Report From Japan, Part Two

by Derrick Bostrom in


I remember reading somewhere that Japanese collectors regularly decend upon the US and buy up every piece of old vinyl they can find. I witnessed this phenomenon first hand one day when I visited my favorite comic store. I found the owner packing up his entire roomful of old five-for-a-dollar comics for delivery to a collector in Japan. Now I'm afraid to visit that country for fear of finding everything I've been looking for on sale for unreachably astronomical prices.

When my wife took a business trip to Japan recently, I warned her not to return without a suitcase full of that country's national treasures. I'm happy to report that she did well. Now it's payback time!

Okay, I admit it: you can get Pockys and Hello Kitty junk just about anywhere. And we're afraid to try most of this stuff -- not because we're squeamish but because we've vegan. There's nary a recognizable character in the ingredients list. The cats took a strong interest in my wife's suitcase when she got home, so I'm bettting there's fish in some of them.

I can guess what's in them just by looking at the pictures on the packages. One appears to be slices of leek deep fried and coated with chili powder. Another looks like freeze-dried edamame. There's a couple that I'm afraid to describe for fear of being slashdotted by coprophagia enthusiasts.

Without a doubt, my favoriteis the one with the drawing of the three snack superheroes: Pot-Leaf-Head Disco Man, Uniformed Coffee-Headed Mexican and Green-Tea-Headed Percussionist Just Getting Out Of The Shower.

Since we wouldn't eat any of these treats ourselves, my wife took them into the office. But they sat there in the public area for weeks and nobody touched a one. I'm going to give my co-workers a shot next, but I don't hold very high hopes. Hopefully, we'll find somebody who'll take an interest.

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan

Treats & Toys From Japan


Report From Japan, Part One

by Derrick Bostrom in


My wife travelled to Japan last week -- a quick work trip that netted her almost as many flight hours as actual time in Tokyo. She had problems connecting with her luggage, and the jet lag was staggering. But she managed to return home with some pretty nice pix.

For one thing, the cherry trees were in full bloom, and one can hardly take a bad picture of those. She was also able to document some truly awesome moments spent in front of the television. (Nice flat panel -- gotta love a business trip). But most important, she made sure to find the statue of Hachiko, which she'd never heard of before she encountered it in her guidebook.

Hachiko was a two-year-old white Akita whose master died at work one day. The pup spent the next 12 years in front of the Shibuya train station, waiting for him to return. Fortunately, the station master more or less adopted Hachiko, and he became not only a fixture at the station, but also a national celebrity. When he died in the 1930s, a bronze statue was erected in his honor. It was melted for scrap during the Second World War, but was replaced in the late 40s, where it remains one of the most popular attractions in the city. Hachiko's stuffed remains are on display at the National Science Museum.

My wife didn't really have much time to drink otherwise of Tokyo's pleasures. She did manage to watch some manic children's programs, snap some nice citiscapes and capture some of the local color. She also brought home a big pile of odd Japanese treats. However, since I forgot to resize these photos before I uploaded them, I squandering my entire Flickr bandwidth allotment for the month. So the candy pictures will have to wait.

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006 Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006

Tokyo, Japan - April 2006