Monthly Archives: July 2014

Japan Word of the Day #137 – Shōryōuma (Obon season tradition)

Today’s Word is: Shōryōuma (精霊馬)

Have you ever seen decorations made with cucumbers and eggplants like these in Japan?


They are called shōryōuma (精霊馬). Shōryō means spirits, and uma means horse. In obon season in August, people make these vegetable decorations symbolizing a horse (cucumber) and a cattle (eggplant). Obon is when spirits of the deceased are believed to visit the physical world, so the horse is supposed to carry those spirits from heaven quickly to our world, and the cow will bring them back to heaven slowly and comfortably on their way back. The cow can also carry offerings made to the spirits during obon.

Making shōryōuma is a fun activity for kids to engage in, and it’s also a great way to educate them on showing respect to the ones who have passed away.

Image source: FC2 Blog

Japan Word of the Day #136 – Jinbei

Jinbei yukata japan

Today’s Word is: Jinbei (甚平)

Jinbei (甚平) is Japanese summer wear traditionally worn by men and children. It consists of a kimono-like shirt and short pants. It’s a lot more relaxing than yukata (浴衣), and considered as casual outfit for informal occasions. In present days, the most likely place you’d see people dressed in it is at matsuri (summer festivals).

Jinbei Japan

Today, jinbei is also popular among women, and you start to see more and more of them designed and targeted for girls.

women's jinbei japan

Unlike yukata and kimono, it’s easy to move and loosely fitted, so many people use it as an indoor wear and as a pajama too. The material used for it is usually either cotton, hemp, or combination of both. It absorbs sweat and breathes air well, making it comfortable to wear even in hot weather.

If you want your own jinbei, you can browse the ones listed on YJ Auction via Rinkya.

Image sources: Rakuten, Nadesiko Peace, Jiggys Shop

Japan Exclusive: Godzilla 2014 Cup with Awesome Figure Topper

One of the best blockbusters films of this summer, Godzilla 2014 finally premiered in Japan last Friday after long wait. Delayed release is not always bad though, because Japanese viewers can buy this really awesome Godzilla Cup with Figure Topper in theaters!

Buy Godzilla 2014 Cup with Figure Topper

As you might have guessed, this cup is sold exclusively in Japanese theaters, and for limited quantity only. So how can you get it if you want one? Well, you can always find rare collectibles and novelties on YJ Auction via Rinkya!


For more details, let’s take a closer look from below. Continue reading

Japan Word of the Day #135 – Tokuten

Today’s Word is: Tokuten (特典)

Japanese products, especially in entertainment category, are all about limited time offer and tokuten (特典). What is tokuten? Tokuten refers to a special item, material, or privilege that comes packaged with a product when purchased. For example, shokai tokuten (初回特典), a special item that comes with first-print or first edition only, is a common strategy for marketers. Similarly, tenpo tokuten (店舗特典) is a special item/privilege you can get when purchasing from a specific store (tenpo), and yoyaku tokuten (予約特典) is a tokuten given to people who made pre-order in advance.

When DVD/Blu-ray of Madoka Magica -Rebellion- was released, there were dozen different kinds of novelties given out as tenpo tokuten.

Madoka Magica Rebellion Special Cover Aniplex

A special DVD box case offered as a tokuten at ANIPLEX+

Madoka Magica Rebellion Crystal Paper Weight

A special crystal paper weight given at Amiami with Madoka Magica -Rebellion- DVD/Blu-ray

You can only get these tokuten items by purchasing DVD or Blu-ray from a specific store, so it becomes very difficult to collect all of them. Many people just collect them using Yahoo Japan Auction, so they don’t have to buy several copies of the same DVDs.

If you are curious, you can try searching for various Madoka Magica Tokuten using Rinkya!

Image source: Madoka Magica Official Site

Japan Word of the Day #134 – Chack

Today’s Word is: Chack (チャック)

In Japan, zippers are called “jippā,” “fasunā,” or “chack.”
Jippā (zipper) and fasunā (fastener) are obviously derived from English, but what’s chack (チャック)?


Chack is actually a made-up word coined by a zipper manufacturing company in Omichi as a trademark. It’s derived from Japanese word kinchaku (巾着), meaning drawstring bag. The trademark was registered in 1927, and zippers sold under the trademark “chack” were received very well by public.

Today, zipper, fastener, and chack are used interchangeably in Japanese.

Image source: Rakuten

1954 Sets Only! Steiff x Godzilla 60th Anniversary Stuffed Animal

Steiff x Godzilla

High-end teddy bear maker Steiff is going to release limited edition stuffed Godzilla this coming November to commemorate the 60th year anniversary of Godzilla. The quantity is limited to 1954 pieces, which is the same number as the year the original Godzilla movie hit theaters.

Steiff Godzilla

This Godzilla is all hand-made as all Steiff stuffed animals are, and sold exclusively in Japan. You can pre-order this very special Godzilla through Rinkya Direct now. Remember, quantity is very limited!

Steiff Godzilla

Steiff Godzilla

Steiff Godzilla

Rinkya Price: $587.72 (excluding international shipping)

Want more? Browse all Godzilla-related items via Rinkya Auction!

Japan Word of the Day #133 – Butsudan

Today’s Word is: Butsudan (仏壇)

Butsudan (仏壇) is a small Buddhist shrine found in Japanese houses and temples. Inside, a religious icon (honzon) sits on the top, surrounded by several Buddhist implements such as incenses, lanterns, candlesticks, flower bases, bells, and so on.

butsudan shrine

A butsudan used in regular houses is sometimes called onaibutsu (御内仏), to differentiate from the ones placed in temples. Families use their butsudan to place “ihai,” spirit tablets of deceased family members. Butsudan can be installed in many ways. You can have it installed in wall, or as a separate unit.

butsudan butsudan


Depending on households, doors of a butsudan could be open or closed. If you do see a butsudan in someone’s house, do show respect, as it is an important part of their religious beliefs.

Image sources: Kirinoya, Kawakitaso

Bento Friday: Watermelon Hello Kitty

What do you think of when you visualize summer season in your head?
Beach, coconuts, sunsets, ice cream, or…?
Evidently this bento artist Mihhon thought of watermelon and Hello Kitty!

hello kitty watermelon bento

Hello Kitty in watermelon is so adorable and funny. I assure you kids must love it.
Mihhon says on her blog that this bento was inspired by watermelon-flavored Caramel Corn.


What does watermelon Caramel Corn taste like? Well, I’ve never tasted it, since it was only sold for limited time in 2009. You can find other Caramel Corn flavors on Yahoo Japan Auction via Rinkya.

Bento Source: Mihhon