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Yaikagashi (burn and smell) at Setsubun images

Yaikagashi (burn and smell) at Setsubun

On Setsubun day (February 3rd), there is a culture to make "Yaikagashi" (a holly sprig with a baked sardine's head). Japanese people have a time-honored custom of putting this "Yaikagashi"at their door on Setsubun (the traditional end of winter) to ward off evil spirits. They may look a little bit …(73 words)

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Funny souvenirs from Japan images

Funny souvenirs from Japan

Yesterday, I was screening the cosmetics section of Zakka, the small beauty outlet inside Kyoto station and I found wonderful promises of beauty and youthfullness! These huuuuge sections, that you also find in Loft and Tokyu Hands like shops are wonderful. You spend 5 minutes there and underst…(387 words)

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Good Smoking Rule in Japan images

Good Smoking Rule in Japan

Many years ago, my Dad as well as some of my other family members from the US were stationed in various parts of Japan from just after WWII. When I was with them, one of the questions they often ask me is about cigarette smokers and proper manner for smoking in Japan.During their assignments in…(272 words)

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There is a food called "COPPE-PAN-SANDO" images

There is a food called "COPPE-PAN-SANDO"

There is a food called "COPPE-PAN-SANDO=コッペパンサンド".It is similar to a hot dog, but the Japanese do not think it's the same.Hot dog came from the United States."COPPE-PAN-SANDO=コッペパンサンド" It is inspired from the hot dog.Food that is sandwiched between the hot dog bun has al…(78 words)

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Black or Dark Suits/Dresses images

Black or Dark Suits/Dresses

If you are in Japan during a funeral, a dark suit should be worn for men, along with a black tie. Very inexpensive black ties can be found for men in most men's clothing stores and department stores. For women, black or dark dresses.(44 words)

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Seven Eleven and Post Office images

Seven Eleven and Post Office

Seven Eleven will be the best place. You can find Seven Eleven stores almost every town, especially in Tokyo and the east part of Japan.But, it's sometimes hard to find Seven Elevens in certain western areas like Shikoku island. In that case, find a post office. You can withdraw money with your f…(75 words)

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Appropriate attire for funerals images

Appropriate attire for funerals

Everyone in Japan wears black for funerals. For men, this consists of a black suit (no pattern or design), white button-up shirt, black shoes (with no ornamentation), and a black necktie. For women, this consists of either a black suit (skirt or slacks with a jacket) and a black blouse, or a blac…(155 words)

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Andrea Miyata

Go to a "dagashiya" to buy some souvenirs! images

Go to a "dagashiya" to buy some souvenirs!

Other than donating the change to a local or national charity, I recommend going to a dagashiya and buying candies and other sweets for your friends and family back home. Japanese sweets are incomparable to those of other countries due to its creativity and variety. Perhaps you should avoid stickin…(101 words)

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Keep your attire dark images

Keep your attire dark

Some women may wear a dark colored kimono but recently I've noticed that most women wear a black formal dress. Men wear a dark suit with a white shirt and a black tie.(33 words)

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Tullys or Starbucks images

Tullys or Starbucks

Some Tullys or Starbucks coffee shops provide AC power. They do have WiFi also but normally you have to subsribe to Japanese telecom subscribers to use.(26 words)

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Tokyo Counseling Services images

Tokyo Counseling Services

I would recommend the Tokyo Counseling Services which offer counseling in both English and Japanese. You can listen to an interview on Tokyo Podcast with Dr. Andrew Grimes who is the director of the clinic. http://www.tokyo-podcast.com/suicide-in-japan/(40 words)

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Go to a nearby cellphone store! images

Go to a nearby cellphone store!

When I run out of battery on my cellphones and if I am not carrying along a charger, I often go to a nearby cellphone store and ask them if I can charge my phone. The cellphone store you go to, however, depends on your mobile phone operator (the biggest ones being Docomo, AU and SoftBank). You shou…(83 words)

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MUJI, Tokyu Hands, Loft images

MUJI, Tokyu Hands, Loft

You can buy disaster prevention goods at major lifestyle retail chains, such as Tokyu Hands, Loft and MUJI. http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/www.loft.co.jp/‎http://www.muji.net/Or you can even order them on Amazon Japan. http://www.amazon.co.jp/Highly recommend to purchase bottles of wa…(58 words)

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place to purchase devices or adaptor images

place to purchase devices or adaptor

Electric appliance shops in Akihabara is always good option. FYI:Yodobashi in Akihabara offers multi language assistant service. In case if you stay or bout to be at Shinagawa Prince Hotel in Shinagawa, their in house convenience store always has devices stocks.(42 words)

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Many convenient stores carry underwear and other just in case items images

Many convenient stores carry underwear and other just in case items

You will be surprised to find many convenient stores carry the various just in case items like underwear, shaving goods, shampoo sets and others. If you are in a pinch and have to spend a late night at the office or have checked into a hotel without amenities, a quick trip to the nearby convenient …(148 words)

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For English books, Bookoff in Jiyugaoka and Naka Meguro images

For English books, Bookoff in Jiyugaoka and Naka Meguro

Since the closure of Bookoff Cafe in Shiroganedai, the Bookoffs in Jiyugaoka and Naka Meguro are probably best equipped with English books. So it seems that these shops picked up most of the used books from Shiroganedai.It should be said that Jiyugaoka recently (February 2014), is offering …(62 words)

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Turkey Day Tokyo Style! images

Turkey Day Tokyo Style!

Many restaurants do Thanksgiving specials now- a big change from just 10 years ago! I must admit that I am biased. I own a small restaurant called "Kimono wine and grill" which is a euro american bistro. We do an Awesome Thanksgiving! truly one of the best and most affordable here in Tokyo. We do o…(128 words)

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Name Drop images

Name Drop

Usually when I meet Japanese people, even though I speak Japanese, they may be hesitant to properly introduce themselves to me, particularly if it is a group with multiple people and one distinct leader, or connection between my group and theirs. One thing I try and make a point of is coming across…(200 words)

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Japan Festivals for December and January. images

Japan Festivals for December and January.

There would be opportunities to join a community Mochi-zuki making event at the annual year-end/year-beginning season (in Japanese it is called Nen-matsu, Nen-sho). Please ask the hotel concierge or someone who speaks English where your City office is. Then, you can go over to the City office and i…(130 words)


Train stations, convenient stores and book stores are few places where you can get maps & guidebooks images

Train stations, convenient stores and book stores are few places where you can get maps & guidebooks

You can get a subway / train map at any train station. They are kept there - and could be in Japanese. You can ask for a English one.You can also find road maps in any of the convenient stores. But they might be in Japanese. Then there are book stores like Yurindo - Kinokuniya etc where you can c…(135 words)

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Taxi, Business hotels, Manga kissa (Internet comic cafe) are some options where you can spend night images

Taxi, Business hotels, Manga kissa (Internet comic cafe) are some options where you can spend night

If you miss the train - which happens many times then there are couple of options.. 1. If you are closeby your hotel or place of stay then you can take a cab. After 11, the cab will charge an extra 10-15% depending on if it is a company taxi or personal /private taxi (you will find this mark when…(283 words)

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Check the vicinity images

Check the vicinity

It is not as though earthquakes are constantly happening in Japan, it is just that they are more frequent statistically. Being slightly more aware and prepared is thus advisable, but the precautions don't need to be excessive. One thing however to keep in mind is where you will go in the event of a…(142 words)

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Look up TV antennas images

Look up TV antennas

Look up TV antennas on houses and buildings to check placement of short elements. When you are in Tokyo 23 ward, it is normally pointed toward Tokyo Sky Tree or North East of Tokyo. For example, in case of the attached photo, the antenna is beaming toward the left.(48 words)

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It depends on the hospital images

It depends on the hospital

Japan has public and private specialist and general hospitals. There are also quite a few public and private clinics. Your medical need may influence your choice.All hospitals require initial registration at which time a card will be made for you. If you don't have Japanese health insurance you…(76 words)

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Thanksgiving meals in Yokohama images

Thanksgiving meals in Yokohama

This is not in Tokyo but rather in Yokohama. There is a country club called Yokohama Country and Athletics club which has Thanksgiving dinner every year. There are many foreigners who come and enjoy the delicious turkey and spend time with their family. I go there every year and the food gets bett…(72 words)

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How to be prepared for an Earthquake in Japan? images

How to be prepared for an Earthquake in Japan?

You would be very surprised at the items you can find in Japan for that just-in-case feeling. A lot of the items would be very convenient to have in your bag during your travels around the world, so a leisurely jaunt to Tokyu Hands in Shibuya would be a very educational and helpful experience. Find…(144 words)


Stop by a TRAVELEX! images

Stop by a TRAVELEX!

There are many Travelex stalls in Japan, usually at famous sightseeing areas or major stations. For example, near Kaminari-mon in Asakusa, one of the famous sightseeing spots in Tokyo, there is a small Travelex stall. There is also another one in Yokohama station. Look out for a blue and red sign!(51 words)

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Post Offices Take Most Cards images

Post Offices Take Most Cards

Tokyo post offices accept most foreign ATM cards and can be found in all Japanese cities. They usually have a couple machines and they are often available after the main post office closes. Look for the red T-shaped sign or ask a Japanese person for the yuubinkyoku.(47 words)

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Call 119! images

Call 119!

In Japan, the emergency phone number is 119. Ambulances are free in Japan, so don't hesitate to call for one if the there is a significant emergency. If you do not speak Japanese, it is best to ask a Japanese person nearby to explain the situation to the operator for best results.(51 words)

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Try exploring the local area around you images

Try exploring the local area around you

Most people in Tokyo either intend on staying out all night, until the trains begin in the morning, or make it a point to get to the station early, even before the very last train to their respective destination. However, if you're one of the many who with every intention of returning home for the …(147 words)

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Approach Casually images

Approach Casually

The police boxes placed all over the cities are not necessarily meant to scare you, or keep constant watch on you. I, as an American, have been conditioned somewhat to be afraid of police officers, and always suspicious that I myself am under suspicion for something. This has caused me to take a gr…(132 words)

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Lost anything? Go to the Koban! images

Lost anything? Go to the Koban!

Japanese police boxes are so useful, because the policemen are kind and willing to help people who are having difficulties finding the way. Also, Japanese people tend to be honest and caring for other people – they deliver lost items to the police box, especially if the item looks expensive or is a…(104 words)

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The Post Office is the best place when you need CASH! images

The Post Office is the best place when you need CASH!

In my experience, it's hard for my co-workers from overseas to take out cash by their cards. I found that many cards work well at the Post Office.http://www.jp-bank.japanpost.jp/en/ias/en_ias_index.html(39 words)

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You should enjoy staying at a Tube Hotel called a Capsule Room Hotel!!! images

You should enjoy staying at a Tube Hotel called a Capsule Room Hotel!!!

It's amazing and you can feel another world to stay a Tube Hotel. It's Cool Japan. The price is around USD40 per night.(23 words)

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Safety in Japan images

Safety in Japan

I have heard from some of my foreigner friends that in some countries, people would rather avoid getting involve with the police than seek justice for a small problem. In Japan, you don't have to worry about the police taking advantage of you. Although they can be a hassle at times do the the amoun…(281 words)

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Getting ready for earthquakes images

Getting ready for earthquakes

At Mark Is, the new mall in Minatomirai, on the 4th floor, there is an exhibition on how to prevent yourself from getting hurt by taking some precautions for your house during an earthquake. There were things such as putting attachments that prevent your bookshelves from falling over, locks on draw…(85 words)

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T-site & Ivy Place for gorgeous and fun english books images

T-site & Ivy Place for gorgeous and fun english books

Spend an afternoon browsing the amazing selection of books, have a coffee under the trees, lunch at Ivy Place and just relax. Especially great for cooking books, travel, art and design. There is also an amazing stationary shop AND a starbucks inside! http://tsite.jp/daikanyama/store-service/tsit…(49 words)

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Look for the "Uketsuke", Hospital Care in Japan images

Look for the "Uketsuke", Hospital Care in Japan

Although my experience at hospitals in other countries is limited, I don't think the process at a Japanese hospital is particularly unique. All you have to do when you get to a hospital is to find the "uketsuke" (front desk), which is usually located right by the entrance, and talk to a nurse about…(212 words)

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Need Medical Help in Japan images

Need Medical Help in Japan

This website is a Tokyo city website dedicated entirely for foreign patients seeking medical help in Tokyo. Perfect for you! It is in English and you can search for any hospital in Tokyo. There is also a phone number you can call incase you cannot find a hospital and another number you can call to …(79 words)

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Try to use exact change, or the nearest tenth above images

Try to use exact change, or the nearest tenth above

There may be some other ideas about how to physically use the change after the 1, 5, and 10 yen coins have piled up on you, but I always advise to use the change as efficiently as possible before it gets to that point. One tip I have for how to use your change properly is to always try and match th…(97 words)

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