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Students, activists, entertainers: Minecraft's global appeal

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Since the first version of Minecraft was released to the public 15 years ago, the block-based world-building game has become a global phenomenon. Players of all ages and backgrounds have used the game for everything from educational projects and architecture to building communities and creating artwork. With more than 300… Read


Japan’s wedding gift etiquette rule too expensive, young people in survey say


Japan doesn’t have wedding gift registries. That’s because the expectation is that when guests come to celebrate the newlywed couple, they’ll give cash instead of, say, a toaster or coffeemaker. On the one hand, this saves you the trouble of having to go shopping if you get invited to a wedding.… Read


In rapidly aging China, millions can't afford to retire


After three decades selling homemade buns on the streets of the Chinese city of Xian, 67-year-old Hu Dexi would have liked to slow down. Instead, Hu and his older wife have moved to the edge of Beijing, where they wake at 4 a.m. every day to cook their packed lunch,… Read


A step by step ALT escape plan


Working as an assistant language teacher (ALT) is a common occupation for native English speakers in Japan. Not only does it provide a secure way to move to Japan and start working, but there are always plenty of English teaching jobs available at schools and at eikaiwa (English conversation schools). However, many people who start as… Read


Shinkansen station platforms now have…Baskin Robbins ice cream vending machines


It was a sad day on 31 October last year when Central Japan Railway Company (JR Tokai) ended cart sales on the Tokaido Shinkansen, the popular bullet train line that runs between Tokyo and Osaka and Kyoto. That meant passengers were no longer able to purchase drinks and snacks from the… Read


Should married couples in Japan be allowed to have different family names? Survey investigates


When a couple gets married in Japan, usually the wife takes her husband’s family name. However, it’s not shocking for the guy to give up his family name and take his bride’s instead. It’s not the norm, but it’s definitely something that’s more common in Japan than the U.S. What… Read


Two things to do, and two things not to do, when leaving a traditional Japanese inn


When traveling in Japan, a big part of the appeal of staying in a ryokan, or traditional inn, is that spending the night in one gives you a taste of classical Japanese culture. With an elegant minimalism to their interior design and sumptuous multi-course dining, ryokan allow you to experience old-school… Read


Children’s Day in Japan: A guide to 'Kodomo no Hi'


Things change quickly in Japan. As soon as Hinamatsuri (Girl’s Day) ends and the cherry blossom season dies down, Japanese families start preparing for Golden Week — and even more specifically, for Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day). To the untrained eye, fish swimming in the sky may seem like an odd affair — colorful carp-shaped flags hoisted from… Read


Japanese city encouraging visitors and locals to cosplay as ninja for annual Ninja Festa


Usually, ninja are all about discretion. When an entire town holds an event because of how cool you are, though, how could any shinobi stay hidden? And so it is that this week the city of Iga, Mie Prefecture, will hold the Iga Ueno Ninja Festa this week. The annual event celebrates the history and… Read


What is the average salary in Japan in 2024?


Are you thinking about starting a new career in Japan? Understanding the country’s job market (and finding a better job) demands insight into industry trends. But your most important question is probably, what is the average salary in Japan? Data from Japan’s National Tax Agency and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare… Read

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