Why do tengu have red faces?

According to the book on matsuri I’m reading at the moment, it might have been directly based on the faces of Dutch sailors arriving in Japan in the 17th century.

Why do yamabushi wear conch shells?

Apparently they are used to communicate in the mountains where these religious hermits usually live.

Why is Japanese toast so thick?

This is one of the few mysteries I’ve never found and any possible explanations at all for. Particularly mystifying is why a six-inch thick piece of toast with ice cream on it is considered a treat, but I also can’t imagine why anyone would want a loaf cut into just four slices. How much jam would you need to make that edible??

I wonder if the information in my last post provides at least a partial explanation – if there was a surplus of wheat flour but a lack of other things like jam and butter after WWII, people might have got a taste for real doorstops. Might also explain another mystery – “pizza toast”.

Why are there so many ramen restaurants in Japan?

This weekend’s FT adds an interesting little detail which I’d never heard. Apparently in the Occupation years after WWII the Americans imported lots of wheat flour and the Japanese didn’t know what else to do with it.


Why are there so many gaijin guys with Japanese girls?

I blame it on Tokyo Disneyland. In the parade all the prince-princess pairings are that way.