Archive for category Japan

Jun
20

Here comes the heat again

Posted by on Tuesday, 20 June, 2006

Well, although summer has not officially started here in Japan (it will not until after the rainy season) it has gotten pretty darn hot recently. Out of the last four days, we’ve seen temperatures around 30 every day except last Sunday when it was raining the whole day.

Still it is pretty nice, because has to savor these days of “pre-summer” before the “tsuyu-ake” (end of the rainy season) and average temperatures rise about 5 degrees in one go. Then we have a period of 1-2 months of scorching heat with the added bonus of 60-70% humidity! Not very nice, and I am very very very jealous of my expat colleagues who can take a whole month of vacation off and miss nearly all of this heat.

Coolbiz cool

With the summer comes another fun happening and that is the Coolbiz campaign. If you read the old article at that link you can see the details. Basically I don’t think it’s going to help that much in the long run, there must be better things to save energy on than the air conditioners at work. Maybe if people went home a bit earlier from the office instead, then we would see some more savings.

Anyway, there is actually some good things about Coolbiz and that is the fact that since its launch last year, there has actually been some innovations in the clothing industry. I’ve seen ads on the subway for new Coolbiz-suits which are supposed to be very light and cool. This appeals to me, because even if I am wearing a summer suit it is way too hot for me, so I am interested in special super-light-weight suits such as these launched by Suit Aoyama and these ones from Konaka

If anyone has ever tried one of these, let me know – because I don’t want to spend the money if they are not really worth it of course.

Jun
10

The sturdily power of alpine plants

Posted by on Saturday, 10 June, 2006

My girlfriend just bought some new health supplements and reading the package cracked me up. Would you trust something which had this printed on it:

This supplement has appeared for you to bring out a beautiful figure hidden inside of you. Recieve the sturdily power of alpine plants for your beauty. People will talk about your beauty soon.

I’m a bit hesitant… But I will wait until she tries them; maybe they really contain good stuff from the Alps!!

Jun
02

Japan’s Good, Bad, and Strange

Posted by on Friday, 2 June, 2006

I wanted to share with you three lists; one is the top things I love about Japan. The second contains the things I hate, and the last one is a list of things I just don’t understand about Japan!

5 Things I Love About Japan

Low crime makes you feel secure whenever and whereever you are
The food is simply marvellous. And the variety you can get is top notch.
– You are never bored in a city like Tokyo. Always something to do!
– Japanese people are extremely service-minded and courteous.
Public transportation is abundant, on time, and clean!

5 Things I Hate About Japan

Earthquakes – sooner or later there’s gonna be a big one.
– It’s expensive to live here, and apartments are generally rather small.
– Japanese people’s lack of flexibility can be frustrating.
Honne and Tatemae
– Japanese working hours tend to be ridiculously long.

5 Things I Simply Don’t Understand About Japan

Fried fish and rice for breakfast
– Why most houses & apartments only have frosted windows.
– The fascination of Pachinko.
J-Pop
– Japanese people’s patience to wait countless hours for anything.

May
31

Japan the fabulous

Posted by on Wednesday, 31 May, 2006

It has been a hectic few weeks with few updates, and I am truly sorry about that. I have had numerous ideas for posts, but lack of time has stopped me.

Now I am overseas on a business trip, it is the first time in two years that I am back in my “homeland” of Europe, and it has made me reflect on my situtation as a foreigner in Japan.

There are surely a lot of things about Japan that I absolutely despise and cannot understand; but there are so many more things that are so great they should not be underestimated. Just a simple thing as shopping on weekends. I know it differs from country to country in Europe, but I think Sweden is sort average when it comes to business hours. How on earth are you supposed to enjoy shopping on weekends (the only real time you have time, if you have a full time job) if stores open at noon and close at 4 PM? Further, I estimate 75% of all shops are fully closed on Sundays, and the ones that are open are open as short (or shorter) as on Saturdays.

This is never a problem in Japan, where most shops are always open from 10-11 AM to 8-9 PM everyday including weekends. Sure, stores are occasionally closed – but what is most common is that many department stores are closed on a regular weekday instead; and not necessarily once a week, but once a month or less. Fabulous. Truly fabulous.

Speaking of shopping. (Sounds like I love shopping… I don’t, but hey, sometimes you gotta do it, and it’s better to do it in a fun, relaxed way isn’t it) The amount and variety of products available in Japan is purely amazing. Speaking in European terms, I doubt there is a city in Europe, maybe except London, that has a greater market for consumer products. And I am not only talking about luxury goods or electronics (where Tokyo undoubtedly is #1), but also cheap shopping is fantastic. Where else are the cities filled with “100-yen stores” (where everything costs exactly 100 yen, or close to; i.e. roughly $.90) that has everything from napkins, cutlery, cups, frying pans, rakes, handbags, chips, noodles, sodas, etc. etc. etc. There is one big myth about Japan and that is that everything is expensive. It is utterly false. The living expenses as in rent etc. may be high, but otherwise you can live dirt cheap here. And it’s fabulous.

May
15

Disposable chopsticks slapped with tax

Posted by on Monday, 15 May, 2006

I fear this might be the first step to the downfall of the whole Japanese society:

China slaps tax on chopsticks exports

I foresee chaos in the streets. It will be a dog eat dog situation, where only the strong will be able to continue to eat with their cherished chopsticks! The rest will have to make do with a spoon, or, gasp, fork and knife.