Monday, November 30, 2015

Odd Japanese English: Freeter

It seems that the concept of getting a job in Japan is getting a full-time job from 9-5pm. Freelancers and unemployed are two different things and throwing a "Freeter" word to cover both is rather inappropriate IMO.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Koma at Hidaka City, Saitama, with deep ancient Korean roots

Hidaka City 日高市 is around an hour's train ride from Tokyo's Ikebukuro station. There you can find a small village called Koma, that has deep roots with Korea dated as far back as 1,300 years ago. I was lucky that the annual Korean traditional mounted archery contest was held when I visited on 23 Nov (Mon) public holiday.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Is Kobe Beef really worth it?

There are many specialised beef in Japan and the most famous one to foreigners is Kobe Beef. Frankly speaking I had never tried one before because it is so expensive.

Kobe trip: Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution (Earthquake Museum)

Kobe Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution Earthquake Museum
There has been more rainy than sunny days so visiting a museum at this time is the best. Having experienced the 311 Tohoku earthquake back in 2011, I was interested to know more about the Great Hanshin Earthquake and how it affected Japan.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cyclists in Singapore are really rude

I lived in Seng Kang for 2 years and there are many cyclists there. They love to ring their bells all the way and expect us pedestrians to move to one-side when they dash by impatiently. They even ride their bicycles indoor inside the community hub area and I even scolded a boy not to ride his bike inside the building as he was ringing his bell non-stop while on his way to buy snack at a stall.

There are many cyclists in Japan as well but they seldom ring their bell. The sidewalks are wider and the cyclists are patient enough to slow down or overtake instead of ringing their bells frustratedly like in Singapore.

Kobe trip: Nunobiki Fall

kobe nunobiki fall waterfall japan
I wasn't aware that there is this waterfall within the city until my friend said that we should visit it.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Kyoto Trip: Fushimi Inari Taisha at night

Kyoto Trip: Fushimi Inari Taisha at night shrine
Fushimi Inari Taisha is the head shrine of Inari (rice) in Kyoto. It is located right next to JR Inari station so it is very easily accessible.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Kyoto trip: Jakko-in Temple and scenic nature walk

On our second trip to Kyoto, we wanted to target a temple with red leaves so we shortlisted temples in the North that turn cold earlier than those in the city area. Jakko-in was chosen because my friend thought the other nearby temple: Sanzen-in did not have enough red leaves.

Kyoto Trip: Arashiyama, Kinkakuji and Kiyomizudera

Arashiyama
kyoto arashiyama
Out of the 5 days we were in Kansai, only 1 day was good sunny weather so we decided to visit Kyoto. The skies were beautiful finally after days of cloud and rain. Our first stop was Arashiyama to visit the temple garden and bamboo forest.

Wakayama trip: Koyasan

wakayama koyasan koya-san unesco heritage japan mass cemetery
We were looking for elsewhere to visit besides Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe and chose Wakayama because we had never been there. A quick google reveals Koyasan, a UNESCO world heritage site that consists of a mass cemetery and temples set on a mountain. Commuting time was around 4 hours from Osaka that consists of train, ropeway and bus, so it isn't too bad compared to 5-6 hours to southern parts of Wakayama.

Osaka trip: Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

It was rainy after we got into our hotel on Sunday (15 Nov) so we decided to check out something indoor like the world-renown Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.

Osaka trip: Shinsekai

osaka shin sekai shinsekai
Shinsekai was a highly recommended place to visit from my yoga classmate who claimed that the place appeared to be a pop out town from anime and has good fried food. The name literally means New World although it was created in 1912.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Population Control US, Japan and Singapore

US has a lot of land and welcome immigrants (to a certain extent of course). Japan wants to welcome foreigners but difficult to accommodate foreigners. Singapore welcomes foreigners despite not enough land...

Friday, November 13, 2015

Momiji Tunnel at Kawaguchiko for red leaves viewing in autumn

紅葉回廊 2015 momiji tunnel maples corridor lake kawaguchi kawaguchiko red leaves autumn fall
This year hasn't been good to see red leaves due to the more than usual number of rainy days. One of the popular spots is the "Momiji Kairou" at Lake Kawaguchi. Momiji means red leaves and the English translation can be "Momiji Tunnel" or "Maples Corridor" although they are two separate but close-by places on the map. A "Momiji Matsuri" festival is held every year from the end of October to mid November with road stalls and romantic night illumination so it is a popular destination during November for people to see both Mt Fuji and red leaves.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Break Time during Life Drawing Sessions

I was surprised when I attended a life drawing session here and all the artists flipped their pages as soon as a break was announced as if they are fearful of people seeing what they drew... Perhaps Japanese do not like to show off their work and prefer to keep things to themselves...

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Tokyo One Piece Tower

Tokyo One Piece Tower
Tokyo One Piece Tower is an indoor amusement park based on the famous manga/anime series "One Piece". It was officially opened in March 2015 with much hype, so is it worth the trip and your 3,000yen?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

CLIHO Shimoakatsuka Shared House for long-term stay

It is very difficult for foreigners to rent apartment in Japan due to language barrier and lack of guarantor. The rental procedure is also very complex and you are required to pay lots of fees like gift money, key-change fee, agent fee, deposit and first month rental. I blogged about this bad experience 4 years ago when I first went for my house hunting: Rental Nightmare in Tokyo. However with this CLIHO shared house, you can rent your own private room in a Japanese house setting and environment easily.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Odd Japanese English: High Touch

Odd Japanese English: High Touch evacomics
High Touch in Japanese actually means high five! I guess they don't like to assert too much force when happy?

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