All posts by blogsonjapan

Almost two in three liked their middle-schooldays

Did you enjoy your middle school life? graph of japanese statistics

This survey from @nifty looked at people’s middle-school days, when aged between 12 and 15 years old.

I had a uniform, I went home for lunch, liked maths and science, did great in the few tests that there were, and life was good, I suppose, although I haven’t really got too many strong memories from there.

Note that in Japan on the whole there is no dinner hall like most western schools; instead food gets brought to the classroom and everyone eats as a group with their classmates. If there are no catered meals, people are expected to bring their own lunch, and again everyone eats together.

I couldn’t find a picture of a middle school, but here’s an interesting circular primary school:

Research results

Q1: Did you wear a uniform or not at middle school? (Sample size=2,329)

Uniform 91.6%
No uniform 5.6%
Other 1.5%
Don’t remember 1.3%

Q2: Did you eat school meals or take a bento lunch box? (Sample size=2,329)

Bento 55.9%
School meals 36.4%
Mostly school meals, but also bento 2.6%
Changed school, so experienced both 1.3%
Don’t remember 2.6%
Other 1.2%

Q3: What classes did you like? (Sample size=2,329, multiple answer)

Male Female
Maths 42.4% 31.2%
Science 42.5% 20.9%
Social studies 33.9% 22.2%
Japanese 24.5% 42.9%
English 17.9% 28.0%
Physical education 18.5% 13.1%
Music 12.6% 27.5%
Home economics, craftwork 14.9% 13.3%
Art 11.6% 22.2%
Other 4.5% 3.0%

Q4: How did you do in tests? (Sample size=2,329)

Male Female
Very well 16.1% 20.0%
Reasonably well 39.1% 42.0%
Around the middle 25.1% 25.7%
Quite poorly 13.6% 8.3%
Very poorly 4.5% 3.2%
Don’t remember 1.6% 0.9%

Q5: Did you enjoy your middle school life? (Sample size=2,329)

Loved it 14.5%
Liked it 51.1%
Was OK 18.3%
Disliked it 10.4%
Hated it 7.3%


Between the 7th and 13th of September 2018 2,329 members of the @nifty monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. No further demographics were given.

…continue reading


Foreign policy blunders threaten Australia’s prosperity

Author: John McCarthy, AIIA

The status of Jerusalem has been central to the Arab–Israeli dispute for more than a century. Since recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel presupposes the outcome of the negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians of a comprehensive two-state solution, the international community, with the exception of the United States under Trump, has refrained from doing this.

President Trump’s decision, announced in late 2017, was a radical shift in the United States’ historical position. The decision predictably drew strong criticism from Islamic states and the nonaligned world. More tellingly, it prompted adverse reactions from European states historically well versed in the intricacies of the Arab–Israeli dispute.

The new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks next to his deputy Josh Frydenberg during a news conference in Canberra, Australia, 24 August, 2018 (Photo: Reuters/David Gray)

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Following the US announcement, former Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop did not deviate from existing Australian policy. She noted that matters relating to Jerusalem were ‘subject to final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority’ and that Australia would continue its diplomatic representation to Israel from Tel Aviv and its representation to the Palestinian Authority from Ramallah in the West Bank. So it came as a shock when Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that he was considering moving Australia’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv …continue reading


Tweet of the Week

Source: Gaijin Pot

What better way to convey an important message to your loved-one than to write it on their food? That’s the experience @marinamiries shared with his followers on Twitter which quickly went viral thanks to the rather special choice of words from his loving wife.

In this hilarious example of martial powerplay you’ll find not only a cultural lesson, but also a chance to brush up on the Japanese conditional form, too.

Till death do us part —literally


— ゆきちゃん (@marinamiries) October 14, 2018

After a hard working morning, @marinamiries was ready to enjoy his lunch. But as he opened his bento box, he was quite surprised to find out this message from his wife:

“浮気したら、殺す” = “If you have an affair, I will kill you”

Naturally, his first instinct was to immediately share it on Twitter.

“愛妻弁当笑” = “My wife’s love bento, lol”

Apart from the impressive cutting techniques, his wife is clearly also a good cook. That tamagoyaki looks amazing.

Bento culture in Japan

In Japan, cooking and preparing lunch boxes, known as bento, is an integral part of the food culture and considered by many as Japanese wives’ important duty. Not only does the typical housewife do her best to cook delicious healthy meals, but she often makes them eye-pleasing with elaborate decorations and presentation.

Truthfully, a bento box means way more than having a conveniently prepared meal. It represents a very practical communication tool for housewives — or anyone preparing food for their loved one — in a society which heavily values keeping your feelings bottled up inside. If you don’t believe us, google “shikaeshi bento” a.k.a “revenge bento”, a special form of lunchbox reserved for when your beau has wronged you.

Japanese conditional form

In Japanese, you will quickly find out that there are a lot of ways to express the …continue reading


Cashierless artificial intelligence retail kiosk opens at station in Tokyo

cashierless unmanned shop kiosk station railway akabane japan tokyo ic card artificial intelligence

JR East has opened a cashierless retail kiosk on the platform of Akabane Station in Tokyo where the shopping experience is fully run by artificial intelligence.

Unmanned retail outlets are nothing new in Japan — nor overseas, not least Amazon, which is considering to open 3,000 cashierless stores. The convenience store chain Lawson recently introduced a fully self-service branch in Akihabara. Other chains like the video rental and bookstore retailer Tsutaya also have self-service checkouts. In fact, it is common in both cities and the countryside to come across so-called unmanned stands or stalls selling vegetables and fruit.

cashierless unmanned shop kiosk station railway akabane japan tokyo ic card artificial intelligence

In this case, however, JR has integrated the system with the IC cards that are so prevalent in Japan among travelers, and already widely accepted at vending machines and stores. A customer enters the kiosk with his or her Suica or other IC card. The 80 installed cameras around the small store and shelves then detect which items are selected by the customer, using AI to supervise the visit. The cost is then automatically debited from the credit on the card when tapping to exit the kiosk. The shop sells the usual kinds of products found at railway station kiosks, such as drinks and snacks.

The Akabane Station kiosk is only a two-month trial, though shoppers should expect similar fully cashierless systems in the future if it proves a success. JR East anticipates the shop will be used by some 6,000 people per month.

While the development speaks to the sophisticated and efficiency of Japanese infrastructure, it rather flies in the face of the traditional emphasis on good customer service. What could be colder than being …continue reading