Monthly Archives: February 2014

Bento Friday! Happy Doraemon

TGIF! This week’s bento is Doraemon.



Here’s a recipe for this delightful bento.

1) Make a round-shaped rice ball (put whatever ingredients you like inside the rice ball)

2) Cut out a piece of paper in circle so it’s slightly smaller than the rice ball.

3) Fold a sheet of nori seaweed large enough to wrap the entire rice ball into half. Cut a circle out using the paper you made in (2)

4) Wrap the nori around the rice ball tightly using a saran wrap.

5) Slice a sausage into a rectangular shape to make Doraemon’s coller.


6) Punch a hole in a sliced cheese to make his collar bell. Do the same with lighter colored cheese for his eyes.

7)Use a hole punch to make Doraemon’s nose.


8) Stick a pasta in the sausage, place it on Doraemon’s face. Use more nori to make his whiskers, eyes, and mouth.

Have a great weekend!

Source: Cookpad

Sailor Moon and Outer Senshi Pointer Pen Sets Preorder!


Premium Bandai has rolled out yet another awesome Sailor Moon merchandise!
Prism Star Pointer Pens are extendable pointers based on the designs of transformation rods of Sailor Moon, Sailor Chibi Moon, Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, Sailor Saturn, and Sailor Pluto.

Update: Preorder period from Premium Bandai has ended. If you are looking for these Sailor Moon Pointer Pens, you can check out listings on Yahoo Japan Auction via Rinkya.

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Japan Word of the Day #43 – Health (Don’t get it confused with a gym!)


Today’s Word is: Health (ヘルス)

I’m covering this word today because I was asked once by my American friend if it is a fitness club or a gym when we walked by a bright sign that says “Health (ヘルス).” Well, if you go in there thinking it is a gym, you might get surprised and probably get charged a lot more too!

Fashion Health (ファッションヘルス)is a form of business in “fuzoku (風俗)” industry, where girls offer a variety of sexual services to customers except for actual intercourse (if it did include this last bit, it’s violating Japan’s anti-prostitution law). The official name for this sort of service is fashion health, but sometimes a store sign may just say “health” for short, and this could be a source of confusion for non-Japanese speakers. So just make sure to pay attention to the decor and coloring of the sign to see if it’s fuzoku or not. Once you go in you’ll see a symbol that indicates no minors (under 18) are allowed, so at that point it’ll be pretty clear.

Preorder Sailor Moon Crystal Star Leather Wallets and Card Case!

We are currently taking preorder for two new Sailor Moon merchandises from Premium Bandai: Sailor Moon Leather Wallet and Card Case! With a simple yet elegant design, decorated with Sailor Moon’s Crystal Star, it is perfect for both formal and casual occasions.

Please note that all Pre-Orders must be paid immediately.
Available quantities are limited.
Any order not paid within 24 hours will be cancelled.

Both the wallet and the card holder are scheduled for shipping in May, 2014.

1) Sailor Moon Leather Wallet

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There are 12 card pockets in this wallet. It’s not only pretty looking but also very practical!

Price: $220.00 (including all Rinkya fees except international shipping)*

*This price could be cheaper if you buy more than one item from the same store, Premium Bandai. See how fees are calculated on Store Request Order page.


2) Sailor Moon Leather Card Case

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This card case holds business cards on one side and 2 credit cards (or any other cards that fit the space) on the other.  Made in Japan!

Price: $131.00 (including all Rinkya fees except international shipping)*

*This price could be cheaper if you buy more than one item from the same store, Premium Bandai. See how fees are calculated on Store Request Order page.


Amazing Ghibli Nausicaä God Warrior Cel and Douga for Auction

On Yahoo Japan Auction via Rinkya, there’s currently a listing of this amazing cel and douga set for God Warrior from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. (The black folder underneath is not included in the auction)

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The cel is labeled with “A-45,” meaning 45th cel in a sequence and the second layer of a multi-layer cel. Note that there’s a little damage on the douga where the sticky tape used to be. The cel itself is in a great condition without visible flaws.

This auction ends at 5:56 on February 23rd, 2014 in PST. 

Japan Word of the Day #42 – Freeter (Permanent part-timer)


Today’s Word is: Freeter (フリーター)

Freeter is a Japanese-coined term describing someone who has no full-time employment (excluding students and housewives/househusbands).
It is a combination of “Freelance” and “Arubaiter (Arubaito (アルバイト) means part-time job).”
To call yourself a freeter, you have to be actually engaged in part-time jobs on regular basis (even if it’s seasonal). If someone’s currently not working at all, it is instead considered “mushoku (無職),” meaning unemployed.

Freeter used to be mostly made up of young people (age 15-34), but recently there’s been increasing number of freeters above 35 years old. This group is sometimes referred to as “Chukounen Freeter (中高年フリーター).”

In 2013, Japanese government reported that there are approximately 1,800,000 freeters (age 15-34) in Japan. It makes up 6.6% of the same age group, which broke the record for the highest freeter rate.

Image source: Amazon

Rinkya’s Very Own Guitar Hero Jurij G Ricotti Played in Front of the Pope

We are very happy to see Rinkya’s very own Grendizer Collector and Italian Guitar Hero, Jurij Gianluca Ricotti, to have played in front of the Pope at the Vatican on this Valentine’s Day!


Jurij Gianluca Ricotti is a very talented, renowned musician in Italy, as well as a huge Grendizer toy collector, who owns a website called The Grendizer Museum. He’s been using Rinkya’s service since 2005- over 9 years now.
Jurij brought his Grendizer toy with him to the Vatican too!


Congratulations Jurij, and keep on rocking!

You can see some of our old blog entries featuring Jurij, including interviews.

Japan Word of the Day #41 – Mook, Tankoubon, Bunkobon, Shinshobon (Guide to shopping at Japanese bookstores)

Today’s Words are: Mook (ムック)
                                      Tankoubon (単行本)
                                      Bunkobon (文庫本)
Shinshobon (新書本)

If you’ve ever browsed around in Japanese bookstores, you’d probably notice books are categorized by different formats. Publication formats in Japan are different from those of other countries, so this is a list of terms you can learn to differentiate one book format from another.

Mook (ムック) is a combination of “magazine” and “book.”
Definition of a mook could vary, but it generally means a large size book consisting of visuals and graphics mostly. Examples of mooks are anime mooks, idol photo mooks, fashion brand mooks, etc. The advantages of using a mook format instead of a magazine or book are: 1) it can use the distribution line of magazine, thus reaching more audience, 2) it can stay on shelf longer than magazines, which have to go away from shelves after a certain period of time, 3) it can include ads inside, whereas normal books are not allowed to, 4) by releasing a larger number than books, its price range can be a lot cheaper

Tankoubon (単行本) is a book that collects previously published stories, and it also has to be a standalone reading material (meaning it’s not part of a larger series). Tankoubon usually comes in an expensive hardcover format.
This is the case for most genres (novels and nonfictions). However, in manga industry, the definition of “tankoubon” is different. Most collected editions of manga series are labeled as “tankoubon,” even though it is technically incorrect to call a serialized run of stories in such a way. In this case a tankoubon is published as a softcover.

Here is a size comparison of a “mook” (left and center) and a manga “tankoubon” (on the right).



Bunkobon (文庫本) is basically a paperback version of tankoubon. It is smaller in size and cheaper than takoubon. If the sales number of a tankoubon looks good enough, its publisher can decided whether to reprint it in a bunkobon format or not. It usually takes 1-3 years before a tankoubon gets reprinted as a bunkobon.

Shinshobon (新書本)used to be a special kind of books dedicated to nonfiction, educational reading, but nowadays it is basically a tankoubon that’s in softcover and in a specific size specification. Shinshobon is more of a rectangular shape compared to bunkobon. This specification is also known as “Noberusu (ノベルス),” which is mostly used for fiction labels.

Below is a size comparison of a hardcover tankoubon, rectangular softcover shinshobon, smaller and cheaper bunkobon (divided in 2 volumes), and a electronic edition for a typical novel. These are all same titles, but reprinted in different formats.



Is it getting confusing? It’s easy to see the difference when you see the actual books! But I hope this will help you figure out what to expect when you are ordering books online, where you can’t see the physical products! :)

Image sources: Watanabe, Jinriki Hatena

Japan Word of the Day #40 – Suberu (things you don’t say around Japanese test takers)


Today’s Word is: Suberu (滑る)

This year, Japan is hit with the heaviest snow in decades.
It disrupted many railway and flight schedules, caused power shortage, and caused deaths and injuries. In weather like this, you have to be careful not to “suberu (滑る),” or “to slip” on ice.

The original definition of suberu is “to slip.”
However, there are alternate meanings to the verb.
One alternate meaning is “to fail in making people laugh (with a joke).”
The other meaning is “to fail in a test/exam.”

Because of the latter meaning, sometimes you have to be careful about using this word. The word “suberu” or “subetta (past tense of suberu)” should not be used around students who are preparing for college entry tests, even if you are using them to simply mean “slipping.” Entry tests are extremely important for Japanese students, and they and their families could get quite superstitious during their preparation period. It is common for jukensei (students preparing for entry tests) to go to shrines to pray for success in entry tests, buy omamori amulets, and so on. You can see how sensitive they are regarding jinx with words.
You could upset a jukensei by saying the word “suberu” around him/her!

Similarly, the words “ochiru (落ちる)” and “korobu (転ぶ)” which mean “to fall” and “to tumble” respectively, are best not spoken around jukensei for the same reason.

Image source: Minkara