Claire's Advice List

Claire image Claire Belgium 20 years in Japan

Being in Japan is like having your birthday everyday: everyday, you get a surprise!

Kamakura: there is a reason why! images

Kamakura: there is a reason why!

If you like both, Kamakura is a sure spot. There are many beautiful places in Kamakura and it is tough to sort them out and make choices. But if you like to take your time, try to go on a week day, and visit the Great Buddha, Hase tera and Gorakuji.Well, this is the ABC of basics but there …(391 words)

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Claire

Kamakura Tera (Temple) Visit Sea Cherry blossom Lunch
The Beast and the Beauty! images

The Beast and the Beauty!

Japanese modern urban architecture is not always a success. Buildings of the 1980’s are not «just getting old». They are old, and crumpy and you can see that they are aching. And, yes, they are quite ugly. You can pick them out quite easily: very squared, monotone, and covered either with colored …(431 words)

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Claire

Roppongi Hotel Restaurant architecture
Don’t be fooled by appearances! images

Don’t be fooled by appearances!

Fashion and appearances are of vital importance in Japan. So why do Japanese businessmen all look similar?To start with the conclusion, if I may, unfashion is a kind of fashion. Let me explain it with the Japanese angle. Like anywhere else, fashion in Japan is a statement of belonging to a com…(359 words)

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Claire

Fashion Visit Business
A place that leads you back in time! images

A place that leads you back in time!

The other day, I needed a café to get myself alive and kicking and I entered the Virgin coffee shop in Roppongi, located at the corner of a 35 years old building, not very far from Gonpachi, along the highway. This is in the same building as the eclectic boutique hotel H&R Roppongi. If you stay th…(372 words)

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Claire

Roppongi Coffee shop
If you are an ancient car freak! images

If you are an ancient car freak!

This museum is located in Nagakute. It is a bit far from Nagoya city center, in a place where there is not much of anything else, really. But you can go there easily with the metro and then the "linimo". Linimo is this line that was build for the Nagoya Expo in 2005. It is a magnetic levitation tra…(174 words)

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Claire

Museum Visit Nagoya
Museum of Industry and Technology images

Museum of Industry and Technology

Nagoya is usually not on touristic tour in Japan. But if you are on business there, and you have some time to spend, or, if you are with your children and you want to attract their interest to science, or, they do love science, there is one place you want to visit: the Toyota Commemorative …(264 words)

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Claire

Museum Visit Nagoya
If you get sick in Japan... but not enough to go to the doctor images

If you get sick in Japan... but not enough to go to the doctor

Well, it can be a cold, a hangover, jetlag, ...There are plenty of pharmacies in Japan. The thing is, they do not always look like pharmacy. They usually sell a lot of different things that you do not expect to find in a pharmacy.Such as beauty product like shampoos, shavers, hair dying pro…(190 words)

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Claire

Beauty Medicine
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Gunma images

Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Gunma

You can find nature in Japan! And you may find it about 1hour and a half away from Tokyo: in Gunma prefecture.There is that contemporary art museum in the middle of the mountain that is fabulous. It is managed by the Hara Museum, and hosts collections that do not fit in the mother museum based …(193 words)

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Claire

Art Museum Tokyo Visit
Show me your socks, and I'll tell if if you have a tear images

Show me your socks, and I'll tell if if you have a tear

When in Japan, there will be many occasions to take your shoes off:visiting a lab? take off your shoesa temple: off they goa Japanese restaurant: all shoes stay at the entranceJapanese people are socks freaks. They have all kind of colors and patterns. 5 fingers's socks, tabi-esque 2 fi…(149 words)

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Claire

Visit Shoes Slippers Restaurant
Japanese vaudeville images

Japanese vaudeville

If you want to experience Japanese traditional theater but Kabuki and Noh are too esoteric for you, try the vaudeville.You will have the experience of kimono, geisha and all the samurai-ism you crave for and on top of that you will get much much more:- an autograph by the artists before the p…(380 words)

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Claire

Tokyo Yokohama Asakusa Theatre
Do you need a taxi? images

Do you need a taxi?

There are plenty of taxi in Japan. They are cheap, easy, they won't try to cheat on you, they have white lace cover seats and they are safe. You even feel like a VIP when the driver has white gloves. But their driver might not understand other language than Japanese, and worse, he might not kno…(388 words)

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Claire

Taxicab Tokyo City Trip Kyoto
I appreciate the thought, not the gift... images

I appreciate the thought, not the gift...

It never happened to you? Then throw me the first stone!In Japanese, there is a special word for that: Arigatai meiwaku. Litteraly, the "embarrassment that you have to thank for". The thing is, while being very much happy to know that I was part of your thought while you were abroad, I real…(284 words)

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Claire

Ginza Airport Souvenir Mountain Nature Kabuki
Yet another place to visit in Kyoto: images

Yet another place to visit in Kyoto:

Tadao Ando is one of the most famous modern architect in Japan. I am no architecture expert so I will not talk about his works.He has created a garden in Kyoto. What is most extraordinary about this garden, is that there is no vegetation. absolutely not. But there are reproductions of the most …(162 words)

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Claire

Kyoto Visit
2 sushi place you need to visit... images

2 sushi place you need to visit...

2 streets behind the Matsuya department store, there is a small sushi shop called Marui. Their fish come from Tsukiji market directly. Price is very reasonable. You get a lunch for 900 or 1000 yen and in the evening, you also have some menu possibilities that will not let you leave with empty p…(209 words)

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Claire

Sushi Visit Ginza Department store Tsukiji Evening Lunch
Umbrella and Japan: a love affair images

Umbrella and Japan: a love affair

Japanese people have a gift to feel when it is going to rain. As soon as the first rain drop drops, they all get their umbrella open. I come from Belgium. In Belgium, it rains a lot, and often. Rain has many feelings: cold, big drops, small drops, a wall of rain, ... Nevertheless, nobody has um…(405 words)

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Claire

Umbrella Shopping Convenience store Department store Souvenir Bus
About ONIGIRI... and O CHA TSUKE images

About ONIGIRI... and O CHA TSUKE

Well, the easy way is to get them at your closest and favorite combine store. But, you can prepare them yourself. All you need is:- rice- a sheet of dried alga or if you do not like it, some sesame- salt- something to put inside: basically, anything you like. Purist will use the salty and a…(290 words)

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Claire

Onigiri (Rice ball) Tea Winter Izakaya Sashimi (Raw fish) Umeboshi
Kyoto lovely spot to stay images

Kyoto lovely spot to stay

Kyoto is THE place to visit, and visit again, and again. It does not matter how many time you go, there is always a new wonder to discover. Flee markets such as the one of Toji (every 21st of the month) where you will find nice Japanese objet from kimono to ceramics..., or such as public bath s…(243 words)

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Claire

Kyoto Hotel River Kimono Wine Visit Evening
When visiting Kyoto... do not forget the Gold Pagoda images

When visiting Kyoto... do not forget the Gold Pagoda

I love Kyoto. It is a city with a soul. A city where people actually live. (weird to so but when living in Tokyo, Kyoto feels like a real city with people!) I often go there for my job (tough life, yes, I know!) and usually, I visit a new place, of some of my favorites: Adashino, a bit far in t…(341 words)

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Claire

Kyoto Cherry blossom Mountain Nature Castle Snow Visit Imperial Palace
The must-do of Japan: get a "hair-spa" images

The must-do of Japan: get a "hair-spa"

Or when you want to relax, enjoy time for yourself, get a nice hair brushing, refresh, get rid of your jet lag, all you need to do is pick up one of the numerous hair salons and ask for a head-spa.It takes 2 hours of your time, but, it is totally worth it. The hairdressers in Japan are doing ma…(187 words)

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Claire

Hair Zone Beauty
In Praise of Shadows images

In Praise of Shadows

Japan has raised lavatory facilities to a palatable topic. Hygiene is very important here, and of course, toilets should reflect your concern. Even if you are in the wildest place of Japan, in a rush, don't worry, you will always find a clean, hygienic, welcoming toilet. If you are in crowded area…(431 words)

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Claire

Tokyo Train Train station Hair Public toilet
Japanese habits that you catch without noticing... images

Japanese habits that you catch without noticing...

With friends, we have created a list of Japanese habits that makes Japanese people soooo Japanese. The thing is, these habits rubs off on us too so, here's the diagnostic test (short version), hold on with me!You need to check the number of habits that you have.- you rush to get your train …(564 words)

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Claire

Train Summer Building Music Cherry blossom Taxicab Cherry Hair Surgical mask Kabuki
the emergence of small market! images

the emergence of small market!

If you want to get local vegetables and products, you can get them at the "cooperatives" if you are not in any large city center and if you have a car. You can also shop at small markets: the posh (and expensive) one is located in Aoyama, close to the UN University. There is another one in Yurakuch…(137 words)

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Claire

City Coffee
Omnipresent "KOBAN" - translated as "police detached station"? images

Omnipresent "KOBAN" - translated as "police detached station"?

You have seen them! They are everywhere, omnipresent, nearly invisible and they are among us: the KOBAN. Koban are small police stations, detached from the main office and in charge of peace within a small territory. Usually, the policemen and women are in the little station, either sitting or …(263 words)

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Claire

Police Tokyo Bicycle
Be polite in the train - a follow-up of other posts images

Be polite in the train - a follow-up of other posts

I would also add in the don't list:- do not sleep and fall on your neighbor; their shoulders are not pillows- do not put the music to high on your headphonesand some do, please, ...- do step into the train and really go inside - do not stop at the very in trance of the car- do give your…(218 words)

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Claire

Train Shopping Music Coffee
109: ichi maru kyuu images

109: ichi maru kyuu

The mecca for fashionista is 109, a round shaped building in Shibuya. This is the ultimate fashionista experience!The sales-Gyaru that you meet there are in fact seasoned businesswomen that are experiencing the fashion that they create, selling them with a lot of tact and fun, and they also…(103 words)

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Claire

Building Shibuya Fashion
Try all the buttons images

Try all the buttons

I like the empirical way of doing things.You can try pushing all the buttons, but I recommend not at the same time, and while sitting.I actually try them while standing up and watching, because scientific testing does not necessarily exclude wariness. But it can be quite,..., splashing.(49 words)

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Claire

 
Odaiba and RAinbow bridge images

Odaiba and RAinbow bridge

For a 12-15k run, and to get a breathtaking view of Tokyo bay from the Rainbow bridge: make a loop from Tsukiji market to Kachidoki, to Harumi to Toyosu and then go to Odaiba. If you want to run more, you can circle odaiba and then cross the Rainbow bridge, run in front of Hamarikyu park and then g…(88 words)

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Claire

Tokyo Park Odaiba Tsukiji
a boy/girlfriend and money; finger counting is also different images

a boy/girlfriend and money; finger counting is also different

when someone is talking about someone else's boy/girlfriend they might not say the wooooord, but use their little finger up. Easy to do, close your hand, fingers looking towards you and raise the little finger. Everyone will understand.Money. In Europe, we use the thumb and the forefinger in a …(327 words)

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Claire

Restaurant Coin
Do what the people around you do or ask you to do! images

Do what the people around you do or ask you to do!

Most of the time, there is nothing to do.When there is an earthquake that feels longer, stronger than normal, you can switch the radio on and listen to the information that they will give. You can also rely on internet meteo data to know where it did happen, if there is any risk of tsunami (if …(304 words)

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Claire

Drink Sport Shoes Earthquake Surgical mask Medicine
ohayo gozaimasu gives a sense of belonging images

ohayo gozaimasu gives a sense of belonging

Ohayo gozaimasu is what we usually say in the morning, before switching to konichiwa. But it is also used as a greeting among members of a community, or at the office, usually a community that will perform some tough job or sports together. It gives a sense of belonging. This ohayo gozaimas…(57 words)

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Claire

Sport Greeting
to protect yourself from other people's cold images

to protect yourself from other people's cold

Yes, as all the other sempais say, the masks are for protecting yourself from pollen, and to protect others from your your virus and cold.I think it is also a way to protect yourself from other people's virus and cold, when you feel weak. No Japanese people would admit this of course but it is …(189 words)

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Claire

Police Surgical mask
Maruzen in Marunouchi images

Maruzen in Marunouchi

Maruzen is one of the big bookstore chain with Kinokuniya.The one in Marunouchi is in Oazo building, 20 meters away from Tokyo station Marunouchi North exit. They have everything you would want: all kind of literature, and also a huge collection of art and science, including economics and b…(103 words)

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Claire

Tokyo Shopping Building Art Marunouchi Cuisine Literature
mosquito repellent incense images

mosquito repellent incense

The Japanese name is KATORI-SENKOI am living on the 39th floor of a building and there is not much mosquito there up my place. I think it is because there is no tree so high. The only one we found climbed up with the elevators.But the smell of katori senko is so nice and so reminiscent …(115 words)

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Claire

Building Summer
Strawberries in winter of course! images

Strawberries in winter of course!

I have always wondered why you find strawberries in winter only in Japan!Of course, you do need them to decorate your whipped cream Christmas cake. It is a must but it should not be the only reason!In Belgium, where I come from, strawberries are a summer time delicacy. You start picking the…(109 words)

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Claire

Winter Fruits Christmas Summer
The smell of YUZU images

The smell of YUZU

Yuzu is a fruit I have never found anywhere else. It is a kind of hybrid between a mandarine and a lemon, and has a very small dimensions. It smells great, just in the middle of a mandarine, a lemon and oregano.You can use yuzu in many ways, all of them for its aroma:- as a juice in a…(110 words)

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Claire

Tempura Juice Yuzu
Your inner-monster images

Your inner-monster

Japanese monsters are totally different from Occidental one.There also are much more frightening because they are not any entity that you can pinpoint and kill, something different from you. No no nooo. The Japanese monsters emanates from your dark side!Go back to the 10th century: litteratur…(319 words)

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Claire

 
The most popular is to not expose your skin to the sun. images

The most popular is to not expose your skin to the sun.

For this, Japanese women recommend:- UV sunscreen (face and arms), with a protection 50++ - gloves that go up to the shoulder, even if it feels very hot- sunshade umbrella- stockings and UV cut material based clothes are a mustWell, sun and light are good for generating vitamin D natura…(102 words)

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Claire

Umbrella
Kamakura images

Kamakura

Kamakura is one hour away from Tokyo, on the Yokosuka line.You can enjoy the mountain, the beach and walk to Enoshima. Temples, with the great Buddha statue is a must while quite touristic. It is impressive though. There are other beautiful temples, around Hase and Kita Kamakura. In automn, the…(84 words)

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Claire

Tokyo Tea Kamakura Coffee Mountain Enoshima Island
Tsukishima Mizukake Matsuri images

Tsukishima Mizukake Matsuri

Tsukishima is one of the small island in Tokyo Bay. It is famous for its monjayaki street today. Tsukishima in English mean the Island of the Moon, which is quite poetic, but it used to be a place for fishing in the past (it must be why it is called so as fishing occurs early morning, before th…(179 words)

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Claire

Japanese festivals Tokyo Sea Hair
DAIKON - turnip for Hagrid images

DAIKON - turnip for Hagrid

Daikon is a vegetable, that has the shape of a carot, but its dimension are tripled. It has the color and taste of turnit. Daikon can be used either as a vegetable, or as a seasoning. As a vegetable, you may find it in salad, used just as carrots can be, or cooked in pot-au-feu. You can grill i…(128 words)

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Claire

Miso Tempura Miso soup Vinegar Seasoning