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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cigarettes Run Short in Japan After Earthquake


One of the knock-on effects of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku district of northeastern Japan has been a shortage of goods in certain sectors of the Japanese economy.

Badly hit have been car manufacturers by a shortage of auto parts. Also affected have been the nation's smokers as popular brands of cigarettes such as Mild Seven Lights disappeared from convenience stores and vending machines across the country, because of one of Japan Tobacco's four cigarette filter factories being put out of action.

Other countries such as the USA increased their exports to try and plug the nicotine deficiency but empty shelves were a sorry sight for nicotine addicts.

Cigarette smoking in Japan also suffered a massive plunge in the first quarter of 2011 as the nation's smokers declined at the fastest rate since records began being compiled.

All good news for those that hate smoking, but further pain for those that rely on the weed.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

A Mid-Week Stroll Through Gujo Hachiman


A good rule of thumb for residents and tourists alike is to try and visit tourist places in Japan at mid-week. Weekends in Japan can be crowded and rather stressful as shoppers, hawkers, tourists and election campaigners mingle on hectic streets.

One such place to visit if possible during the week is Gujo Hachiman in Gifu Prefecture. The sound of calming running water abounds (three rivers run through town) and there are a number of fine temples, shrines and gardens as well as streets of traditional housing.

Gujo Hachiman, Kodara River

British writer Alan Booth mentions the town in his book Looking For The Lost: "The lanes...are narrow, steeply walled, and end in dimly lanterned eating places or in small stone bridges that arch over splashing streams. It was like an Edo-era stage set."

Quiet street, Gujo Hachiman

Meiji era Tourist Office, Gujo HachimanAccess: There are express buses from both Gifu Station (approx 1 hour) and Nagoya Station (approx 2 hours) or take the more scenic but slower train route from Nagoya Station (2 hours and 45 minutes).

This involves catching a JR Takayama Line train to Mino Ota via Gifu, then changing to the Nagaragawa Railway for the journey to Gujo Hachiman Station.

Gujo Hachiman is easily explored on foot or there is bicycle hire at the Tourist Office (Tel: 0575 67 0002)


Japan Gujo Odori Gujo Hachiman Nagoya Japan Festivals Gifu

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Egg Magazine


Egg Magazine is a bible of sorts for a sub-culture - cult? - of Japanese women in their mid- and late-teens.

Published once a month, it reports from the front lines of Gyaru fashion, or women’s street fashion, most of which can be found in Shibuya.

Gyaru style is an odd mix of uber-cute and sly slut. Think of the virgin Lolita but on the pill and in a mini-skirt.

The look itself changes and has variations, but to generalize:

1. hair or wigs that are dyed blonde
2. bold makeup
3. serious nail art
4. mini-skirts

Sub-genres include:

Ganguro – girls with freaky dark dark brown tans and dyed blonde hair.
Manba – same tan as a Ganguro but with white makeup. Avoid at night.
Bibinba – girls who sport serious gold and jewelry. Lots of bling.
Banba – girls who favor a bizarre combination of stilettos and slippers, wear glitter, false eyelashes, colored contact lenses, and thick makeup.

© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Matsumoto Sake Brewery Fushimi Kyoto

Matsumoto Brewery Fushimi松本酒造

On the edge of Kyoto's Fushimi area is the Matsumoto sake brewery.

It was founded in 1791, and continues to produce sake.

Located next to a canal, which is industrial and not an ideal backdrop to the beautiful buildings, the brewery retains a look from an earlier time.

The brewery maintains an attractive but irritating web site:

Matsumoto Sake Brewery


From central Kyoto, ride the Keihan Line to Fishimi Momoyama Station. Exit and walk through the shopping arcade directly next to the station. Continue through the arcade until you reach its end. Keep going in the same direction for about 10 - 15 minutes. On your right before a canal.

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Map of Japanese Castles


Use this map of Japanese castles to navigate to one of Japan's many castles and find further information including images of each Japanese castle, a description and history and how to get to the castle.

View Japanese Castles Map in a larger map

Castles covered include Matsumoto Castle, Inuyama Castle, Oita Castle, Kokura Castle and Nijo Castle in Kyoto.

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Japanese elections are too noisy!"


The Sankei news service reports that a 34-year-old Englishman, resident in Tokyo, grabbed the microphone off someone campaigning for public office in nearby Tokorozawa City. The man was arrested for his pains.

Local elections are taking place in Japan at the moment. No daylight hour or location is safe from the cacophony of campaign vehicles trundling slowly around the streets, decked with speakers that blast the campaign message to the world.

The messages thus blasted are often almost incomprehensible because of background noise - including the noise of rival campaigners - and the fact that only a few moments of it are clearly audible because the vehicle is moving.

Equally annoying as speeches being made by such means are the often juvenile jingles that accompany them, delivered in saccharine, nasal, kindergarten-teacher tones.

Busy intersections and railway stations are favorite targets of campaigners, where they stop and deliver speeches at an offensive volume.

Apparently the actions of the rash Brit have been receiving considerable sympathetic feedback from Japanese. If only they would deliver it the same way the street politicians do: out loud to their faces. Yet, the typical Japanese response is a resigned shouganai: "What can you do about it?"

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Japan News This Week 24 April 2011


Japan News.Japanese Revisit Nuclear Zone While They Can

New York Times

Japan Takes Lead in Nuclear-Plant PR

Wall Street Journal

Japan government announces disaster relief budget


Fukushima evacuees face arrest if they return home


Yahoo Japan profit up 14th year

Japan Times

Toyota anuncia que su producción seguirá afectada por el terremoto hasta noviembre

El Pais



The Atomic Bomb and "Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy"

Japan Focus

Japan will play in Copa despite player shortage

Yahoo Sports

Last Week's News


Poll of Japanese: "During Golden Week, which 'Small Kyoto' would you most like to visit?"

1. Kanazawa
2. Tsuwanocho
3. the former Kakunodatemachi (now called Senboku)
4. Hagi
5. Takayama

'Small Kyoto' refers to one of many smaller towns and cities around Japan that have preserved many older buildings.

Source: Asahi Shinbun

© JapanVisitor

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Japanese Novels

Happi Coats

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Nagoya SCMAGLEV and Railway Park

リニア 鉄道館

The SCMAGLEV and Railway Park in the Nagoya Port area of the city is a new museum dedicated to trains and opened in March this year.

The SCMAGLEV and Railway Park displays the sleek new Maglev Shinkansen in addition to previous Shinkansen series including the 300, 500 and 700 and many other Japanese trains.

The museum includes lots of fun gadgets including iPad-type screens, as well as bullet train simulators and the largest model railway set in Japan. There are sections specializing on the history of the railways in Japan, the development of the shinkansen and a relics room. Visitors can also enjoy a kids' playroom, restaurant, theater and shop.

SCMAGLEV and Railway Park
Adjacent to Kinjofuto Station on the Aonami Line from Nagoya Station.

Hours: 10:00-17:30; closed Tuesdays

Admission: 1000 yen for adults; children 500 yen; extra charge for simulators.
SCMAGLEV and Railway Park Map

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Togetsukyo Bridge Arashiyama Kyoto

Togetsukyo Bridge渡月橋嵐山

The Togetsukyo Bridge, which spans the Oi River, is in one of the best known areas of Kyoto.

Arashiyama sits nestled on the western edge of Kyoto, and is full of beautiful walks and sites.

Togetsu literally means "moon crossing bridge."

The bridge was named by Emperor Kameyama because he thought that is what the bridge looked like.

Togetsukyo Bridge Arashiyama Kyoto

Nearby sites include:

Tenryuji Temple
Bamboo Forest
Okochi Sanso Villa
Torokko Arashiyama Station
Sagano Doll House
Kyoto Okusaga Shoji Photo Musuem
Adashino Nenbutsu Temple

Looking in to Arashiyama from Togetsukyo Bridge

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nagoya Friends Party at Red Rock (SAT) April 30th

Nagoya Friends 103rd party in Nagoya!


  • Time: 18:00 – 21:00
  • Drinks will be served between 6:00pm-8:50pm.
  • Place: The Red Rock (2F Aster Plaza Building, 4-14-6 Sakae, Nagoya (very close to Sakae Station)
  • Fee: 3000 Yen


  • Dress code: Anything (Casual, etc)
  • Reservations: Not necessary but recommended and appreciated. Just show up to the party!
  • Over 25,000 Yen worth of exciting prize giveaways each month!
There will be free food along with free drinks (beers, wine, cocktail drinks and juices).
Our party is not a dinner party, but we will have light food & snacks.
Quantities are limited, so please come early! Please free to come alone or bring your friends.
EVERYBODY is welcome to join regardless of nationality/gender. Reservation is greatly appreciated.
About 125-150+ people are expected to attend. Approximately 55% female and 45% male, 70% Japanese and 30% non-Japanese.
Pictures from previous Nagoya Friends Parties.
Map & Directions
Contact: 080-3648-1666(Japanese) 080-5469-6317(English)
Get off at Sakae Station [Exit #13]
The Red Rock (2F Aster Plaza Building,
4-14-6 Sakae, Nagoya (very close to Sakae Station)
The Red Rock is located behind the Chunichi Building in the Sakae business/shopping district.
Subway access from Sakae Station (serving the yellow and purple lines) Exit 13. It’s a big station connected to a huge underground shopping mall so you’ll need to do a little underground walking.
We’re also just a couple of minutes’ walk from the Tokyu and Precede hotels, and a 10 minute walk up Hirokoji Street from the Hilton Hotel in Fushimi.
Train Directions
  • From Nagoya Stn. take the Higashiyama Subway line to Sakae Station (GET OFF at Sakae Station!!) Take exit #13 and then walk straight AWAY from Hirokoji-Dori for about 3/4 of a block. TURN LEFT Red Rock is on the right side of the street in the middle of the block. Look for the sign on the sidewalk.

Sakae Station
Higashiyama Line

Nagoya Friends - Speed Dating (Sat) May7th, 2011

Nagoya Speed Dating is holding it’s 15th party in Nagoya!
  • Date: May 7th!! , 2011
  • Time: 6-9pm registration from 6:00 to 6:30pm
  • Drinks will be served between 6:30pm-8:50pm.
  • Place: Nagoya Tsurumai City Public Hall, 1-1-3 Tsurumai (very close to JR Nagoya Station)
  • PREPAY FEE : Men 2500, Women 2000. *includes 1 free drink and light food*
  • 40 couples only! 40 men and 40 women! Reserve and prepay to join!
  • AT THE DOOR: Men 3000 yen, women 2500 yen. Price includes 1 free drink and light food
  • Dress code: Anything (Casual, etc)
  • Reservations: PrePaid spots are Guaranteed! Only 40 men and 40 women. Reserve and prepay to secure your spot.

Nagoya Speed Dating is a great way to meet new people in the Aichi, Gifu and Mie Areas! At Nagoya Speed Dating, you will receive a number, an assigned table, and a personalized Speeding Ticket form. When the host says to start you will have between 3 to 5 minutes to talk to the person at your table. When the time is up the host will give you a signal. At that time the men will change tables and the women will remain seated. All you have to do is mark your speeding ticket with a yes or a no for each person. At the end of the event, the tickets will be analyzed and Nagoya Speed Dating will notify you of your matches. After that you will also receive contact info for the people you have matched with. Nagoya Speed Dating is a safe, easy, and fun way to meet new people. Come check out Nagoya Speed Dating!
Map & Directions
Contact: 080-3648-1666(Japanese) 080-5469-6317(English)
Get off at Tsurumai Station (JR Chuo Line [South Exit] or Subway Tsurumai Line [Exit #4])
Nagoya Tsurumai City Public Hall, 1-1-3 Tsurumai
Train Directions
  • From Nagoya Station from Nagoya Station take the JR Chuo-Honsen Line and get off at the second station (Tsurumai). From Tsurumai Station, get off at south exit
  • From Sakae/Fushimi Area, catch the Tsurumai Subway Line at Fushimi Station(bound for Akaike) and get off at the third (3rd) stop – Tsurumai. From Tsurumai Station, get off at exit #4
Tsurumai Station
JR Chuo Line/Tsurumai Line

© JapanVisitor.com

YAQS - a new Japanese/English translation service


JapanVisitor has connections with translators and translation companies. The following is from World Intelligence Partners (WIP) Japan, a prominent translation company with offices in Tokyo and Osaka, submitted by WIP Japan project co-ordinator, Reimer Struve, about the company's brand new service.


You have spent years of study to master the Japanese language and are now – after having finally graduated – evaluating your options. Maybe you are thinking similarly as me, wanting to make full use of your linguistic skills, but also painfully aware that even a long study of Japanese is nothing without practice and application.

I had considered entering the translation industry, yet was not sure how to start out. Of course, you can apply directly at a translation agency, but without much credentials in the form of year-long experiences, the chances of getting any projects might be slim. Still, I applied and was offered a trial translation which I somehow managed to complete. However, it took me much longer to do the trial than would be economically viable for actual translation work, and in the end was only offered registration as freelance proofreader.

So there you have the dilemma. In order to break into the industry, you need to show expertise and experience with the process of translating text fast and efficiently. Yet, with no experience to show, no one is ready to offer you the chance to gain experience. I now know this paradox even better than before, as I am handling freelance translators’ applications at our company. Anybody less than 3 years of translating experience rarely makes it into our pool of translators.

Yet with the infrastructure available today via the internet, new opportunities have arrived, even for wordsmith apprentices interested in testing and improving their skills, or people who would like to get a first taste of what it means to be a translator. Enter YAQS (for the Japanese yakusu 訳すto translate), the online platform that directly matches customers and translators, launched by translation agency WIP Japan in November 2010.

As of now, YAQS is handling Japanese to English and English to Japanese translation (although adding Chinese is next on the agenda). Customers charge their accounts and load up the texts they would like to have translated. Registered translators then receive a notification about a new project available. Whoever accepts the project first gets to work on it. Translation can be done offline and then uploaded, or done directly in the online interface. Payment is processed via PayPal.

Here you do not have to hand in a CV to apply. Simply register and undertake a trial translation. Your translation will be reviewed within about a month and according to your ability you will be classified into “casual”, “standard”, or “pro”. These ranks reflect the level of payment, the difficulty of the texts to be translated as well as the quality the customer expects. So even if you are inexperienced as a translator but do have (some) knowledge of Japanese, your chances are good to enter at the “casual” level. Project texts would be mostly be of small volume, many being product descriptions of e-commerce sites (which mainly used machine translations so far), but also short letters, or basically anything which “needs a human hand” instead of “quick and dirty” machine translations.

Although payment rates on the “casual” level (\1.5/ Japanese character) do not suffice to make a living, it offers the invaluable chance to get a foot into the translation industry and start gaining experience. Over time (usually around a year, given that you work on at least one project a day on average), you will get routine and improve your skills, ready to advance onto the next level (increasing rates to \4 yen, finally to \9/Japanese character) and also be able to advertise “the word count under your belt” when applying elsewhere. Also, as noted, e-commerce related texts make up the bulk of project texts, so right from the beginning you can have the reward of seeing your own work online!

For anyone interested in registering and giving YAQS a try, please see below:

Please go to the URL below for free registration and login (in Japanese only). Once registered you can undertake a small trial translation (uncompensated).


Upon passing the trial you will then be able to respond to uploaded translation requests and start earning. (Please note that YAQS requires a PayPal account in order to conduct payments for any translations made.)

If you would first like to know more about YAQS, please refer to the URLs below (in Japanese only).

-FAQ for translators
-Terms of service
-Privacy Policy

About the author:
Reimer Struve is currently working for WIP Japan Corp as translation coordinator. WIP Japan Corp has 15 years of experience in the translation industry and one of the ten biggest translation companies in Japan. He made it into the translation business by sending applications to numerous Japanese translation agencies, finally getting accepted at WIP Japan as an intern (an unusual way to enter a Japanese company, where internships are still mostly unheard of).

© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kazuyoshi Saito Anti-Nuke Song

斉藤和義 ずっとウソだった

We found this song on youtube by Japanese singer Kazuyoshi Saito.

Here are the lyrics in Japanese and English translation (thanks to Mina!)

この国をあるけば、げんぱつが54き If you walk in this country, there are 54 nuclear power plants

きょうかしょもCMもいってたよ”あんぜんです” Textbooks and commercials said, It is ”Safe”

おれたちをだまして、いいわけは”そうていがい” They deceived us and the excuse is “unexpected”

なつかしいあのそら、くすぐったいくろい雨   I miss that sky, tickling black rain

ずっとウソだったんだぜ   They have always lied to us

やっぱ ばれてしまったな   It was revealed, as I thought

ほんとウソだったんだぜ  It was really a lie.

げんしりょくは あんぜんです  Nuclear Power is “Safe”!

ずっとウソだったんだぜ  They have always lied to us

ホウレンソウ、くいたいな  I want to eat spinach.

ほんとウソだったんだぜ  It was really a lie

きづいてたろ このじたい  You have known this circumstance

かぜにまうほうしゃのうは もう止められない We cannot stop the radiation blowing in wind

なんにんがひばくすれば きづいてくれるの  How many people should be exposed to radiation until you notice?

この国のせいふ  The government in this country

このまちをはなれて うまい水みつけたかい  When you left this town, did you find tasty water?

おしえてよ やっぱいいや  Tell me, well no thanks.

もうどこにも にげばはない  There is nowhere to run away.


とうでん、ほくでん、ちゅうでん、きゅうでん  Tokyo denryoku, hokkaidou denryoku, Chuubu denryoku, Kyushu denryoku

もうゆめばかり見ないで  Stop dreaming any more

ずっとクソだったんだぜ  It has always been “shit” 

それでもつづけるきだ  They still want to continue the plan

ほんとクソだったんだぜ  It was really “shit”

何かがしたいこのきもち  this feeling I want to do something about it



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