a The Transit Lounge: November 2009

Back in the Day: I had a quarter life crisis, headed to Osaka, Japan for the unknown–only to discover that a passport plane ride are not necessarily a ticket to escape. Some Years Later: Settled back in Oz, the man of my dreams ended up in Tokyo for work–which is how a passport and plane ride showed me home is where the heart is. And Now: Well as luck would have it, we are about to embark on Japan Mark 3, with a baby in tow and another on the way...

Monday, November 30

Lemons and Then Some

I have a cold or the flu or something. Thank goodness I stocked up on about 40 packets of cold and flu tablets last time I was in Australia. The stuff in Japan doesn't quite hit the mark. Although there is one drink I can't go past in times of illness...and that is C.C. Lemon.


Underneath the name, Suntory informs us that C.C. Lemon contains "70 lemons worth of Vitamin C in ever bottle". Thank you Suntory. At least we know the lemons work - I am not going to get scurvy anytime soon.

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Friday, November 27

The Honour System

Nowhere else in the world could a vending machine supply truck be left alone, doors wide open, in full view - and reach - of the passing public.



That is why I can accidentally leave my purse in a coffee shop with AUD$1,500 in it and know I will get it all back, yen for yen.

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Thursday, November 26

Going Soft

Found in the erotica section of Shibuya's Don Quijote (ドン キホーテ) last Saturday night:


You too can use some Sod Lotion to go soft on demand in your most emotional or passionate moments. I am not entirely sure what it is supposedly used for but it did get us giggling.

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Wednesday, November 25

Legs Eleven

I chanced across this item in the Itoyokado sports store earlier this week.




As I understand it, if I wear my tiniest shorts and then put my legs in traction/calipers/ a brace, I will be relaxed, be an "elegant model", and, above all, have "air leg beauty." The mind boggles. Even the shop was confused as to where to place it - it was up the back of the shop with the Swiss balls, yoga mats and hula hoops.

Somehow, I still want it.


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Tuesday, November 24

All Aboard


And this isn't even peak hour!

Monday, November 23

The Rogue Apostrophe

This is for mum. The following was taken in Shibuya, right near Tower Records.


It is supposed to be:
a) Who's Food's (as it stands)?
b) Whose Foods?
c) Who is? Food is!?

The rogue apostrophe is a common problem in Japan - and amongst most native English speakers!

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Friday, November 20

Fight Club

Got anything bugging you? How about fighting it out to the death?




I happened across this unusual website - Japanese Bug Fights - late last night whilst researching something else entirely. Surely this can't be entirely PC. I know they are not warm, fluffy animals, but they are still living creatures after all. It makes me feel really queasy!

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Thursday, November 19

The Taste Test Challenge

Something has gone awry...


On a normal day, I can't get enough azuki anything. Those red beans are so delicious. But as a soft drink? Like I said, something has gone awry. Pass me my green-tea kit kat.


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Monday, November 16

Illogical Logic


Japanese logic at its best.

I took a suit in to be dry cleaned on November 1 and was told it would not come back until November 19. Without thinking I said this would be fine.

2 days later, I went back to the same dry cleaners with a winter coat and with a question about the suit. This is where the problems started.

I realised the suit was needed by November 15. I asked if I could get the suit back earlier (mind you, this was November 3 now....with 2 weeks left until the date I needed the suit). I was told I could not. I asked if suits were cleaned on site. They were not. I asked if they could call the place where the place where the cleaning took place to get the suit back earlier. They could not. So I resigned myself to the fact that _i could not get it back and that obviously I need to find a dry cleaner with a much quicker turn around!

I then handed over the winter coat that needed cleaning. The date they gave me for collection? November 9....

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Friday, November 13

The Terminator Gets Genki


Foreigners in Japan have had a long held fascination with "genki" drinks. Yes, those drinks that sit in the little fridges near the conbini store checkouts full of caffeine, sugar and god knows what else to keep you GENKI (energetic). They sell for anywhere between ¥150 - ¥1000. Not sure how safe the "god knows what other stuff" that is in them is - I know people who have flipped out from having one too many of these things, well just having one of them.

This commercial for Arinamin V, featuring The Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, sums it up pretty well,and that is, you still have no clue what it is or what is going to happen to you after consumption.


Drink at your own risk, that's the point isn't it?

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Thursday, November 12

Thank God for Doughnuts

My fiance and I have recently gone vegan, moreso for the good diet/health factor over animal liberation beliefs (I still wear leather and I still have my eye on a fir coat in my mother's wardrobe). Now for the last 3 months, I have been craving some serious doughnut eating action. Strange because I do not normally eat doughtnuts and, even on a fine day, a good doughnut in Japan is hard to find. Mr. Donut does not live up to his name.

So you can imagine my happiness when I stumbled across the Doughnut Plant at Akihabara and Shinjuku stations recently.


These doughnuts don't contains eggs and two of the flavours use soy milk! And, as far as doughnuts go in general, the Doughnut Plant are probably up there with the best. Needless to say our snack time isn't all about carrots and celery sticks.

As they say, all you need is love...and (soy milk, egg-free) doughnuts.

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Wednesday, November 11

A Renovator's Dream

Haikyo is becoming a big deal in Japan. The word translates into "ruins" but is used to name the growing adventure movement of exploring abandoned buildings and structures. There is ample opportunity to haikyo in Japan too and to see some quality stuff because when things get left here, they are literally left as is. It seems that the only time structures are ever fenced off or looked at again is when someone is finally deciding to rebuild on that spot....which can sometimes be a couple of decades later. It is also very interesting to see just how quickly things do return to nature.
Justify Full


Haikyo is becoming a big deal in Japan. The word translates into "ruins" but is used to name the growing adventure movement of exploring abandoned buildings and structures. There is ample opportunity to haikyo in Japan too and to see some quality stuff because when things get left here, they are literally left as is. It seems that the only time structures are ever fenced off or looked at again is when someone is finally deciding to rebuild on that spot....which can sometimes be a couple of decades later. It is also very interesting to see just how quickly things do return to nature.

Ben and I had the idea of getting into some haikyo when we went to Kawaguchiko last week, although we abandoned the idea (pardon the pun) and decided to do a day of cycling....until we cycled past this forgotten hotel. We were a re little bit limited as we did not have the right shoes or equipment with us so left it at the lobby and bar only...



We suspect it was abandoned in the mid 90s (you can make a guess as to the technology that is lying around) and our reason for it being left to rot and die is that this was about one of the only hotels that built itself without a view of Fuji!! Seriously, if they even had angled it slightly, Fuji would have been greeting all the guests at breakfast, lunch and dinner.


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Monday, November 9

Not So Disney

This morning saw me visit Tokyo Disneyland in the name of work. I was there to watch the premier of the White Holiday Parade along with every other single media outlet in Japan. While it was all very cute, it was this advertisement that really caught my eye.




Weiner...how is that word not funny?!

Oh and PS: this is the result of my parade experience...

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Sunday, November 8

Wacky Tributes to MJ

The musical tributes to Michael Jackson I can handle. But this? The Michael Jackson Clown?


The weirdest thing about the whole set up was that my fiance and I came across this unusual homage at the "Music Box Forest" (itself a bizarre throw back to 19th century Vienna) in small town Kawaguchiko. Just a little bit left of wow...

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Friday, November 6

Thomas and Friends

This is the train, the Fujikyu Line, that takes you from Otsuki to Kawaguchiko. It reminded me of my experience in the Maid Cafe, and made me feel like I was in some sort of kindergarten zone, which for me is an odd feeling because I don't have kids....and it felt wrong to be on this train without any kids!


For a closer look, click below. The Japanese are the masters of incorporating "kiddy" into the run of everyday life, even when it sits on the border of Wrongtown.

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Wednesday, November 4

Fujiiiiiii!

My fiance and I have a joke about My Fuji. Not sure how it started but the fact that we have found ourselves staying at the base of Mt Fuji for the past couple of days has been nothing short of hilarious for the 2 of us. But I digress. As this is what I really wanted to show you - what I woke up to this morning.


And this is what I came back to after a day spent riding our bicycles around Kawaguchiko, one of the 5 Lakes of Fuji. Absolutely amazing.


We ate dinner this evening at a local Hawaiian restaurant (yes, that's right - the owner liked surfing and Bob Marley so naturally his restaurant was Hawaiian-themed) and once we finished up, we walked out into the dark night and could see Fuji's impressive silhouette rising up in front of us, with its snow-capped peak glowing in the moonlight. Ii gave us that feeling or sense that the mountain is protectively watching over those below her. Truly incredible.

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Tuesday, November 3

The Marines Are Here!

My fiance has a theory that I am inclined to agree with. It is that the Chiba Lotte Marines baseball team was in actual fact supposed to be named the Chiba Lotte Mariners, modeled on, of course, the Seattle Mariners. But back in 1992 when the Lotte Orions decided to take on a new name, something got lost in translation.


The Chiba Lotte Marines mascots

This theory isn't just limited to the Chiba Lotte Marines baseball team either. Here are some other sporting teams with names that make foreigners think twice - and laugh out loud.

Kurita Water Gush (Second Division Rugby Team)
Tokyo Yakult Swallows (Nippon Professional Baseball League)
Toshiba Brave Lupus (Top League Rugby Team)
Kuroda Electric Bullet Spirits (Second Division Basketball Team) - how cool is this name?
Mitsubishi Dynaboars (Second Division Rugby Team)

And my favourite:

The Yokogawa Musashino Atlastars (Second Division Rugby Team). Clearly Allstars got lost somewhere along the way.

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Monday, November 2

Disney Bedazzled

Looks like someone took to Mickey in Harajuku with the bedazzler in an an effort to give him a touch of razzle dazzle.

He looks even scarier than usual. Even his fingernails have been attacked!

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