Play and Trade Suica Collection

Some people collect baseball cards, other people collect Suica cards. Most of the Suica cards pictured here are commemoration limited edition Suica from the 2013 Transit IC interoperability startup. The beautiful Tokyo Station 100th Anniversary limited edition Suica was eagerly sought after in 2014 with long lines and frayed tempers at the fully restored Tokyo Station that year.

This particular collector decided he wanted his deposit money back and loaded all 8 Suica cards into Apple Pay Wallet. He might have gotten a better price selling them on  Yahoo Japan Auction but at least he got his deposit money back.


The Japan Summer Song Phenomenon for 2018

Every once in a while something comes along that…..changes nothing. But sure is fun. Aging idol group Da Pump lead singer ISSA, who is pushing 40, wisely reformed his group with a bunch of young dancers and went for broke. The result is the kitschy catchy oh-my-gawd-this-is-so-bad-90s tongue in cheek single USA which became the Japan phenomenon summer song for 2018.

The deliciously cheesy video has spawned hundreds of bad imitation dance YouTube videos all over Japan but the best one by far is by the US Marines stationed in Japan. Who knew Marines dance like that. US Marines Rock!

Water For Your Whatever

Washlet is so ubiquitous in Japan I never think about it much, until I have to travel to the United States where a Washlet is considered exotic Japanese stuff like sushi and wasabi was 30 years ago. It’s strange coming to a place where people think nothing about dumping tons of money into functionless bathroom tile but consider Washlet a frivolous expense they can do without.

My Dad had been to Japan a few times and was on the fence about getting himself one. I forced the issue by buying him one on Amazon and installed it in 30 minutes. It has been fun watching his progression over the summer from amusement to can’t do without. There is also the side benefit that he does not have to bleach his skivvies anymore.

He likes it so much that he keeps asking me why Toto doesn’t advertise Washlet on TV in the USA. They do in Japan, the latest being a father (big ben) and son (little ben) smelly poo bacteria so overwhelmed by the auto sterilizing features of the latest Washlet they have to flee the bathroom to find another place.

This kind of ad works in Japan but not in America. So how do you market a Washlet in the USA? With humor of course: “Water for your whatever”.

So far Toto USA has stuck to showrooms and web site campaigns but nothing bigger. I look forward to the day when these kinds of ads can run on American TV too with Washlets so ubiquitous nobody bothers watching them.

Kintetsu Railway To Roll Out New Express Train for Tokyo Olympics

Kintetsu announced a new “Meihan Express” train to debut in the spring of 2020, just in time for the Tokyo Olympics. Wait a minute, won’t this luxury train run between Nagoya and Osaka? Indeed but what a great excuse for traveling down to Nagoya just to ride it.

Who knows, by then we might be able to purchase Meihan Express tickets in an app and use them in Apple Pay. Tokyo Olympic fever is in the air. This could be fun.