knew I had to dress aptly in respect, hence I dorned the schoolgirl uniform. Surprisingly, it really caught on, and became a sort of a specialty of Design Festa. Since then, I have participated in every Design Festa in the uniform.

So originally it was a cosplay for the event. Why did you decide to go public with the attire?

「最初は2011年6月11日、鶴見のラーメン屋でした。通称『ラーメンショップ高梨』というお店で、『30 歳以上でセーラー服着用で来店すればラーメン1杯タダ』という企画に乗っかる形で。きっちり一番乗りになることができました(笑)」
It was on June 11th 2011, when I went to a ramen shop called "Ramen Shop Takanashi" in Tsurumi. There was a campaign "if you are over 30 and come in dress as a schoolgirl, your ramen is on the house". It goes without saying, I was the first to take up the offer! lol

You wouldn't normally dress up in a schoolgirl uniform for one bowl of Ramen. Even so, why a schoolgirl uniform?

「うーん、難しいですね。あまり深く考えたことがないもので……。似合うから? 実際、真顔で『お似合いですよー』と言ってくれる人が何人もいました。最初は、悪質であることをわざと意識したジョークみたいなもんでした。なので、セーラー服が典型的でよいのではないかと思いました。記号的な要素の寄せ集めで“カワイイ”が形成されていて、それさえ踏襲すれば私でも可愛くなれるのか? というアンチテーゼみたいなものでした」
Well... That's a difficult question. I didn't really think too deeply about it... Because it suits me, I guess? I have had a few people tell me "the outfit suits you" with a straight face. Originally, I wanted it to be like a cruel joke. The uniform has many associations with the "kawaii" (cute) culture. I thought that I would become the antithesis of "kawaii" by doning the uniform.

What sort of reaction did you get when started wearing the uniform out on the street?

「私の視点からだと、ほぼ無反応、スルーです。が、後ろから見ると、面白いことになっているみたいです。すごい驚いた顔をしていたり、振り返ったり。ここ 1か月ぐらいでネットで情報が広まったみたいで、声をかけてくる人が増えた感じがします。写真撮影を頼まれ、ポーズをとってあげたりしています」
From my point of view, it seemed as though there wasn't really any reaction, people just past by me. But behind my back, something interesting was happening. Some people were really stunned, often taking a second look. It's become a real thing this past month on the internet, and a lot of people have recognized me and come up to talk to me. Some people ask to take a picture with me. I've been doing a lot of posing.

Despite the extravegant school uniform, your responses are very straight. I guess this must be because you work at a respectable well-known company as a dayjob. Despite having the "GrowHair" artist persona, how does the company feel since you don't hide your face?

So long as I don't mention the company name, they give me a lot of freedom. I dress like this when I go out drinking with my coworkers so everyone in my department knows. They are quite supportive.

――おお、なんてフリーダムな会社なんだ! 同僚の皆さんも懐が深い!!
Oh, what freedom! Your coworkers are very open-minded!!

――ちなみにGrowHairさんは、写真家としての活動のほかに中学生アイドルグループ「かおす de じゃぽん」のプロデュースも手がけているという。
 By the way, aside from being a photographer, Mr. GrowHair is also a producer of a Highschool idol group called "Chaos de Japon". 

Well, I'm just one of the producers, I also do the photography and I am also a member.

――えっ、メンバー……!? ちょっと言ってることがよくわからないが、5月19(日) にはデザインフェスタでライブもあるらしいので、詳しくは「かおす de じゃぽん」のfacebookページを見ていただきたい。
What? A member!? I don't really understand what you mean but they do have a live on May 19th at the Design Festa, details on their official facebook page.

The photographer Hitoshi Iwakiri has this to say about Mr. GrowHair.

"This presence is astounding. One look and you have your eyes pinned on him. He fills people with joy, his auro trascends cosplay. I consider him a modern day icon."

――フランスでも大人気というGrowHairさん。“クールジャパン”の親善大使として、政府からお声がかかる日も遠くない……かも!? <取材・文/新保信長>
It is said that Mr. Growhair is very popular is France. The day might come when Mr. Growhair becomes the embassador of the "Cool Japan" government movement... maybe!? (Interview by Nobunaga Shinbo)
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