Month: Last updated Jun 24, 2017


Susuki, or pampas grass is a well-known symbol of fall in Japan, but I took these susuki photos in Nara around New Years. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

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Tokyo Realtime Tours

In the past, tourists in Japan faced the difficult choice of getting herded around on a package tour or wandering around without a guide having no idea what they’re looking at half the time. Personally, I’ve always preferred to travel on my own, but when I ended up going somewhere without a Japanese friend, I always felt like I was missing out on a lot of good information and context. I recently received promotional copies of White Rabbit Press’s Tokyo Realtime Tours of Akihabara and Kabuki-cho, and after listening to them, I have to say that they are an ideal solution for people who want a personally-oriented guide as they travel around Japan. You’re completely free to go wherever you want and spend as much time as you need, but it’s like having your own private tour with an expert guide who can fill you in on everything you ever wanted to know about what you’re seeing. The tours are very professionally done, with full color maps, and studio-quality audio. In the Akihabara tour, you’re guided around by Patrick Galbraith, a researcher at the prestigious University of Tokyo who has spent years studying and writing about Japan’s otaku subculture. He really takes you deep into Akihabara, and if you follow the tour you’re bound to find tons of places that you wouldn’t on your own. For example, he takes...

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Nose Hair Bridge, Sulfuric Acid Town, and Disappointment Island: Odd Japanese Place Names

Butt Hair Station – Photo By Monami, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license. A few weeks ago I did a post featuring strange photos I’d found around the Internet. While I was researching the reason for a sign that said “Butt Hairs: 48 yen each or 5 for 198 yen” I found a Wikipedia entry on strange place names in Japan. Here are some of the more interesting ones: Sulfuric Acid Town (Ryuusan-machi, Sanyo Onada, Yamaguchi Prefecture) Nose hair Bridge (Hanage-bashi, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture) Disappointment Island (Gakkari-jima, Miyako, Iwate Prefecture) Hiccup River (Shakkuri-gawa, Nabari, Mie Prefecture) Toy Town (Omocha-machi, Mibumachi, Tochigi Prefecture) Cement Town (Semento-machi, Sanyo-Onoda, Yamaguchi Prefecture/Tsukumi, Oita Prefecture) Reading (Yomikaki, Nagiso-machi, Nagano Prefecture) Bullet Train (Shinkansen, Kannami-cho, Shizuoka Prefecture) Daycare Worker Town (Hobo-cho, Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture) Forbidden Field (Kinya, Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture) Pleasure/Hedonism (Kairaku, Ichikikushikino, Kagoshima Prefecture) Impossible/Unbearable River (Yarikirenai, Yuni, Hokkaido Prefecture) Entrance to a Woman’s Body (Nyotai-iriguchi, Komagane, Nagano Prefecture) These places have kanji with funny meanings, but they are pronounced differently: Affair Town (Fukecho,  Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture) [The actual pronunciation of affair is uwaki] Morning Erection (Asadatsu, Makamecho, Seiyoshi, Ehime Prefecture) [ The actual pronunciation of morning erection is asadachi] Butt Hair (Shikke, Gifu, Gifu Prefecture) [The actual pronunciation of butt hair is shirige] These places have kanji with different meanings, but they sound like something else when they are spoken: Damn! It’s...

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