Japan

How Safe is Japan?

2020/12/15

Everyone wants to live in a country that is free from violent crime and feels as safe as a village in the Cotswolds. The idealism of a beautiful utopia that never has any mass shootings, robberies, sexual attacks on women. The crime rate in Japan is very low, and Japan is a very safe country to live in. But, unfortunately, there are still some unstable people there as there are in many parts of the world. Maybe the number of them is not so big compared to the other parts of the world when we take Japanese modest nature into account, but still, we have to be careful. As we know, ordinary Japanese people are very helpful, so we can ask them for help when you are in trouble.   Is Japan Safe? They will surely help you and maybe explain the situation to the police as well if you cannot speak Japanese well. The bottom line is, overall Japan is considered a very safe country for travelers. It ranks in the top 10 in the Global Peace Index. In these lists, Japan was ranked fifth out of 158 countries in 2012 and sixth in 2013. Having previously remained around fifth to seventh from 2007 until 2009 and risen to third from 2010 until 2011, Japan has continually ranked highly in the lists.   There are some areas to watch out for Of course, like any country (including your own), Japan has areas that are less safe than others, and travelers should use common sense, ...

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culture

Shogi –

2020/12/15

Shogi also knew as Japanese chess or the Generals' Game, is a two-player strategy board game in the same family as Western (international) chess and is the most popular of a family of chess variants native to Japan. Shōgi means generals. The earliest predecessor of the game, chaturanga, originated in India in the 6th century. Shogi in its present form was played as early as the 16th century, while a direct ancestor without the drop rule was recorded from 1210 in a historical document Nichūreki, which is an edited copy of Shōchūreki and Kaichūreki from the late Heian period (c. 1120). Shogi was the earliest chess variant to allow captured pieces to be returned to the board by the capturing player.   The History Of Shogi - Shogi in its present form was played in Japan as early as the 16th century. It is not clear when chess was brought to Japan. The earliest generally accepted mention of shogi is Shin Saru Gakuki (1058–1064) by Fujiwara Akihira. The oldest archaeological evidence is a group of 16 shogi pieces excavated from the grounds of Kōfuku-Ji in Nara Prefecture. As it was physically associated with a wooden tablet written on in the sixth year of Tenki (1058), the pieces are thought to date from that period. These simple pieces were cut from a writing plaque in the same five-sided shape as modern pieces, with the names of the pieces written on them.   Set Up And Gameplay Shogi starting setup; Black (at the bottom) moves first. Each ...

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Japan

Earthquakes Are Not Uncommon In Japan

2020/12/15

As we all saw recently in Fukushima, in March of 2011, and in Kobe in January of 1995, catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis are a real threat to Japan. Just about every day there is at least one tremor in the country but fortunately, large dangerous earthquakes are relatively rare, but when they do strike they can be deadly. The Japanese have been brought up with these natural occurrences. Children from a very young age are taught what to do in the case of an emergency. It is usually the tourist who panics or is scared of the minor tremor which will generally go unnoticed by the Japanese. But as we have seen in Kobe and the horrific 8.9 magnitude earthquake off Japan’s Tohoku region in March of 2011 earthquakes and follow-up tsunamis can happen without warning, anywhere anytime.   Behavior During An Earthquake Japan has stringent building regulations which make many of the new buildings and subways some of the safest places to be during an earthquake. Water, gas, and power can be cut during a quake so it’s best to avoid naked flames. It also is not a bad idea to save as much water as you can, even filling the bathtub is a fantastic idea as there may be difficulty obtaining fresh water after a serious quake.   The Hotel If you are in your hotel during a quake, it would be best to follow the directions of the hotel’s staff. Japanese hotels will have a safety guide in your room that you ...

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Food

Unagi Kabayaki? Survive the summer of Japan with Eels

2020/12/10

Let’s be honest Japan is known throughout the world for its use of cutting-edge technology to make everyday life easier. In fact, there are hundreds of products in Japan with the sole purpose of increasing strength and alleviating suffering in the sweltering days of a Japanese summer, yet none work as well as unagi (the Anguilla Japonica freshwater eel). This historical food remedy is crunchy and sweet on the outside while remaining succulent and soft on the inside. Unagi is served throughout the year but the peak consumption is during the summer months in most major cities.   What is Unagi? Unagi is the Japanese word for freshwater eel, especially the Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica). Unagi is a common ingredient in Japanese cooking. Unagi is served as part of unadon (sometimes spelled unagi don), especially in menus in Japanese restaurants in Western countries.   The most popular unagi dishes Due to the health hazards of eating raw freshwater fish, eels are always cooked, and in Japanese food, are often served with tare sauce. Kabayaki is unagi that is grilled over hot charcoal, steamed to remove fat, seasoned with a sweet basting sauce, and grilled a final time over hot charcoal. It can be served on a skewer as a hors d ’oeuvre, on top of a bed of rice, or inside a sushi roll.   Unadon & Unaju Unadon Unadon is Kabayaki unagi over a bowl of rice, served as donburi (rice bowl) in a lacquer bowl. Unadon is dripping an original sauce on rice ...

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culture

Sumo Wrestling: It's both a Shinto Ritual and a Sport

2020/12/15

Sumo wrestling or Sumo is a competitive full-contact wrestling sport where a rikishi (wrestler) attempts to force another wrestler out of a circular ring or the Dohyō or into touching the ground with anything other than the soles of his feet. The sport originated in Japan, the only country where it is practiced professionally It is generally considered a Gendai-budō (a modern Japanese martial art), however, this definition is misleading, as the sport has a history spanning many centuries. Many ancient traditions have been preserved in sumo, and even today the sport includes many ritual elements, such as the use of salt purification. This is from the days when sumo was used in the Shinto religion.   Sumo Origins In addition to its use as a trial of strength in combat, sumo has also been associated with Shinto ritual, and even certain shrines carry out forms of ritual dance where a human is said to wrestle with a kami - a Shinto divine spirit, Over most of Japanese, recorded history, sumo's popularity has changed according to the whims of its rulers. Professional sumo (ōzumō) roots trace back to the Edo period in Japan as a form of sporting entertainment. Current professional sumo tournaments began in the Tomioka Hachiman Shrine in 1684 and then were held in the Ekō-in in the Edo period.   The Dohyō Sumo matches take place in a dohyō a ring, 4.55 m (14.9 ft) in diameter and 16.26 m2 (175.0 sq ft) in area, of rice-straw bales on top of a ...

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culture

Maneki Neko: Cat That Strongly Invites Good Luck

2020/12/15

The Maneki-Neko (literally "beckoning cat") is a common Japanese figurine (lucky charm, talisman) which is often believed to bring good luck to the owner. In modern times, they are usually made of ceramic or plastic. The figurine depicts a cat (traditionally a calico Japanese Bobtail) beckoning with an upright paw, and is usually displayed in—often at the entrance of—shops, restaurants, pachinko parlors, and other businesses. The Maneki-Neko is sometimes also called the welcoming cat, lucky cat, money cat, happy cat, raging cat, beckoning cat, or fortune cat in English.   Various Types Maneki-Neko comes in different colors, styles and degrees of ornateness. Common colors are white, black, gold and sometimes red. In addition to ceramic figurines, Maneki-Neko can be found as keychains, piggy banks, air fresheners, house-plant pots, and miscellaneous ornaments, as well as large statues. It is also sometimes called the "Chinese lucky cat" due to its popularity among Chinese merchants. Maneki-Neko can be found with either the right or left paw raised (and sometimes both though this is unusual).   The legs to raise are meaningful The significance of the right and left raised paw differs with time and place. Another interpretation says that a raised left paw attracts money, while a raised right paw protects it. Still, others say that a left paw raised is best for drinking establishments, the right paw for other stores in Japan. Those who hold their liquor well are called "left-handed" (hidari-kiki) in Japanese) Yet another interpretation is that right is for home and the left for ...

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Japan

The Costs of Living In Japan: Is Japan An Expensive Place to Live?

2020/12/15

Living costs in Japan and especially in Tokyo are famous to be among the world's highest. However, if you live outside of central Tokyo, adjust to a Japanese lifestyle, and do not depend too heavily on food and products from your home country, you may be surprised how inexpensive Japan can be. Also in Japan's many dollar shops, you can find goods for less than $1.00 US that you would not find available anywhere else, and some of these are of reasonable quality.   Food Costs Local supermarkets are relatively inexpensive if you stick to Japanese food such as seasonal vegetables, seafood, soya bean products, and rice. If you visit supermarkets shortly before closing time in the evening, you can purchase remaining perishable products at big discounts. There are many restaurants where you can have a full meal for between 500 and 1000 yen. Noodles (ramen, soba, and udon), donburi (for example, beef donburi), curry rice, bibimbap (Korean style donburi), hamburgers, and many more types of dishes are available at such inexpensive restaurants. You can generally find these establishments located around and inside large train stations and in business areas. A meal at a more average restaurant costs roughly between 1,000 and 3,000 yen, while there is no upper price limit when it comes to high-class restaurants such as ryotei. Lunchtime During lunch hours, many restaurants offer inexpensive Teishoku (set menus) at around 1000 yen. Lunchboxes (bento), which are sold in convenience stores and department stores, train stations, and at temporary stands in business areas ...

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Japan

The Difficulties Of Learning The Japanese Language

2020/12/8

It has been said that Japanese is difficult to learn, but perhaps not as difficult as you would think. Whilst it may take a while to come to terms with the huge differences between Japanese and English, the spoken language is actually pretty simple, and the written language can be learned very successfully with a little hard work and logical planning. Obviously more difficult than most European languages, but probably easier than other "exotic languages", the lack of tones is a blessing for westerners.   The Japanese Language Is Not Difficult...? If looked at from a linguistic point of view, Japanese is considered one of the easier languages for a beginner to learn. It has a simple pronunciation scheme and with few exceptions a straightforward set of grammatical rules. Limitations on sentence structure are also quite minimal. The most difficult aspect of learning Japanese is the mastery of the reading and writing of kanji.   Features An interesting characteristic of Japanese is that it is spoken differently if the speaker is a man, woman, or child. There are, for example, many different words for "I", and which version you use depends on which category you fall. An even more confusing aspect is that the speaker must choose the appropriate words depending on the relationship between oneself and the conversant. Another aspect of Japanese that may be hard for foreigners is that there are quite a few Japanese words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings.   Let's talk to Japanese Traditionally the Japanese ...

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culture

The Japanese Work Culture – Over Time Working

2020/12/5

The Japanese government has announced measures to limit the number of overtime employees can do – in an attempt to stop people literally working themselves to death. The Japanese may finally get to spend less time at work, but that doesn't mean they'll use it for shopping. The government is taking aim at the workforce's reputation for long hours, proposing fresh legislation limiting over time, potentially to 45 to 60 hours a month. While working to the point of collapse is associated with Japan, the phrase death from overwork has burrowed into the languages of other Asian countries where employee rights are seemingly weak. There was one such death every 12 days on average in Japan between 2010-2014, official statistics show.   Karoshi Death by overwork is common in Japan where it is known as 'karoshi' The country has the first-longest working hours in the OECD: employees clocked an average of 2,113 hours in 2015, 43 days more per year than the OECD average. The government, businesses, and unions want to reduce this to 1,800 hours by 2020. A recent health ministry report found Japanese slept even less in 2015 than they did in the pressurized 1980s. Corporate Japan’s long-term shift to employing more part-time workers has served to increase the workloads on full-time staff.   Japanese work culture is, however, infused with an idea that exhaustion is more virtuous than excellence — a position that has suited larger companies just fine. Reform attempts are underway. There is an existing policy to name and shame ...

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Drink

Energy Drinks: Drinks that support busy people who have to work hard

2020/11/24

Energy drinks are drinks that contain large doses of caffeine and other legal stimulants. It seems that we have now entered a generation where energy drinks have become so popular among Japanese teenagers and young adults. Japan has become a really busy and active society. Working hours tend to be long and Japanese people depend on coffee or energy drinks that both contain caffeine to start their day. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system, giving you energy and causes you to feel more alert of your everyday surroundings, and gives you that extra energy if you have had a lack of sleep. While some of these drinks contain Chinese herbs and medicines, the nutritional contents generally don't stray too far from popular energy drinks like Red Bull mainly containing water-soluble caffeine, vitamins (primarily B-series), taurine, and niacin. Popular brands of energy drinks in Japan. Lipovitan D Pro S-Cup E Tough Man Oronamin C Tiovita Here is a mini-review on some of the popular energy drink brand market leaders.   Tiovita 2000 Tiovita 2000 is an energy drink sold by the Taiho Pharmaceutical Company. It is part of the lineup of the company's Tiovita energy drinks. It comes in a 100ml bottle. Some of the more popular and engaging drinks include the sports drink range. Tiovita's ingredients are - 2000mg of taurine, 20mg of nicotinamide, 5mg of vitamin B1, 5mg of vitamin B2, 5mg of vitamin B6, 100mg of carnitine, and 50mg of caffeine. Overall the taste is syrupy and has a slight medicine-like taste.   Lipovitan ...

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NEW ENTRY

2020/12/15

How Safe is Japan?

Everyone wants to live in a country that is free from violent crime and feels as safe as a village in the Cotswolds. The idealism of a beautiful utopia that never has any mass shootings, robberies, sexual attacks on women. The crime rate in Japan is very low, and Japan is a very safe country to live in. But, unfortunately, there are still some unstable people there as there are in many parts of the world. Maybe the number of them is not so big compared to the other parts of the world when we take Japanese modest nature into account, but still, we have to be careful. As we know, ordinary Japanese people are very helpful, so we can ask them for help when you are in trouble.   Is Japan Safe? They will surely help you and maybe explain the situation to the police as well if you cannot speak Japanese well. The bottom line is, overall Japan is considered a very safe country for travelers. It ranks in the top 10 in the Global Peace Index. In these lists, Japan was ranked fifth out of 158 countries in 2012 and sixth in 2013. Having previously remained around fifth to seventh from 2007 until 2009 and risen to third from 2010 until 2011, Japan has continually ranked highly in the lists.   There are some areas to watch out for Of course, like any country (including your own), Japan has areas that are less safe than others, and travelers should use common sense, ...

ReadMore

2020/12/15

Shogi –

Shogi also knew as Japanese chess or the Generals' Game, is a two-player strategy board game in the same family as Western (international) chess and is the most popular of a family of chess variants native to Japan. Shōgi means generals. The earliest predecessor of the game, chaturanga, originated in India in the 6th century. Shogi in its present form was played as early as the 16th century, while a direct ancestor without the drop rule was recorded from 1210 in a historical document Nichūreki, which is an edited copy of Shōchūreki and Kaichūreki from the late Heian period (c. 1120). Shogi was the earliest chess variant to allow captured pieces to be returned to the board by the capturing player.   The History Of Shogi - Shogi in its present form was played in Japan as early as the 16th century. It is not clear when chess was brought to Japan. The earliest generally accepted mention of shogi is Shin Saru Gakuki (1058–1064) by Fujiwara Akihira. The oldest archaeological evidence is a group of 16 shogi pieces excavated from the grounds of Kōfuku-Ji in Nara Prefecture. As it was physically associated with a wooden tablet written on in the sixth year of Tenki (1058), the pieces are thought to date from that period. These simple pieces were cut from a writing plaque in the same five-sided shape as modern pieces, with the names of the pieces written on them.   Set Up And Gameplay Shogi starting setup; Black (at the bottom) moves first. Each ...

ReadMore

2020/12/15

Earthquakes Are Not Uncommon In Japan

As we all saw recently in Fukushima, in March of 2011, and in Kobe in January of 1995, catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis are a real threat to Japan. Just about every day there is at least one tremor in the country but fortunately, large dangerous earthquakes are relatively rare, but when they do strike they can be deadly. The Japanese have been brought up with these natural occurrences. Children from a very young age are taught what to do in the case of an emergency. It is usually the tourist who panics or is scared of the minor tremor which will generally go unnoticed by the Japanese. But as we have seen in Kobe and the horrific 8.9 magnitude earthquake off Japan’s Tohoku region in March of 2011 earthquakes and follow-up tsunamis can happen without warning, anywhere anytime.   Behavior During An Earthquake Japan has stringent building regulations which make many of the new buildings and subways some of the safest places to be during an earthquake. Water, gas, and power can be cut during a quake so it’s best to avoid naked flames. It also is not a bad idea to save as much water as you can, even filling the bathtub is a fantastic idea as there may be difficulty obtaining fresh water after a serious quake.   The Hotel If you are in your hotel during a quake, it would be best to follow the directions of the hotel’s staff. Japanese hotels will have a safety guide in your room that you ...

ReadMore

2020/12/10

Unagi Kabayaki? Survive the summer of Japan with Eels

Let’s be honest Japan is known throughout the world for its use of cutting-edge technology to make everyday life easier. In fact, there are hundreds of products in Japan with the sole purpose of increasing strength and alleviating suffering in the sweltering days of a Japanese summer, yet none work as well as unagi (the Anguilla Japonica freshwater eel). This historical food remedy is crunchy and sweet on the outside while remaining succulent and soft on the inside. Unagi is served throughout the year but the peak consumption is during the summer months in most major cities.   What is Unagi? Unagi is the Japanese word for freshwater eel, especially the Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica). Unagi is a common ingredient in Japanese cooking. Unagi is served as part of unadon (sometimes spelled unagi don), especially in menus in Japanese restaurants in Western countries.   The most popular unagi dishes Due to the health hazards of eating raw freshwater fish, eels are always cooked, and in Japanese food, are often served with tare sauce. Kabayaki is unagi that is grilled over hot charcoal, steamed to remove fat, seasoned with a sweet basting sauce, and grilled a final time over hot charcoal. It can be served on a skewer as a hors d ’oeuvre, on top of a bed of rice, or inside a sushi roll.   Unadon & Unaju Unadon Unadon is Kabayaki unagi over a bowl of rice, served as donburi (rice bowl) in a lacquer bowl. Unadon is dripping an original sauce on rice ...

ReadMore

2020/12/15

Sumo Wrestling: It's both a Shinto Ritual and a Sport

Sumo wrestling or Sumo is a competitive full-contact wrestling sport where a rikishi (wrestler) attempts to force another wrestler out of a circular ring or the Dohyō or into touching the ground with anything other than the soles of his feet. The sport originated in Japan, the only country where it is practiced professionally It is generally considered a Gendai-budō (a modern Japanese martial art), however, this definition is misleading, as the sport has a history spanning many centuries. Many ancient traditions have been preserved in sumo, and even today the sport includes many ritual elements, such as the use of salt purification. This is from the days when sumo was used in the Shinto religion.   Sumo Origins In addition to its use as a trial of strength in combat, sumo has also been associated with Shinto ritual, and even certain shrines carry out forms of ritual dance where a human is said to wrestle with a kami - a Shinto divine spirit, Over most of Japanese, recorded history, sumo's popularity has changed according to the whims of its rulers. Professional sumo (ōzumō) roots trace back to the Edo period in Japan as a form of sporting entertainment. Current professional sumo tournaments began in the Tomioka Hachiman Shrine in 1684 and then were held in the Ekō-in in the Edo period.   The Dohyō Sumo matches take place in a dohyō a ring, 4.55 m (14.9 ft) in diameter and 16.26 m2 (175.0 sq ft) in area, of rice-straw bales on top of a ...

ReadMore

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