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HELP! I Don’t Know How To ALT!

Summer is almost here, bringing with it sweltering heat, limited edition Crunky ice cream bars, and a whole new flock of ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers). Maybe your dream of coming to Japan is finally coming true. Soon … [Read more...]

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Better Than Pokémon!? How Yo-Kai Watch Is Marketing Itself To Japanese Children

“Can you draw Warunyan for me?” a girl asked during recess. “Warunyan is cool, but Orochi is stronger!” a boy standing nearby shouted. “I like Kyuubi!” another boy added as students gathered around the table. My … [Read more...]

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The Empire Built On Egg Shells: An Interview With TanKuma Owner Gensho Nishigaki

What an eggy week it has been! I wrote a travel review of an Egg Vending Machine and a raw-egg-on-rice (tamago-kake-gohan) restaurant called Tankuma. I also wrote simply about the famous Japanese dish tamago kake gohan. I … [Read more...]

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Fresh Egg Vending Machine

There are so many kinds of vending machines in Japan, but I never thought I would come across an egg vending machine. It is in the middle of the mountains in Northern Hyogo Prefecture. The sign above says 生みたて新鮮卵, which … [Read more...]

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Japan’s Solar Revolution – The Sky’s (Not) the Limit

My neighborhood is changing. When you run everyday, you get to know your surroundings. You learn the locations of the essentials - water fountains, vending machines, and toilets. There are familiar faces and places. You … [Read more...]

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Being Fat in Japan (By Someone Who Lost Over 100 Pounds Here)

Note from the author: This is about my personal experience and opinions. I am not a licensed nutritionist. The following entry is solely based on personal research, experience, and opinions and should be read as such. … [Read more...]

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When Manga Met Gaming: The Crossover Games The West May Never Receive

I think most people can agree that crossovers are awesome. I remember being a kid and constantly talking about who would beat whom in a fight (Hulk would totally beat Superman, My dad can beat up your dad etc). The thought … [Read more...]

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Japanese Food Models, Yesterday And Today

If you’ve ever visited Japan and had to order food without benefit of being able to read Japanese, there’s one thing that’s a lifesaver: those plastic food replicas lined up in the windows of many restaurants. With their … [Read more...]

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The Marketing Genius Behind The “Magic” Japanese Necklace

In 1983, a company named Phiten was founded in Kyoto. The company made products it calls “quasi-drugs,” alternative medicine with pseudoscientific explanations for what each product is supposed to do. Most of them are … [Read more...]

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Me Me Me Cafe

When you first come across the MEMEME Cafe, you don't automatically realize that it's actually called the MEMEME Cafe. That's probably because of the giant letters and mustache scrawled on the front of the store: "Old Is … [Read more...]

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How To Speak Beautiful Japanese: An Interview With Yomiuri TV Announcer Naomi Uemura

I know most everybody here loves to watch Japanese television. That’s why I thought it would be interesting to interview somebody who was actually on Japanese TV. I was surprised when I heard back from Yomiuri TV’s 25 year … [Read more...]

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Gotokuji Temple

I'm sure many of us out there are familiar with the beckoning cat that greets customers in front of Japanese restaurants and stores. Known as the maneki neko, or literally "the beckoning cat", the small doll is believed to … [Read more...]

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Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

When someone talks about youth culture in Tokyo or even Japan in general, Shibuya is probably the most common example raised. Shibuya is known for being glitzy with giant shopping malls as Shibuya 109 and it’s giant … [Read more...]

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Yanaka, Tokyo

Tokyo has a reputation as a city that’s all about speed and newness. Everyone’s in a hurry, buildings are constantly being torn down and rebuilt, and in most of the city, nothing’s older than the last World War. But … [Read more...]

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Amanohashidate

Some of you may have heard of the three great sceneries of Japan. Miyajima, with its floating torii, is certainly the most famous of these. Matsushima is so-so famous though it was hit badly by the 2011 earthquake and … [Read more...]

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Omotesando Koffee

Most people think of the Omotesando district of Tokyo as kind of upscale and focused on fashion. That's why I was surprised to run into Omotesando Koffee (coffee) in a back street inside an old house. From the outside, it … [Read more...]

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Hanayashiki Amusement Park

It’s claimed that 30 million tourists a year visit Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa. When you’re trying to squeeze through the Nakamise shopping street leading to the temple on a busy weekend, it’s easy to believe they’re all … [Read more...]

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Goat Cafe Sakuraoka

Everyone has different priorities on a trip to Japan. Me – I'm all about the weird animal stuff. One time, I made a special excursion to Mie prefecture just to see a dugong in an aquarium, and the top attraction on my list … [Read more...]