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Posted in: Hokkaido’s breathtaking Blue Pond exactly as advertised See in context

We visited it in Late July 2015, and it was pretty spectacular. The water was crystal clear; the atmosphere seemed very mystical due to lots of mist and also rain. If anything, I just wanted to stay there longer to observe nature and the fish coming in from a small river.

It was just us and some Japanese students from a university who were studying the fish (we discovered).

Just one tip: I would avoid it after sundown. As we where leaving, a group of suspicious men/ thugs drove in pretty recklessly. They didn't give us nice looks. Maybe I'm too suspicious of people, but, it is quite a cut-off place after-all.

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Posted in: Abe, Malta's PM affirm importance of rule of law at sea See in context

I thought I would never see the day a Japanese PM visited my country! We need more Japan- EU cooperative ties for sure! More relations with Japan would be a great thing!

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Posted in: Where super-thin is still in: Attitudes to body image in Japan See in context


I was underweight, and now I'm overweight. When I was underweight, everyone wanted me to eat, and now, they beg me to go on diets. You know what? Nobody considers my feelings on it. Nobody asks me if I think I'm too thin or too fat.

Many people, men and women, are just concerned with comparing women to some ideal standard in their own heads (and most of these kind of people, don't bother about health either, just appearance).

I want to say this to women out there- women, be your own best. You know what you are going through, maybe health aspects. Take care of the BMI, and NOT weight.

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Posted in: Park employee didn’t collect admission fees from 160,000 foreigners over 2 1/2 years because one scared him See in context

I felt scared of a fellow gaijin in Japan, and I am a gaijin too. Anyway, I condone the action of the foreigner who screamed at him, but also, I honestly think the story has some holes.

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Posted in: Japanese toilets receive new standardised symbols to help foreign tourists See in context

I cannot even count how many times I pressed the assistance button by mistake/ or the wrong spray type, so this is really a good idea. Please mark the "emergency assistance" button too please; not just for me; but for somebody who might need it.

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Posted in: APA hotel chain under fire over book denying Rape of Nanking See in context

Standing by his own belief is one thing; using his business to propagate is another thing! Boycott from me too.

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Posted in: No. of foreign visitors to Japan surpasses 20 mil target for year See in context

My fiance and I are two of those tourists, 2nd time visiting Japan in 1 year and due to the weaker yen we could spend a month each time we visited. We are hopelessly in love with the country, especially with Hokkaido, and if we could, we would live there. We found Japan to be mostly foreigner-friendly, at least to Westerners. We were stared at quite a lot, but other than that, some people went our of their way big time to help us, especially the older generation actually! (If they are reading this, since both speak very good English- Man who helped me with my luggage at Obihiro and even helped us out at our hotel, thank you! Also woman who stayed with me whilst I felt faint whilst climbing Kurodake, bought me lunch and made sure my blood pressure was fine throughout the climb, also thank you!!) We both cannot speak much Japanese although we understand it. Sometimes this caused confusion but we managed fine and it was an awesome adventure, just next time I will only bring minimal clothing and will try not to end up with 50kg of luggage. Japan produces too much cool stuff, and I love it.

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Posted in: With Olympics 4 years away, thoughts turn to ... toilets See in context

Japanese toilets are the best, much better than my country's for sure (I am from a western country- southern Europe/Mediterranean area)! They were squeaky clean most of the time (exception at major stations during rush hours in my experience) and free of charge to use (North Italy, some years ago was EUR2 per use. I would end up spending EUR8-10 a day just on toilets)!

I was never (very rarely) scared that I might catch something in Japanese toilets. First time in my life I actually felt happy to use public restrooms! Whenever I am in Japan, I always go to say 'bye' to the toilets at Narita Airport since once I hop into the plane and travel across the world, I know I will be missing them badly.

The only comment is that I would like there to be more hand sanitizers available or at least antibacterical or even normal soap! I am iffy about that.

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Posted in: Drunk JAL copilot arrested for hitting policeman See in context

Suddenly, I feel very happy that I have not booked any flights with JAL!

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Posted in: Calbee's PR team See in context

@Honest Dictator I second you! I only saw capybaras at a zoo in Hokkaido (I don't think I can mention names?) and my husband ended up having to drag me away because I would have stayed there staring and making cute noises at them for my entire life. So so so cute. I want one!

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Posted in: Japanese farmers make scarecrows that scare us too See in context

I still remember a field in Nara (outskirts) who had doll heads. I was totally unprepared for the sight and I remember I slammed the breaks on my car hard enough to leave tracks. Nearly lost control of the vehicle. Not good for my heart. Everytime I remember it brings me chills.

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Posted in: Messy 'manshons' less visible than junk houses, but just as filthy See in context

I can sympathize with 'messy' people- Japanese or else. I struggled all my life with clutter and getting organized and eventually led to major problems in my relationships and self-esteem. I went for help and now, as an adult, I know I have had Attention Deficit Disorder since I was a kid. The 'warning' signs were there, but I just thought I would grow out of being always in the clouds.

I'm saying this just in case anyone reads this who like me put it off. Don't. Now my family realized that it is not because I am lazy or a slob and at least my confidence isn't getting destroyed over being called slob by them. Also, out there there are guides on what to do. Unfortunately, in my case, anytime something stressful comes around, no guide or person can save me from drowning in clutter. I am also prone to depression and when that makes its nasty comeback any organization gets thrown right out of the window.

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Posted in: Tourism board wants foreign visitors to avoid 'public flatulence' See in context


I'm in. Where do I start?

I do have an idea or two, but I don't want to get blacklisted in Japan haha.


With all the rude behaviour we see in Japan, I see 50x as much in my own country and elsewhere, it is just that I don't know of many other countries which have a "holier than thou- my people is better than yours" attitude on etiquette. Definitely not where I come from and it is crazy to just judge all gaijin as one type. "You are this and this" People can be rude no matter what country they come from and what is rude for culture A is not rude for culture B and so, if Japan cannot be sure that Japanese are ALL polite, Japan cannot judge gaijin!

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Posted in: Tourism board wants foreign visitors to avoid 'public flatulence' See in context

I just read the brochure in English. Wow. I have visited Hokkaido and more than once because I love the place and the greenery but, reading this brochure made me feel sick. I do have some questions to whoever published this brochure:

Question 1:

Is it okay and 'kind' and 'polite' behaviour for an oyaji to stare and smirk and laugh at me whilst I'm trying to finish my ramen in peace? This happened in Hokkaido sometime last year. Furthermore, upon realizing that cigarette smoke bothers me he did his best so that I would cough throughout eating and he seemed awfully pleased about my coughing. My male (also gaijin) friends tried to discourage him by staring back and blocked view of me but I could still feel his eyes on me.

Question 2:

People totally ignoring my existence when I ask questions is "polite" behaviour? For some reason that I fail to comprehend, when I approached middle-aged men with questions they would never even look at me and instead would speak to my male friends. Am I invisible? My male friends know significantly less Japanese than I do.

Now, does anyone feel like doing a similar brochure on the things that we don't like about Japanese 'etiquette' we encounter, like the ones described by all of you?

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