24
500 yen
7-11
88
abalone
aging population
allegheny college
allergy
Ameagari no yozora ni
asakusa
baru
Beach
beiju
birthday
black and white
bookstores
Brasserie Bec
Carpenters
cedar pollen
cellphone
Chikara Saito
Chinese Lantern Plant
chorus
colorful
conservation
construction
conti et mer
Convenience
culture
cutie honey
dai-ichi life
delivery
DIY
Doki-doki Camp
doppler
Drop
drugstore
earthquake
eiken
elections
emergency house
Emperor Meiji
English
Engrish
evacuation area
experiment
Facebook
fiberglass mascot
Folk
food
free
freespot
French
Gadgets
gaijin
Gargling
George Kano
Getting Around
glasses
glenn wurst
global warming
Goroawase
Gov't of Japan
gumisawa totsuka
Gyaru
haiku
hay fever
Health
hinanjo
hiroo
Hitotsu Yane no Shita
Horror
hozuki
humor
Humoresque
Ichiro Ozawa
imamiya
Imperial
Informa
Insurance
Interpretation
intestines
iphone
iPhone Case
Isojin
Italian
Jack Bauer
japan
Japan Holidays
Japan Rail
Japanese
japanese tv
JR
kafunsho
Kakaki
Kakuei Tanaka
kamakura
kamogawa
kamogawa-kan
Kanako Yanagihara
Kazuo Zaitsu
kenkoshindan
kinataro-ame
kinokuniya
kintaro
Kiosk
Kiyoshiro Imawano
Koji Suzuki
Language
leisure
living
Living in Japan
local shop
Lockheed
Manners Posters
Marine Day
maruzen
matsuri
megane drug
metro
Mezamashi TV
MHLW
miniskirt
Mixi
mizkan
monochrome
Music
Musicians
Nakamise
New Years
newbie
NHK
nihonjinron
niigata
nissan figaro
no smoking
nobiru
novartis
Ocean
Odakyu Line
omikuji
One Coin
Oshogatsu
OTC drugs
PAL
passions
photography
pillars
poetry
ponyo
post office
prime minister
proficiency
Pronunciation
Ray-Out
restaurants
retro
Reunion
Review
RIP
robataya
roppongi
RT-P1LC4/B
ryokan
Saboten no Hana
Salaryman Neo
Salaryman Taiso
sandwiches
sarasen
satire
School Songs
Seashore
Senryu
senryuu
settai
Shinjuku
shishamo
signage
siren
smoke-free
snow
SNS
softbank
sound
Sousuke Kawamoto
spectacles
Street Jazz
Street Performers
subway
suica
Swine Flu
tapas
Thierry de Baillon
Toilet Paper
tokyo
Tokyo Metro
Tokyo Rail and Subway Map
tokyo university
totsuka
Trains
Trends
Tulip
Twitter
Ugai
Umi no Hi
uniqueness
us military fukaya communications base
Vendor
vinegar
virgin adventures
Vollmer Design
wanseg
waterless urinal
Welcome
wicket
wifi
wired
wireless
yaesu book center
yakuza ramen
Yoyogi-Uehara
yuuri
zaditen
zoff
zushi
キオスク
レイアウト
ワン コイン
人間ドック
海の日

Archives:


English Bookstores in Japan

Here are some English bookstores in Japan, but mostly in Tokyo or Yokohama where I live, for the visitor or resident: Maruzen in the Oazo complex (pictured) in front of JR Tokyo station on the Marunouchi side. 1-6-4 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Tel - 03-5218-5100 Yaesu Book Center on the Yaesu side of JR Tokyo station. 2-5-1 Yaesu, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8456 Tel - 03-3281-1811 Kinokuniya Shinjuku
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Thierry de Baillon's Article on Social Media in Japan

Thierry de Baillon wrote an article about Japan and social media acceptance, which I thought I'd comment on. I agree that Social Networking Service acceptance, or lack thereof, is not a simple matter of Japanese being "shy". Just go to Shibuya, Harajuku, or Kabukicho to prove otherwise! I think SNS acceptance is driven by the marketing of the SNS, by whether it "feels right" and "fits right" for
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Kakaki Italian in Kugenuma Kaigan near Enoshima

During my 56 km bike ride today, I ate at this nice little Italian place called "Kakaki" in Kugenuma Kaigan near Enoshima, at Kugenuma-bashi, along Rt. 134 the coast road. Address: Kugenuma Kaigan 2-17-21, Fujisawa Tel: 0466-34-4483 Hours: 11:30 AM-14:30 PM, 17:30 PM-21:00 PM, Closed Mondays Nearest Station: Kugenuma Kaigan (5 min walk from there) Parking: 4 spaces The owner, presumably Mr. Kakaki
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Yamate Brass 21st Annual - 2009 - ABBA Medley

Daughter unit 1's school did their 21st annual concert at the Kamakura Center for the Performing Arts in early April. This is an Abba medley, probably because of the popularity of Mamma Mia in Japan this year.
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Conti et Mer - Great Tokyo Sandwiches

If you're longing for some great sandwiches in Tokyo, try Conti et Mer, who have a good range of "French-style", take-out sandwich boxes and sweets, and party platters. Conti et Mer has three shops, in Jingu-gaien, Shirokane and Ginza, covering most of Tokyo for delivery. Their minimum order is JPY 2000 within their delivery areas, and more for areas outside that. Sandwiches include Ham and Gruyere
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"Brasserie Bec" in Yoyogi Uehara

If you like French food but would like it at a more reasonable price than usual in Tokyo, give Brasserie Bec in Yoyogi-Uehara near Shinjuku, Tokyo a try. A project colleague and I went there last night (a Tuesday), and had an excellent meal, with a good French red. Brasserie Bec's impossible to miss, being right in front of the north exit of Yoyogi Uehara station on the Odakyu line, running from points
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Bribe Desserts are Just Sour

Since the Lockheed scandal brought Kakuei Tanaka down in the late 1970's, Japan has seen many and varied incidents, their occurrence only escalating in recent years. Even the Tanaka protege Ichiro Ozawa, who has been stressing a (rather two-faced) populist agenda of late, is now tainted by a bribe scandal via a top aide accused of taking corporate donations. Ozawa san, so much for that "for the people"
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Japan Virgin Adventures

A conversation the other day prompted me to recount some experiences of my first days in Japan, so I thought I would share. What? No NEX? When I was "fresh off the boat" at Narita way back in 1987, I gathered up my suitcases, met one of the daughters of my host family, and schlepped my too-heavy stuff onto the JR Yokosuka line, which was already full. Japan Rail had no Narita Express yet, so it was
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Doki-doki Camp's "Jack Bauer, Driving Instructor"

If you are a Jack Bauer or 24 fan, you might be surprised to know how popular Jack Bauer is in Japan. Kiefer Sutherland appears in TV commercials for an energy bar called Calorie Mate, and the manzai comedy group in this video, "Doki-doki Camp" (ドキドキキャンプ) does him in various scenes in ordinary Japanese life. In this one, Jack is an instructor at driving school and tells the learner
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iPhone in Japan - I am Satisfied

Despite sensationalist, hit-whoring and inane articles like this embarrassing one in Wired [1], as a long-term resident of Japan and Japanese cell-phone user, I think my iPhone is great in many ways. Unless you try to compare it feature-by-feature to Japanese cell phones, that is, but the iPhone is a paradigm shift, typical of many we see from Apple. It's just not the same sort of device, and should
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Niigata's Dubious Claim to "Fame" - The Shortest Skirts

Here's a screenshot of a couple images of the posters being used in Niigata prefecture's crusade to try to prevent girls' skirts from getting any shorter. That Niigata has the girls with the shortest skirts is a dubious claim to "fame" unless you're a lecher or a horny male high-school student. On the upper left in the screenshot, the "evidence" - a couple of female students from behind. These skirts
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Free Wifi from freespot.com

FreeSpot.com offers free WiFi in Japan, and here's a map of their WiFi access points. I can't vouch for the quality of this service, but I thought it might be worth a try for visitors to Japan who need WiFi. There are WiFi services via ISPs, but you need an account, which is not practical for a short visit. If you try it, please let me know how it worked, or not, in the comments.
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JR Stations in Tokyo Soon Smoke-Free

Good news for non-smokers in Tokyo. JR Stations are to be Smoke-free Zones as of April 1st 2009. This poster on the platform at Shinjuku station says: All Stations in Tokyo will be Completely Smoke Free from 1st April JR East has always had separate zones for smoking and non-smoking, but due to many customers requesting protection from second-hand smoke, and increased drives at companies to discourage
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Yuuri Waterless Urinal Helps Reduce Global Warming

Some places in Japan are very much concerned with the environment. I know we sure do a lot of trash separation, but I had to snap a picture of the sign above a special "ecological" urinal today. I am sure I got a few looks for that! The "Yuuri" urinal sign says: Non-Water System "Yuuri" Yuuri is an ecological toilet that does not use water. Because it does not use water, water is conserved **,
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Novartis Zaditen Allergy Medicine Available in Japan

"Zaditen", an allergy medicine from Novartis, is now available over-the-counter in Japan. Last year it was by prescription only, but I'm blogging about it because it works for me where little else did. It's about 1800 yen for a 20 capsule pack, which seems expensive but "welcome to Japan" eh? Its main ingredient seems to be Ketotifen, and I noticed it makes me a little sleepy, but at least I am not
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Rick's New Zoff Glasses

Here's an isight snap via Photo Booth of my new specs from Zoff. The old ones were getting pretty crusty, so I made the excursion to Ofuna to Zoff, an inexpensive eyeglasses chain something like LensCrafters in the US, I would gather.
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The Carpenters are Popular in Japan

Every morning on Japanese TV lately, there's a commercial segment that plays a cover of "Top of the World" by The Carpenters. I knew that The Carpenters were popular here, having seen their songs on many a karaoke menu and heard them played pretty consistently. I had mentioned their popularity in Japan to an American friend, who was baffled by it, and I laughingly mentioned this to my wife this AM.
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Eiken 3rd Level Pass

My daughter Kylie passed the first half of her 3rd level English-as-a-second-language test, the "Eiken" from Step. The numbering system is typically Japanese, where the testees start on the basic level 5, and proceed up to level 1 with a few sub-levels in between. She now has to pass the interview portion to get the certificate, so we plan to practice with her.
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Zany Sound Experiments

Today on Japanese TV, which is generally either excruciatingly boring (watching people eat and talk, duh) or wonderfully creative, especially at year end, there was a show showing some interesting and zany experiments with sound. Chord around the Race Track - one experiment was whether a chord played in unison (the very definition) by trumpeters around a racetrack, will sound like a song from the
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Station Kiosks - the Hubs of Modern Japan

The Kiosks at Japan railway and metro stations are little stalls like US "News Stands" with two sides open, and two sides closed with storage. They have a refrigerator and a drink heater, as well as all manner of convenient articles - you can get drinks (alcoholic and soft), snacks (candy, bread, squid (yes!)), newspapers, magazines, novels, umbrellas, lighters, batteries, phone cards, neckties, handkerchiefs
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Asakusa Nakamise during Hozuki Matsuri

Asakusa is a popular tourist destination and fun for those of us who live here too. This was taken in the "nakamise" street (nakamise is something like central shops) which is the shopping area leading up to the Sensoji temple. It was a beautiful hot evening during the Hozuki Chinese Lantern Plant festival. An incredible number of people show up for this.
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Rainy Monochrome Mood

I took this monochrome photo on the platform at Shinjuku station, waiting for the Shonan Shinjuku line. The black and white treatment suits its rainy mood. We have had more than our share of rain, even into the fall, so it's sunny days like today that make me feel grateful for this clear, crisp fall weather.
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Japan is Mascot Land

There's no shortage of cute mascots in Japan. They look like they are made of fiberglass, and are in front of storefronts here and there. The one pictured here is the Megane Drug mascot, who has a peach on his headband, leading me to think it might be Momotaro, he of childrens' story fame. The thumb below is his back, with the kanji for trust "shinrai". Search Flickr for fiberglass Mascots and there
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Totsuka Construction - Big Pillars

There are these huge pillars being built near Totsuka station, on the Hitachi Software side of the main road, and these struck me as being an interesting photo. The 40 km speed limit seems to apply to the slow pace of the construction! Click on the photo to explore my photo sets on Flickr, or see my Totsuka Construction photos.
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Japan Rail Kudos - an amazing record

I ride the Japan Rail trains daily in Japan, and sometimes take it for granted that they will be on time. Occassionally there is a problem and a delay, but there's amazingly always an alternative route and always a clear announcement (er, incessant announcements?). Japan Rail - here's to your professional approach and to getting people to where they need to go. Amazing years of basically accident
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Beiju - 88th Birthday

In Japan, a person's 88th birthday is called "beiju" and is a special celebration where yellow- or gold-colored gifts are given. The "bei" of beiju comes from the three kanji characters for eight "八", ten "十", and eight "八", or "hachijuu-hachi" (88), which combined together form the character kome, or rice "米". You can see one eight flipped upside-down on the top, the other on the bottom, and
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Support the Local Stores - Imamiya

This is our local store "Imamiya", which is not as cheap as the local giant chain, but has a certain charm. It has been in business for quite a long time, but recently seems like it is a little bit run down. These places get driven out of business by the big guys, so I like to shop there when I can. Support your local store!
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Japanese Evacuation Centers are Well-Marked

Japan is obviously prone to earthquakes, so there are designated evacuation areas or "hinanjo" here and there, usually in parks or stadiums (stadia?). This one says it is down in the US Military Fukaya Communications Base "tsushintai" in Japanese under the words "EVACUATION AREA". If you live here, keep and eye out for these markers, because that is where most people will proceed in the event of a
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Aging Population in Japan Needs Drugstores

Japan's society is aging, so you see more and more pharmacies and drug stores popping up. This one is in Odoriba, near Totsuka Japan, and has the bases covered by selling typical household goods as well as pharmaceuticals. The colors struck me as I was walking by. Taken with a Nikon D90 and 60mm Micro Nikkor.
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Retro-looking Nissan Figaro, Gumisawa Totsuka Japan

This is a rather retro Nissan "Figaro", parked at its nest in Gumisawa Totsuka Japan. I saw it while cycling around, and compositionally liked the play of the sun below, and the angles of the ferro-concrete house. I took this shot with a Nikon D90, using the Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 Macro.
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