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Archive for the ‘Life in Japan’ Category

Here, your little friend can join you at your table

Here, your little friend can join you at your table

For Japanese city dwellers, a dog is not merely a dog. It’s more like a little human with fur that walks on all fours. Your little dog companion can sit with you at the dog-cafe in a special high chair and eat with you at the table.
While everyone has already seen a dog that was wearing a cover in rainy or cold weather, in urban Japan, dog-wear is not a matter of temperature, but a matter of fashion. Just like humans don’t go out naked, the four-legged mini-human friends go out dressed and with their hair done. A dog in its natural state is hard to come by in Tokyo. Dog Fashion in Tokyo And the choices for the fashion-conscious dog are endless. From a mere T-shirt to a full-blown outfit with several pieces, everything can be found. And, hey, you’re in luck: because it’s dog fashion week! Dog Fashion Week (more…)

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A while ago, I ran a post on Japanese Sweets which turned out quite popular. So during our last stay in Japan, I made it my duty to “research” the topic more thoroughly (which, given my sweet tooth and my general appreciation for Japanese sweets, wasn’t such a very big sacrifice). Also in taking pictures of my food, I was in good company in Japan, since it’s essentially the standard thing to do when eating out.
Looking at the pictures I took, it seems the main property of Japanese sweets is that they’re green. What kind of desert would it be without matcha flavor? (more…)

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Engrish IV

"Carifornia" - Engrish at its best

From my archives another edition of “Engrish”, our favorite language. People’s T-Shirts are often a source of hilarity, but hard to document. On the beach, I managed however to discreetly snap a shot of the back of this beautiful example. Like so many “Itarian” restaurants, also this shirt is a victim of reverse translation from Katakana.

Walking cigarettes and pasturing dogs

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Three Years at IPMU

Just before I left Japan last September, Prof. Hirosi Ooguri interviewed me for the IPMU News about my experiences during my three years stay at IPMU.
The interview has now appeared in the latest issue of the IPMU News: Three Years at IPMU.

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Uji-style ice shavings

Traditional Japanese sweets are quite different from what the Western taste is used to. They are mostly made of tea, rice and beans, not exactly things we’d associate with a dessert. Other common flavors are (white or black) sesame. Not only the ingredients are unusual, also the consistency: it’s often either rubbery or gelatinous. (more…)

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The famous bath house in Dogo Onsen (Shikoku)

A very Japanese thing is the onsen (温泉) or hot spring. The volcanically active country is blessed with countless natural hot springs with many different types of mineral waters, some alkaline, some highly acidic, which are usually ascribed specific health benefits. The Japanese flock to the public bath houses in regions with famous hot springs, and a resort hotel stands and falls with the quality of its baths.
Hot spring resort towns often have the word “onsen” added to their name, such as for example Beppu Onsen. Going to the onsen is integral part of the experience of traveling in Japan. Nothing is more restorative after a train ride or a hike than soaking in the mineral waters of a hot spring. (more…)

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Three Years in Japan

After having concluded my 3-year stay in Japan, it seems fitting to summarize my experience which has been an extremely positive one. Japan has been very good to us. The last three years have been among the best and most interesting in my life.
I was very regretful to leave and have often thought that it’s a real pity to leave now that we are finally figuring out how to do things best, how to deal with Japanese weather, where to go and what to eat, etc. I’ll be definitely missing Japan and hope to come back for visits or even for longer stays.

In the following, I’d like to address some points that may be helpful for foreigners coming to live in Japan. (See also my posts after the first year and after the second year.)

So what should a foreigner expect when moving to Japan? (more…)

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