Lifestyle

Does Japan’s five-yen coin need a redesign?

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On their first trip to Japan, many travelers are struck by how distinct the design of the five-yen coin is. With its bright gold color and prominent hole in the middle, getting a five-yen coin at the money exchange counter or as change when making a purchase makes it feel like… Read

Lifestyle

Roving vans in Japan provide mobile banking, food from home for Brazilian community

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Japan's nearly 200,000-strong Brazilian immigrant community live in pockets scattered across the middle of the country, clustered around auto parts factories or warehouses where they have jobs. To reach them, Brazilian companies have adopted mobile businesses, sending vans around the countryside selling traditional pastries, Portuguese language magazines and other goods… Read

Lifestyle

Why is the Japanese kanji for '4' so frustratingly weird?

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One of the most intimidating things about learning Japanese is the writing system. There are three different sets of characters you’ll need to become proficient in, and while two of them, hiragana and katakana, aren’t too difficult to master, kanji, the set originally imported from China, is a high hurdle. Japan’s Ministry of… Read

BOOK CORNER

Fast-paced thriller puts Japan and its Asian neighbors in the spotlight

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"The Spy Across the Table" begins during a kabuki performance in Washington DC with a backstage double murder resulting in a commission for Jim Brodie, the art dealer cum private investigator, from no less than the First Lady of the United States. But as Brodie was personally acquainted with both of… Read

Lifestyle

No culling of animals again in Kanagawa in 2016

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The number of dogs and cats that had to be culled at the Kanagawa Prefectural Animal Protection Center in FY2016 was zero. That number has remained at zero for four years since FY2013 for dogs, and three years since FY2014 for cats. Going a step further, the Kanagawa Prefectural Government… Read

Lifestyle

Hotel in Osaka has discounts for female bar customers who wear high heels

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While there are comfort and traction advantages to wearing flat shoes, one hotel in Japan is offering women an economic incentive to slip into a pair of high heels. Among the dining and drinking options at the Hilton Osaka is the cafe/bar My Place, which just opened at the end of March. Hoping to… Read

Lifestyle

Vintage kimonos redesigned into wedding dresses will take your breath away

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Kyoto-based wedding planner Watabe Wedding recently announced that they have started making their unique line of “Shoen” dresses available on a rental basis. And what makes this line of dresses so unique? The dresses are all made from authentic antique furisode kimonos. Watabe Wedding first released the Shoen line of dresses in… Read

Lifestyle

Japan limbers up with monkey bars, radio drills

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At the stroke of 1 p.m., a group of Tokyo IT workers spring from their desks for a few minutes of rigorous bending, stretching and thrusting as a voice on the radio instructs them -- "ichi, ni, san (one, two, three)". The suited staff are taking part in a regular… Read

Lifestyle

Rain & vows: Why is June a wedding season in Japan?

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There are three common types of weddings in Japan: a “paper” wedding, where you just sign the relevant documents and you’re good to go; a traditional Japanese wedding at a Shinto shrine, and the recently more common Western-style ceremonies held at pseudo-wedding chapels with “foreign priests” who may or may… Read

Lifestyle

Beppu Project revitalizes traditional industries in Oita

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A brand set up by a non-profit group to promote goods from Oita Prefecture is boosting not only sales but also well-being in a community fighting the effects of rural depopulation and an ageing society. By creating Oita Made, in 2013, the Beppu Project planned to support local producers by… Read

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