Monthly Archives: March 2014

Japan Word of the Day #50 – Sakuraniku (Cherry Meat? No, it’s not what it sounds like)


Today’s Word is: Sakuraniku (桜肉)

Since I’ve introduced you the word “hormone” last week, I’ll have another type of meat you might encounter in Japanese restaurants for today’s word.

Sakuraniku” in literal translation would be “cherry meat.” Sakura is a well known word for westerners too, so it’s easy to mistakingly assume this is some kind of meat dish flavored with cherry. But no, “Sakuraniku” actually refers to horse meat. So if you are someone who does not feel comfortable about consuming horse as food, you should definitely know the term in order to avoid accidents. Sometimes a dish could be called “sakura nabe (cherry hot pot)” which has horse meat in it, and in the above photo, there’s “sakuraniku curry,” which you really can’t tell from the packaging that it uses horse meat. So just be aware of the wording and check the ingredients if you are sensitive on this issue. (If not, enjoy your dish!)

Since the introduction of Buddhism in 6th century, Japan has banned eating animal meat many times in the past. In Edo period, eating animal meat of any sorts was considered a big taboo. Nobles in high ranks particularly respected this Buddhist teaching.
That doesn’t mean commoners stuck with them. There were restaurants serving animal meat at the time, but because it was against religious morals, people started using slang terms to describe different types of meat. “Sakuraniku” was one of them, along with “momiji (red maple)” that described deer meat, and “botan (peony)” that meant boar meat.

Image source: Drive Plaza

Bento Friday: Perhaps the Smallest Gyudon in the World, and It Has Pikachu on It!

Happy Friday!
This week’s bento is not technically a bento, because it’s not in a lunch box.
Rather, it’s a gyudon (beef bowl). However, it’s not an ordinary gyudon!

First of all, it is absolutely cute. It’s got Pikachu made of a boiled egg on top of it!

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But there’s more than just being cute.

It’s actually a tiny, miniature beef bowl.



On the right is a normal egg.
Now, can you see how small the dish is?
The chopsticks are actually made of toothpicks, and Pikachu is made of a quail egg, which is very small compared to a normal egg from chicken.

The tiny bowl used for this dish is actually a recycled plastic container from ramune granule candies.

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It may not be enough to fill your stomach, but it’ll certainly entertain your eyes!

Bento source: Love Cecil

Fire Breaks out in Shibuya, Several Twitter Photos Capture Moments of the Expressway in Flame

A fire suddenly broke out in Shibuya on March 20th above the elevated Metropolitan Expressway No.3. The fire started at a construction site about 600 meters from Shibuya Station, one of the busiest train stations in Tokyo.

Many Twitter users have captured shocking moments of the fire site and uploaded them online.



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Japan Word of the Day #49 – Hormone (Yakiniku, Hot Pot Ingredients)


Today’s Word is: Horumon (ホルモン)

Hormones are biochemicals produced in your body that are responsible for controlling various levels of your physiology, behavior, and mood. “Horumon” in Japanese means the same as in English, except when it is used in food context.

Horumon refers to any type of Japanese dish that uses animal organs. In most cases when you see horumon on menu, it means pork offal, but sometimes it could be any combination of animal skin, hearts, liver, stomach, kidneys, uterus, lungs, etc. Typical horumon cuisines include horumon yaki (“grilled hormone”) and horumon nabe (“hormone hot pot”).

Horumon is believed to have “stamina building” effect and “rejuvenating” effect due to high contents of collagen, but it is not scientifically proven. It contains a lot of purines that could cause gout, so in fact, it is not actually all that healthy to consume a large amount of horumon dishes. Yet, it is still very tasty and is one of very popular delicacies enjoyed by Japanese people. Eating them in moderate amount would be good for you, just like any other food!

Image source: Guru Navi

New Addition to Sailor Moon Leather Products!


New items are added to Sailor Moon Leather Accessories series! New items include leather key case, ID case, and pass case. Also items previously released including the leather wallet and card organizer are available for secondary preorder. You can place preorder for these items through Rinkya Store now! All items will be shipped domestically in late June.

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

Japan Word of the Day #48 – Mansion (Condos)


Today’s Word is: Mansion (マンション)

When you live in Japan, you’ll notice there are a lot of buildings named with “mansions” that do not look like mansions at all in the sense we call it in English. Indeed, the term mansion means a condominium in Japanese.

Between late 1950’s and 1960’s, Japanese developers started using the word “mansion” in their effort to attract high-end owners and differentiate these real estates from normal apartment complexes. (Normal apartments are called apātomento in Japanese.) Mansions are generally built on reinforced concrete and come with several expensive features.

Since I mention apartments, here are some vocabulary that’ll be useful to know when renting apartments in Japan.

Shikikin (敷金): Shikikin is basically a deposit you put in before renting. A lot of the time it’s 2-month worth of your rent. The deposit will be returned when your contract ends (meaning when you leave the apartment).

Reikin (礼金): Reikin is key money paid to landlord that is not returnable. It is meant to be a gift to the landlord, so in case something was to happen to the renter, it makes sure the landlord will take good care of him/her. Usually it’s the same amount as the deposit.

There could be additional charges such as cleaning fees and handling fees for real estate agents, etc. Moving in Japan could be very expensive if you don’t look at these fees carefully. Make sure you know these terms when you look into renting! ^_^

Image source: Mansion Kanri

Frozen Japanese Premier Records Nine Hundreds Million Yen Box Office


Disney’s Academy Award-winning feature film Frozen, or “Ana to Yuki no Jooh (Anna & Snow Queen)” in Japanese title, premiered in Japan on March 14th, 2014. “Anayuki,” for short, has recorded a little over nine hundreds million yen in box office for the first three days, and brought in about 800K visitors to theaters.

As customary for films that premier in Japan, there are limited edition goodies you can get by reserving tickets in advance.


Some of them are showing up on Yahoo Japan Auction already!

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Japan Word of the Day #47 – Y Shirts (Y Shatsu)

Today’s Word is: Y shatsu (ワイシャツ)

Y-shirts, or Y shatsu, is a Japanese-coined English word that refers to dress shirts or button-up shirts typically worn under suit jackets.



This type of garment was originally called “white shirts,” but because of Japanese pronunciation, it eventually got shortened and became “Y shirts.” Therefore, the definition of Y shirts used to include both the type of a shirt and the color of a shirt.
Today, Y shirts include any kind of dress shirts regardless of the color. It is technically wrong to call a blue dress shirt a Y shirt, but both vendors and customers are accustomed to such usage.

Cutter shirts” or kattā shatsu is another word for Y shirts. This term is coined and trademarked by sports brand Mizuno. Although it gives you a false impression that “cutter” comes from English word, it is actually derived from Japanese word “katta (勝った),” meaning “to have won.”

I hope this helps you when you shop at Japanese clothing stores! :)

Image source: Wikipedia

Stunning Anime Cels from Ghost in the Shell Movie!

Today we see a few gorgeous cels from Ghost in the Shell directed by Mamoru Oshii on Yahoo Japan Auction.

Intricate details are amazing on this piece. Sometimes it’s hard to believe this movie is made with hand-drawn cels.

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The number on the cel is Cut-474A. This is a cel actually used for making movie.

This auction ends on March 23rd, 2014 at 6:35 in PDT.


Another one is a cel and douga from the intro sequence.

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A-33 is the cel number on this.

This auction ends on March 23rd, 2014 at 6:44 in PDT.




The last one is a bust shot of the Puppet Master from the movie.

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The cel number is cut 418-424 D.1. Lots of detailed color instructions written on this piece too!

This auction ends on March 23rd, 2014 at 6:47 in PDT.




The above cels are all sold by the same seller with good feedback record.
Note that you get discount for JP Sellers Fee when you win multiple items from the same seller!