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Japan Visitor Blog

Japan Visitor Blog
What's on in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Kyoto, Japan
Articles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


Thousand Origami Cranes
2008-09-23 22:57:00
???Zenbazuru or a thousand folded origami cranes are seen throughout Japan at temples and shrines and places of remembrance and atonement such as the Atomic Dome in Hiroshima or the Daihonei tunnel complex in Nagano built by forced labor during World War II. The cranes may also be offered at weddings to wish the happy couple everlasting happiness or on the occasion of the birth of a child.The folding of a thousand cranes relates to the legend that if a person undertakes such a task they will be granted a wish by a crane - considered a mythical bird possessed of special powers in Japan.Nowadays, special origami sets for making the cranes can be bought in shops and department stores.In literature, the most famous reference to the 1000 cranes is Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by American novelist Eleanor Coerr. The book tells the tragic story of Sadako Sasaki, who died from leukemia in 1955 brought on by radiation poisoning from the Hiroshima atomic bomb.Yahoo Japan Auction Servi...
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2008-09-23 13:47:00
LET?S BEGIN WITH WHAT WE CAN DO!????????? P.T.O. (PEOPLE TOGETHER FOR MT. OGURA), a new citizens? environmental and cultural action group, founded in Kyoto , March 2008Ogurayama, the beautiful dome-shaped mountain rising on the northern side of the Hozu Gorge as viewed from Arashiyama. A mountain quite unique in its literary associations ? from the courtier poets and poetesses of Heian through Priest Saigyo (who had his first hermitage there), Fujiwara Teika (who compiled the karuta collection of 100 Poems by 100 Poets there) right down to Basho (who wrote his Saga Diary there), Kyorai and later haiku poets.To Mount Ogurathat morning has comeof early winter showers;when, only yesterday,all four directions dimly glowedwith red and yellow leaves. (Teika)Today, Ogurayama is a 'forgotten mountain'. On the one hand, it has become a storehouse of wildlife ? kingfishers, little cuckoos, deer, wild rabbits, monkeys and so forth ? for its varied forests comprise both broadleaf deciduous and...
More About: People
Taro Aso
2008-09-23 04:20:00
????Taro Aso, 68, was today elected at the new leader of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and will become the next Prime Minister.A conservative hawk, who favors pump-priming the economy, Aso is the grandson of post World War II Prime Minster, Yoshida Shigeru.It was 4th time lucky for the "charismatic" Aso who lost out in previous leadership elections to Junichiro Koizumi, Shinzo Abe and Yasuo Fukuda.Aso easily won the vote by LDP MPs and regional party members - winning 351 out of the 527 votes cast, way ahead of his nearest challengers in the leadership race, Kaoru Yosano and Yuriko Koike, who polled just 66 and 46 votes, respectively.Aso, a Roman Catholic, known for his straight-talking, frequent gaffes and love of Japan's manga culture, is a controversial figure and a member of the political elite that has ruled Japan since the Meiji Period (1868-1912). Aso is related not only to post-war premier Yoshida Shigera but also Meiji oligarch Toshimichi Okubo.Aso studied...
More About: Politics
Gothic Lolita (gosu-loli)
2008-09-22 10:05:00
??????????????"Gothic Loli ta" is a fashion style, born in Japan, that blends the dark, brooding gothic and the light, frilly Lolita looks.To see is to believe.In other countries, the gothic look is an expression of alienation, teen anger, even anarchy. Piercing and aggressive tattoing are often part of the package.Lolita is of course the young woman and title of the great Vladimir Nabokov novel. In Japan, she has been appropriated in the "Lolita complex" (rori-con). This is the phenomenon describing Japanese men who are obsessed with very young--very young--girls.In terms of fashion, Lolita refers to hyper-cute girls in frilly pink and white outfits.Young Japanese women have melded these different forms of alienation and created a bizarre sub-category fashion look. In highly detailed outfits, complete in many cases with Little Bo Peep umbrellas, they parade in groups in city centers.Disclaimer: The author is not an expert on gothic, Lolita, or gothic Lolita fashion. We welcome comm...
More About: Tokyo , Kyoto
Japan This Week: 21 September 2008
2008-09-21 13:07:00
?????Japan Banking Stocks Suffer Biggest Drop Since 1987.NY TimesTainted rice used in 100,000 rice balls.AsahiLehman in talks to sell off Japan equity, assets.Japan TimesJapan's PM hopeful fails to acknowledge family use of slave labour.GuardianTokyo's gadget heaven.BBCIchiro ties 200-hit season mark.Yahoo! SportsLast week's Japan newsJapan StatisticsIn 2007, 20,007 foreign nationals were arrested in Japan. Almost half, 9,211, of these were apprehended for immigration-related issues.Of the remaining crimes, theft accounted for more than half of the cases. Just 477 (.02%) of the total were for "vicious crimes" (murder, rape, assault, etc.). These crimes were committed primarily by Chinese (52%) and Brazilians (22%).Source: NPA (National Police Agency)300 people were arrested in 2007 for child pornography offenses in Japan. That is a 17% increase from the previous year.Japan and Russia are the only two countries in the Group of Eight that do not ban possession of child pornography....
More About: Politics , Week , September , 2008
Shibuya 109
2008-09-20 02:02:00
?????Shibuya 109, or just 109 (ichi-maru-kyu, in Japanese), is a landmark for women between the ages of 10 and 30.The cylindrical building stands at a fork in the road just up a slope from the scramble intersection in front of Shibuya Station, in Tokyo .Within its eight above-ground and two underground floors one can find the latest fashions in Japan.In addition, it is a sociologists dream. On each floor, you will find many boutiques, each offering a very defined fashion look. The women who work as clerks in these shops wear the clothes of the shop--and the attitude appropriate to the look.The pinker the fashion, the cuter the look and behavior of the clerks. In the hip-hop influenced shops, the attitude was considerably cooler.In one boutique, the two women clerks flew around the tiny shop screaming "irashaimase" (welcome). They both were deeply tanned, short, cute, and were sporting completely blonde hair, short cotton skirts, and lots of bangles. Across the hall, in a much more su...
More About: Kyoto
Mobile Libraries in Japan
2008-09-19 04:50:00
?????For small, rural towns in Japan with no public library, residents rely on a mobile library service provided by the nearest city with a public library.In Matsushiro, just outside Nagano, the mobile library calls once a week on Saturdays, from the main library in Nagano city.AccessTo get to Matsushiro, take the Nagano Dentetsu Yashiro Line train to Matsushiro Station from Nagano. Alternatively, take the more frequent local bus from Nagano Station to Matsushiro from bus platform #3 outside the station.Yahoo Japan Auction ServiceBook a hotel in Japan with BookingsTokyo Serviced ApartmentsJapan FriendsHappi CoatsJapanese For Busy PeopleTagsNagano Mobile Library Matsushiro
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Ema Japanese Votive Plaques
2008-09-19 04:27:00
??Ema are small, painted, wooden boards or plaques found displayed in Shinto shrines.Usually purchased for around 500 yen and bearing the chief symbol or characteristic motif of the shrine or an animal associated with the Chinese zodiac, ema are inscribed with a wish or hope: success in exams, luck in marriage or finding a partner, a healthy child-birth, financial prosperity, winning the lottery...anything is possible...just buy a plaque, fill in the details, pray to the kami (gods) and hang it up with the rest.Often the image on the plaque may be of a horse, uma or ma inJapanese means "horse" hence ema is literally "horse picture".?You don't have to write in Japanese, the Shinto gods are multi-lingual and will understand your wish.These ema are from Zozan Shrine in Matsushiro in Nagano Prefecture in central Japan.Yahoo Japan Auction ServiceBook a hotel in Japan with BookingsTokyo Serviced ApartmentsJapan FriendsHappi CoatsJapanese For Busy PeopleTagsema shinto shrine
The Numbers in Japanese
2008-09-18 03:25:00
??One of the first things a visitor to Japan should memorize are the numbers in both written and spoken form so here they are:Listen to the numbers in Japanese 1 - ichi; ?2 - ni; ?3 - san; ?4 - shi (yon); ?5 - go; ?6 - roku; ?7 - nana (shichi); ?8 - hachi; ?9 - kyuu; ?10 - jyuu;??100 - hyaku??200 - ni-hyaku???1,000 - sen???2,000 - ni-sen??10,000 - ichiman???20,000 - ni-man???The numbers are useful in restaurants and shops and for saying your age if asked.watashiwa nana sai desu - I'm seven years old. See it's child's play.Last week's Japanese lessonYahoo Japan Auction ServiceBook a hotel in Japan with BookingsTokyo Serviced ApartmentsJapan FriendsHappi CoatsJapanese For Busy PeopleTagsJapanese language numbers
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Japanese Fashion: Legs and Tattoos
2008-09-17 06:13:00
?????????????On a recent trip to Tokyo, I wandered around Shinjuku, Daikanyama, and the Harajuku/Omotesando areas and was struck by many things.One surprise for someone coming up from Kyoto was the number of tattoos, especially on women. In Kansai, tattoos are still a bit rare. Mobsters, of course, and the occasional college student or artist have tattoos.In Tokyo, however, tattoos were everywhere.And on all parts of the body.We saw countless tattoos high up on the thigh just barely visible under a skirt or hot pants, just next to cleavage, on the back of the neck, the side of the ankle, the shoulder blade, etc.The woman with the Mickey Mouse tattoo--it's real--on her calf was waiting for a train at Shibuya Station. Her exposed shoulders featured elaborate dragons.One sign that tattoos may even be a bit passe was that we spied a woman, in her late 20s, who had the telltale scars on her left arm of tattoo removal. She was feeding a baby in an Italian coffee shop.Another, more attrac...
More About: Fashion , Japanese , Leggings , Legs
Nagoya Friends
2008-09-16 05:46:00
Nagoya Friends is holding its 58th party inNagoya!atDate: Saturday Sept 20th, 2008 Time: 18:30 - 21:00Drinks will be served between 6:30pm-8:50pm. Place: Shooter's Bar (Pola Bldg, 2-9-26 Sakae, Naka-ku (very close to Fushimi Station)Fee: 3000 YenDress code: Anything (Casual, etc) Reservations: Not necessary but recommended and appreciated. Justshow up to the party! Over 25,000 Yen worth of exciting prize giveaways each month! There will be free food along with free drinks (beers, wine, cocktail drinks and juices).Our party is not a dinner party, but we will have light food & snacks.Quantities are limited, so please come early! Please free to come alone or bring your friends.EVERYBODY is welcome to join regardless of nationality/gender. Reservation is greatly appreciated.About 125-150+ people are expected to attend. Approximately 55% female and 45% male, 70% Japanese and 30% non-Japanese.Pictures from previous Nagoya Friends Parties.Map & Directions Contact: 080-3648-1666 (J...
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Spelling - on sale now!
2008-09-16 03:08:00
Everything looks fine with this piece of English, for some reason added to the wall of a neighborhood supermarket."Loaded with informationthat will be toyour advantage to leam."Hang on - that's "leam" not "learn"...have a closer look.Yahoo Japan Auction ServiceBook a hotel in Japan with BookingsTokyo Serviced ApartmentsJapan FriendsHappi CoatsJapanese For Busy PeopleTagsJaplish ream
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Japan This Week: 14 September 2008
2008-09-14 11:28:00
?????Japan Seeks to Withdraw Its Military From Iraq by Year?s End.NY TimesPolice to target 2 firms in probe of tainted rice.AsahiJapan's Koizumi backs female PM candidate Koike.Washington PostEconomy shrank 3% last quarter.Japan TimesJapan: Sumo chief resigns over drugs scandal.GuardianJapan centenarians at record high.BBCJapan complete jittery 3-2 win over Bahrain.Yahoo! SportsLast week's Japan newsJapan StatisticsThe Japanese economy shrank 3% in the April-June quarter.Source: Kyodo NewsOnly 33% (2,065) of 6,261 candidates from the country's law schools passed the annual national bar examination. Source: Justice MinistryAs of September 1, 2008 , 36,276 people are over 100 years old in Japan - 31, 213 women and 5,063 men.Source: Welfare MinistryBook a hotel in Japan with BookingsJapanese FictionHappi CoatsTagsJapan Crime Japan News Japan Statistics politics
More About: Politics , Week
Polar Bears Turn Green
2008-09-12 02:26:00
????Making the news in the UK were the green polar bears of Higashiyama Zoo in Nagoya .The bears' normally white fur has turned green due to the growth of an algae in their pond.When the hot weather in Nagoya ends, the algae will disappear and the bears will be white again.AccessHigashiyama ZooChikusa-ku, Higashiyama, Motomachi 3-70Hours: 9:00am-4:50pm; closed MondaysAdmission: 500 yenTake the Higashiyama subway line to Higashiyama Koen or Hoshigaoka stations.Yahoo Japan Auction ServiceBook a hotel in Japan with BookingsTokyo Serviced ApartmentsJapan FriendsHappi CoatsJapanese For Busy PeopleTagsHigashiyama Zoo Polar bears Nagoya
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Japanese Language: Country Names in Kanji
2008-09-11 07:10:00
??????Today we are going to look at a few country names, as they are rendered in Chinese characters. ????????kuni, koku?is country. To identify a country, you can often just place its kanji, or Chinese character, in front of that. (Katakana, the Japan ese syllabary for foreign words, can always be used, and some countries only have a katakana rendering.)?????????chugoku?? China, the "middle" country or kingdom, whence all comes????????kankoku?? Korea????????eikoku) ? England, the "hero" country????????beikoku?? USA, the "rice" countryOther countries are frequently abbreviated to one character when referred to in the press. At right in parentheses is the original.?????in?? India ???????????, futsu, butsu?? France?????????i?? Italy???????????doku?? Germany?????nishi???Spain????????????ran) = Holland??????????ka???Canada??????And let' not forget:????????????nihon, nippon?? JapanPlease send other examples.Yahoo Japan Auction ServiceBook a hotel in Japan with BookingsTokyo Serviced Apart...
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Toba Minato Machi Bunka Kaikan & Edogawa Ranpo
2008-09-10 05:23:00
??????????A short walk from the oyster bars' side of Toba Station is the quirky Toba Minato Machi Bunka Kaikan.The museum is the preserved former residence of local artist and writer Junichi Iwata and displays manuscripts, letters and every day items from the lives of Iwata and his literary friend Edogawa Ranpo. Iwata drew illustrations for Edogawa Ranpo's stories and the two shared the house for a while, when Ranpo was living and working in Toba.Also on show are photographs dating back to 1936, many featuring the famous women divers (ama) of the area.The subsequent fame of Edogawa Ranpo (1894-1965), aka Taro Hirai, far outweighs that of his associate Junichi Iwata, and it is the personal effects of the noted mystery writer, including his trademark beret and round glasses, on display at the museum, that attract most interest.Ranpo was an admirer of western thrillers and mystery tales, especially those of Edgar Allan Poe. Among Ranpo's best known works are: Phantom of the Universe...
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Toba Oyster Bars
2008-09-09 05:22:00
??If you are visiting Toba in Mie Prefecture to see the Mikimoto Pearl Museum or the Aquarium, find time to drop in to one of the small oyster bars serving up fresh shellfish in the JR Station Shotengai.The row of shops is near the inland entrance to Toba station away from the sea, not the main seaside entrance near the coast where the tourist office is....on the other side. Turn right as you come up from the platforms.Usually run by a middle-aged woman who dispenses local news along with the beers, the shops serve up delicious shellfish. Ask the kindly matron which type is "in season." The shellfish are kept in water tanks at the front of the shops and you just need to point: abalone, clams, mussels, lobsters, oysters, periwinkles, scallops, sea urchins, sazae (turban shell), whelks.My favorite place is Mizunuma Sasaeten (??????) run by Mrs. Nakamura, who will be encouraging you in to her small shop as you pass by.Mizunuma SasaetenTel: 0599 25 2511There are Kinstetsu trains to Tob...
More About: Food , Bars
Japanese Women Shopping
2008-09-08 03:05:00
??????????These two women are heading towards the Keihan Line in Yodoyabashi Station, in Osaka, on their way home after a day of shopping. The women on the left, three bags, is clearly the daughter; the woman on the right, two bags, is her mother.This is a common site in Japan , the mother-daughter shopping date.The daughter is dressed in low-cut, high-heel boots. She is wearing denim short shorts, ripped and or frayed in tactical places. Her top shows off a brown midriff and petite belly button, and is cut to expose her shoulders.O-ka-san is dressed more conservatively in white capri pants, low-heel pumps without a back, and a brown top with the collar turned up. She has the de rigueur Vuitton bag.Both women have dyed their hair to a similar degree.The younger woman is taller, which is common in Japan.Daddy is no doubt at work, and his credit card took a hit today. Including lunch, the ladies look as they have made quite a day off it.Yahoo Japan Auction ServiceBook a hotel in Japan ...
More About: Women , Shopping , Tokyo , Japanese
Book Review: Yokai Attack
2008-06-07 03:30:00
?????????????????Yokai Attack: The Japanese Monster Survival Guideby Hiroko Yoda (Author), Matt Alt (Author), Tatsuya Morino (Illustrator)192 PagesKodansha International In Japan, yokai are scary, creepy beings that often appear at night. They haunt the dreams of children and are well represented in Japanese mythology and folk tales.Co-authors Hiroko Yoda and Malt Alt have researched and presented in a reader-friendly format a guide to the yokai monsters.This text is handsomely illustrated and a fun read. Both adults and children will enjoy this book.Yoda and Alt introduce nearly 50 of the best-known yokai. in two pages. On the left page is the name, pronunciation, gender, height, weight, locomotion, distinctive features, offensive weapons, abundance, habitat, and claim to fame.Then, on the opposite page, there is a wonderful illustration.Two more pages go into further detail on the monster.One example is "Konaki Jiji" (the old man that cries). This tame-looking monster will make yo...
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Koichi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden
2008-06-06 17:48:00
?????????Any visit to Kochi on the southern coast of Shikoku should include a trip to the Godaisan area to the south of the city. There is much to see here including the beautiful temple, Chikurinji, but the highlight for me was the Koichi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden .First opened in 1958 this wonderful garden was created in honor of Tomitaro Makino (1962-1957), Japan's greatest botanist. Born locally Makino began his study of botany at Tokyo University, starting the Botanical Magazine Tokyo (now the Journal of Plant Research). Throughout his career, Makino traveled throughout Japan collecting over 400,000 specimens and naming over 1500 species.The garden is split into north and south gardens each with several sections with different environments, reflecting the varied flora that is found in Japan. There is a garden of medicinal plants, an oak garden, a bamboo grove, a tropical conservatory, a marsh area as well as a large cherry-blossom garden and a tea ceremony garden. The...
More About: Botany , Botanical Garden
Japanese Language Lesson: Janglish
2008-06-05 13:26:00
??????????Japanese freely borrows from English and other foreign languages. Many common foreign words have been incorporated--with a slightly different pronunciation--into Japanese.Along the way, though, meaning sometimes gets altered.Here then is a short list of some "English" (and non-English) words often used in Japan that may cause misunderstanding.????? (freeter) = someone who works several different jobs, who moves from job to job without a full-time position??? (baito) = a part-time job???? (risutora) = restructuring, to be fired from a job?????? (wan pattan, "one pattern") = to do things in the same way, in one pattern, over and over again????? (my pace) = to do things at one's on speed, way????? (goal in) = to get married??????? (bajin roado, "virgin road") = wedding aisle, down which the bride will walk to the altar???? (rabu rabu) = to be deeply in love????? (no touch) = to be purposely uninvolved in or with?????? (su-ri saizu) = three sizes (bust, waist, hips)??? (piasu...
More About: Tokyo , Language , Kyushu , Lesson
New Japan Traffic Regulations
2008-06-04 03:24:00
????New traffic regulations went in to force in Japan on June 1. The new laws affect both cars and bicycles.Motorists aged 75 or older are now required by law to display a momoji, maple leaf sticker on their cars. (The mark refers to drivers in the "autumn" of their lives and has drawn criticism for its "withered" symbolism). Drivers who have just passed their driving tests are given a "green" mark for their first year. Drivers failing to display the momoji sticker will be fined 4,000 yen (approx. US$38) and receive one penalty point on their license.However, the law and its enforcement remain vague. The National Police Agency has said it will hold off imposing fines on the elderly for a period of 12 months until June 2009.The wearing of rear seat belts also became "mandatory" from June 1 but only on expressways. Those not wearing seat belts on ordinary roads will escape a fine and be given a warning instead. This ordinance also applies to taxis and long-distance buses.As for cyclis...
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Kyoto's Only Remaining Aristocratic Home: Reizeike
2008-06-03 11:27:00
???Already in decline, Japan's aristocracy met its end when American forces formally abolished it following World War II.Prior to that, in the 1860s, the Kyoto aristocracy was badly wounded by the relocation of the Imperial Family from Kyoto to Tokyo.Without its privileges and perquisites, the remaining and now former aristocratic families struggled to maintain their grand homes in the decades after the War. In many cases, this meant the wrecking ball--selling the land and building smaller homes or apartment blocks on the same lot.One such home however has avoided that fate and remains in Kyoto.Reizeikei is located behind walls on the grounds of Doshisha University, just across from the Imperial Palace. It has been designated a Valuable Cultural Asset.The home is not normally open to the public, but on occasion the family throws open its doors to allow a glimpse at a lifestyle long since gone.The structure is huge and deep.The front of the house--behind an imposing wooden gate and ...
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Cell Phone Decoration, Part II
2008-06-02 06:08:00
???????In Kyoto we found another amazing cell phone the other day.On a hot somewhat cloudy day, a young woman was yammering on her phone while out on a shopping expedition with a friend.The friend was also talking on her phone--not nearly as decorated--and when they both finally hung up, we asked for a picture.After a bit of hemming and hawing, the woman, a college student, agreed.She said that every morning the first thing she did upon waking up was glance at her phone for a sign of a call or instant message."Just the look of it glittering on my bed stand makes me feel good, even on the rare day when there is no message. And the heft of it feels good in my palm!"Her friend couldn't help adding however: "You just like to show off, just look at your mini-skirt and sun glasses!"Yahoo Japan Auction ServiceBook a hotel in Japan with BookingsTokyo Serviced ApartmentsBudget accommodation in JapanHappi CoatsJapanese For Busy PeopleTagsCell Phone Decoration
More About: Cell Phone , Part
Japan This Week: 01/06/08
2008-06-01 12:20:00
?????Aid to Chinese earthquake victims to arrive via civilian--not Japan ese military--aircraft.NY TimesAndrogynous boys wait tables at cafe for geek girls.GuardianHomeless woman lives, undetected, in Fukuoka man's closet for one year.BBCJapan's new recipe for killing oneself is being pulled from the Internet at police request.Washington PostNarita Airport customs official plants 142g of cannabis on unsuspecting visitor from Hong Kong to test sniffer dogs.BBCJapan's Space Station hopes rest on US Space Shuttle flight.BBCSlain woman alive when police investigated her neighbor, the killer.Japan TimesAfrica confab ends in Yokohama.Daily YomiuriJapan to ratify ban on cluster bombs.AsahiDaisuke Matsuzaka put on DL.Yahoo! SportsG-cup law student can sing too.MainichiLast week's Japan newsJapan StatisticsAround 300 people have gassed themselves this year using a mix of toilet cleaner and bath sulfur to produce hydrogen sulfide, with 34 in the Tokyo area alone. Japan has the world's 9th...
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Nagoya Friends at Red Rock in Sakae 6/7
2008-05-31 10:32:00
Nagoya Friends is holding it's 53rd party in Nagoya! PARTY AT Date: June 7th, 2008 (1st Saturday)Time: 18:30 - 21:00; Drinks will be served between 6:30pm-8:45pm.Place: The Red Rock (2F Aster Plaza Building, 4-14-6 Sakae , Nagoya (very close to Sakae Station)Fee: 3000 YenDress code: Anything (Casual, etc)Reservations: Not necessary but recommended and appreciated. Just show up to the party!Over 25,000 Yen worth of exciting prize giveaways each month!There will be free food along with free drinks (beers, wine, cocktail drinks and juices). Our party is not a dinner party, but we will have light food & snacks. Quantities are limited, so please come early! Please free to come alone or bring your friends. EVERYBODY is welcome to join regardless of nationality/gender. Reservation is greatly appreciated. About 125-150+ people are expected to attend. Approximately 55% female and 45% male, 70% Japaneseand 30% non-Japanese. Pictures from previous Nagoya Friends Parties. ...
More About: Nagoya
Japanese language lesson: Saying No
2008-05-30 06:16:00
???????????Except from a superior at work or a "senpai" (someone older or higher ranked) in school, a direct "No" to a question or request is less common in Japan than in the West.Instead, the sales clerk or office staff person or Ministry of Finance negotiator may well reply: ?????????????Sore wa chotto muzukashi desu?.The direct translation is: "That's a bit difficult."The implied meaning is usually: "That is not possible" (or, more informally, "...when hell freezes over").To the American trade negotiator, "difficult" means "hard but not impossible to accomplish."Japanese however know that that is the end of the conversation.Another polite and semi-vague way to decline or refuse a request is ?????kentou suru?. This literally means "to consider."Like "muzukashi," though, it often means "no."When the door-to-door salesman shows up and starts blathering on, just say "kentou shimasu" as you close the door with a smile.Last week's Japanese lessonYahoo Japan Auction ServiceBook a hote...
More About: Language , Lesson , Japanese language
Abandoned Car Taken Away
2008-05-29 06:27:00
??????'s gone. This Monday a car abandoned across the small stream from my house has at last been taken away. Loaded on to a truck by crane and driven away fully five months after it was abandoned and ticketed on November 19th, 2007.The stream, by the way, marks the boundary between Nagoya city and Nisshin and it seems Nagoya city authorities move a little quicker on dumped vehicles than their Nisshin counterparts. A car abandoned on the Nagoya side just up the road was taken away after just a few days. It was first dumped on the main road to Toyota, almost completely blocking a T-junction, was then moved to a less dangerous position on a side road and then disappeared, presumably at the hands of Nagoya city authorities. The licence plate was for a city near Tokyo.At last the rusting, oil-spewing hulk over in Nisshin no longer presents a traffic, ecological or aesthetic threat to the neighborhood. Good bloody riddence!If only the old codger, who insists of driving here ...
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Japan National Railway Workers Union demo
2008-05-27 18:00:00
????? I was cycling around Akasaka and Nagatacho at lunchtime today, enjoying the cool, dry sunny weather ? a pleasant respite from the recent cloudiness and beginnings of summer mugginess. I happened upon this demonstration happening directly across from the National Diet Building. It was in support of a case that goes back no less than 21 years!Back on April 1, 1987, Japan Railways was privatized. According to the National Railway Workers Union (Kokuro), its members were unfairly treated by the new rail companies created by privatization. In November 2006, legal action by Kokuro resulted in Supreme Court decisions ordering compensation for union members. It is an extremely convoluted story, but there remain 1,047 laid off union members from that time whose cases have yet to be settled.You can?t tell from the photo, but there was a considerable police presence (the Kasumigaseki) area is always swarming with them anyway, and I got dirty looks from a few police simply for showing an ...
More About: Politics , Tokyo
Four Stories -- Osaka
2008-05-27 03:56:00
FOUR STORIES JAPAN?S SUMMER 08 SEASON OPENING IN OSAKA ON JUNE 5Acclaimed expat literary series from the US comes again to Japan for the summerOSAKA, JAPAN, May 22, 2008?The acclaimed literary series Four Stories , which runs in Boston (USA), Osaka , and Tokyo , kicks off its summer 2008 season on June 15 in Osaka, with readings from the following published authors:* Hans Brinckmann, Dutch-born ex-banker living in Tokyo and London, and the author of The Magatama Doodle, Noon Elusive, The Ballad of Hope Hill, and the forthcoming Showa Japan* Deborah Iwabuchi, translator, author and long-time Japan Resident who has translated Crossfire (with Anna Isozaki) and Devil's Whisper by Miyabe Miyuki, Beyond the Blossoming Fields (with Anna Isozaki) by Junichi Watanabe, Translucent Tree by Nobuko Takagi, Love From the Depths (with Kazuko Enda) by Tomihiro Hoshino, and others.* Sarah Mulvey, instructor at Nanzan University in Nagoya and candidate for a Masters in Creative Writing (U. of Lancas...
More About: Fiction , Verse
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