Category Archives: FEATURED

What’s There to See at Shibuya Crossing?

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Shibuya Crossing may be a small area but it’s one of the most jampacked places in Japan every single day. As the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing, it accommodates thousands of people every day crossing from five directions. Additionally, the traffic lights have a two-minute cycle and the crowds thin out only after midnight when the Shibuya stations finally close.

What To See

The presence of several landmarks make Shibuya Crossing a very popular tourist spot in Japan. One of them is Hachiko, the dog that came each day to meet his owner after work at Shibuya Station back in the 1920s. The dog’s owner eventually died but Hachiko continued to come to the station every evening to wait and this went on for some 10 more years.

As an entertainment district, Shibuya boasts of great restaurants, shops, night clubs, karaoke and izakaya. In fact, it is well known as one of the country’s fashion centers particularly for the youngsters.

Izakaya are Japanese pubs where coworkers and friends meet and lovers share a romantic moment. It is also a popular venue for birthdays, retirement parties and other celebrations. Common food served here are sushi, sashimi, yakitori, karaage, tofu dishes and Japanese fish dishes.

The neon lights in the area are another great attraction in the crossing. They keep the place vibrant at night until the early morning.

Coffee lovers can also enjoy not only their favorite drinks and the most superb view of the Shibuya crossing at Starbucks house in the QFront building. The place is said to be the best Starbucks in the world when it comes to view.

Shibuya Community

The area where the Shibuya community is situated used to be the site of a castle in which the Shibuya family resided. That was from the …continue reading

    

High-tech Cocomi undershirt detects drowsiness in drivers

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At a glance, Japan’s roadways would seem plenty dangerous: a high pedestrian count, non-existent bike lanes, an increasingly elderly population behind the wheel, Pokémon Go. But despite the slew of danger-making variables, the nation’s streets are becoming safer, recording fewer traffic deaths last year than in any year since 1948 when the government started tracking these data. While this is unquestionably good news, for two Japanese technology companies it’s not good enough as they seek to bring the count closer to zero. Their solution: a drowsiness-detecting undershirt.

Toyobo and Union Tool are co-developing a drowsy driving detection system using Toyobo’s high-tech Cocomi material and Union Tool’s “Safe Driving Support Tool Drowsiness Notifier DSD,” an algorithm that identifies a specific pattern of electric signals unique to the heart’s rhythms at the onset of sleep. This is an upgrade of a similar technology Union Tool debuted back in 2015, a belt-like device that fastens at the torso and attaches to the skin via gel-capped electrodes.

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The advantage of Cocomi is its thinness (0.3mm), high precision and conductivity, and convenient flexibility. It moves naturally with the body without sacrificing functionality unlike many wearable devices today, which tend to be bulky, uncomfortable and frequently inaccurate in their readings. Cocomi’s low electrical resistance, on the other hand, means it can collect high-accuracy biological data.

Cocomi is currently being tested by Chunichi Rinkai Bus Company in Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture. If its works …continue reading

    

Can you understand Japanese English?

(My Home)This is a phenomenon that happens all over the non-native English speaking world, in many varieties. Of course there are tons of words loaned to the English language that are pronounced or used incorrectly, for example, the way we pronounce karaoke or tsunami, anyone? (Can we call that English Japanese?)There are a handful of English words you’ll see or hear in Japan that aren’t Engrish. They are English words, but the way they are used here is sometimes a little different. These range from tons of ‘katakana English’ loan words like ‘teburu’ for a western table and less recognizable words like ‘pi-shi-‘ or PC (for personal computer) to words and phrases we use like, “Let’s go!”Here are just a few examples of Japanese English I hear often, and in these cases I’m under the impression that Japanese people think they are correctly using English integrated into their language.Don’t mindIn English this phase is missing a subject, assumed to be “I” as in, “I don’t mind.” This is not what Japanese people are going for exactly when they use this phrase. The meaning is more like, ‘never mind’ or ‘don’t worry about it.'(Pronunciation is more like, ‘done mine, done mine.’)Come onI first heard this in a Japanese junior high classroom as a student beckoned me to help with his handout. Within the context I completely understood that he meant as, ‘Come here (please),’ but didn’t realize until later that ‘come on’ is used in this way in Japan. Come on can have a lot of meanings in English, from the phrasal verb meaning to flirt with someone, to expressing frustration when the other team scores a goal.Said in a sort of friendly and inviting way, as if to say, ‘why don’t you join me!’ Ironically, one of the meanings of …continue reading

    

It Means The Most When It Is Unsaid

The thing that I enjoy most about Japan is the harmonious co-existence of contradictions. While contradictions often create disagreement and chaos in many places, that is not quite the same in Japan. There seems to be this huge invisible force that mandates the opposites to get along with each other, to not interfere and to accept and make peace.I figured that it is this huge set of unspoken rues that guides the peace and these rules seems to reside in every Japanese person. A set of rules that regulates and controls every aspect of their behavior and ultimately forms their very strong social consensus.“KY (kuuki wo yomu or “read the air”) – non Japanese do this as well, but in a different way and to a different extent. To (most of us) non Japanese, its obvious that we say, should not go to the bank in our pajamas. To a Japanese person, it is obvious in a similar way that in some situations a person who smiles too much is not to be trifled with”. (Kyle Von Lanken)While it is not impossible for one to live here without fully internalizing this mysterious set of unspoken rules, foreigners who are found ignorant or breaking these said rules can be pardoned, but that also mean an automatic exclusion from being “one of us”, a.k.a. Gaijin (an outside person).Social Manifestations Of The Unspoken RulesI reckon that there are a few very Japanese traits that best manifests the rules and also help set the foundation of this harmonious society.- Never be in the face of others- Don’t cause inconvenience to others- Always seek agreement not discussion- …continue reading

    

Celebrating the Girls and Boys of Japan

Source: Japan Cheapo

Each year on March 3rd girls become the center of attention in every Japanese household during a festival called Hinamatsuri—while boys have to wait a bit longer until May 5th.
Who run the world (on March 3rd)? Girls!
The name Hinamatsuri, or Girl’s Day, is derived from the tradition where parents (or grandparents) buy a newborn girl a set of hina dolls. Some families hand down these sets of dolls from generation to generation to bless each girl with health and happiness. The dolls wear ancient Japanese costumes worn by the Imperial Household and other nobles during the Heian period.
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Displaying the dolls is quite specific as the stair-style platforms (usually five) suggests. On the top platform there are the Dairibina, be

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