Plain Talk


The Japanese eel by Kaguaki Yamauch

I still have fond memories with my dad back in the old days. He used to set eel traps during the humid summer evenings. Early the next morning, we would wake up with excitement and go see if there were eels in the traps.

According to Dr. Katsumi Tsukamoto, a emeritus professor of The University of Tokyo who has contributed to the field of eel migration studies for 40 years, Japanese eels begin life in the sea of the Suruga Seamount, in the southern part of the West Mariana Ridge which is about 2,000 km south of Japan. His team collected hundreds of the tiny larvae in the sea where the eels migrate thousands of kilometres out into the ocean to spawn.

The size of each spawn is 1 mm or so in diameter. The spawn carried by The Black Current grow gradually. It takes about six months to be cast ashore on the coast of Japan. Then the young eels swim upstream along rivers.
When the time comes, adult Japanese eels which lived parts of their lives in fresh water rivers return to the Suruga Seamount along the Izu−Bonin−Mariana (IBM) arc system, keeping themselves hidden under rocks. There, the fishermen see a broad swath of floating spawn illuminated by the moonlight in early Summer.

The custom of eating eel in Japan in order to prevent exhaustion from the summer heat is very old, and it can be traced back to ”Manyoshu”. In the Kanto region, eel is broiled after it is cut open along the back and steamed first. In the Kansai region the eel is slit open along the belly and broiled without steaming. Incidentally, both Kanto-style and Kansai-style eel restaurants existed side by side in Edo around 1800. Later, the Kanto-style became popular, and the Kansai-style eel restaurants disappeared from Edo. ”Hitsumabushi” is a regional cuisine made with eel that is eaten mainly in the Nagoya area.

Lastly, in some areas in Hino City, Western Tokyo, people don't eat eel because of a legend that a great number of eels blocked a hole in a levee and saved the town from flooding, when the Tama-gawa overflowed.







Plain Talk



Having lived in Japan for so long (too long), and when you become so immune to the everyday urban surrounding, just like any typical Japanese, I would hardly take notice of sounds so pandemic all over the country enough for them to be labeled as “noise”. I had not realized this awareness until I left Japan for five years and lived in Africa and Europe. When I returned to Japan, suddenly, the all-day music blasting in electronic stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, cafe´s and train stations have become a bit more than just “pleasant” music to the ears. Piped-in music―classical, pop, jazz, lounge, and easy listening―may have chances for tolerance. When they are combined with screeching announcements, shouts of sales, bargains, or promotions of latest products, the repertoire just sounds like noise.

Train stations are probably the worst venues for noise since you find an orchestra of simultaneous repetitive announcements left and right, and flashing lights and signal alarms competing with each other in a marathon. Tourists hardly pay attention to the ongoing sounds coming out of speakers because they do not understand what is being announced. However, if you do understand the language, you would pick up pounding minute-by-minute alerts in your brain that the next train is approaching for X destination, is almost arriving, has finally arrived, about to close its doors, about to depart, is departing, and has departed―in this order. All of that is coupled with flashing red lights, possibly a kind of music chime, and a loud buzzing alarm (one or more). Other announcements remind you if the train is express or non-express, and continue to inform you what stations it will not stop at. More loud, buzzing alarms. The train manager might call loudly at people trying to push themselves madly through the doors that are already closing, or to a few stepping beyond the yellow line.

Perhaps, it is not just the intrusion to the sense of hearing, but also to the “physical noise” of so many station personnel standing by the pillars, by the front of the cues (checking that you file in twos or threes) or by escalators and stairways, observing (or pretend to) a multitude of desperate passengers dashing to have a “proper” place in cues. Yes, a daily train station scenario in Japan can be a mad experience. Then, there is the “noise” of exaggerated splash of TV screens in every corner of Shibuya, for instance, the over-fed information of instructions in toilets, the constant alerts of bus drivers reminding passengers to hold on to their seats at the next turn. Store salesmen in hapi coats either fussing around like bees, or standing at every product corner holding placards of latest bargain notices and repeating sales pitches.

It can all be a paranoid observation from a foreigner in Japan who treasures a bit of silence and calm movement. Yet, for some, the explosion of such energy and colorful vibrancy are elements that make Tokyo such an enigmatic and dynamic city, wrapped in juvenile pleasures. One could say Japanese culture is a very tolerant culture, indeed. Suddenly, one clearly understands the Japanese hunger for the long onsen bath away in some protected mountainous village, with a cup of sake in one hand and careless whispers in the wind.

Tokyo Fab


Good Music Party at Sarushima

'Tropical Disco' has been capturing hearts of many by providing great parties at various locations since 2016, and this year, they have relaunched themselves as 'Good Music Party'. As their first project, parties will be held 10days during July 13th (Sat) to September 7th (Sat) at a desert island 'Sarushima Island' in Yokosuka city. Although they changed their name, something hasn't changed: great music by top DJs and musicians from all over the world! Don't want to miss the chance to party at a beautiful island! Enjoy sunsets, dinners and drinks at this extraordinary location where you'd feel like you are nowhere near your urban life!

Please check the date and time on website
Venue: Sarushima Island
Access: About 10 min ferry ride from Mikasa Sanbashi Pier
Mikasa Sanbashi Pier - 15 min walk from Yokosuka Chuo Sta. on Keikyu line



Have you ever wished that you can listen to your favorite anime cartoon theme songs in a club and dance to the songs till your heart content? Well here is your chance! At Ageha, one of the biggest event spaces in Japan, have been hosting many amazing and fun events and now will be hosting one of the biggest ANIME SONG's Summer Festival called NATSU no UTAGE 2019!! At this party, many anison (short for anime songs) DJs will be rocking the place up! So if you always wanted to listen to anison loud without your neighbor complaining, don't miss this chance! If you want to, you can even cosplay as your favorite anime character and have a blast!

8/10 (Sat) @ Ageha
Closest Sta.: Shin-Kiba Station (Rinkai, Yurakucho lines) or
Shuttle bus from Shibuya Sta. is available

For more details and concert schedules, please visit

What’s App With You?


Face Aging App:

What will you look like when you get older? What if I send my family my old face in the next 20 years, will they recognize me? Let Face Aging App show you your realistic aging face in a few seconds. Instead of randomly matching your face with any older stranger face, this app offers a true "Aging Booth Camera" which allows time to change your face. More wrinkles, different hair color, not the same skin complexion... and you will see your true old face. You will be surprised with how simple to see your old face with Face Age App. You don't need any edit photo skill to adjust the filter, layer, brightness... of your aging image. Just take a photo or upload from your gallery, waiting for scanning and time aging running in a few seconds... you will get your old face!

Age Face:

Don't want to see your aged face? Wanna app that makes you look younger instead? 'Age Face - Make Me Young' helps you to transform your face into young face. face age editor app is face aging booth machine for you. you can take photo from your gallery or take one picture from camera. add some funny filters to make you photo younger with young age face changer. face change by age will is here to make it easy for you to add the young face effect to your photo. Young age face will let you know how you will look in future. you can add young age funny sticker to your face to age look young. age face scanner can allow you to add some filter. With this super cool age face detection app you can make yourself or your friends young.

Tokyo Voice Column


Quirky subway announcers by Jim Mulcahy

The first time I heard an announcement over a subway speaker in Tokyo, I couldn’t believe my ears. The voice was so ridiculously high pitched and nasal that I was sure the announcer was playing a prank and would soon be cut off by his superior. But he kept on speaking the same way throughout my journey and I assumed he was an eccentric pampered by the subway company.

On my next several subway rides, some announcers spoke fairly naturally, while others seemed to be wearing clothes pins on their noses. So I concluded subway announcers have the freedom to speak as they like, but the more entertaining ones are probably modulating their voices to get their messages across more clearly in the noisy subway cars − perhaps in keeping with an old tradition established to compensate for tinny microphones and archaic speaker systems. As such, these subway announcers deserved my utmost respect for their efforts to prioritize message clarity at the risk of being ridiculed by coworkers and passengers.

Then came my experience with an almost perfect imitation of Lily Tomlin, the US comedian renowned for her nasal telephone switchboard operator voice. Smiling broadly with bulging eyes, I searched the faces of my fellow passengers for confirmation that they were hearing the same hilarious voice that I was hearing. It was a genuinely surreal experience, but nobody else seemed to be paying attention. The dramatically nasal and effeminate voice was so hysterically funny that a giggle escaped my lips before I could slap a hand over my mouth to prevent an eruption of laughter and further embarrassment.

I’ve since become accustomed to, and quite fond of, the quirky peculiarities of Tokyo subway announcers’ voices. The more entertaining ones bring personality and welcome relief to the sometimes tiresome Tokyo commuting experience.





Strange but True


Movie Night

Chimpanzees enjoy watching movies together and get a sense of closeness and bonding through shared experience, scientists say. A study of apes watching videos suggests human social bonding may have deeper evolutionary roots than previously thought. Humans create social closeness with others through activities in which they align their mental states towards a stimulus, such as playing board games or watching a movie together. Researchers said they found that the animals approached their partner faster, or spent more time in their company, than when they had attended to something different. The results indicated that great apes behave more socially after an interaction in which they align their attention to an external stimulus.

Flying Ants Day!

Every summer, there is a day when thousands huge flying ants suddenly emerge from their nests all over the UK - a phenomenon known as Flying Ant Day. The flying ant period can last a few weeks, but usually builds up to a specific day when millions of flying ants come out at the same time all over the country. There's no set day - it changes each year - but it usually occurs in July. Flying ants don't pose much danger to people in the UK - other than being very annoying. If you leave them alone, they should disappear within a few days. Keep in mind when killing flying ants that they are actually good for outdoor environments. They aerate soil, help to cycle nutrients, improve garden fertility and control pests. Flying ants also provide a vital food resource for many species of birds, particularly swifts and gulls. It's been reported seagulls have been "getting drunk" feasting on flying ants!

50 Shades of Yikess