This is obviously my favorite topic regarding Japan: there’s some weird stuff here. You’ve seen a lot of the pictures already, you’ve heard the anecdotes from everybody and their grandmother, but have you … I don’t know, heard it from me? Besides the times I already mentioned? Whatever. Here’s some of the bizarre stuff I’ve seen.
I try to not harp too much on Engrish, but I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought that your breakfast pastries really don’t appreciate you eating them.
What’s your favorite part of drinking tea? The flavor? The light caffeine rush? Feeling fancy when you stick out your pinkie? If you answered any of these, you’re wrong. The obvious answer was “I love tea for the pungency.” That’s normally an adjective reserved for cheese and unwashed feet.
Don’t worry, if you don’t like the pungency of milk tea, you can always count on green tea’s complete absence of flavor. (Note: This actually means there are no added sweeteners, so all you get is pure green tea.)
One thing about Japanese culture that doesn’t garner much discussion is how much the Japanese drink. A typical work day goes something like this: Go to work, get off work, go to the bar with your coworkers, get hammered, stumble home, repeat.
Japan seriously wants to win food. They want to crank up everything the world has invented to eleven, drink some protein, and do it even harder. The scary part about this burger (from Blacows in Shibuya) is this wasn’t even the biggest one they had. This is half of their biggest burger.
Honestly, I have nothing to add. This kid has some serious swagger.
What did they do to you, Elmo??
To be fair, the swastika wasn’t always a symbol for evil. Back in the day the bent cross was an ancient symbol representing good fortune or good luck. It was everywhere, like Kilroy but without an comically large schnozz.
Still, walking into a (rebuilt) feudal Japanese castle and spying an errant swastika can catch the wary wanderer off guard.
While exploring Shibuya I found an American toy store. Almost everything in there came from the states and marked up to heights that would make Scrooge McDuck blush. (Ha ha, that’s impossible: he’d still say the prices were still too low.) Of all the franchises represented (Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Robocop, Alien, Predator, Terminator, DC, Marvel, My Little Pony: Friendship is God Why Are You Watching This You’re a Grown Man), Escape From New York was probably one I expected to see the least. this is unarguably a cult movie, and cult movies rarely have enough fans to justify a crappy toy line.
I have to warn you, dear reader (deer reader? I don’t know who my audience is), the next and final picture I have to share is… odd. Before posting it (and this is assuming you didn’t just scroll through the pictures without reading the text, but who does that, am I right?), I would like to say that Japan is a country with a rich history, a variety of stories and fairy tales, plenty of folklore, and a plethora of rich traditions. Culture can vary on the individual level, and who are you to judge what is or isn’t normal?
Still. I saw this in Hiroshima and… well, I needed a few minutes. Before that day I never truly understood how characters in Lovecraftian horror could feel madness overtaking them, how sanity could be a tangible sand slipping through the cracks in their minds. I warn you, reader, to brace yourself for an example of culture going awry.
…That is, if WordPress will let me upload the image. My connection is fine, but I received errors a few ti
Look at it. Look at it. Gaze into the eyes. Soak in the entirety of this imagine. Let this image be forever burned into your shattered shell of a mind. When it haunts your dreams, embrace it, for without acceptance there is only madness.
We have to start somewhere. That, ladies and gentlemen (and deer), is a tanuki. It is a mammal in Japan that is sort of a cross between a raccoon and a dog. They are represented in Shinto folklore as supernatural creatures who shapeshift to fool humans to make them seem stupid.
This is a tanuki urinating into a large planter. He has a hat tied to his neck, his eyes are glowing, his nipples are very pronounced, he has an unnatural grin and oh god why are his eyes glowing
Super Mario Bros. 3 (also known as the best Mario game to not feature saddled dinosaurs or space flight) introduced the Tanooki suit, which allowed Mario or Luigi to transform into a statue to avoid enemies. I used to wonder why enemies would walk past a statue that, until a few seconds ago, was a portly plumber. Now I know.