An axis for artistic and creative-types of the Asian persuasian… Redefining Otaku Culture.

Gaijin Tips: “Eat all your rice in Japan”

Check out this Gaijin Tip from video/blogger kanadajin3, who is actually named Mira and is “a girl who moved from Toronto, Canada to Tokyo, Japan.”

Eat all your rice in Japan. Leaving food behind is rude esp if it is rice bits. When you scrape food off your rice cooker, you need to take everything, leaving little bits is ruder than leaving a lot. If you just can’t finish your food that you got at a restaurant then you can leave some behind, but try to finish everything at home and at your friends house.

The remarkable art of giving and receiving change in Japan


RocketNews 24:

If you’re tired of receiving vacant smiles and flippant customer service at your local grocery store, you may want to make a trip to Japan, where the customer always comes first and every transaction is concluded with a graceful bow.

This remarkable attention to customer service even extends to the handling of cash transactions in shops around the country. Akin to an art form, a simple payment to a store clerk in Japan will inevitably set off a series of steps and precise movements to satisfy the needs of both parties and respectively complete the exchange. Come with us as we take you through the steps of a simple transaction in Japan. The attention to detail and the clever reasons for it will surprise you.

The easy-to-follow pictograph above was created by Twitter user @M_Shiroh, who was so impressed with the cashier’s skill on a recent trip to the supermarket that they decided to document the details of the exchange.

Next time you make a purchase in Japan, make note of the way the cashier handles your change. If they’re good at their craft, you’ll receive your money in the following order and with a sense of gravitas befitting royalty.

1. Counting your notes

In Japan, notes are adorned with portraits on one side. The cashier will hold out the notes with these portraits facing you and the notes will be parallel to a wall as opposed to the floor. Using two hands, the amount will be counted out verbally as they flick through each note.

2. Handing over your notes

The notes will then be handed to you in a neat stack with the largest one on the bottom. When you put them in your wallet, your notes will now be in order from lowest to highest, making it more convenient for you when it comes to paying for your next transaction.

Cash exchange3

3. Handing over your coins and receipt

Next, the cashier will fold your receipt if it’s particularly long, and then place the coins neatly on top. By doing this, the receipt will protect the palm of your hand from coming into contact with any coins. You’ll then be able to slide the small change easily into your coin compartment and either return the receipt into the special box that’s often provided on the counter or slide it into your wallet. Cue graceful bow and you’re on your way!

Not only is this a wonderful way to treat the customer and ensure there are no mistakes or disputes, it’s also a great way to keep long queues moving quickly.

Mochi, the silent New Year killer, leaves nine dead and 128 hospitalized



RocketNews 24:

Ah mochi, the delicious Japanese sweet. It can come in all different shapes and flavors, from the loveable daifuku with sweet bean paste filling, to hot zenzai soup with azuki beans and white mochi, to such delights as mochi ice cream and even chocolate cow poop mochi.

Since mochi is a traditional New Year’s treat in Japan – you can even reserve your New Year’s kagami mochi at Baskin Robins – more of it is consumed around this time of year than any other.

But all that mochi-eating has a dark side to it. With its incredibly sticky texture, mochi causes the most choking-related deaths of any food item in Japan. Last year it killed two people during the New Year season, and after just two days into 2015 it has already claimed nine lives and hospitalized 128 others.

Typically mochi-related deaths and injuries occur in the elderly population. The victims may not chew it enough, insist on eating the traditional snack despite not having all their teeth, or a multitude of other reasons.

▼ Don’t do it! You have your whole- well, some life ahead of you!

long mochi

This year, of the nine mochi-related deaths, three occurred in Tokyo, another three in Chiba, and one each in Osaka, Aomori and Nagasaki. The Tokyo Fire Department (which also handles the ambulance services) urges people to “cut their mochi into small pieces, and when a child or elderly person is eating it, to make sure that the people around them are paying attention.”

Of course Japanese netizens had a thing or two to say about all this:

“I can’t believe they still choked even with all the warnings out there. What an embarrassing way to go.”

“We should probably start requiring a license to eat mochi.”

“Mochi, you’re a bigger killer than konjac jelly!

“Mochi: ‘Yes, just as I planned….’”

“People have been saying that it’s strange yukhoe (korean raw beef with egg) is banned but mochi is still legal, and yeah, now I understand why.”

“I bet at least 1% of these are murders, forcing the victims to eat it. Probably happens every year.”

“Wait a minute, so does this mean that, before modern warnings and everything, people dying from mochi-choking was just a regular thing? Mochi… I believed in you.”

“They should start selling small-cut, special ‘Won’t-Choke-You Mochi.’ It’d probably sell really well.”

While we wouldn’t dare dissuade anymore from enjoying a delicious daifuku, or from celebrating the new year with some zōni mochi (soup with a mochi) or kinako mochi (brown mochi covered in powder), we’d suggest that you take the Tokyo Fire Department’s advice and try not to swallow it whole. At least that way you won’t end up getting made fun of on a Japanese messageboard.