Archive | October, 2014

On This Day In METAL History – October 29th…

30 Oct

It’s already October 30th in Japan now, but it’s hard to believe that it’s already been 38 years since KISS appeared on that TV Halloween special!

Metal Odyssey > Heavy Metal Music Blog

Kiss - Paul Lynde - Halloween Special 1976 - trading card

Paul Lynde - Halloween Special - 1976 - DVD promo cover pic

On this day in KISSTORY – October 29, 1976 – KISS appeared on The Paul Lynde Halloween Special. Paul Lynde was a very famous American comedian and actor, best known for his television specials and regular appearance on the hit televised game show, Hollywood Squares, where he sat as a regular in the center square. Sadly, Paul Lynde passed away in January of 1982, at the young age of 55. Rest in peace, Paul Lynde.

Meat Loaf "Bat Out Of Hell" large album pic!!

On October 29th, 1977Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf entered the Billboard 200 album chart. This iconic studio album of Rock and Hard Rock went on to spend 82 weeks on the Billboard 200 album chart, reaching its peak at #14. Bat Out Of Hell went on to sell 14 million copies in the United States alone. The song composer for this album was the legendary Jim Steinman.

The Who - Its Hard - promo album cover pic - 1982

On this…

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Tokyo is starting to embrace the once despised Halloween train

29 Oct

When I first came to Japan, Halloween was basically unknown here. A lot has changed in 24 years!

Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink.

27 Oct

Cats trapped in circles!

24 Oct

The World’s Coolest Neighborhood is in Tokyo

22 Oct

Vogue Magazine has made a list of the “Fifteen Coolest Neighborhoods in the World“.

(It’s here.)

And they ranked a trendy neighborhood in Tokyo as the coolest in the world.

According to Vogue, the fifteen coolest neighborhoods in the world are:

15. Dashanzi, Beijing, China

14. Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

13. Hackney, London, UK

12. Silver Lake, Los Angeles, USA

11. Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia

10. Zona Rosa & La Condesa, Mexico City, Mexico

9. Wynwood, Miami, USA

8. Brera, Milan, Italy

7. Bushwick, New York City, USA

6. Canal Saint Martin, Paris, France

5. Centro, Sao Paulo, Brazil

4. Tiong Bahru, Singapore

3. Sodermalm, Stockholm, Sweden

2. West Queen West, Toronto, Canada

1. 東京都下北沢 (Shimo-Kitazawa, Tokyo, Japan)

2014-10-20 14.27.12-1

I have been to Shimo-Kitazawa many times. It’s a nice area, so I was happy to see it listed as the world’s coolest neighborhood.

I don’t read Vogue magazine…I found out about this ranking because it was mentioned on a Japanese TV morning show that I watch.

A picture that I took of a storefront in 下北沢 (Shimo-Kitazawa, Tokyo).

Have you ever been to Shimo-Kitazawa?

The Japanese Empress’ 80th Birthday

20 Oct

Here is a well-written article about the Japanese Empress’ 80th birthday today:

Two dozen years

17 Oct

Today is October 17th, 2014. I came to Japan on October 17th, 1990. Twenty-four years ago.

I was born and grew up in America. But I only lived there for twenty years. I’ve lived most of my life in Japan now.

I’m sure you can imagine, Japan was pretty different 24 years ago.
Even Japanese people in their twenties or younger can’t imagine if I tell them what Japan was like when I first came here!

One big change is that there was no internet or cell-phones when I came here.
Everyone, including me, had phone cards for pay-phones in their wallet. If it was announced that a train was running late, suddenly everyone on the platform would line up to use the payphones (that used to be on every train platform) to call their office to tell that they might be late.
Nowadays, people take out their cell-phone to either call or e-mail their employer if the train is late.

Also, train stations didn’t have escalators or elevators like they all do now.
If someone was in a wheelchair, the train station staff would carry his wheelchair up or down the stairs!
When my kids were babies, my wife and I had to carry their strollers up and down the train station stairs when we used the train.

Now, all train stations in Japan have automatic ticket gates and IC cards (I wrote a post here about them).
But when I first came to Japan, every train station…even the big major ones…had staff with hole punchers at the ticket gates.

To enter the train station, commuters would hand their ticket to one of these guys and get the ticket punched and handed back to them.
Then when they exited, these guys collected the tickets…and they’d tell you if you owed more money on your fare.
They were really fast! Especially at busy stations like Tokyo Station or Shinjuku Station!

Punching a ticket

As I said, there were no cell-phones or email in 1990. Nowadays, if the person you’re meeting is running late, you can just call or email their cell-phone. Life wasn’t always like that.
When I first came to Japan, there were chalkboards at every train station that anyone could use to write a message to the person they were waiting for.
There were always messages on them such as “To ____, I went ahead. I’ll wait for you at the restaurant.” or “To_____, you were late so I went home.

These were commonly used in Japan before cell-phones.

I’ve seen a lot of changes in Japan since 1990. I wonder what changes the next decades will bring!

Are these types of manner posters unique to Japan?

16 Oct

I’ve written posts about these manner posters before…


Here :

and even A/C ones are kinda similar:

Review & giveaway 9: Tokyo Travel Pack

13 Oct

Once again, Tuttle Books has given me a book to review on my blog.

This time I will be reviewing “Tokyo Travel Pack: Your Guide to Tokyo’s Best Sights for Every Budget (Travel Guide & Map)” by Rob Goss.


And, as before, Tuttle Books will be giving (gave) one free copy of this book to a random visitor to my blog!
(The details of the giveaway will be at the end of this review.)

This book is perfect for anyone who is planning for visit Tokyo, whether it’s their first visit here or they’ve been here a number of times. Also for anyone simply interested in Japan, particularly Tokyo.

The author, Rob Goss, has lived in Tokyo since 1999. He has written a number of books and magazine articles about Tokyo.

This guidebook offers many useful tips, including common phrases in Japanese, that would be very helpful to visitors in Tokyo.

It has a list of thirteen “Don’t Miss” sights in Tokyo with photos and an explanation of each. It also tells the opening hours, admission costs and directions to get to each one.

The next chapter of “Tokyo Travel Pack: Your Guide to Tokyo’s Best Sights for Every Budget (Travel Guide & Map)” gives a more detailed explanation of some popular areas in and around Tokyo.

And then, it also includes the book author’s recommendations for hotels, restaurants, nightspots, shopping, family-oriented attractions, museums, gardens, festivals and more!

There are maps of parts of this huge city throughout the book. But also includes a pull-out map of the heart of metropolitan Tokyo.

One small error I noticed is the list of Japan’s National Holidays. The dates of the holidays are no longer current since Japan adapted the “Happy Monday” system and now some holidays always fall on a Monday (for example, today (October 13th), coincidentally, is a holiday in Japan. Today (the day I’m writing this review) is 「体育の日」 (“Sports Day” (or “Fitness day”)). The book lists this holiday as October 10th. Until the year 2000, that was the date of this holiday…but it’s now the ‘second Monday of October‘.
This isn’t a big deal. Only four Japanese holidays have been affected by the “Happy Monday” system. And the rest of the information in the book is correct and current.

I recommend this book to anyone visiting, living in or interested in Tokyo.

Tokyo Travel Pack: Your Guide to Tokyo’s Best Sights for Every Budget (Travel Guide & Map)” can be purchased through Amazon at this link.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Publishers is going to give (gave) one free copy of this book to a random visitor to my blog!

***** Updated October 27th, 2014 *****

This special promo ended on 2014 October 25th. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.


Nine cats in a stroller draws crowds in Tokyo

13 Oct