Jun 27, 2011
Jun 22, 2011
Jun 21, 2011
There's sort of an asterisk at the bottom (one of these guys: ※) explaining that "a cool-feeling creme is used in this product." As if to quiet the people complaining, "Hey, these Ice Flavor Oreos don't taste like ice!"
Jun 20, 2011
Jun 8, 2011
Sky Tree. It's a big TV tower. The tallest tower in the world and the second tallest structure, after the Burj Khalifa. And, if I'm reading Wikipedia right, it's also the tallest structure on an island? Couldn't they just stop at "tallest tower in the world"? Anyway, yesterday they announced the price to go to the observation decks: 2000 yen to go to the lower deck at 350 meters and 3000 yen to the upper deck at 450 meters. That's almost 40 bucks, with the yen as strong as it is. On Twitter yesterday, Nikkei Trendy set off a wave of price comparisons for tall buildings around Japan when they calculated a trip up Tokyo Tower at 5.68 yen/meter and Sky Tree at about 6.67. One reader pointed out that the Shin Umeda Sky Building in Osaka was a bargain at just 4 yen/meter, but my pal Durf won the day with some back-of-the-envelope math.
Jun 6, 2011
|A single bound!|
The new manners posters are collected on the Tokyo Metro site.
Here’s a bonus page of umbrella-handling etiquette for those who read Japanese. I never thought about how to open and close and umbrella before - handy. People follow many of these already. Most folks almost always wrap their umbrellas neatly before getting on the train, and most adults are more likely to tap the points on the ground to shake off water than to pinwheeel them around. The worst offense I spot is people holding their umbrellas pointed almost horizontally out behind them, like swords they’re about to draw with a flourish. Not to give anyone any ideas.
Jun 3, 2011
|Joker in a bottle|
A few times he’d snapped cellphone pictures of lit signs outside of “magic bars,” saying “we’ve got to come back and check one of these places out sometime.” Magic bars are a thing in Tokyo. Sometime had come!
The bunch of people who agreed to come out may have had their doubts, but they all showed up at the fifth-floor bar in red-light district Kabukicho. The other establishments in the building looked like they’d make your money disappear with different kinds of tricks.
The cab dropped us off near the place, halfway between the only two places we ever go in the area: a loud, loud rock bar that we’ve never left any earlier than 3 am and a cheap karaoke bar that attracts all of the neighborhood's angriest gaijin. Jim said later he was sure we were going to one of these two and was secretly disappointed that this was the birthday surprise. But no! Up the steps of the shady building and through the door with the manga magician! The bar is called Calvados, but it says “Cuore the Magnificent” on the door. Hey everybody!
We sat at the center of a long, curved bar, and a young magician named Kokoro did close-up magic, like fork bending and card tricks. As promised, he made a birthday cake appear in a flash of fire. He took a group polaroid of us that turned out to be the end of another trick. Most confounding of all, he put a happy birthday card inside that bottle of green tea.
Another magician set up soon after with rope tricks, disappearing coins and mutilated 1000-yen bills. He taught us all how to do a disappearing tissue trick.
There was a short stage show with audience participation. It was all pretty good. Kokoro emptied a paper cup full of water that I was holding over my head. He “hypnotized” a friend into not being able to pick up a light wooden box. (Dan got him back, though, by accidentally swinging the box up to reveal the trick bottom.) The best trick was when he made a real bowling ball and pin fall out of a floppy paper notebook. Actually, the best trick was getting a guy who was in the middle of a long week and who’d had his vacation revoked, again, to grin like a kid on his 40th birthday. Shazam!