Category Archives: FEATURED

Is an All-English Classroom Good for Students?

When you start teaching in Japan, depending on the environment you’ll either be told to speak only English all the time, or you might mix the two in your own class or with a Japanese teacher. Everyone has a different opinion on whether this is good for students, so I’m going to give you a few reasons why some schools prefer each approach, and you can make up your own mind which one you prefer.

All-English Classroom Reasons

Students will learn listening skills

At first they may struggle to understand what you are saying, but over time if you use a lot of gestures and body language they will become more confident communicators. This is especially true in classes with younger children like kindergarten and elementary school, where kids are still listening out for novel sounds and still becoming proficient in their native tongue.

It’s the way you learned language as a baby

You couldn’t possibly imagine a situation where a mother gives her infant a textbook with lists of verbs or grammar structures on it and says “study all of these for a test next Tuesday” right? Babies learn language from listening to people who they want to understand, because they love their parents and want to communicate with them.

Studies of feral children (those who are raised in isolation, often in the wild) have found that there is a critical period for language development, and if children haven’t learned a language by puberty then they will never be able to communicate fluently, only in short sentences or single words, and perhaps not at all.

In this way, using an All-English classroom mirrors how students would have learned their own native language as infants, and may actually be easier to learn the second language to fluency.

It’s easier to get foreign teachers as they don’t have …continue reading


If the world ends tomorrow, what do you want to know today?

What's for dinner tonight? graph of japanese statistics

Rather oddly, this quickie survey by Mynavi News into what people would want to know if the world were ending tomorrow, found almost half the sample were interested in merely what would be their last supper.

For me, I certainly wouldn’t be wasting time going home for dinner; I would be choosing my own! I’m not sure what secrets of the pyramids people are interested in; the main pyramids seem to have a lot of hidden tunnels, but every investigation of them turns out to be a damp squib, and I am certain there is no supernatural aspect to them, which I think is what that question is getting at.

I’m not sure how to illustrate the end of the world, so instead let’s listen to it; the Japanese band “Sekai no Owari” translates literally to “End of the World”, so here’s a recent single that what also the theme song for Mary and the Witch’s Flower:

Research results

Q1: If the world were to end tomorrow, what would you want to know? (Sample size=500)

Q1A: How Star Wars ends

Want to know 26.6%
Not interested 73.4%

Q1B: How One Piece manga comic ends

Want to know 31.6%
Not interested 68.4%

Q1C: Are we really alone?

Want to know 57.8%
Not interested 42.2%

Q1D: The secrets of the pyramids

Want to know 55.0%
Not interested 45.0%

Q1E: What’s for dinner tonight

Want to know 48.2%
Not interested 51.8%


There’s no date for when this survey was carried out, but it was presumably shortly before the publication date of the 25th of September 2017 when 500 members of the Mynavi News monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. No further demographics were provided.

…continue reading


What to Do in a Typhoon

Source: Tokyo Cheapo

Late summer and early autumn is typhoon season in Japan. If you’re here between August and October, it’s likely that you’ll experience at least one “tropical cyclone”. Despite the dire warnings issued on TV, typhoons generally pass over without serious damage—at least in Tokyo, anyway. Those in mountainous and coastal areas usually face bigger threats. Nervous in the metropolis and unsure of what you should be doing when a typhoon hits? We give you some hints.
So much rain.
Keep an eye on social media
When typhoons approach, Japanese TV and radio stations broadcast advance warnings with the expected time and area of landfall. Many schools and universities close until the worst has passed—but the shutdown an

The post What to Do in a Typhoon appeared first on Tokyo Cheapo.

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Online Dating In Japan: What Apps Are Worth It And What Aren’t?

So you’ve moved to Japan hopeful that the dating scene here will be ah-mazing and full of new excitement. You think you’ll find the perfect Japanese man for you right away and things will lead to a happy ending. Or just have some fun for a while. OK, it’s time to wake up now and get real: Dating in Japan isn’t an easy task. Most western men living here are either already in a relationship, gay or are interested in dating only Japanese women, and Japanese guys will often be too shy to come as close as ten meters near you.

But luckily, you say, we live in an era where you can find anything online. Especially dating. A quick search online will show you dozens of different deai-kei (online dating) apps, but, given that you’re new to this, how do you know what will help you find who or what you’re looking for?

Having been there, done that, I decided to do a quick poll of my foreign friends to find out what apps or sites worked best for them and what didn’t. So, here it is, our round-up of the 10 most used dating apps in Japan, rated out of five by a group of 15 international women who have used them. It’s up to you whether to swipe right or left!

1. Tinder

One that doesn’t need an introduction. While most people are “just looking” on Tinder, if you’re actively trying, you can not only meet people to date, but new friends, drinking buddies, networkers and activity mates. I found a whole group of men and women to check out summer festivals with, so I can speak from experience when I say that Tinder isn’t just for hanky panky.

  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Fees: Free, special features require a monthly …continue reading

A Day at the Races: How to Watch Horse Racing in Tokyo

Source: Gaijin Pot
Entrance to the Tokyo Racecourse

The list of cool ways to experience Tokyo is pretty much endless and watching horse racing might not be high on your personal agenda — but it should be. In fact, keiba, or horse racing, is big business in Japan — the Japan Cup is one of the world’s richest purses — and the sport attracts spectators of all genders, ages and interests.

A day at the Tokyo Racecourse has got it all: a sprawling theme park-esque venue that hosts top-notch events, how-to seminars on betting for beginners, kid-friendly play areas, a wide range of restaurants, seasonal events and more. Plus, as one of the few sports that you can legally gamble on in Japan, there’s that chance that you could win a whole lotta yen.

What is the Tokyo Racecourse?

The Tokyo Racecourse is located in Fuchu, western Tokyo and is run by the Japan Racing Association (JRA). It’s here you can watch the most prestigious events of the Japanese horse racing world, leading up to the famous Japan Cup held on the last Sunday of November. The Japan Cup gathers horses from all over the world to compete for some mega bucks — this year’s competitors are in the running for a total of ¥648,000,000 (US$5.6 million) on Nov. 26.

Horses racing at the Tokyo Racecourse

Until Nov. 26, there are cup races every weekend and that means the venue will be packed with families, couples and, of course, the hardcore horse racing fans. This makes for a fantastically exciting atmosphere. The best part? Entry to the entire Tokyo Racecourse and all its facilities is a mere ¥200.

What can you do at Tokyo Racecourse?

A huge venue spread across seven floors, you could spend hours having fun without even glimpsing …continue reading