Monthly Archives: April 2014

Japan Word of the Day #74 – Sentou (Communal Bath)

Today’s Word is: Sentou (銭湯)

Tired of small bath and shower space? If you are comfortable sharing bath with others, sentou might be a good place to visit. Sentou is a communal bathhouse that has a large bath tub for several people to use at a time. Even though the number of sentou has been decreasing over years, there are still approximately 5500 sentou in Japan today. (Excluding onsen, which uses natural hot spring water)

In Edo period (17th-19th centuries), communal bathhouses were popular, but they were different from today’s sentou. A bathhouse at the time was sectioned by a heavy, decorative gate called “zakuroguchi” to keep steam inside the room. A shallow bathtub was placed inside this steamy room (similar to sauna), so people would soak their bottom half of bodies in bath, and use steam for upper bodies.


Past the red gate, you can see there is a pool of hot water inside (you have to climb up the edge first to get in). Inside of the room looks like this.


In the drawing it seems like there’s good lighting, but in reality, there was no light, no window to keep steam inside as much as possible. Therefore some petty crimes and inappropriate conduct (it was co-ed, and it’s dark, so you can guess what was gonna happen!) were often to take place here.

Today’s sentou is a lot more spacious and clean.


Modern sentou usually has separate rooms for men and women. People usually go in naked (no swimming suits!) The general rules of using sentou is the same as using onsen, and you can look up onsen etiquette pretty easily online!

Image sources: Wikipedia, Edo no Yuya, Mizore Matsumoto

Same Seller Discount Deal: Studio Ghibli and Osamu Tezuka Anime Cels!


A reliable seller is listing several rare and highly desirable anime cels from Studio Ghibli anime and Osamu Tezuka anime. Because Rinkya offers Same Day Same Seller discount (JP seller fee is free on any item won after the first from the same seller within 24 hours), this is a great chance to purchase multiple cels for cheap. In addition, all cels are eligible for commission discount ($7 up to 10,000 yen) as well.

Check them out!

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Japan Word of the Day #73 – Shohousen (Prescription)


Today’s Word is: Shohousen (処方箋)

Shohousen is a medical prescription issued by hospitals, clinics, and doctors. In the past, prescription documents were rarely issued in Japan, but since the separation of pharmacists and physicians took place in 90’s, Japanese prescription system is strictly organized in a similar fashion as United States.

So when you go see a doctor in Japan, you’ll receive a prescription from the doctor’s office (usually a receptionist) when medication is needed. You can bring it to any pharmacy that’s convenient for you. Pharmacy is called yakkyoku (薬局). What you have to be careful is that a prescription expires in 4 days after it’s issued. If it’s past the due date, you’ll have to go back to the doctor and have it re-issued.

When you use a pharmacy for the first time, you will be asked if you have what’s called a medicine notebook (okusuri techou/お薬手帳). It’s a handy notebook you can get for free from any pharmacies, that records all your previous medication history. Each time you get medicine from a pharmacy, a pharmacist will write down what you were prescribed.

Some medicine notebook is character-themed, such as Hello Kitty

Some medicine notebook is character-themed, such as this Hello Kitty notebook.

This way, the next pharmacist who’ll be dispensing drug for you will have full knowledge of your medication history, helping him/her make much more accurate judgement on whether you should take the drug or not.

Since year 2000, carrying your medical notebook was mandatory. However, it was apparent that not everyone continues to do so. It’s easy to misplace it when you don’t see doctors often. From this year (2014), the regulation has changed so that for anyone who doesn’t need a pharmacist to write down new medication record on the notebook, you’ll get discount of 20 yen. It’s not much, but if you feel it’s unnecessary, you’ll save a little bit of money. Yet, you’ll still need be aware that a pharmacist can make the best decision when provided with accurate history of a patient.

Image source: Meding

Only Till May 7th! Sailor Moon x SPINNS Harajuku Style Apparels Preorder


SPINNS, a Harajuku-style casual apparel brand is releasing a series of Sailor Moon apparels from this week!  This week’s items will be available for order until May 7th 12:00 (Japan time).    The official pre-order period has been closed, but Premium Bandai is now taking orders for Luna’s Pass Case and Sailor Moon Tote Bag.

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

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Japan Word of the Day #72 – Golden Week


Today’s Word is: Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク)

Golden Week is a season between late April and May where several holidays of Japan are clustered together. Originally, it only referred to holidays between May 3rd to 5th, but when holidays land on weekends, the next business day will instead be a holiday. As a result, day-offs could last as long as a week.

Here is a list of holidays taking pace during Golden Week.

  • April 29th: Shōwa Day (Honors Shōwa Emperor’s Birthday)
  • May 3rd: Constitution Memorial Day
  • May 4th: Greenery Day
  • May 5th: Children’s Day

Golden Week makes one of the busiest seasons in Japan for traveling and sightseeing. It is said that the number of travelers in this period is comparable to that of New Year and Obon. Many people take advantage of the holidays to travel abroad too. Hotels, transportation, and tourist site slots in Japan sell out very quickly, so do plan ahead if you’re visiting Japan at this time!

Image source: Madame Riri


Eat Anything You Want for 250 Yen! Family Mart’s All-You-Can-Eat Store Opened at Niconico Cho Kaigi

all-you-can-eat-famima-rinkya-japan2 Japanese conbini (convenience store) is not just convenient and being everywhere, but also usually carries delicious store brand snack, desserts, fried made food, and bentos. Many fans were exhilarated to experience 250 yen all-you-can-eat event at limited-time Family Mart store opened in Niconico Cho Kaigi 3. Yes, you can eat anything you want in the store for only 250 yen within the time limit of 10 minutes. Continue reading

Japan Word of the Day #71 – Saboru (Ditching a class, work…)


Today’s Word is: Saboru (サボる)

Saboru is an old Japanese slang term originated in 1919.
Sabo” is derived from French word “sabotage,” and “-ru” makes it a verb.

At first, the word sabotage was used as it is (in Japanese katakana rendition) during a big strike by employees of Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation in 1919 (today’s subsidiary of Kawasaki Heavy Industry). As a result of the strike, employees were able to convince the company to raise their wage. The incident was reported on news, and the word sabotage became known to Japanese people.

Eventually, sabotage was shortened and made into a Japanese term “saboru,” with a slight change in its meaning. Today’ saboru just means to intentionally not participating in school, work, activities due to laziness (meaning they aren’t doing it for a cause).

In manga and anime, a typical place for students to saboru is on the rooftop of school.


Image source: Craphlex, Kinimeka

Japan Word of the Day #70 – Nanpa


Today’s Word is: Nanpa (ナンパ)

Nanpa is a way of flirting, seducing, or picking up women that is commonly performed by Japanese men. It could be translated as “girl hunting” in today’s culture. Subjects of nanpa are usually strangers to the ones who perform it, and it usually takes place in public (on streets, train stations, restaurants, bars…also on internet in recent case).

Nanpa was originally an adjective to describe someone who is traditionally considered “soft” in terms of dressing up in flamboyant styles and has tendency to indulge himself. Nanpa in this case is usually written in kanji (軟派), as opposed to the other one which is written in katakana (ナンパ).

When girls try to pick up men in a similar fashion, it’s called “gyakunan” (逆ナン), where gyaku means “reverse” and nan is short for “nanpa.”

Most common locations in Tokyo where nanpa takes place are Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro. In Osaka, a bridge connecting Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi, “Hikkakebashi,” is notorious for nanpa encounter. Just be aware of it when you are traveling alone or with only girls!

Image source: Shin Toripi Tsushin