Thursday, July 27, 2006

Life in Japan:Guide for new arrivals Part 2


In my opinion, Japan has one of the most integrated society in developed countries.
In USA minorities are concentrated in slums. Same as in France and Great Britain.
But in Japan, your neighbors are likely to be Japanese people. Like in every
society, there are some rules to follow:

1. Don't be noisy
Lots of foreigners tend to chat with loud voices; it is a free society but think
about the timing and the place

2. Garbage disposal
Tokyo is one the cleanest city in the world. Why?
Because you just cant throw garbage whenever and wherever you want.
Throwing garbage has special rules and are classified into 3 categories:
- combustible garbage
paper, remains of food, etc ... to be put separately and to be thrown out at
specific days( usually 2 or 3 times a week depending on the area you are living )
- non combustible garbage
Plastics, metal, cans, bins, etc ... to be put separately and to be thrown out
at a specific day ( usually once a week )
- Big size garbage
TV, Stereo, tables, chairs, Fridge
You cant throw those. You need to call a special service and pay for their disposal

3. Be polite and friendly
It is your choice. If you want to live comfortably with your neighbors, it is an easy task

4. Greet everyone you meet in the apartment
Great way to make friends. You will learn and experience lots of interesting things with your neighbors.
Your neighbors are likely the one to invite you to special events like Festivals, Fireworks, Japanese dancing festivals, ...

5. Be a gentleman to the ladies
Well, like in every society

6. Be courteous to the 'Oya-san'
The apartment's owner. He is the one who will take care of things, like
broken doors, broken taps.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Eating in Japan: Udon

Besides Tendon, Udon is one of my other favorite japanese meal. Cheap and yummy!
You can add other toppings such tempura to give it a different taste.
Udon is made using fat noodles drenched in an original sauce. The sauce is composed of boiled water mixed with some kind of soy sauce.


Monday, April 24, 2006

US and Japan make troop cost deal

Japan and the United States have resolved a dispute over the costs of relocating 8,000 US marines from Okinawa to the Pacific island of Guam.
Tokyo had objected to US calls for it to pay 75% of the estimated $10bn cost.
But after talks on Sunday, a compromise deal was reached under which Tokyo will contribute $6.1bn towards the cost of relocation.
The dispute has held up agreement on overall realignment plans for the US military presence in Japan.

Further talks
Tokyo and Washington agreed last year the broad framework of a plan to reduce the number of troops on Okinawa, where most of the American forces are based.
It included the proposal to redeploy the 8,000 marines to Guam but Japan felt their contribution to the costs should be smaller.
After several rounds of negotiations over the last few weeks, Japan agreed to pay 59% of the costs in grants, loans and investments.
sources: BBC NEWS

Friday, April 14, 2006

World Cup 2006: Japan chances

With less than 2 months before the world cup, it is time to study Japan chances in Germany.
Japan is in Group F along with Brazil, Croatia and Australia.
No doubt, Brazil will go to the knock out stage. Meaning that Japan, Croatia and Australia must fight for one place.
Croatia has beaten Japan during the 1998 World Cup in France.
Japan has beaten Australia during the 2001 confederations cup in Japan.
But that's history and things have evolved.
In my opinion, the Japanese team have became weak since Zico took over.
I respect Zico as a player, but as a coach he is not of the bests.
Now, let's put Japan aside and try to analyze their opponents.
Australia is back in the world cup stage after 32 years of absence.
Australia will try to prove itself and lets not forget that Australia has one of the world best coaches: Guus Hiddink.
Croatia did a stunning performance during the world qualifiers and has recently beaten Argentina in a friendly.
I won't say that Japan wont make it to the second round, but their chances are pretty slim. But hey, Greece is the actual champion of Europe, so in football everything is possible.
Personally, I would like Brazil and Japan to advance.
In my next entries, I will introduce Japanese key players.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Life in Japan:Guide for new arrivals Part 1


1. Forget the negative things you have read about japan.
Your behaviors and manners will have a lot of influence on your comfort in Tokyo.

2. Try to learn some basic japanese words.
"Eigo wakarimasu ka?" Do you speak english?
"Eki wa doko desuka?" Where is the station (train)?

3. Try to improve your knowledge on gestures.
Yeah, sometimes it does help a lot.

4. Be courteous in the trains.
Usually, people are quiet in the trains. Some people use their
commutation hour to catch back some sleep.

5. Dont stare at people. It is consider rude in Japan.
Carrying a book or magazine can be helpful.

6. Some people may avoid sitting next to you if you are foreigner.
Don't make a good deal of it. It is not that they don't like you, it is
just some dont feel comfortable when talked in english.

7. Leave the seat to the eldery and the physically-challenged.

8. Get used to crowded spaces.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cherry blossom or Sakura

Every year, from end of March to the beginning of April, cherry blossoms bloom everywhere in Tokyo. It is very beautiful. Japanese people like to organize "hanami(花見)" gatherings during that period. Hanami usually refers as going to a park where trees are blooming to eat, drink while chatting with friends.
I went to a hanami party last week-end. It was very fun. The only thing I regretted was not wearing extra clothes. I was wearing a summer suit and it was very cold that night.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Tenya: Anago-don

Anago-don is one of my favorites.
My next entry will be about the cherry blossom, sakura(桜) in japanese.
Red Spider