There's no shortage of tourist hotspots in Tokyo, where a walk down an average city street is an experience in itself, but some of the capital's quirkiest encounters are those not always listed in the guidebooks.
Once upon a time in America, men traded their felt winter hats for boaters on National Straw Hat Day every May and thus marked the unofficial start of summer. This year, in the coldest April in recent Tokyo history, the boaters are a season early, and it’s the women who are wearing them.
When people sing the praises of Japan’s four seasons and their motifs, spring is all about sakura. But for the sniffly, runny-eyed 13% of Japan’s population with kafunsho (hay fever), spring is the dreaded allergy season and the Sugi is the only tree that matters.
Snuff, the refined vice of Victorian-era English gentlemen, might be making a comeback in Japan. Next month will see the launch of Zerostyle Mint, what Japan Tobacco calls “a new style snuff tobacco product.”
Toyota, Nissan and other Japanese automakers together with a power company have set up a group to promote electric vehicles by standardizing recharging machines and marketing the technology abroad.
Honda Motor Co. has announced it will release a portable power generator fueled by butane gas cartridges, mainly for outdoor use and in case of disasters. The new power generator, dubbed "enepo," is easy to carry around like a small suitcase with wheels.
In Japan, the end of March brings warmer weather, cherry blossoms and the start of the baseball season. Opening Day for the Pacific League was on March 20, and the Central League opens March 26. Lead by self-organized cheerleading teams, the crowds will chant elaborate cheers and songs (often a different cheer for each player), wave flags, jump up and down, and in the process work up a serious thirst for an ice cold beverage.