#47 Shonen Jump Merchandise

There is another one of these in which I'm posing with Luffy

As a self-confessed anime fan, I found myself acting like a child in a candy shop when I accidentally stumbled upon a Shonen Jump shop in Osaka. I tried to keep a straight face and not make that annoying fangirl noise (you know, the one that goes “eeeeeh!”) in the presence of my friend but unfortunately, my charade didn’t last long and soon I found myself losing all restraint and taking pictures of everything like a crazy person. With my camera lens making a loud shutter sound for every one I took, I wasn’t even being discreet about it, but luckily I didn’t get kicked out.

"no pictures please!"


Shonen Jump is a manga company that’s famous for it’s very popular manga (you might have heard of Dragonball Z?). The word ‘shonen’ means boy – as in their stuff is aimed at a male audience (action, fighting etc.) –  but as usual I blatantly ignored this minor detail and became obsessed with the stuff anyway.


These days, I don’t have much time to read manga or watch anime, but just like how people fondly think back to the shows they used to watch as children, I’ll always be a fan. Not wanting to perpetuate gaijin stereotypes, but anime is one of the first things that got me into Japanese culture in the first place.

Anime is only a tiny part of Japanese culture, but arguably it’s most famous. There was once a time when Sailor Moon used to be the extent of what I knew about Japan, but I’ve come a long way since then and have fallen in love with most aspects of Japanese culture – customs, festivals, the language, and especially literature.

So, as geeky as I think it is, I don’t know if I’d be here without it.



#45 Keitai + Strappu

A few weeks ago, a gaggle of gaijin (otherwise known as foreign students) invaded an AU shop and bought out their supply of keitai (mobile phones). AU is Japan’s third largest network provider. They have kindly made a deal with our university to provide us with a ‘cheaper’ plan. Whether or not it is actually cheaper, I am too afraid to find out.

Luckily, I had my host mother with me when I was signing up because I had no idea what any part of the complicated plan meant. Trying to work out Fermat’s last theorem is probably an easier process. The lady just kept circling bits on the form in front of me whilst speaking Japanese at me. I just nodded and agreed to everything, so god only knows what I signed up for. I’m yet to get my first bill :S

However, I’m really happy with my keitai. The handset itself was free and yet it has a great camera and simply does what it’s supposed to do. It’s reliable and the battery actually lasts ages. Typing in Japanese can be a pain, but the predictive text is a lifesaver.

One time, my great organizational skills caused me to run out of battery when I most needed it (of course), so a friend suggested that I just walk into an AU shop and ask them if I can charge it. In the UK, doing something like this would swiftly be met with something along the lines of “f*** off” but in Japan, I was met with a cheery “douzo” (“no problem!”). Thanks again Japan for your free electricity.

To add to my Japanese look, I’ve also brought a strap to put on the end of my phone (pictured above). It cost be a few hundred yen to get the individual letters (plus the heart for the obligatory kawaii), but I guess it’s worth it if I want to look more Japanese than I already do.

It was a shame I couldn’t use my iphone that I had brought with me from the UK. It would have saved me from having to carry two devices with me all the time. It’s quite a bother that most contracts in Japan last one, two or maybe even three years, because since I’m going to be in Japan for shorter than that, I will almost certainly incur a contract cancellation fee. If I had tried harder, I probably could have gotten some sort of sim-only card from Docomo (Japan’s largest provider) to go into it (iphones from the UK are all unlocked) but I was too scared of the data costs.

On the other hand, I love my keitai, I always wanted to get one that flipped open like they do in the dramas. Also, they all have infra-red transmitters that make it so damn easy to exchange phone numbers and mail addresses (which can be very long and a hassle to type out). All of my friends have one, so what’s wrong with being a dumb sheep and following what everyone else does for a change?