The Uniqlo bargain fashion machine unveiled its Spring/Summer 2009 T-shirt line in a star-studded event at UT Store Harajuku. International J-pop sensations Puffy were on hand, having contributed designs for eight shirts, each meant to represent a song from the duo’s upcoming album Bring It! “We chose our materials carefully, and tried to make shirts that we’d want to wear, too,” said Yumi Yoshimura. Puffy strutted their stuff during the fashion show portion of the event, along with newscaster Aiko Kaito and Korean K-1 fighter Choi Hong-man. Standing over 7 feet tall, Choi wore a specially created size 5L shirt. SC
Chocolate has never looked yummier than in the new commercial for Morinaga’s “redesigned” snack Bake, which features CanCam fashion magazine models Maryjun Takahashi, 21, Erika Mine, 25, Shizuka Kondo, 24 and Aiku Maikawa, 20 … Television personality George Tokoro is not too concerned about being bilked out of ¥50 million by his ex-manager last year, saying, “That’s pocket change. It’s really nothing to me. I tend to focus on the good things in life.” … Actress Erika Toda confesses she is hooked on Puyo Puyo, a Tetris-like video game featuring colored blobs. Puyo-esque men, she says, are “not bad. I don’t mind dating men who are plump and squishy like a Puyo blob.” CB
The latest innovations in katakana English
Origin: get + suru
Meaning: to get; to win a prize
Example: やっとあのカッコいい人の番号をゲットすることができた; Yatto ano kakkoii hito no bango wo getto suru koto ga dekita; I finally managed to get that cute guy’s phone number!
Origin: combination of tsu-kin (commuting) and tsu-ringu (touring)
Meaning: commuting to work by bicycle
Example: 最近ツーキングしてる人が多い; Saikin tsuukingu shiteru hito ga ooii; There are lots of people commuting by bike these days
Origin: super + tomodachi
Meaning: best friend
Example: 彼は何でも話せるスパトモだ; Kare wa nandemo hanaseru supatomo da; He’s my best friend. I can talk to him about anything
Origin: one scene
Meaning: a scene/situation
Example: その光景、映画のワンシーンみたい; Sono koukei, eiga no wanshi-n mitai; That situation is like a scene from a movie
Origin: cost performance
Meaning: value for money
Example: 美味しくてリーズナブルなコストパフォーマンスの高いレストランだ; Oishiku te riizunaburu na kosuto pafo-mansu no takai resutoran da; That restaurant offers good value because it serves excellent food at a reasonable price
Call it the Blunder of the Thin Blue Line: in an effort to spruce up its logo, the TMG’s Sewage Bureau came up with a redesign that featured a wavelike streak meant to “give the impression of clean water.” Only after sewing the 2.5 x 8.5cm silicon badges on about 20,000 uniforms did officials realize that the logo fell afoul of the government’s design manual. Apparently, any emblem that contains a representation of the gingko leaf—the symbol of Tokyo—is forbidden to contain “other elements.” The bureau decided to flush the blue line and re-sew all the badges, causing red-faced Tokyo guv Shintaro Ishihara to decry the officials’ “moronic perfectionism.” The chief of the Sewage Bureau was hit with a 20 percent pay cut, and taxpayers were soaked with a ¥34 million bill.
By the time you read this, residents of Tokyo’s 23 wards should all have received their kyufukin payments, the controversial cash handouts that PM Taro Aso hopes will encourage consumer spending. The population has already been softened up by several months of propaganda—sorry, media coverage—about ways to use the money, in the hopes that the citizenry will splurge instead of save. But the fact that the giveaway comes in the form of a bank transfer may hamper these efforts. A study by Priya Raghubir and Joydeep Srivastava in last September’s Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied found that consumers spend less when paying by cash as opposed to credit cards or gift certificates. Apparently, the increased “transparency” of legal tender makes people more reluctant to shell out, especially on non-essential purchases. If they really wanted consumers to spend, the government might have done better to introduce a kyufukin gift certificate that was redeemable nationwide. Just an idea.
scene around town
|What: Yoshikazu Kandagawa, "Illusionary Canvas"
Where: Epson Imaging Gallery epSite
When: Through May 14
Who: Everyone (free)
As any good recessionista knows, the solution to surviving the economic slump in style is simple: rent. Take popular website ORB (www.orb-s.com), where customers can get their hands on purses by Chanel, Gucci, Balenciaga and, of course, Louis Vuitton. Instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars to buy the bags, a one-week rental will set you back as little as ¥2,800
Now, thanks to Embelline (www.embelline.co.jp), trend-conscious ladies can reserve a ¥35,000 camisole bra for just ¥500 a month. The site carries everything from body-shaping girdles to butt-lifting shorts. But guys, be warned—these are for ladies only
Nothing beats a cuddly puppy for soothing away the cares of the day, but busy city dwellers can’t always care for the furry critters. Enter True Assist (www.sasaki-office.com/pet), a pet service that rents out dogs, cats and even turtles for the day, overnight or by the month. So next time you’re feeling sad, ¥6,300 lets you take home your very own feline overnight snuggle-pal.
mark the date
||Green Tea Day Falls on hachiju-hachiya, the 88th day after the start of spring, which traditionally marks the best time to start picking tea
||Ice Cream Day Yokohama resident Fusazo Machida kick-started domestic production of the frozen dessert on this day in 1869
||Romaji Day Commemorates the 1921 establishment of the Society for the Romanization of the Japanese Alphabet
||No Garbage Day Go (5), mi (3) and zero (0) spell the date—and Japanese name—of this eco-conscious day, which was introduced in 1982
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