We recently welcomed a new addition to our family member. Meet Lulu! She’s an 8 week old 1.5 pound chihuahua and kicks major ass. At first I was skeptical because she’s a tiny dog and I’m a tall guy but she’s a perfect fit. It’s amazing how much energy she has and how fast she can run. She loves to go full speed for 15 minutes, jumping over things, attacking random objects, and making cute squeaky noises. I envy her because she can pass out anywhere she wants when she’s tired. Here are a few pictures.
The flight to Japan was an experience all in itself! This was my first time flying to Japan (from America) where I didn’t just stop and go in Tokyo. U.S. flights are easy and flying to Thailand was a piece of cake because a lot of people speak English. We took a flight from San Francisco and arrived in Japan in about 12 hours or so, I can’t recall right now but I did get 5,303 Award miles though! NICE! We went from San Francisco (SFO) to Nagoya (NGO) to Fukuoka (FUK). We flew on United Airlines and I highly recommend it. The customer service was great, the food was okay, and the seats were comfortable. They had a head rest that’s adjustable so you can easily sleep and you get your own personal vide screen to watch movies, TV shows, BBC News, or you can see where the plane is on a GPS type screen. All movies and shows were offered in English with and without Japanese subtitles, or Japanese voice over so everybody can enjoy the in flight entertainment instead of sitting there going “OMG! 10 hours remaining!”
** I highly recommend checking in online exactly 24 hours in advance. I was able to change my seat to an exit row which gave me plenty of leg room.
When we arrived at the Nagoya Airport we had to rush to catch out plane to Fukuoka. Here’s what you can expect…
- Go through immigration, hand them the completed form (Customs Declaration Form) that the airline had you fill out, and they’ll give you landing permission.
- Pick up your luggage, go through customs, answer questions, possibly get searched.
- Go to your connecting airline, go through a luggage security check point, check the luggage.
- Go through a personal security check point, and then go to your gate and you’re all set.
What happened to us? Well it wasn’t an easy 1,2,3,4.
Here’s the long story made short. We went through immigration first. Then we headed to our gate and when we asked for directions from the airline counter we found out our luggage does not follow us, we had to grab it and go through customs and Continue reading
This is a blast from the past when I originally started my blog back in 2007. I have decided to bring some old stories back to life! “Hello world!” Ah yes, that phrase reminds me of my days in college and the first programming task in just about every basic text book. Anyway, I hope you enjoy your time spent here at Japan it UP! After reading my blah blah blah you’re going to either like Japan or go “wtf is this guy talking about?” Either way some good times will be had. To quote my friend Chad… “Niiiiiiice!”
An unnamed person writes in – I’m writing because I have a question that you might be able to answer. I’m planning to apply for a Masters Degree scholarship at a University. If accepted the scholarship would cover full tuition, medical and accident insurance obtained through the University, a monthly stipend (around 157,000 Yen) including subsistence and housing allowance for one person, book allowance, other miscellaneous expenses and economy class airfare for one person covering the trip from the scholars place of residence and the return journey at the end of the study program.
Since the scholarship covers almost everything, my question is would 157,000 Yen be enough for my expenses on food, leisure and transportation? I also plan to save my monthly stipend to bring back home. Thanks!
Hi there. I’m not sure how expensive the city is where you’ll live, but I’m assuming that you’ll be fine on 157,000 per month + all the added perks. You should be able to spend wisely, do fun things, and save money. You can get meals from 500-1000 yen each if you eat out, and if you eat at home you’ll save a lot of money. For two people, including all living expenses, I think a person can easily spend about 350,000 yen a month for everything. So if you remove those extra expenses that you’ll be getting for free, you could end up spending 100,000-150,000 (or less if you’re frugal!). There are some good travel guides about how to get the most bang for your Yen. It’s all about how you budget. And remember, there are many fun things that cost little money like going to the part, hiking, etc, and it helps to pack some comforting items before you head over this way!
The following article is a contribution from Roger Lake. You’ll find a lot of good tips below, and a good video explanation on his site –
Are you having a tough time learning Japanese? If you are, it’s understandable. For people who think in English, Japanese is a very difficult language to learn. However, the lessons available at http://www.japaneseaudiolessons.com/ can help.
Aside from the inconvenient fact that written Japanese employs three different alphabets, the main reason that we have so much trouble learning this language is that Japanese grammar is fundamentally different from the grammar used in European languages.
I’ve been studying this difficult language for over thirty years and have tried a number of courses, textbooks and study methods during that time. Based on my experiences, I’ve identified THREE KEYS that I believe can help you to learn Japanese.
KEY #1: Since your time is limited, use AUDIO LESSONS.
It will take quite awhile for your English-thinking brain to start thinking in Japanese. You will need to spend hundreds of hours reviewing phrases and sentences in order to acquire a reasonably firm grasp of basic Japanese vocabulary and grammar. Where will you find the time for this study?
An excellent solution to the problem of insufficient time is to use Audio Lessons. Since audio lessons don’t require you to stare at a book or a screen, you can use them while you do other activities that you need to do anyway, like exercising and commuting. As a bonus, if you exercise more often while using them, audio lessons will probably make you healthier.
KEY #2. To strengthen your memories, develop MNEMONICS.
Japanese words can be hard to remember. Kuukoo means airport. Kyuukoo means express train. Kookoo means high school. Kookuu means aviation. What can you do to help your brain remember all of these similar terms?
MNEMONICS are small stories designed to help you remember new words. They can also be used as aides for remembering Japanese kana and kanji characters.
Possible mnemonics for the four Japanese words mentioned above include “my cookies got cold at the airport,” “I wore my cute coat on the express train,” “Koko the gorilla visited my high school,” and “we ship Coke by aviation.”
It shouldn’t take very long for you to think of simple mnemonics for most Japanese terms. If you get stuck, try using a dictionary or a search engine. Since mnemonics are just trivial things that you will typically discard after using a new word about ten times, they don’t have to be perfect.
KEY #3. To speed up memorization, use FLASHCARDS.
Many people use flashcards, especially electronic flashcards, when they are memorizing difficult terms. If you haven’t tried electronic flashcards, you may not realize how much fun they are, or the extent to which they can reinforce your memory.
Flashcards are an example of “active recall testing,” a learning technique that has been shown to be more effective for building strong memories, compared to “passive” study methods like reading textbooks or merely listening to audio recordings.
Electronic flashcards are an efficient tool for memorizing Japanese written characters and vocabulary. Ideally you should try to make your own flashcards, rather than getting them from someone else, since you will remember them more easily if you make your own. Also, if you make your own cards, you will be able to write your mnemonics on the “answer” sides.
JAPANESE AUDIO FLASHCARD LESSONS
After completing my third Japanese audio course about five years ago, I needed to find another course that would allow me to continue my study of the language. Not finding anything suitable, I started working on my own interactive audio lessons with the help of my wife, who is a native of Kyushu in Japan.
These lessons, which I call “Japanese Audio Flashcard Lessons,” rely on audible rather than visual cues, but otherwise they are similar to flashcards. They consist of sentences or phrases spoken in English, followed by answers spoken in Japanese. After listening to a question in English, a student pauses playback and thinks about how to translate the question. When the student is ready, he or she says the translation aloud and then resumes playback to hear the correct answer in Japanese.
Japanese Audio Flashcard Lessons contain over 22 hours of FREE audio lessons, with more than 6,000 English questions followed by Japanese answers. They come with a complete transcript, which you can print and carry with you. The transcript is completely customizable. If you think of new mnemonics while you are using these Japanese lessons, you may add them to the transcript for future use.
Again, all of our downloads are FREE. I invite you to come and see for yourself. You may download our lessons at http://www.japaneseaudiolessons.com/download-japanese-lessons/
The Ichiban Kan is a cozy and tasteful restaurant that has the traditional Japanese restaurant architecture with authentic decoration and atmosphere just like the other Japanese restaurants I’ve been to in Japan. A few locals I met said that this is one of the famous restaurants in the city and I have to agree with them because when we arrived the place was full, no seats available! With our curiosity and eagerness to know the reason why they are so popular, we agreed to wait for a table figuring it would take more than 30 minutes because of how busy it was.
While waiting, we already perused their menu so we can mentally prepare for what we were going to order. Most of the menu covers a variety of soup and noodle dishes. After 15 minutes we got a table and ordered for our food. We ordered ramen, udon noodle soup, gyoza (Japanese dumpling), and maguro nigiri (tuna sushi). When our orders arrived, they look great with a fantastic presentation which included a variety of food decor. And now we know why Ichiban Kan restaurant is famous because not only is the setting right and the presentation wonderful, but the food was really good and that’s the important thing!
I highly recommend this restaurant especially to couples who would like to pamper their selves in a romantic Japanese dinner experience.
This article was contributed by a reader who goes by the name of ‘TS33’. He recently went on a trip to Myanmar and decided to visit a Japanese restaurant in Yangon. Click the link to see a full detailed report and first hand pictures from his trip!
Renee writes in – Hi there – love your site. It is very inspirational as an American looking to live in Japan for a month or two..I am curious if you know of any jobs that an ex-pat could work for a few months in Japan…Nothing too committed..I don’t plan on staying in Japan for more than a month, month and a half tops. Is there any feasible work in Japan for a non Japanese speaker? Something just to make some yen while couch surfing til we move out to Austria. I appreciate your help!
Hi Renee. I think it would be difficult to find reliable short term work (for one month), even as a teacher. You’d need to have the proper visa and many places are looking to hire for long term. You might contact a local foreigners center or visitor center when you’re in Japan. Sometimes people post ads about teaching private lessons, or ads wanting private lessons. And there are 1-day jobs where people do things such as hand out tissues, but I’m not sure how you apply for a job like that.
If you enjoy reading questions and answers about living in Japan, check out the Q&A section of my blog.
Many people see going to Japan as a lifelong dream. The imagery of sakura flowers blooming across a street, a dazzling nightlife, and who can forget all the cute clothes and gifts only for sale in this country; are all little things that can cause Japan frantic to drool. But even though many of these travellers are not from Asia, and in fact can’t even speak Japanese, several precautions need to be taken in order for you to stay safe.
Learning to speak Japanese is not an easy task. I personally know several people that have attempted to master the language only ending up failing like a dying fish. However thanks to technology, you can always simply purchase an electronic dictionary that can translate English to Japanese and then use it as an aid to communicate. I always recommend this method to my friends.
There are actually several times when some of my friends weren’t able to communicate with the Japanese people and ended up missing their flight and causing errors to their hotel bookings that caused them to lose hundreds of dollars. If only they had some sort of device that could bring down the language barrier they would have been able to avoid all these disasters.
Before flying out, the first and most important thing to do is to have bought insurance. This is a must if you want to reduce the chance of you losing your belongings and even money. There are many different companies that can offer you great deals and coverage for as little as a few dollars a day. If you are from Australia, I suggest you read through these travel insurance reviews to get some more information.
One of the companies that I suggest is 1Cover. They have been known to offer cheap policies by selling their service online and minimising the overhead costs of having an office and branch. Feel free to go read through this 1Cover review to get some idea of what you can take out.
Another company is Travel Insurance Direct. They also sell their policies online making their prices extra cheaper, but what make them stand out from the others is the fact that coupon codes seem to be always available, letting you save another 10%! To see all the great things about TID, check out this Travel Insurance Direct review.
Lastly, one of the simplest ways to get along in Japan is to join a tour. Many people forget about this idea because a lot of the prices are expensive, however the advantages can be endless. You will be able to get an expert to guide you along the cosy streets of Tokyo and have them explain about the history of some of these places. It is a great way to learn more about the country without all the stress of not being able to speak their language.
As a conclusion, travelling to Japan can be a very fun experience but at the same time, it can be a nightmare if you can’t speak Japanese. So the next time you head over there, make sure you have something that can translate English to Japanese, take out insurance, and if you can afford it, join a tour. All these steps will ensure you have a great time in the great country of the east and enjoy a slice of heaven.
Over the past centuries, atheism has spread all around the world – nonetheless, many non-religious and agnostic people are still dealing with a fair amount of discrimination in certain countries. Japan is known as one of the countries with the highest rate of non-religious or agnostic people, as statistics reveal that only a quarter of the country’s population claim that religion is truly important to them.
When it comes to Japan, it must be mentioned that there are two main religions that can be met here: Buddhism and Shinto. A study that was conducted back in 2009 on no less than 50,000 people from 57 different countries, has revealed that 31% of Japan’s population claim they are “convinced atheists”. This makes Japan the second country on the list, after China where over 45% of the population claims to be non-religious.
There are other religions present in Japan as well, such as Judaism, Christianity of Hinduism, but in considerably lower percentages. At the same time, Japan is one of the countries with the highest degree of what is known as “organic atheism”, along with other countries like Canada, New Zealand and certain nations in Europe, like Sweden or the Netherlands.
As mentioned above, Shinto is another popular religion in Japan, although it is not uncommon for Japanese people to switch religions throughout the course of their lives or marry people that have different religious beliefs. On the other hand, those who do have religious beliefs (be it Buddhism, Shinto or both) seldom go to shrine on a constant basis – they usually go once or twice a year. The true Japanese traditional religion is based on philosophical thinking, and the popular Zen principle.
Contrary to popular belief (where many people seem to consider Japan as a country that is full of spiritual mystics and strong beliefs), most people here consider themselves spiritual rather than religious. Also, some of the most commonly met religions in Asia (such as Taoism or Confucianism, the latter being the cornerstone of the traditional Chinese culture and history) can be seen in Japan as well. Taoism is somewhat similar to Shinto (which was originally an indigenous religion), and it is considered to be the inspiration for most spiritual concepts that can be met in the Japanese culture.
Speaking of Shinto, the Matsuri is certainly one of the most visible elements in this religion as every shrine has one annual festival of this kind. Also, every religious Shinto community in Japan has at least one shrine, and sacred items are brought here once a year, to be cherished and admired by religious people.
The Bottom Line
To sum it up, Japan is very open and tolerant in terms of religious beliefs and this is what makes it one of the least religious countries in the world. Given the statistics mentioned above, it is safe to assume that Japan is truly an atheist paradise for free thinkers and non-believers. Maybe part of this flexible and tolerant approach is related to the country’ history and tradition. For further details and statistics that reveal the current number of atheists by country, click here.
Japanese style Avocado Shrimp Salad with Wasabi Dressing is a delicious salad full of nutrients and antioxidants.
To make this salad you’ll need the following:
- 2 ripe avocados
- 8 – 10 cooked tiger shrimp (shelled and deveined)
- Lettuce of your choice and some cabbage
To make the wasabi dressing you’ll need:
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 – 2 teaspoons wasabi paste
Instructions on how to make the salad:
- Cube the avocados and cut the shrimp into 2cm pieces.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients.
- Add avocado and shrimp into the bowl and mix until evenly coated.
- Put on top of your lettuce and cabbage