Bunny on a leash

Apparently rabbits are the latest it-animal when it comes to pets. I can easily believe that because yesterday – yet again – I came upon a rabbit on a leash. It was being walked in the park underneath the cherry trees as if it were a dog.

rabbit on a leash and cherry blossoms in Japan

Walking their bunny underneath the cherry blossoms

Whereas most rabbits appear either completely blank and lethargic or downright in panic ready to make a run for it, this rabbit was neither. It was calm yet attentive, turning toward the camera as we were taking pictures. It’s possibly the most photogenic rabbit ever. Its nimble little nose was working overtime trying to determine who was the latest photographer.

Being in Japan – the land where ‘cuteness’ is almost a cult – I have gotten a lower resistance to all things cute, and this rabbit was cuteness overload! It was still a young rabbit (five months old according to the owners), it was wearing a little denim jacket and its fur was as soft as it looks. I was screaming ‘kawaii’ (cute) as if I were a Japanese high school girl!

bunny on a leash photomodel, Japan

Posing like a genuine model

bunny on a leash profile, Japan

Profile to show off its jacket

Japanese university graduation outfit

The school year in Japan starts in April, rather than in September as it does in Europe. Most kids have one or two weeks of holiday before the start of the new school year.

All through the month of March, children and parents are busy with graduation ceremonies. There are lots of ceremonies to be had: elementary school, junior high school, senior high school, university, …And that’s just graduation. Come April, they can do it all over again when they have their entrance ceremonies.

For university graduation, girls usually wear ‘hakama’ (Japanese style pants). It’s very exciting to spot someone in that kind of traditional Japanese attire amongst the mass of Western style clothing.

university graduation hakama Japan

This was the best picture I could get of her. I have to improve my sneak photography skills.

university graduation hakama Japan sleeping on the train

I think she was tired from an exciting day because she was dozing off on the train.

Help! I’m being pursued by Japanese transvestites!

Ever since blogging about Matsuko Deluxe (a famous Japanese cross-dresser) last week, I seem to run into Japanese transvestites everywhere I go!

Just the other day as I went grocery shopping, I came across a stage where a guy wearing a dress and a wig was yelling into a microphone. It keeps amazing me how common this apparently is, especially when done in showbiz.

P.S. dear readers, please confirm to me that this is not in fact – and yet again – a famous woman who is just a little in touch with her masculine side…

japanese cross dresser

My run-in with a Japanese transvestite, on the way to the supermarket. This picture also goes to show that the scrunchy (pink hair ribbon in the foreground) lamentably is still in fashion in Japan.

japanese cross dresser

Check out the shoes!  He/ she has nice skin though, kind of makes me jealous

Famous Japanese cross-dresser

Cross-dressing (the act of wearing clothes commonly associated with the opposite sex) is not something European people usually associate with Japanese culture. Imagine my surprise when I saw a huge guy in women’s clothing on Japanese television for the first time.

And it’s no exception, I often see this guy and other guys dressed like women on Japanese tv. Having mistaken a Japanese lady for a man in the past (see post about Japanese New Year’s Eve show), I first confirmed that this is in fact a guy dressed as a woman, before blogging about it. Can someone tell me his/ her name?

cross-dressing Japan

Japanese cross-dresser on TV

Japanese cross-dresser on tv

This guy/ lady is very popular because apparently he/ she is very funny and witty

Are Japanese people impervious to cold?

Winter in Japan seems to provide me with endless inspiration for this blog. One of the things that keeps amazing me is how lightly some Japanese people dress, despite a freezing cold outside. It is not uncommon to see people walking around without a coat, without gloves or in open shoes without socks while it is near freezing outside.

In January we visited Hakone. We took a cable car to the top of a mountain, where it was freezing cold. As soon as we left the relative comfort of the cable car, we had to brace ourselves against gusts of icy wind that chilled us to the bone. Despite having donned up in my full winter armour, I still felt like my face was freezing off.

view of mount fuji from hakone

View of Mount Fuji from Hakone - too bad this photograph can't capture how incredibly cold it was

winter armour

My winter armour

It was so cold that even dogs were dressed in warm coats, as you can see in the picture below. But if you glance to the girl in the right of the picture, you might notice that she isn’t wearing a coat, just a sweater. How she manages to brace the cold for even five minutes in that attire is beyond me.

dog in a coat

The dog seems to be dressed warmer than the girl

She was hardly an exception, as the pictures below illustrate:

miniskirt in freezing weather

A miniskirt in this weather. Are you kidding me?!

Bare legs, just looking at them makes me cold!

Bare legs, just looking at them makes me feel cold!

And last but not least, a scene from the train on one particularly cold February evening, showing two schoolgirls with bare legs and another girl dressed in an outfit that I myself might wear in May.

summer outfit in February

Summer outfit in February

Why don’t these people dress warmer? Is it that they just couldn’t be bothered to put on a coat? It can’t just be about being fashionable because salarymen in plain suits do it as well.  Are they just as cold as me but ignore it? Or are they actually built differently and therefore less susceptible to the cold?

I have seen some evidence to that last option in the onsen. Japanese ladies often enter both steaming hot or icy cold water without so much as flinching, while I am forced to retreat from the same water because it is physically hurting me. It could be I am just a big sissy, but consider this next fact: Japanese people (and I think Asian people in general) have a lower body temperature than Caucasians. While the average temperature for a Caucasian is around 37° C, for Japanese people it is around 36° C. I have heard stories about Caucasian kids being sent home from a Japanese kindergarten because the teacher thought they had a fever, while in fact they were perfectly healthy.

So many questions… Anyone care to share their experiences on the subject?

People watching – guys in kimono

During the summer festivals it is customary to wear a summer kimono, called ‘yukata’. The past few years this old custom has regained popularity among young people. Oftentimes they give their own twist to the look. Like these four guys, doing their best to look badass:

4 guys in yukata

Guys in yukata - working hard to look cool

People watching – The Sailor Man

Whenever I run into a fellow gaijin my attention is drawn towards them. They (we) just stand out so much among the mass of dark-haired, small Japanese people.

But this guy on the train stood out more than usual. I name him ‘The Sailor Man’, as he seems more at home in a sail boat than in a Japanese train. All that’s missing to complete his look are canvas shoes and a pipe.

The sailor man, Japan