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Smoking Culture: US vs. Japan

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

It’s no secret that the Japanese are heavy smokers. I wonder if anyone has done a study on how this country could have the longest lifespans in the world yet everyone smokes. Recently, things have improved a bit. In certain towns/districts, smoking on the streets is banned.

This seems nice and healthy, until you realize [...]

Japanese ATMs Need Their Beauty Sleep?

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

When ATMs first showed up in the US, I thought they were great because you could conduct bank transactions even when the bank was closed. Particularly, this was useful when you needed cash after hours. Oddly enough, here in Japan the ATMs close at night. They also charge service fees that vary depending on the [...]

High-Tech Talking Machines

Monday, February 19th, 2007

Of course I’ve been trying to learn Japanese while living in Japan. One thing that has helped me is that Tokyo is full of machines, and for some reason, all of them seem to talk! This is very different from what I’m used to in America, where machines generally just beep, ring or produce prompting tones. [...]

Valentine’s Day & White Day

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

In Japan, men carry zero responsibility on Valentine's Day except to be showered with chocolates by women who adore them. I don't know who decided this, but on V-day, women give men chocolates. Women give men love letters. Women make their proposals and confessions to the men they love. The men just sit back [...]

Japanese Women’s Wild Fashion

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

Here’s a topic that will be discovered by search engines and drive traffic to the site, no doubt. It’s no secret that Japan is home to some wild fashion trends and fads, particularly when it comes to girls/women. Here are some examples of common species to be found in Tokyo.
First, the famous (and sometimes notorious) Japanese schoolgirl. [...]

Vertical Parking – The Car Jukebox

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

In the US, parking lots are barren seas of black pavement and white lines. Thoughts of Costco and the Disney theme parks come to mind. In Japan, there’s no space for that, so vertical parking towers are used. Basically, you drive into a building housing a ferris-wheel-like apparatus that carries cars. Drive onto an open [...]

The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum

Sunday, July 16th, 2006

The ramen museum was a short walk away from the station. The inside is pretty neat, designed “Disney-like” to look like 1940s Japan. 10 famous ramen shops were chosen from all over Japan to represent different regional tastes and styles. There are signs to indicate the wait time for each shop, just like a theme [...]

The Mysterious Sound Princess In Japanese Women’s Restrooms

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

Take a look at the photos below. Have you ever seen these devices? All Japanese women have.

This device is called the "sound princess" and comes in various models. What does it do? That takes some explanation.
Japanese women are well-known for their modesty. Despite the fact that Japan often has restroom stalls with floor-to-ceiling walls and [...]

How To Load A 747-400 In 4 Minutes, 35 Seconds

Sunday, June 4th, 2006

I’m writing this entry aboard an ANA 747-400 on my way back to Tokyo from Sapporo (short overnight business trip). It’s been almost a year since I moved to Japan (albeit with a 5 month Seoul interruption) but I still can’t help but be impressed at some things native Japanese take for granted in [...]

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