Japan loves mascot characters, part of its unholy obsession with anything "cute."
If you want a list of such characters, it's hard to know where to begin. Yet, if we must, there's Domo-kun, the NHK television mascot, who resembles a walking square of chocolate, only ...
Spring is a time of two things: hope and . . . baseball. And — unless you are a Chicago Cubs fan — those two often go together.
Perhaps no place is baseball hope quite so high as in Japan, where the sport enjoys more ...
I find myself swamped with cards. And not just the e-money variety. Member cards, discount cards, hospital registration cards — my wallet has so many damned cards, it's like a plastic tumor bulging from my back pocket.
Most Japanese have a good cop/bad cop view of their law-enforcement services. They see a sinister side — one of smoky back rooms, coerced confessions and trumped-up charges — and they see a soft side: those helpful cops-in-the-box dotted throughout the land.
With omikuji, if the fortune is favorable, you carry it with you. If the fortune — in fortune-telling parlance — sucks, then most people tie the paper around some slender branch,
to leave the bad luck behind.
I think it is time for some up-to-date experiences — ones that the waves of tourists due to flood Japan up through the 2020 Olympics might savor more than those that revolve around traditional Japanese culture.