Lifestyle

Shared history: Sengan-en stately home in Kagoshima sits at heart of UK–Japan relations

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Back in 1863, UK–Japan relations “got off to a bad start” in Kagoshima, admits Sheffield-born Alex Bradshaw. Now, 154 years after Royal Navy warships bombarded the city on the island of Kyushu in retaliation for an unfortunate confrontation, the public relations manager for the Sengan-en traditional Japanese garden and stately… Read

Lifestyle

How to polish a knife: Watch as a rusty piece of Japanese metal becomes a sharp, shiny blade

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With a long history of blade-making that stretches back to the time of the samurai, Japan continues to be known as one of the best producers of quality knives. Here to prove that point is a story from Jun, one half of well-known YouTube couple Rachel and Jun, who often shares… Read

Lifestyle

Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to

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It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie "The Shining," where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck. He was a busboy. The job didn't pay much. But Doyle quickly learned lessons that served him for years as he rose to become the… Read

Lifestyle

Amusement park opens doors to dogs, lets animals on rides with their owners

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While it can’t compete with the star power of the costumed characters at Tokyo Disneyland or Universal Studios Japan, Fuji-Q Highland, an amusement park in Yamanashi Prefecture, has been attracting day-trippers from the Tokyo area since the late 1960s. It’s best known for its thrill rides, such as the Fujiyama roller coaster… Read

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

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