Japan Yesterday

Princess Diana turns heads in 1986 Japan

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Two days before arriving in Osaka, Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997), fainted. They had been walking for hours, from stand to stand, at the Expo ’86 World Fair in Vancouver, Canada. Finally, at the California Pavilion exhibit, Diana could not take another step. She placed her hand on Prince Charles’s… Read


Choosing your own bicycle in Japan


Japan is a country for people who love bicycles. High gas prices, convenient roads, and safety laws make cycling a cheaper alternative than cars or trains for many people. Moreover, riding bicycles allows you to explore anything interesting en route and get a more local feel while connecting the major points of interest… Read


Tokyo’s new buses with onboard capsule toy gacha machines stocked with very appropriate prizes

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There are certain places in Japan where you can pretty much always find capsule toy vending machines. Electronics shops, for example, usually have a row of them near their entrance or in the corner of their toy/model section, and they’re common at major train stations and airports too. Now, though, you’re… Read


Ikigai in practice: Leading the life you want


The most popular genre of nonfiction, self-help books have been informal guides on everything for decades—but did you know the earliest extant forms dated back to Ancient Egypt? Or that the term “self-help” itself was taken from a book touting mid-Victorian era liberalism titled "Self Help" by Samuel Smiles published in 1859?… Read


It’s time to talk about no-mask anxiety


Before the sweltering summer heat kicked in, the Japanese government relaxed its guidelines for wearing masks, advising people to remove them where possible to avoid heat-related incidents. For some people, this was music to their ears. No more sweaty chins or running back home when you were halfway to the station and… Read


Flush your prayers down the toilet at this unique Japanese temple


You can find many temples around Japan where people go to pray for good relationships, but there are some temples designed to help people break off relationships too. ▼ One such temple where you can sever bad ties is Mantokuji Temple in Gunma Prefecture. During the Edo Period (1603-1868), Mantokuji was one of… Read


Rate of young Japanese people who want to get married someday drops to lowest ever in survey


Every five years the Japanese government’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research conducts a survey on attitudes about marriage and having children. The most recent study’s results have just been released and enthusiasm for both of those family-forming activities has cooled compared to the last iteration. Responses were collected from… Read


The hidden meaning of the U.S. Air Force’s 'shake and fries' patch in Japan


For newly arrived foreigners in Japan, navigating the country can be a challenge. Even once you get over the difficulty of remembering place names themselves in a language unfamiliar to you, there’s still the matter of remembering the kanji characters they’re written with. If you don’t already have a background in… Read


The pros and cons of living on Tokyo’s outskirts


When we first found our previous apartment in Minami Asagaya, my partner and I were thrilled. It was near a lovely park and gave us an easy commute to work. And then the coronavirus pandemic hit. Suddenly the apartment felt very, very small. Both of us were working from home and neither one could get… Read


For love or for money? TV star’s views on marriage make waves in Japan


On September 4, the Nippon TV variety show 世界の果てまでイッテQ! (Sekai no hate made itte kyu | Off you go to the ends of the earth) aired a special episode featuring the Japanese-Indonesian businesswoman, socialite, television personality and philanthropist Dewi Sukarno, widely known in Japan as デヴィ夫人 Devi fujin, or Madame Dewi. She… Read

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