mikekato's Advice List

mikekato image mikekato United States 27 years in Japan

I've been living in Japan now for 27 years... and counting! Still having fun and learning new things each day, too.
I'm running a company, Japanese Greats Co., Ltd., that is providing solutions mostly for SMEs in Japan with great products and ideas in their international endeavors. We aim to make the world a better place by utilizing some of the great things Japan has to offer.

Start Train-ing! images

Start Train-ing!

There are sooo many trains in the Tokyo Metropolitan area! It is a maze for people who live here; for a visitor, it may seem a huge mess. But getting around by train is often the best way to get around, so start your train-ing early in your visit.I recommend two things to make train riding ea…(241 words)

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mikekato

Train Tokyo Bus Railways
Just a tad to remember images

Just a tad to remember

Soy sauce, or shoyu, is one of Japan's most important condiments. It is used more in Kanto (around Tokyo) than in Kansai (around Osaka), but it is used throughout Japan. it is usually on the table in most restaurants and in every home. The most important thing to remember when using soy sauce is…(108 words)

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mikekato

Tokyo Soy sauce Osaka Salt Kansai Kanto
Taking the bus in Tokyo images

Taking the bus in Tokyo

With so many buses and bus stations, how can anyone get around Tokyo by bus? Although you can get fairly near anywhere by trains, sometimes the bus is the best way to get around. Sometimes a bus takes a much more direct route between two spots. One clue is if you think two places are pretty clos…(142 words)

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mikekato

Tokyo Train Ticket Bus Subway
Bathroom slippers images

Bathroom slippers

The most important thing to remember when you use bathroom slippers: Don't forget to take them off when you finish using the restroom. it is sometimes very difficult to remember, because you were wearing room slippers before you went in. The faux pas is going to get caught pretty quickly - the ba…(99 words)

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mikekato

Etiquette Slippers
Nomihoudai: All you can drink (but not too much) images

Nomihoudai: All you can drink (but not too much)

Nomihoudai - all you can drink - is a very customary service in a Japanese pub. The service usually includes all of the drinks in one part of the menu, usually beer and some mixed drinks, and sometimes wine. Nomihoudai usually has a time limitation, such as 2 or 3 hours. But as is common in Japa…(195 words)

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mikekato

Drink Nomihoudai (All you can drink) Beer Izakaya Wine
Life's a Beach! images

Life's a Beach!

In the summer, many Japanese beaches enjoy a "kaisuiyoku," literally meaning an ocean bathtub. It is the only time of year that there are lifeguards at most Japanese beaches. During the brief season, many of the beaches have beach houses, where there are lockers, showers, bars, and great festival…(99 words)

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mikekato

Tokyo Music Kamakura Beaches Enoshima Island Summer
Traditional Japanese lodging images

Traditional Japanese lodging

The two most common traditional Japanese lodging facilities are ryokan and minshuku. The biggest differences between the two is usually the price and type of services offered. A ryokan is a full service facility, usually accompanied by a fairly high price. Many ryokan are located in popular tour…(98 words)

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mikekato

Japanese inn Onsen Lodging Minshuku
Leave the dog images

Leave the dog

The most popular meeting place in Shibuya is, by far, at the Hachiko statue, the famous dog. But not only is the place crowded, but the odor of tobacco is extremely difficult to bear for a non-smoker. The best place near Hachiko is inside the green train car located in the plaza area. However, t…(71 words)

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mikekato

Train Shibuya Museum
Meeting someone in Shinjuku images

Meeting someone in Shinjuku

The most popular meeting spot in Shinjuku tends to be in front of the Studio Alta building. The building is close to the station and is convenient to shopping and nightlife on the east side of the station. But if you are either coming from the west side, or meeting someone staying at any of the m…(125 words)

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mikekato

Shopping Shinjuku Building Police
Dagashi-ya images

Dagashi-ya

The most interesting places to get snacks in Japan are at dagashi-ya, which means, literally cheap snack store. Dagashi are mostly very inexpensive candies and other snack items that have been around for many years, especially in the mid-Showa post-war period. While the prices have gone up since …(101 words)

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mikekato

Tokyo Shinjuku Shibuya Akihabara
Lost without Translation images

Lost without Translation

Don't worry, in most places in Tokyo, you're not far from someplace easy to navigate. Try asking anyone you meet. Some people may say they can't speak English, but they should be able to direct you to the nearest train station, or "eki." If not, ask for the nearest "koban." The police boxes are…(96 words)

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mikekato

Tokyo Train Police Train station
Going wild in Tokyo images

Going wild in Tokyo

Ueno Zoo is by far the most well known zoo in Tokyo. It is especially well known for its most popular animal, the Giant Panda. But possibly the best zoo in Tokyo is the Tama Zoo, in the foothills west of Tokyo. The zoo is spread out over a huge area, so wear good shoes. One of the highlights is…(107 words)

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mikekato

Tokyo Bus Ueno Shoes Ueno Zoo
Making tasty okonomiyaki images

Making tasty okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki means, literally, "cooked to your own preference." At a restaurant, take a look around and see how others cook it. Making a pancake and letting the first side cook is reasonably easy, But taking the special spatulas in both hands and flipping it in a single motion takes practice. Ord…(58 words)

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mikekato

Restaurant Okonomiyaki