Toed Socks

This is in no way something new to Japan, and hardly news-worthy. I have never posted about it though, so here it is.


Apparently they’re good for circulation.

But, don’t they look a little creepy? I mean, sure the flowery pattern on the sock is swell and all, but look, it makes your foot look like some sort of a creepy hand or something.

[Japanese Lesson: キモイ (kimoi); Slang for: 気持ち悪い (kimochi warui); English Meaning is “Gross, Icky, kinda creepy, a little bit difficult to look stomach – from my perspective anyway.”]

I’m not a sock basher. I’m sure if you were skilled enough to be able to type with your toes, it would be much easier to type with your toes in these socks than with regular socks. Much like it is easier to type with leather fingered gloves, than with fat mittens. I’m sure you’ll agree. Unless of course you can’t type with your toes, but then your opinion doesn’t matter now does it?


Are these toe socks available in the US as well? Do people use them??

Disclaimer. That’s not my foot.
– Harvey

Sushi Video

Hi all, this is a hilarious video on YouTube.

It is a subtitled video explaining Japanese sushi culture, in an interesting, not entirely factual, humorous manner. Please. Watch it.

This is actually a skit by a famous (among hardcore Japanese comedy fans) comedy duo named Ramenz 「ラーメンズ」. Their DVD’s are available for purcahse as well.

While we’re on the subject of sushi…

Also you may know already, but there is special vocabulary for food when discussing

Water becomes, “ohiya”.
Water = Omizu = お水 = おひや

Rice used in sushi becoms “syari”.
ご飯 = しゃり

Tea becomes “agari”.
お茶 = あがり

Soy Sauce becomes “murasaki”.
醤油 (しょうゆ) = 紫 (むらさき)

The main part of the sushi (the fish and what not) is called, “neta”.
ネタ = The main part of the sushi, for example MAGURO or IKURA or UNAGI.

And if I might add… The “neta” known as かにみそ (crab brain) becomes, “gross.”

Isn’t Japanese fun?

– Harvey

Beware, it’s gum syrup!

Let’s learn Japanese through warning labels!


yoku omizu to machigaerarerunodesuga
While often mistaken for water,

これはガムシロップ “Gum Syrup”です

koreha gamushiroppu desu
This is Gum Syrup


Sorry it’s so confusing.

Now magirawashii is a adjective we can stop to take a moment to look at.  According to my trusty Breen dictionary, まぎらわしい means…

紛らわしい 【まぎらわしい】 (adj) confusing; misleading; equivocal; ambiguous;

Good word!

I’m glad I got a picture of this jug of gum syrup that is often mistaken for water.

I’m also glad the store apologies for it so readily. If I could only get a picture of someone in the process of making the mistake though… It must have happened quite a few times before the owners finally put up the sign…

Must have been great for a laugh…

– Harvey

Takoyaki Revisited

A Japanese friend of mine came to visit from Tokyo some time ago, and commented, as many Tokyo-ites have commented before “Takoyaki shops are everywhere!”

I really didn’t notice this upon first moving to Kansai, until I was here for a few years, and then took a trip back to Tokyo and got the urge for a “traditional Japanese battered octopus ball”. It really some effort to find them…

In Kansai you can often find small trucks that come out at night and sell takoyaki out of the back. This place was especially cheap, you can get 14 takoyaki for just 350 yen. Another good thing about Osaka is that cheap doesn’t necessarily mean low quality. Some of the best food won’t damage your wallet.

I was polite and asked this guy if I could snap his picture before taking it. He said no problem, and continued making my takoyaki without any other comments.

You can imagine how skillful these guys must become at their trade. Each night they must make hundreds of takoyaki…

There we have it. 14 takoyaki, and a beautiful spread of mayo across the top…

It’s almost looks too good to eat…

In case you missed it… Giant Takoyaki and Do-it-Yourself Takyoyaki home party! Get your Takoyaki info on Wikipedia as well.
– Harvey

Kansai-ben Lesson 3

Kansai-ben lesson Point 「おる」
A-san is speaking standard Japanese
B-san is speaking Kansai Dialect

「おる」 Examples:Osaka Castle

A: I’m looking for C-san. Is he here?
B: Yeah, He’s here, he’s here. He’s over there playing that game.

A: え?C-sanのイベントは行かないの?
B: いや、行かへんで。D-san みたいな変なやつもおるから、あぶないで。

A: What? You’re not going to C-san’s event?
B: Nope, not going. There are strange people like D-san going there, it’s gonna be dangerous!

A: C-sanどこ?
B: 仮眠室で寝とる。

A: Where is C-san?
B: He’s sleeping in the break room.

A: あの、トイレ爆発した T-sanって覚えてる?
B: え、そんなやつおったか?

A: Do you remember T-san, the guy who blew up the toilet?
B: Eh… Was there a guy like that?

B: こんな奴らと一緒におったら、どうなるかわからんで!

B: If you’re around these type of guys, no idea what will happen!

In Kansai-ben, 「いる」 often becomes 「おる」。

B: おう!Aさん!何しとん!?

In this case, 何してんの? Has become, 何しとる? which has become, 何しとん!? An incredible informal way to express, “What are you doing?” or “What’s going on?” This expression is almost exclusively used by men only. If a girl were to use it, it would sound impolite (下品).

In Kansai-ben, 「いる」 often becomes 「おる」。おる is conjugated as a regular う-verb, so it will be come, おった、おる、おって。 Depending on the case. The examples listed above show some of the more common scenarios.

[UPDATE] If you’re interested in Kansai-ben, check out our Kansai-ben iPhone Application! Japanese 101: Kansai Dialect.

– Harvey

Check out these other Kansai-ben Lessons!

Kansai-ben Lesson 9 – Moute

Kansai-ben Lesson 8 – I don’t mind

Kansai-ben Lesson 7 – Revival!

Kansai-ben Lesson 6 – with Bonus!

Kansai-ben Lesson 5 – Honma

Kansai-ben Lesson 4 – Toke

Kansai-ben Lesson 2 – eeyarouka?

Kansai-ben Lesson 1 – Sora

Healthy Fast Food

Most Americans have an extremely unhealthy diet.  Most Japanese are alright.  I’m not a nutritionist, but I think most will agree.

Want to know one of the reasons why?

Here it is.

This is an “ekiben” or, a obento you buy in the train station before going a long trip.  When on a business trip to Tokyo, I usually end up heading back to Osaka after the work day is over. The trip by Shinkansen (bullet train) is about 2.5~3 hours from Tokyo station to Shin-Osaka, and work is usually over at about 6:30~7:30pm.

So, if I plan to eat dinner at a reasonable time, I’ll have to rely on one of these ekiben’s.  Hundreds of salary-men everyday do the same.  When you’re on the run, you grab some fast food at the eki and eat it while traveling on the bullet train.

It’s fast food.

Look at the picture closely. We’ve got rice, shrimp, vegetables, carrots, mushrooms, can’t see it but under the “dango” there is fish, even some tempura up there, and other kinds of seafood I can’t identify.

This is probably more healthy than food I ate back in the US when I wasn’t in a rush at all…

Most restaurants in Japan also have decently healthy and well-balanced meals. Of course McDonald’s is here as well, and also a wide variety of Japanese fast-food restaurants such as MOS Burger, Fast Kitchen and Freshness Burger, but these options are generally not seen as regular “dinner substitute” as  often as we do (or at least I did) while living in the US. A few people in my office seem to rely on Cup Noodle too often… Anyway…

It’s just so much easier to be a slacker and eat healthy in Japan than it is in the US.  Personally I haven’t lost weight since moving here, but when I go back to the States it takes me a while to get adjusted to the new eating environment again. My guess is that I would gain a few pounds pretty quickly if I ever move back.

– Harvey

Kansai-ben Lesson 2

Kansai-ben lesson Point 「〜した方がええやろか?」

「〜した方がええやろか?」 Examples:
A: 今日雨降りそうやなぁ。傘持ってた方がええやろか?
B: だね、持ってきて!

A: Looks like it’s going to rain today. Maybe I should bring an umbrella?
B: Yeah, bring it!

A: う〜ん、この風邪はなかなか治らんなぁ。医者に行ってみた方がええやろか?
B: うん、行ってみて。

A: Wow, I just can’t get over this cold. Maybe I should go see a doctor…
B: Yeah, you should go.

A: 最近仕事大変やねん。やめた方がええやろか?
B: 大変だと思うけど、やめるのはやり過ぎじゃない?

A: Work is tough lately… Maybe I should quit?
B: I’m sure it’s tough, but isn’t quitting a little extreme?

「〜した方がええやろか?」Roughly equals, 「〜した方がいいでしょうか?」
Basically 「〜した方がええやろか?」is the same as 「〜した方がいいでしょうか?」in standard Japanese. It is as simple as いい becomes ええ and でしょう becomes やろ. I have been told however, that the Kansai-ben version, is more of an internal question of the speaker than the standard Japanese counterpart. When someone says something in the やろか form, they may not actually want a reply back from someone. It might just be a thinking out loud kind of statement.

[UPDATE] If you’re interested in Kansai-ben, check out our Kansai-ben iPhone Application! Japanese 101: Kansai Dialect.

– Harvey

Check out these other Kansai-ben Lessons!

Kansai-ben Lesson 9 – Moute

Kansai-ben Lesson 8 – I don’t mind

Kansai-ben Lesson 7 – Revival!

Kansai-ben Lesson 6 – with Bonus!

Kansai-ben Lesson 5 – Honma

Kansai-ben Lesson 4 – Toke

Kansai-ben Lesson 3 – Oru

Kansai-ben Lesson 1 – Sora

Le Bon Kit Kat Francias

Way back when I posted about the Green Tea Kit Kat. Then a little later, posted about even more varieties available… The fun never stops! Behold. The ultimate in gourmet Kit Kat products. French Bretagne Milk Kit Kat! From Le Patissier Takagi.

You can see on the shelf below we have the worn-out Green Tea Kit Kat… Obviously overshadowed by this new French Bombshell. This may quite possibly be the king of the Japanese snack universe…
I’ve never tried them, but I’m sure they’re tres bien.

– Harvey

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