On a recent trip to Tokyo in addition to the new cool stores, there were some cultural practices that stood out.
When people are sick, or avoiding pollen they wear facial masks. I was in Tokyo at the beginning of Spring (just before cherry blossoms, needless to say, my timing is always off) and everyone was wearing them. It is totally normal. And in front of the subways, girls on the street were handing out facial tissues with advertising (for porn, new stores, fragrances, etc) on the packages. It is the perfect pair for the sneezing set – masks and tissues.
Everyone knows that you can buy used girls' panties in vending machines, but if you aren't into that, there are some other goodies. Some machines sell helpful things like batteries and beer 24/7. But the best machines, which are all, over sell hot and cold drinks. Press the red button for a sugary hot milky tea, or the blue one for a refreshing ionized water (below, left).
The Japanese are really into French Cuisine. There are fancy French restaurants and bakeries all over Tokyo. I swear, it is almost easier to get a good croissant there than here. So it makes sense that Hello Kitty's new "friends" are the "Sugar Bunnies," who are French pastry chefs. They are little cute bunnies, one the color of white flour and the other the color of wheat. Hopefully, they will encourage kids to bake (above, right).