Category Archives: FEATURED

We All Could Use a Little Someone-san


“Tell me anything. I won’t listen, though.”

In this world, we meet all kinds of people who love to converse about all kinds of things. While important, there are those who are unfortunate that don’t have their voices heard as the louder and more open voices overwhelm them. When it comes to a conversation between those two groups, it can go awry. Sometimes, we get told that we need to listen more. But what if listening may not be the right answer?

Reading Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare has me pondering this as one of its central characters takes pride in just existing and being there for others without being “helpful.” What’s astounding is that this character’s stance on people does end up helping the lives she touches.

The story of Shimanami Tasogare centers around a young man named Tasuku Kaname who fears being outed as gay in his high school.. Ashamed and thinking of suicide, Tasuku makes an attempt and witnesses a woman jumping off the window of her home. He rushes to save her, only to find her alive. Tasuku discovers that the woman, aptly named Someone-san (identified as she/her), is the head of a drop-in center for LGBT+ people who are trying to make something of their lives despite the disapproval of their sexual orientations by the public eye. Someone-san is noted to be a total mystery as she just exists with little-to-no attention paid to her at all.

Someone-san’s famous quote in the series, “Tell me anything. I won’t listen, though.” is something she says to the various characters during their lowest periods. It’s fascinating that she says this as there’s a lot of advice about being a great listener. With regards to mental health, so many of us that have mental …continue reading


The Nagamachi Neighborhood: Kanazawa’s Samurai Streets

Source: Japan Cheapo

Not as famous as the tea districts but just as fascinating, the Samurai District of Kanazawa shows a different side to the city’s past. Once at the foot of Kanazawa Castle, the moat-lined Nagamachi neighborhood was the hub of city security. The earthern walls, paved streets and weathered gates all indicate the area’s role in protecting the city, with the homes of mid- and high-ranking samurai kept safely within.
The area is now home to museums, restored bukeyashiki (samurai houses) and carefully maintained streets, so it’s perfect for an exploratory stroll back into the Edo period. Aside from strolling through the winding streets, you can head to some of the area’s museums to learn a little more about sam

The post The Nagamachi Neighborhood: Kanazawa’s Samurai Streets appeared first on Japan Cheapo.

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50,000 Free Domestic Flights in Japan Summer 2020

(Tourists only need apply)

Sacred Mount Fujisan — photo by Aaron Paulson

(Just to say, I have no connection to the airline involved and am not promoting their product or getting compensated by them in any way — I don’t even have their mileage card! Or, because I live here, even qualify for the contest. But the opportunity for . little off-beat, adventurous travel sounds like the real deal — and I’d sure be interested if i were traveling to Japan between July and September of 2020).

Not the kind of story I normally write about, but I know many of you are excited about the upcoming Summer Olympics Games, and a chance for a little — free — off-the-beaten-path travel is just adding natto to the rice bowl, so to speak.

It sounds too good to be true, but according to the official JAL website the headline checks out: JAL is giving away 50,000 free flights this summer to international visitors.

In conjunction with the Japan National Tourist Organization’s (JNTO) “Your Japan 2020,” Japan Airlines (JAL) is giving away 50,000 free flights to four “mystery” destinations from Tokyo and Osaka during the Summer Olympics.

The flights will be scheduled from July 1st to September 30, which means Olympics-goers can add a little serendipitous adventure before or after the Games.

To add to the sense of adventure, the destinations won’t be announced until later, but will apparently be less-well known destinations than main cities Osaka and Tokyo.

If I had to guess/wish, in no particular order I would nominate Sapporo or perhaps Asahikawa on the northernmost, frontier island of Hokkaido (great for hiking); Naha for Okinawa and access to the southern islands; Kyoto seems unlikely, but Fukuoka on the northern part of Kyushu island has a reputation for being worth a visit; and maybe Nagasaki on Kyushu’s wet …continue reading


McDonald’s Japan’s Newest Dessert is Literally Called an Adult Cream Pie

Source: Gaijin Pot

McDonald’s Japan is raising eyebrows again with its newest dessert called the Otona no Kuriimu Pai (adult cream pie). In this case, otona, which translates to “adult” in English, is meant to suggest the taste is sophisticated or made specifically for an adult palate. But we all know the NSFW connotation “adult cream pie” has in the western world.

It’s debatable whether McDonald’s Japan knew its new campaign could easily be mistaken for a Pornhub category or if this is just another case of poor Japanese to English translation. Considering McDonald’s “accidentally” sexually suggestive cups from last year, I’m convinced their marketing director is trolling us all on an expert level.

Photo: Aaron Baggett
As messy as youd expect a creampie to be.

You would assume a franchise as big as Mcdonald’s would at least run the ad by an English speaker before going public. You would assume, yes, but if that were the case there wouldn’t be infinite examples of corporate “Engrish” out in the wild. Remember when Pizza Hutt asked customers, “don’t you hungry?

To be fair, 大人 (otona) is often used on candy and snack packaging to sell the aforementioned “adult” taste. Most Japanese people wouldn’t bat an eye at “otona no cream pie.”

Perhaps Mcdonald’s Japan predicted its main demographic wouldn’t notice or care. The word adult, pronounced adaruto (アダルト) is used for Japanese porn rather than otona, after all. It’s still pretty hard to believe anyone with internet access doesn’t know what a “cream pie” is, though.

Japanese companies love using innuendos in commercials

McDonald’s isn’t the only company in Japan that seems to get a kick out of using sexual inuendos in their advertisements. Just look at the Long Long Man commercials for the popular candy Sakeru Gummies. In this …continue reading


Ikigai: The Japanese Concept Of Finding Purpose In Life

Ikigai- The Japanese Concept Of Finding Purpose In Life

Though the “new year, new me” mantra is inspiring, the truth is if all that’s really inspiring us to do better is a different number on the calendar, maybe there’s a better way to fully embrace everything life has in store for us.

Enter ikigai, the age-old Japanese ideology that’s long been associated with the nation’s long life expectancy. A combination of the Japanese words “iki” (生き), which translates to “life,” and “gai” (甲斐), which is used to describe value or worth, ikigai is all about finding joy in life through purpose.

In other words, your ikigai is what gets you up every morning and keeps you going.

So what exactly is ikigai?

The origin of the word ikigai goes back to the Heian period (794 to 1185). Clinical psychologist and avid expert of the ikigai evolution, Akihiro Hasegawa released a research paper in 2001 where he wrote that the word “gai” comes from the word “kai” which translates to “shell” in Japanese.

During the Heian period, shells were extremely valuable, so the association of value is still inherently seen in this word. It can also be seen in similar Japanese words like hatarakigai, (働きがい) which means the value of work, or yarigai ~ga aru (やり甲斐がある), meaning “it’s worth doing it.”

Ikigai is what gets you up every morning and keeps you going.

Gai is the key to finding your purpose, or value in life. The best way to really encapsulate the overarching ideology of ikigai is by looking at the ikigai Venn diagram which displays the overlapping four main qualities: what you are good at, what the world needs, what you can be paid for, and of course, what you love.

Boiling it down to its most basic theory, it’s within the crossover of these points where ikigai stands.

Why is ikigai important?

Many sociologists, …continue reading