Category: Japan

07 Mar

Konbini sweets for sweet tooth men

Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

There are products that boost Konbini stores' sales recently in Japan.

It's “Men's sweets”.

Until a little while ago, sweets were considered for kids and women, and it was a shameful thing that a man has a sweet tooth. Japanese samurai don't like sweets.

But this is changing.

According to a statistics, 70% of sweets buyers are men and most of them buy at Konbini store. The reason behind is simple, men want to buy sweets but still it's a little embarrassing for a man to sit in a pretty cafe and eat a cake surrounded by women or to be seen him choosing some cakes for himself in front of the show case of a patisserie.

This statistics shows the place where people buy sweets. The blue is men and the pink is women. Needless to say, there are more men buyer than women and the most common place for buying sweets is Konbini (the fourth from the top), then supermarkets (the third) and cake shops (the top) come third.  



man sweets series

cream puff

Otoko no Tiramisu Shuu(Man's tiramisu chou á la créme)

Konbini solves all these problems.

Last June “Men's Sweets” series released from one of the Kobini store, FamilyMart in Japan. The targets are sweet tooth men. For not to embarrass them, the packages are simple but at the same time they focus on the ingredients and the texture of the products. Most of the sweets are less sweet than normal products by using for example bitter chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Also the packaging is important. Men's Sweets series has manly, chic based on black simple packaging. FamilyMart is growing its sales especially with chilled sweets such as cream puffs and almond pudding.

Kobini store is the saviour of Japanese sweet tooth men. Some makes a comment “there are many men sweets lover but they are either embarrassed to go to a cake shop or too busy at work going to a shop during the day. So being able to buy good quality sweets at Konbini store is really a good news for sweet lovers”

almond pudding

Otoko no Annin Dofu (Man's almond pudding)

The photo is another one of the most popular man sweets “Ore no Ekurea (my éclair)“

“Men's Sweets“ as it shows are sweets particularly developed for men since there have been many men who are “secret sweets lovers“ in Japan.

Normally the sweets are made for women and the problem is its size. Those tiny pretty sweets are just not enough to satisfy sweet tooth men. But don't worry, “Men's Sweets” have launched.

First, its size. Compare to a stapler on the desk…

Huge… getting your teeth into this must feel like a dream…

It's big enough to fill even a man's stomach.

Of course what you can expect from this sized éclair is… calorie. It has 566 calories. Considering that an adult man need 2,000 calories a day, just one sweet can give you a huge intake.

ore no ekurea

ore no ekurea 3

ore no ekurea 2


danshi sweets club

For those who love sweets, there are some clubs such as “Danshi Sweets Club” (Men's Sweets Club) which is founded in one of the Japanese trend magazines called DIME. They talk about new sweets products, new trend in sweets, search for new cake shops or evaluate famous patisseries. They even have forums and puts recipe for Konbini sweets. This is a respectable club for sweet tooth men.

Here is one of their recipe by using a Risou no purin (Ideal Pudding). So easy that anyone can make it!

Ingredients are Risou no purin and a slice of bread.

risou no purin[Risou no Purin]


recipe 1

1. Score the surface of the sliced bread

recipe 2

2. Pour over the pudding

recipe 3

3. Sprinkle some dry fruits and put it in the toaster

recipe 4

4. It's done, so easy

recipe 5

5. Sprinkle some powder sugar to finish up

Japanese food is highly recommended in the Western world because of its healthiness but on the contrary, Japan is now following the Western style nutrition.

Then I wonder what gives Japanese men a craving for sweets. Because of the stress Japanese businessmen have from their workload and the pressure from their wives? Or simply this is a backlash against eating super healthy food?

In any cases, Japanese men are craving for “sweets time”. “Sweet approach” this may be a key for Western girls who want to have Japanese boyfriend.

06 Mar

Nijuushi Sekki

Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

24 solar term

Nijuushi Sekki (24節気) is 24 phases in traditional East Asian Lunisolar calendar which matches a particular astronomical event or signifies some natural phenomenon.

It separates 1 solar year into 24 by the number of the date (Heikei method- 平気法) or the position of the sun in the ecliptic (Teiki method-定気法) then names on the each parting date. 

This method was introduced to adjust the difference between the lunisolar calendar months and actual cycle of the season.

Originated in China then had extended to other East Asian countries such as Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

06 Mar

Japanese lunar Calendar, Kei-Chitsu

Juju Kurihara 0 Comments


Keichitsu (啓蟄) is the third of 24 solar terms in the traditional East Asian calendars and is called Jingzhé (驚蟄) in chinese, 경칩 in Korean and Kinh trập  in Vietnamese.

In the Gregorian calendar, it is between around the 5th of March and the 20th of March.

The literal meaning of Keichitsu is awakening of hibernated insects. All the insects and animals started coming out of the underground. Plants are also shooting up baby leaves. 

Apart from now, the weather is becoming mild and warm. It is the beginning of the spring.



04 Mar

Saisen Bako

Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

Saisen Bako (賽銭箱, contribution box). Saisen is the money contributed to the God or Buddah and Bako (Hako) means box in Japanese.

When you go to a shrine and make a wish, you first put a coin in Saisen Bako then clap your hands twice and bow once then wish your wishes, not at loud but in your mind.

Depens on the Shrine, the size of the box are distinct. The photo below is the one at Meiji Jingu (Tokyo). Since they have so many visitors, of course they have a huge Saisen Bako. Sometimes, people throw the coin as they can't get close to the box, and it may hit your head if you are unlucky.


meiji jingu


04 Mar


Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

ema keiba

"Please make me win at horse race and get enough fund from it." Hmmm. 

hanging ema

After writing your wish, there is a place to hang it.

Ema (絵馬/ picture hourse) is used in Shintoism, is small wooden plaques on which people write their prayers or wishes. After writing your wish, you leave it hanging up at the shrine. On one side there are various pictures, often they are animals or other shrine imagery.

This tradition came from Nara perido (710-784). When their wishes came true, they devoted horses (considered as a vehicle for God) as a gift. However as not everyone could afford to donate a horse, those who are less rich started giving the shrine a paper horse, a painted horse or a figure of the horse instead. And it's been carried on until now.

Nowadays, Ema is used to write the wishes and some shrines are specialized for some particular purpose. For example the second photo shows an Ema for having a child (Kodakara).  

During the entrance exam season, many students and their parents go to a shrine and hang their wishes like the third photo.

Once a year, shrines collect all Ema and burn them by thanking and purifying the spirits at the same time.


ema horse
ema child


03 Mar

Meyami Jizo

Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

Meyami Jizo (めやみ地蔵) is a Budhisattvas for eyes and people who have problems with their eyes come here to pray. Me-yami means sicken eyes in Japanese and Jizo is one of the Budhisattvas commonly known as a guardian god in Japan.

02 Mar


Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

Sushi is now worldwise known Japanese food, yet it's not so commonly known Sushi has just a general name and there are many kinds of Sushi in Japan. 

Sushi is written in Japanese as 寿司 but this is actually a substitute character and is also written as 鮨 or 鮓. The first character 鮨 means vinegared rice or fish and the latter 鮓 means fermented fish or rice, both came from the original style of Sushi. Sushi was a preserved food which dates back to the 4B.C in the Southeast Asia. It was around the 8th century when the idea of Sushi was introduced to Japan and it changed its style a little, which people started eating half raw fish with the rice.

Here are the types of Sushi.


In the early 19th century it was invented in Edo as a fast food. Since all the fish used for this sushi came from the Tokyo Bay, it was called Edo-mae-zushi (Sushi from the sea in front of Edo) and still is called that way. 



Some ingredients such as sea urchin or salmon roe are difficult to make Nigiri and Gunkan-maki is invented for those. Gunkan means warship in Japanese. With Nori (seaweeds) around it, it does look a ship.



This is a typical home party style sushi that you can make your own sushi. Temaki means wrap with the hand in Japanese and as it says you pick your favorite ingredients and wrap with Nori. You can also order in Suhi restaurant.



One of the types of Maki. Futomaki menas fat roll in Japanes and as you can see, there are many ingredients inside a roll. Often they make patterns as they layout the ingredients and when it's cut it appears like the photo. These are called "Kazari-zushi" (decorated sushi).



The difference from Futomaki is Chuumaki has only a few ingredients including some seafoods. Chuu means medium size in Japanese and with the recent healthy boom, salad roll can be seen often.



This is the standard maki served in Sushi restaurant in Japan. Usually it has only one ingredients such as cucumber (Kappa-maki), Negitoro (minced tuna and leak) or Natto-maki (fermented soybeans).



This is not really a type of Sushi but is commonly seen in the restaurant. Kaisen means fresh seafood and Don is a bowl in Japanese.

chirashi, kaisen


This is the most common Sushi which is made at both Sushi restaurants and home. The ingredients put over the vinegared rice is various, shiitake mushroom, fine cut eggs, shrimps, salmon roe etc.. Chirashi is often made for the celebration.



Instead of making a shushi one by one, this Sushi is made in a box like a cake. Oshizushi means pressured Sushi and as you see in the photo below, put the rice and fish in this wooden mold and press it until the ingredients gets stuck together. This is also called Battera, originally made in Kansai area in Japan (western part of Japan) and mackerel and kelp are usually used  but recently there is one with salmon which is made in Hokkaido (the most noth island in Japan).   


oshizushi box


The method is the same as Battera and the difference is Sabazushi is wrapped in bamboo leaves instead of putting in a wooden box. Saba is mackerel in Japanese. 


sabazushi wrapped


A type of Oshi-zushi, made in a box made of bamboo and wrapped in the bamboo leaves. Masu is trout in Japanese and this Masu-zushi is a specila product of Toyama prefecture in Japan.



This is another Sushi which is made at home quite often. The rice is wrapped in a deep-fried bean curd, slightly sweet taste. Sometimes the rice is mixed with other ingredients like the photo.


So now, which Sushi you feel like eating for lunch?

17 Feb


Juju Kurihara 1 Comment

Hiragana (ひらがな) is one of the Japanese wrting system along with Katakana and Kanji. As well as Katakana, Hiragana is phonetical and is a simplified form of Kanji.

Hiragana was inventied in the 9th century, in Heian period and is used for Japanese origen words, prepositions or as ruby characters.

When Japanese children start learning reading and writing, start with Hiragana.


Hiragana Chart

hiragana chart



More about Japanese language


Onomatopoeia with Mado Michio

Onomatopoeia with Taro Gomi

Kazoe uta