By beatrix.thy

11 Types of Office Personas Found in Japanese Society

We meet all kinds of people with different behaviors in the office, but perhaps do not have a label to identify them like the Japanese do. Some mentioned below are necessary for survival in the office, some are for climbing the corporate ladder, and some are simply descriptive characteristics of certain personalities. These do not…

White Water Rafting in the Tama River- Paddles Up, Heave Ho Hooray!

Being stuck in the concrete jungle that is Tokyo was unforgivingly wearing down on us. ‘I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity’; I was becoming exactly that. I was not looking for a place of serenity and tranquility, but on the contrary, my emotions had taken a life of their own and were…

What is Otoshi, The Unavoidable Seating Charge?

Many of us are used to tipping or being charged for a service or goods tax at restaurants, as well as paying a cover fee to enter clubs or certain bars with live performances. But at some places in Japan, I found that there were small additional charges made without my knowing. Was it for…

What It Takes to be a Japanese Salary Man

The quintessential salary man (サラリーマン) in Japan is a male white-collar worker or businessman who works for a large corporation or bureaucracy. He must have attended and graduated from an elite school, and is hence trained and brainwashed by default to suit working for “the greater good” instead of for oneself. He works 60-80-hour workweeks…

How Hard is it to get a Driver’s License in Japan?

Each prefecture has its own driver’s license center and test methods, and a resident of a particular prefecture is only allowed to take the driving test in his or her respective prefecture. The passing rate at driver’s license centers is abysmally low, and most Japanese only pass on the second try. As students have to…

Omiyage Gifting: A Social Obligation in Japan?

After returning from a vacation, you may have brought some souvenirs or gifts back for friends or yourselves; it’s natural to think that this is a wholly voluntary act and usually given only to people who you are close to or who you are in good terms with. But who would have thought that NOT…

Vegan Burgers and Kichijoji Allsorts

“People aren’t overcome by situations or outside forces. Defeat comes from within.” ― Banana Yoshimoto, Kitchen Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto is a contemporary expose on human relations and emotions of loss and love, which tells the story of a quirky young woman, the protagonist, and her newly found friend and his transsexual mother. She resides…

Visiting Japan on a Budget: Souvenir Hacks

Regardless of whether you’re a tourist visiting or a foreigner working in Japan, you may feel obligated to buy souvenirs or gifts when you go back home. Bringing back a gift after a vacation, or omiyage お土産, is paramount in Japanese culture. So why not partake in this intricately painful process of selecting an appropriate…

A Dog Lover’s Haven in Tokyo: Yoyogi Park!

Yoyogi Park (代々木公園) is known for being “the place” for picnics, strolls, or chilling with a good book on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Its plant and tree landscape paint a very pretty picture; it also houses the Meiji-Jingu 明治神宮, one of the oldest sacred temples of worship. Dog Park   View this post on Instagram…

My Number: A New Identification System from October 2015

What is a Personal Identification Number? In most countries, every citizen or resident has a personal identification number that is registered with the government and the relevant authorities. The main purpose is to have a centralized number that can be easily tracked across all matters of an official capacity, such as taxes, pension or healthcare…