I recently found Rakuten via Facebook, and boy I couldn't be happier. As person interested in Japanese culture, this website is great. I've found many things I had been looking for as well as new items that have caught my eye. The website is well laid out and very intuitive to navigate. And the search feature is one of the better ones I've encountered for a merchant website. And this is all from a website that isn't set up for business in the USA. If the USA website is half as good; then it'll be better than most merchants that I've purchased from.
by Nick M - NJ,USA
New Balanse sneakers!
I'm a big New Balance sneakers freak and I've always wanted to get some crazy New Balance sneakers from Japan. Back in the days it was practically impossible to purchase anything becuase let's face it, I don't speak or read Japanese. Sure, I know how to get certain Japanese sneaker boutique websites and see what they have, but ordering was a bit of a challenge. Dealing with currency, shipping and language made it a rather tedious task. Enter Rakuten borderless shopping. No need to deal with translations. Browsing was easy thus making shopping quite enjoyable. Not only was I able to purchase Japan exclusive sneakers, but I was also able to to find other different sneakers at other shops. It's actually dangerous to have access like this, but oh so wonderful dangerousness. Thank you Rakuten for helping me on my quest for Japanese "cool".
by Phil from Chicago IL.
Chanoyu in Florida
Japanese culture has been admired in the United States since the late 1800's and there are organizations and institutes for chanoyu (the "tea ceremony") — that quintessentially Japanese practice — in large cosmopolitan areas likes San Francisco and New York City. But what do you do when you're fascinated by SADO (the way of tea) and living in Florida? Brewed green tea (sencha) and powdered tea leaves (matcha) have become increasingly popular since their health benefits were broadcast by medical studies and the mass communications media. So the tea itself is widely available in specialty stores and, of course, Asian groceries. What I yearn for, however, is the implements and experience of a proper tea ceremony ...more »
by Esther Searfoss from Florida
Evisu: Vintage Jeans for Fashion Connoisseurs
If you're any kind of a fashion buff, you've got to know about Evisu Jeans, founded by Hidehiko Yamane. (Yes, genes. That's Yamane's clever play on words.)
Hidehiko Yamane was a fashion otaku. Otaku is the Japanese term for people obsessive interests, and when it came to jeans, Yamane was definitely infatuated. He'd spend time searching companies throughout the world for quality denim... ...more »
Gothic Lolita Fashion – Big Trend on Streets in Japan
Who'd have thought to combine the dark, sometimes morbid style of Gothic fashion with the dainty, Victorian-influenced dresses of the Lolita look? Whoever it was, they started a huge Japanese trend. And now, the result is a massive underground subculture known as Gothic Lolita dress. It's a type of look that first became popular on Japanese television and in animated games. Today, it's a style sported by teenage girls throughout the streets of Tokyo and Osaka... ...more »
Takoyaki Cooker: Make the Popular Osaka Food from the Comfort of Your Own Home
Takoyaki, a type of dumpling that's made with octopus, has been a popular food in Japan for nearly a century. The tasty treat (nicknamed octopus balls) became popular in 1935 when Endo Tomekichi, a street vendor in Osaka, started serving the balls at his food stand. His edible specialty was so delicious that his hungry patrons couldn't get enough. Soon, other vendors began to sell the food and its popularity spread. Nowadays, takoyaki is still sold on the streets and at festivals in Japan – especially in Osaka. They're also served in shops called issenyoshoku. Issenyoshoku roughly translates as “one-penny Western food” because it's a low cost, quick meal... ...more »
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