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afanofjapan comments

Posted in: PayPay announces 40% bonus points campaign See in context

Paypay has got to be one of the more clunky cashless solutions so far, but man they are putting a lot of promotions out there.

I have it set up, and i will use it to get the 1500yen bonus, but other than that i will stick to the far quicker and smoother Edy/Suica payment systems. Barcode payments are so outdated now, even Apple realised it!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to test driving skills of elderly who commit traffic offenses See in context

IMO this shouldnt be restricted to elderly drivers. Test the driving skills of ALL drivers when they go to renew their licenses. People get lazy, forget basic road rules and generally become complacent drivers pretty soon after they first get their licenses. As much of a pain as it would be for myself, i think it would prevent accidents if we had to 'review' our driving competitency every 5-10 years at least. There are so many 'non-driving gold license' holders here in Japan who may not even have driven a car in 20 years yet still hold a gold license and would happily rent a car to go on a holiday. Or the typical train commuting salaryman, who drives once a year for the family summer vacation - they are just as much a danger to other road users as a 75yr old, possibly more.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Court orders journalist to pay damages to reporter Shiori Ito in rape lawsuit See in context

Yamaguchi has written two books about Abe, is a close personal friend and an apparent comfort women denial sympathizer.

I guess in Yamaguchi's mind, Ito was a willing volunteer in being his comfort woman for the night.

Glad for the verdict in this case, but agree with others its a pittance of a payout.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan to make automatic brakes mandatory for new cars from Nov 2021 See in context

Humans are flawed. We will make mistakes, no matter how much of a professional driver we all think we are. Even the super elite drivers that comment on JT articles will at some point make a mistake while driving. Its just human nature. No matter how many years/kilometers you have driven without error, at some point you will make a mistake.

I have had an accident before. It was my fault, even though at the time i wanted to blame the car in front of me for emergency braking. I learned, and now i leave space even in slow moving traffic.

Another time i was backing into a parking spot, foot feathering the brake when suddenly my car started reversing faster. Instinct kicked in and i mashed the brake as hard as i could but it didnt have any effect. It took me half a second to realise that both cars on either side of me were pulling out of their parking spots in unison, giving the illusion that i was moving despite my foot being hard on the brake. In that instant i knew just how it must feel for someone who accidentally pressed the accelerator instead of the brake pedal. Armchair commentators can say "why dont they realise they are accelerating and stamp the other pedal!!?" But its not like that; your brain goes into defense mode and stops listening to reason. I was 35 when this happened, so should i just hand my license in and say i'm a danger on the road?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Study warns helmets don’t offer full protection on slopes See in context

Sourpuss, bit of a late response but this is exactly why i have helmet speakers and not earphones like most others do. Earphones stop you being able to hear things around you. A speaker placed in the helmet earpads is not directly on my ears, so I still hear everything that goes on around me. I can still hold conversations on the lift even though i have music playing.

It is sort of like listening to the BGM they have playing at most resorts these days, but its music of your own choice. Possibly not suitable for those people who love to have music drowning out everything around them, but its great to hear something other than J-pop crap that the resorts play while riding.

Admittedly i can turn them up to full volume to drown out most other sounds, and i have done this when psyching up for a jump in the park. But that is an area where people wait to take their turn at the jump, you wont need to listen out for a screaming out of control newbie.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Smartphones in Japan: How to buy, unlock and change plans See in context

mmwkdw, the info is on each of the main 3 provider's websites. But it is in Japanese, and i am not sure if the process is doable from their English sites. Also, my point was SPECIFICALLY that you dont need to unlock the locked phones. If you plan to use the phone with a Docomo line MVNO, buy a Docomo locked phone, no need to unlock it. If you plan to use it with one of the (few) AU MVNOs, buy an AU locked phone. There are even Softbank line MVNOs, but they are very few.

If you want to use the phone with a different line to which it is locked to (i.e. an AU phone on Docomo, or any of the secondhand phones on the upcoming Rakuten line - they are launching their own network, currently they use the Docomo line), or if you want to use it overseas with a prepaid sim, you will need to unlock it. The procedure/rules are different for all three providers:

Docomo (this is probably the most generous/helpful)


You just need a dAccount (free to create), and be able to understand Japanese to go through the steps. Click on 手続き in the area under the PC/Smartphone pic. You do not need to be the original contract bearer (i.e. you can do it with secondhand phones you buy ), and it just needs to be 100 days since the phone was first bought.

AU (sucks, and is restricted to original contract bearer)


Can only be unlocked (for free) by the original purchaser, while they are still under contract. It does seem to offer a phone number for unlocking if you do not have a contract, but i have not tried this.

Softbank (ok this might be the worst of them - can only be done for free by original owner while still under contract, and only if the owner hasnt tried to unlock another phone within 101 days).


I have had some luck on yahoo auctions asking sellers to unlock the phone (and sending the links above) for me before sending it to me; but some dont want to go through the 5 minute hassle, or they might not be the original owner. In that case you just need to bring the phone, some proof of ID and 3300 yen for the procedure.

One HUGE caveat though is that very few phones come with all frequency bands enabled. This goes for overseas phones as well. Unlocking the phones doesnt change that. Unlocked AU phones will work on Docomo, but they wont have the best reception because they dont support all of the Docomo bands in use and vice versa. Overseas phones will support some of the Japanese bands, but not all. Similarly bringing your unlocked Docomo phone overseas is not guaranteed to give you reception. I believe i had to use AT&T in the US last time because none of the other providers would get a signal. That was half a day i spent going around phone shops looking for a prepaid sim, which i could have spent on the beach. In Hindsight i should have just rented a mobile wifi unit through kakaku.com (screw imoto wifi and all those overpriced companies), and used that instead.

Which brings me back to my original point - in many cases its not even necessary to unlock the phones. Just use the right MVNO and you will have perfect reception at all times. When going overseas, rent a mobile WIFI, which might even be cheaper than a local prepaid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Study warns helmets don’t offer full protection on slopes See in context

Helmet use on Japanese slopes is still painfully low. I wonder what the injury rate is like here. Unfortunately it is a known fact that many resorts do not report injuries or deaths that occurred on their premises - its bad advertising.

As for the study, considering it is based in the US where helmets are worn by almost everyone, it means the level of skill and style of riding are too broad to come to a single conclusion about their effectiveness.

Split the injury/death statistics up into skill level and slope grading (beginner, intermediate, advanced, park, halfpipe, trees etc) and it will be a much more useful set of statistics.

As for me, i wear one because its warm, keeps my goggles from coming off if i stack it, and holds my helmet speakers for some sweet tunes. Oh and the added protection is a bonus.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Smartphones in Japan: How to buy, unlock and change plans See in context

The secondhand phone market in Japan is great. Phones with very minor blemishes sell for a bargain on Yahoo auctions, though this might change since the new rules introduced in October.

Also, you dont need a sim free or unlocked phone to use MVNOs. You can use a sim locked phone as long as the MVNO uses the same network as your phone. I.e. if the MVNO uses Docomo (which 90% do), then any docomo phone can be used, locked or not. On the secondhand market AU phones tend to be a bit cheaper, and there are a few MVNOs you can use like UQ, Mineo and Line Mobile which will offer AU compatible service.

Speaking of cheap service, i am trying to get an older friend of mine to use a Smartphone; i found a secondhand AU locked senior's phone, with decent specs and mint condition for only 1000 yen posted to me. Line Mobile has an option for 700 yen a month which will be fine for her to get started.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Rin (凛) and Ren (蓮) most popular baby names of 2019: survey See in context

15 strokes is hardly too many to write for a first name. Most Japanese will have more than that between the two kanjis in a typical firstname. My daughter has 33, which is admittedly a little much. But If even i can write them almost as quick as my own name, it cant be too bad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Sniff... sniff... does Japan have a problem with odors? See in context

The problem that the writer, nor any of the comments so far have failed to address is the difference in perfume quantities between Japan and the US

In Japan, heavy perfume is looked down on, and hence you hardly smell it, other than when they are on a date or something. Same with laundry, they do not like the heavily scented detergents, so you hardly smell that on freshly washed clothes. We have received hand-me-down baby clothes from friends overseas that are so strongly infused with laundry detergent/dryer sheets that it takes up to 5 washes to get them wearable!

With the abscence of those overpowering smells, suddenly you start noticing the more subtle smells, a bit of scalp sweat, or BO smell etc. That doesnt mean Japanese smell worse, its that you just cant smell that over the cologne and deoderant and laundry detergent you are bombarded with in the US.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Registrations to buy Tokyo Olympic tickets exceed 8 million See in context

Please take down this article!! The more people that know about this, the lower my chances at this lottery!!

This second phase of olympic tickets was hardly advertised, Only knew about it because i elected to receive the newsletter - my wife got no notification.

move along people, just watch it from your sofa on your nice TVs as Fourice suggested. Dont bother applying!! :) :) :)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Little cheer for Beaujolais Nouveau as U.S. tariffs guzzle profits See in context

A friend of mine from the Beaujolais region told me that every year the beaujolais nouveau producers exaggerate a particular aroma to almost comical levels in order to appeal to people who dont know how to appreciate good wine. That year we had discussed it, the aroma was Banana, and true to form the BN smelled like a banana milkshake. Not like "notes of banana and citrus" but full on milkshake. I havent tried this year's one (not going to spend money on that!) but it makes me curious what flavor they added to it this year

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Kyoto yakitori restaurant earns Michelin rating with one of the best value-for-money deals in Japan See in context

koiwaicoffee... agreed. 14 piece meal = 14 skewers?

These michelin people should have paid a visit to Torikizoku. 7 plates of two skewers would have come to 2200 or so, Add 5 mega pitchers of beer and you are under 4000 yen, very full and slightly merry.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Nearly 20% of Japan households using e-money but cash still king See in context

Japan also invented (or at least pioneered) Felica/NFC payments, well before the rest of the world got into the pay wave thing.

Japan has had cashless payment systems that kick ass over any other system in terms of speed and ease of use for years now. I have no idea why they are trying to push barcode payments now; After even apple gave up on them (if you remember, Apple Pay was originally barcode based with them saying "who needs fangled NFC tech",,, but then they flipped and included NFC on more recent iphones - sparking a renewed interest in mobile suica etc)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Weightlifting is Japanese salarymen’s newest hobby, report says See in context

Bad technique is everywhere to be seen in the non Golds gyms at least but that's because they have Noone else to look at and learn from. The country is only just getting into it, where as most of us were learning from seniors at school/university 20 years ago.

As for goals, at least the Japanese I have spoken to at work and at the gym, none of them want to get "big"... In fact they were worried about getting too muscly. They wanted some muscle definition, that's all. After all the most popular bodyshape for women here is "hosomacho". Of course you still get oohs and ahhs and maybe even a gf who is attracted to big muscles but mostly they want the skinny shredded bodytype

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Weightlifting is Japanese salarymen’s newest hobby, report says See in context

Lets hope this leads to more weight lifting gyms (not the silly ones with pools/saunas and 90% treadmills), and competitive pricing. Because Anytime gyms are really beginning to get overcrowded these last couple of years. Understandable because they are affordable (compared to the traditional gyms), and 24h means you can fit them around your work schedule. But while its great that more people are getting into it, the crowding is beginning to get annoying!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Disney streaming debuts with hit brands See in context

Is this different to the Disney Deluxe channel that they released a few months ago here? That also has all/most pixar and starwars movies on it and Starwars etc. I am signed up on the trial, and i think i will continue on afterwards - it is the only streaming service here that has english for ALL their kids content.

The app UI (on Fire TV) isnt so great, and i feel it is a bit slower to stream than Prime, Hulu or Netflix, but its useable and at last i have my kids watching English content (without having to mess around with firewalls and DNS settings etc)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan wants to go cashless, but elderly aren't so keen See in context

Japanese had amazing cashless technology 15 years ago. Felica (what powers Suica/Pasmo etc) is much faster, and arguably more secure than the NFC payment systems that got popupar in the last few years on Phones. Edy/Suica is still the fastest payment system, hands down for Convenience stores. How many times have you been in a rush only to have the person in front of you counting out their 1 and 5 yen coins. I can pay and be on my way before they have even opened their wallet's coin compartment.

However since this new cashless push, all these newcomers are trying to get in on the scene. And no idea why the Govt put their push behind PayPay, which is often slower than paying with cash. It requires your phone to be on, unlocked, have good signal, and the app loaded and a button pressed on the app. I cant think of a more clunky and error-prone system if i tried! Why is this better than the shop offering a felica reader? They still need a specialized PayPay terminal, and Felica works with no signal, the phone can even be turned off!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese tourist arrested in Australia over child porn possession See in context

Educate Japanese public that child porn is illegal and carry heavy punishment outside of Japan, especially in Western countries.

Or maybe educate EVERYONE that child porn is morally messed up. Not just illegal, but wrong on every level.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Posted in: Beyond Netflix: A look at what you get with new streamers See in context

Yeah so this is all interesting info, but given that this is a Japanese news site (albeit in English) shouldnt it be concentrating on the streaming services available HERE? Netflix, Hulu (Japan), Prime, Disney and Gyao or whatever the other ones that mobile providers push here.

Include info on what English language shows they offer, and what shows offer subtitles, or dubs etc. Thats what would be useful here (I am particularly interested in knowing what Disney offers here)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo's Shibuya sees high turnout on Halloween despite drinking ban See in context

Happy i got to experience the Shibuya Halloween scene during the 'golden years' i.e. 2015-6 when it was 90% costumers and a really chill vibe. Just people checking out other cool costumes and taking photos with beautiful people. Around that time a few Youtube videos came out showing how cool it was, and suddenly everyone wanted to experience it.

The following years have turned it into a massive street party, which is cool too, but most people arent in costume, or are only wearing a mask/donki one-piece costume. All looking to experience the awesome vibe we had a few years ago, but ultimately just an excuse to get drunk and look at cute girls.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Seven-Eleven Japan to end some 24-hour operations amid labor crunch See in context

7-11... 7am to 11pm

If they want to force their franchisees to stay open 24-7, then they should change their name to 24--7.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Doctor arrested for kissing teenage girl during medical examination See in context

Why would a medically trained doctor put himself at such a huge risk of catching the flu by kissing this girl who had it?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Google debuts Pixel 4 phone, wireless earbuds with AI See in context

when i saw multiple lenses i got excited. When i hear that its a useless Zoom lens, i will pass. Who uses zoom on their smartphone? Who wishes they could get more scenery in the frame when taking pictures? I am sure wideangle is far more desirable than zoom.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Typhoon victims felt worst was over; then floods came See in context

The flooding from Chikumagawa went several kilometers inland, distance from the river probably doesnt matter so much. Stilts means stairs... But almost all houses in Japan are at least 2 stories high, so old people will have stairs regardless. Plus there are lifts and those wheelchair lifters to help you get up stairs like that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Tax hike adds to woes for low-income households in Japan See in context

I received two of the voucher sheets, since i have 2 children. My childcare costs will go down by 10,000yen a month. I stand to be much better off after this tax rise, and i suspect many others will too.

I have spoken to my friends in Australia and over there the cost of raising children is possibly 10x the cost of what i pay out of pocket, yet they do not have problems with depopulation. The problem is that society here expects parents to put their kids into expensive primary/secondary/high schools and universities, and pay for it out of their own pockets - thats the REAL childcare costs.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Gov't to require mobile carriers to lift SIM locks immediately See in context

They already have the ability to 'network lock' handsets where the buyer skips out on monthly payments. The The ability to unlock a handset that has been paid off, seems very reasonable.

All 3 companies have differing policies, and most annoyingly, Docomo and AU had further restricted their unlocking policies after the last government mandate to allow unlocking (restricting it to the original phone purchaser, so phones bought secondhand could no longer be unlocked). This technically was in line with the mandate, but made it HARDER not easier.

I look forward to seeing how they react to this mandate - what ways they can make it harder for us, while keeping in line with the specific words in the guidelines.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Revised law aimed at mobile phone fee cut in Japan comes into effect See in context

Nator, this is because they have auto-renewing contracts here, which is what i think is the real problem. This is why so many people get caught out with that cancellation fee.

Another major bug-bear i have is that rather than cancellation fees, i think it is the JOINING fees which need to be looked at. ALL carriers, including MVNOs still charge 3240 yen for a sim card, plus 3-5000 for joining. On top of that, they usually also want 5000yen or so to let you take your number with you when you switch to another carrier. That there is already more than the 10,000yen cancellation fee (which IMO is actually quite reasonable, since you are BREAKING a contract, which was promising to pay 8000 yen for 2 years).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Revised law aimed at mobile phone fee cut in Japan comes into effect See in context

People who dont understand contracts (both foreign, and Japanese) will be happy about this.

For others, it just means handset costs are going to go up, a lot. There were already provisions in place to have your discounted handset unlocked, for free in most cases.

Due to the increased handset prices, even with discounts on monthly fees the total out of pocket expenses will stay the same for most people; and go up for those who were able to use the current system to their advantage.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Registers, rates and points: Tax hike woes for Japanese retailers See in context

I really feel sorry for the teenager at the cash register that has to ask this question, "Is it for here or to go?" then have someone say they are taking it away, then go and sit down at a table and start eating.

Most fast food restuaruants already ask this question so they can put the stuff in a bag for you. If the person says "to go" but then sits down, the cashier has done nothing wrong, and it is the customer who is doing the tax evasion. But nobody will care, especially that teenager earning 900yen an hour.

In three of my neighborhood convenience stores they removed the cafe/seating areas to eliminate any confusion for the customers or employees.

Removing 1.5m worth of seating, and a potential business generator, just because you cant ask the question of whether it is to go or not? Somebody is making far too much of a fuss over this.

I'm not happy with the dual tax rates, i think it should just all be 10% for calculation simplicity, but i dont get what the big fuss is about asking customers if its to go or not. So many fast food places will already ask you, and as a consumer you can just think of it as a convenience fee for using their seating areas.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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