Life in Japan in Photos: How to Be Alone

Being in Japan undeniably taught me a lot of things. I’m sure anyone who’s travelled at any point in their lives, no matter where or for how long, can testify that you can stand to learn a lot from being away from home and outside of your comfort zone. You learn how to speak new words, how to appreciate new foods, and how to practice new skills.

The most valuable thing being in Japan taught me was how to be alone. Continue reading

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The Break Down: Kancho

Read enough manga, or watch enough anime or Japanese variety shows, and you’ll inevitably come across that particular phenomenon known as the ‘kancho’. An outdated slang term for ‘enema’ (and the bane of every kindergartner and elementary school teacher’s existence), kancho is a prank (or, depending on your point of view, a form of sexual harassment) that typically involves kids – especially young boys – forming an imaginary gun shape with their fingers and delivering a blow straight into the anus of their unsuspecting victim. Continue reading

Life in Japan in Photos: Obscure Temples and Shrines

I love visiting temples and shrines in Japan – not just the bigger or more famous ones that commonly top the visitor lists, but also the smaller ones that don’t attract much attention or are tucked away in rural pockets of the country. In part this is probably because I’ve always lived in rural Japan myself, so seeing secluded little temples and shrines dotted about the place is par for the course. Also though, I tend to love these kinds of places for their own sake – there’s just something about the quiet, mysterious, slightly unkempt feel that I like over many temples and shrines that are constantly bustling and meticulously kept, every tree branch and pebble in their place. Continue reading

The Break Down: Surgical Masks and Convenience Stores

This year on Otaku Lounge, I wanted to introduce something a bit different. Along with the usual anime-centric content and the new Life in Japan in Photos post series I started last August, it occurred to me that people might want to know more about very specific topics or questions relating to Japan – not in relation to anime or general pop culture necessarily (although that’s fine too), but more in terms of everyday living. Continue reading

Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2018

It’s been a fairly underwhelming year for Japanese music for me, at least as far as full studio albums are concerned. While plenty of my favourite artists released compilation or best of albums during 2018, far fewer released studio albums; as a result, I listened to only 11 of them total, while just 3 of these made the cut. As always, the following list is arranged in order of release date and comprises only full and original studio albums by a single artist or band – no cover, compilation, EP, or live albums have been included. Continue reading

A History of Hentai: The Super Abbreviated Version

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Way back in February 2016, after wading through my computer for a good old fashioned spring clean, I ended up editing and posting some history material that never quite made it into my PhD – mostly due to length and relevance issues. Continuing my adventures of delving into the folder helpfully labelled ‘UNUSED WRITING’, here’s another piece that’s been repurposed for my blog after a period of deep hibernation. Enjoy!

Note: I have gone out of my way to exclude any visually explicit content in this article. However, the topic itself obviously may not be considered child-friendly, and possibly won’t be to everyone’s taste regardless. Please proceed with this understanding. Continue reading

Life in Japan in Photos: Kappa

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This is Kappa. She was the one of several rescues I made in Japan over the past few years who ultimately survived. The rest, despite immediate vet care, eventually died due to the severity of their injuries or illnesses. I and a fellow lover of cats kept Kappa in our respective houses for several months, although we weren’t supposed to – like many apartments in Japan, big or small, pets were not allowed. However, the reason I’ve chosen this particular photo to post about is not just because I love cats, but also to highlight exactly how much of a problem Japan has with stray animals, and with cats in particular. Continue reading

Japan’s Creepiest Mascot Characters


It’s no secret that Japan has a bit of a thing for mascots. In a country where not only schools and sports teams but also museums, embassies, prisons, and the military have their own cute and cuddly mascot characters, it’s no exaggeration to say the place is now practically overrun with them (in fact, the Finance Ministry even launched a campaign back in 2015 to cut down on the number of mascots in order to reduce unnecessary spending). Continue reading

Weird or Wonderful?: Japanese Foods

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By now, plenty of people are familiar with at least the names of certain odd-sounding, yet still reasonably common Japanese foods such as natto (fermented soybeans), fugu (pufferfish), or yuba (tofu skin). Today, I thought it might be interesting to go a step further with a post detailing some lesser-known foods in Japan – some specific to certain regions, others popular right across the country, but all of them still consumed in today’s society. Continue reading