Street bento in Arashiyama

If you don’t know what a bento is, it is the Japanese lunch box, that almost everyone in Japan uses. Boxed lunches are sold almost everywhere, from convenience stores to fast food restaurants. There is even a shop right in front of my school that sells nothing but a variety of boxed lunches.

People who come to Arashiyama are probably going on a hike, or exploring, and people of the town know that. So, right out of the station, we found these two old ladies with this bento display (they are part of a chain of station convenience stores called la gare)

The “La gare” flag on the right of the stand (they also sold bottled green tea)


All the sets were ¥500 (which is a little high for some of the sets, but okay for the others) there were also onigiri but they were almost sold out.



Mandarake, a weird otaku heaven

A place like Mandarake (まんだらけ= mandaraké) isn’t really for everyone, and depending on your interests, it could be very interesting or insanely boring. To begin Mandarake is a chain of shops that specializes in used anime, manga and game goods. They also have an area for cosplay costumes (Not used) and they are one of those shops known for its retro merchandise (but of course the hardcore gamers of the internet argue that it’s not that good at it.) but for a regular person like me, their collection of retro games and consoles sent me on a trip down memory lane.

There are two Mandarake shops in Osaka, but I have only been to this one in Shinsaibashi (Since I haven’t been to Umeda yet). The only thing I hate about this shop is that the isles are so narrow they can’t even fit two normal people (which is also the case with Donki)

(I know that it is lame to include apologies in blog posts, but taking photos isn’t allowed in shops so some of the photos are blurry)

Rows are rows of manga, for two floors, one of them dedicated to female audience… if you know what I mean.

Used games for every console, and I found stuff as recent as Pokemon X and Y. The prices vary according to the condition of the product though.

When I said every consoles, I meant EVERY consoles

Retro games need retro figures, there were many of these, ranging from Doraemon to Gundam and everything in between

This is the buy back counter, people bring their old stuff around, but I don’t know how it exactly works for things other than game consoles (because I only asked about those)

Okay, there is also a cosplay floor, but I couldn’t take pictures, because they had a sale on some stuff on the same floor (I fancied one of the Kotetsu figures from Tiger & Bunny) so it was crowded (also the phone ate some photos up).

Another thing is that there are many salespeople are in cosplay especially on the cosplay and Female Audience floor.





The owl bringer of good luck

In Egypt an owl is anything but a symbol of good luck, and though I admit that owls are so cute, I never expected them to be bringers of luck of any kind.

I japan it’s a bit different, Owls are a good luck charm (I already knew that before I came to Japan from my Japanese teacher who loves owls and used to keep one as a pet.)

So when I saw those owl good luck charms in Arashiyama, I wasn’t really surprised, but since I like cute things (you probably noticed by now) I decided to share them with you.

So many colors

Those ones were even cuter (With bonus frog ones)

Extras: Glass frog lucky charms



The Nightmare Before Christmas…

Is “the Nightmare Before Christmas” a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? Well, why not both?

I never met anyone who doesn’t like or at least know this popular stop motion animation about Halloween Town and a pumpkin king called Jack.

The nice thing about Den Den Town, is that apart from the huge amount of Anime goods, you would find goods from popular western animations and movies (Mostly things that have become very popular and sometimes iconic). I found this pic in one of my folders.

The picture doesn’t show how big they really are, about 120~130 cm high. And I’m lucky I didn’t get caught, because of the “No photography” sign they had

Food courts in Japan

So, food courts aren’t really a new invention, they’ve been in malls for a while now, and have always been a place I avoided.

With their oily junk food and screaming kids (at least where I am from) I’d only stop for a take out pizza, or the occasional Burger King meal (I wonder what Burger King is here)

Those say there is no Burger King in Osaka, should explain this to me (Photo taken in Namba).

But let’s get back to food courts, well apparently the Japanese still had to put their touch on the food courts as well, here you will not find fast food, paper trays and plastic cutlery. The fast food joints were replaced by Japanese food shops (for example ramen and udon noodles, and donbori the Japanese rice bowls) with the exception of Mos Burger, which I wouldn’t really call junk food if you see the burgers they make. and the plastic trays (these are the only thing that I found familiar) now contain ceramic bowls to hold your hot food, that you have to return at the end of the meal.

Almost all the shops sell Japanese food (except when they sell pasta or Korean food, but that is one shop each)

There also ice cream and crepe shops which are actually good. It’s where I god the second ice Cream in this post.

And then there are a few of these stations which combine a sink to wash your hands, a water fountain (for the infinite free water) and a trash can, complete with a separate area for the ice. The friendly frog reminds you to return your tray (and the non disposable bowls and stuff) to the shop when you are done.

Of course since I am no good at taking pics when people are around, I didn’t take more, but what surprises me even in the crowded times is the lack of screaming children running everywhere, I actually enjoy eating there.

Also this particular place is a regular hangout for high school kids after school hours, but it is still quieter than the average food court.



Pocky day~ (Extra post)

I know that today is Remembrance day, but is some subcultures…ahem, ahem…. it is also Pocky day, since 11-11 looks like the beloved stick style snack. I have heard about Pocky day before, but I never thought it existed outside of the internet. Until a few days ago.

I stumbled upon this cute sign in front of a big pharmacy near my school.

First, yes there are lots of candy and random things in drugstores here (Not sure how it is where you come from, but where I come from, we don’t have all that stuff in drugstores, just the drugs).

Then, what the sign says:

(“みんな大好き” = Minna daisuki) means that which everyone loves.

(“ポッキ-プリッツの日” = Pokki-Puritsu no hi) means Pocky and Pretz day (Pretz is a salty variety of Pocky also made by Glico).

And under the lovely sign, there was a stand with a large variety of Pocky and Pretz.

Nice selection of flavors.

I couldn’t resist picking some up, there is something always inviting about these Pocky sticks.

I picked the original one and the strawberry one from that drugstore, but the double berry one I had from before.

Do you celebrate Pocky day? If you do, tell me what you do on that day.

If you don’t, tell me what flavor of Pocky do you like.