Monthly Archives: June 2014

Japan Word of the Day #110 – Gentei

Today’s Word is: Gentei (限定)

Gentei is something Japanese people absolutely love; it’s limited edition item.
Technically, “gentei” means “limited,” but a lot of the times the word is used in combination with names of the stores or occasions that offer limited edition items.

For example, “natsu gentei (夏限定)” means “summer season only.” Many restaurants and food brands in Japan offer special summer edition menu to attract customers with products suited for the season.

"natsu gentei" Pocky released in summer 2013.

“natsu gentei” Pocky released in summer 2013.

Similarly, “Dolls Party 31 kaijou gentei” for Dollfie dolls means these items are only available for purchase at Dolls Party 31 Event Hall and nowhere else. Most of Dollfie dolls are “gentei shouhin,” or limited edition items that are specifically produced for each event.

All the dolls shown here are "Dolls Party 31 gentei"

All the dolls shown here are “Dolls Party 31 gentei”

Japan Word of the Day #109 – Noren

Today’s Word is: Noren (暖簾)

Noren (暖簾) is a piece of fabric that is hang in front of a store or at a border between rooms to be used as a banner, sign, or blinds. Traditionally, a noren is printed with either family crest, emblem, or trade name.

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Noren can be seen at a variety of storefronts such as restaurants, gift shops, communal bath, food carts, and so on.

Because noren is basically the “face” of a business, there’s an idiom which goes “noren ni kizu ga tsuku (暖簾に傷がつく).” Literal translation would be “a noren has been damaged,” but what it actually means is someone’s reputation has been damaged or defamed.
Noren wo wakeru (暖簾を分ける)” is also another idiom. It could be translated as “dividing a noren,” meaning a business is licensing someone else to open a new store under the same trade name.

Image source: Someno Anbo

Bento Friday: Totoro with Acorns

Happy Friday!
Today’s bento features Totoro and Small Totoro with Acorns made of sausages!


This bento artist, karenmama, is extremely talented.
She even bakes bread shaped like Totoro characters. totoro-bento-rinkya-japan3


And this Totoro is made of black sesame steamed bun.



I’m utterly amazed by her skill.
Check out more bentos on karenmama’s blog.

Have a good weekend!

Browse all listings of Totoro on YJ Auction via Rinkya.


Japan Word of the Day #108 – Teruteru Bōzu

Today’s Word is: Teruteru Bōzu (てるてる坊主)

Teruteru bōzu is a doll made out of a piece of white paper or cloth. Hanging teruteru bōzu is believed to prevent rain on the next day. Of course, not many people actually believe its credibility, but it’s nevertheless a widely known Japanese superstition, and making of teruteru bōzu provides a fun recreational activity for kids.


Make sure it’s hang in an upright position though. When upside down, it’s believed to cause rain!

Image source: Sakuno

Enjoy World Cup with Pokemon! Pikachu JFA Ambassador Merchandises


Pikachu has been selected as one of the official ambassadors of Japan Football Association in World Cup 2014. Even though Japan has lost in its first game, Pikachu and his friends will continue to support best of Japan team. He’s even collaborated with Adidas and Takara Tomy to release a series of soccer related merchandises!

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Japan Word of the Day #107: Kōban

Today’s Word is: Kōban (交番)

Kōban is a small police station located in different parts of towns and cities in Japan. A kōban is a lot closely attached to local community than larger police stations. Uniformed policemen who work there are perceived as neighborhood cops whom you can ask for help at ease.

A kōban in front of Ebisu station, Tokyo.

A kōban in front of Ebisu station, Tokyo.

At a kōban, a team of 2-3 policemen work in shift so there’s always someone 24 hours a day. There is typically a tiny tatami room with futon in the back for a policeman to staying overnight.

An advantage of having a kōban is proximity and accessibility to police from local residents. It’s in walking distance from most residents in the area. Compared to large police stations, kōban is much cheaper to establish and maintain, so you can even place one in areas where there isn’t enough budget or population to afford a large police station.
Also, many people get intimidated by going to large police stations to ask for help when their problems are mundane. For example, people often ask for directions at a kōban when they get lost. Or when your purse is stolen by someone, you can just go up to the nearest kōban and file theft complaint right there without having to go to a police station far away. A policeman at a kōban may even be able to catch the thief because it’s close to the crime scene.

When you are in trouble in Japan, don’t hesitate to ask for help from them!

Image Source: Estate Plan


Auction Wednesday: Madoka Magica Movie Original Films

Like many other animated feature films, after the movie finishes its production, Madoka Magica The Movie has been giving out original films used in the movie to its visitors. These films are highly collectible and frequently transacted on Yahoo Japan Auction.

Today we found several Madoka Magica films listed on YJ Auction.

1) Madoka and Homura from Opening Sequence


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This is a film sequence used for the opening of Madoka Magica the Movie. This is a special film given only to visitors who went to both the first and the second films of Madoka Magica.

This auction ends on June 20th, 2014 at 00:57 in PDT.



2) Madoka Magica -Rebellion- Homura

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A beautiful sequence of Homura trapped in clockwork from its opening.

This auction ends on June 21st, 2014 at 6:27 in PDT.


3) A Set of 125 Madoka Magica -Rebellion- Films

This is a listing for a huge set of 125 Madoka Magica -Rebellion- films, plus several bonus items such as limited edition Blu-ray disc of the movie and five replica sketches by Ume Aoki that were given out to movie visitors.

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This seller has been donating profit to victims of Tohoku Earthquake, and for this auction, he’ll be doing the same. Unfortunately, he’s unable to upload all 125 films as Yahoo doesn’t allow uploading more than three photos (unless you do a proxy trick to get around it). If you are interested, the bidding ends on June 19th, 2014 at 6:54 in PDT.




Japan Word of the Day #106: PET Bottle

Today’s Word is: Petto Botoru (ペットボトル)

Petto botoru (ペットボトル), or PET bottle, is a Japanese-coined English word that refers to a type of plastic bottles made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate). In English, these bottles are simply called plastic bottles.


90% of PET bottles in Japan are used for beverages as they are best suited for. The rest are used for condiments, cosmetics, and medicine. The first company to develop PET bottles in Japan was Kikkoman in 1977, which adopted this new material as soy sauce container.

There are several different sizes available for drinks sold in PET bottles. Most commonly seen in Japan for beverages are 500ml, 320ml, and 280ml (as shown in the photo below). Larger bottles can be found in stores, but not at vending machines.



Also, stores and vending machines in Japan sell warm beverages all year round. Some products such as tea and coffee are specifically blended for being served warm. Even when stored in room temperature, you can usually tell beverages meant for warm temperature by the color of bottle caps. Drinks meant to be served warm have orange caps, and ones meant to be served cold have other colors, most commonly white, blue, and green caps.



I also find it interesting that many people in Japan use what’s called PET bottle holders (ペットボトルホルダー) or PET bottle cover (ペットボトルカバー) to carry drinks in their purses. These cloth bags specifically made to fit PET bottles will save you from having to carry a bottle in your hands and preventing inside of your purse from getting wet from condensation around the bottle. You can get them as cheap as 100 yen (before tax) at 100 yen shops. (Or find them at Yahoo Japan Auction via Rinkya, if you are a Rinkya member!)



PET bottles are recyclable in Japan, so make sure to find the correct recycle bins labeled with “ペットボトル” when you are done enjoying beverages!

Image sources: Rakuten, Netton, Itoen, AllAbout, Wakeiseijaku

Amazon Japan Hires “Goat” Employees For Eco-Friendly Lawn Care announced their recent installment of 30-40 goats (yes, actual goats) to help mow grassy backyard of their Tajimi Fulfillment Center in Gifu Prefecture. These goats will be eating grass on 3,750-square-meter area of Amazon’s property, as well as providing pleasant sight for their employees from June to October this year.


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