Category Archives: SOCIETY

Gift Giving Guidelines in Japan

Giving gifts are an incredibly important part of Japanese culture and presents are given for so many different occasions. In fact, gift giving in Japan is taken so seriously that it’s not only seen as common courtesy, but a social obligation as well.Of course, like any gift giving culture, there are a certain number of rules that one needs to follow. So let’s take a look at some of the etiquette involved in presenting presents to all types of people for all types of occasions.If you’re a visitor to Japan who plans on giving gifts to someone, a small present or souvenir from your hometown is greatly appreciated. And because Japanese people receive gifts all-year-round, it’s best not to overload the gift-receiver with too many trinkets. Therefore, something edible from your home country is probably the best gift you can give.The price of the present is also not as important as the meaning behind it. However, expensive gifts will still be appreciated (and are not viewed as a forms of bribery).It’s a good idea to avoid gifts that include the numbers four and nine, as well as potted plants, lilies, lotus blossoms, and camellias – as there are a number …continue reading


When you miss the last train home in Japan: Options and costs

The term ‘24 hour city’ is used far too loosely if you ask us. The flashy descriptor is mostly a myth, even in a place like Japan where, if it was to fit anywhere, this would be the place. OK, so the usage is not entirely misplaced, it’s just that it’s taken too holistically, the largest missing piece of the 24-hr puzzle being arguably the most important, transport.The last train home – 終電 / shuudenThis expat is based in Tokyo, where the last train home from central areas of the city is usually around midnight. Perhaps this sounds early to you. It does to me, and practically, it is. In a country where the work culture can keep people at their desks past 10 pm before dragging them out for compulsory (in a veiled way) company drinks, a midnight last train leaves little room for breathing space. In a kind of sods law predicament, it also does a poor job at balancing urges to stay out late but not wanting to stay out all night. What to do when you miss the last train home in Japan?Luckily, with many cities in Japan, this is where …continue reading


5 Hot Tokyo Exhibitions To Visit This Golden Week

It was Picasso who said that the purpose of art is “to wash the dust of daily life off our souls.” While living in Tokyo is an adventure in itself, there’s no doubt that a trip to a gallery can help inspire and invigorate. With Golden Week coming up, this may be the perfect time for you to lose yourself in one of the city’s cool art galleries or museums for some extra spark — you know, for when the holidays are over. From intimate shows in quieter suburbs to blockbuster exhibitions, there’s a whole lot of art in town. So here are five exhibits to get out and see over the holiday — all guaranteed to give you a creative lift.

© Photo by © Elizabeth Peyton; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels

Behind The Many Popular Faces

Elizabeth Peyton: Still Life At The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art

In the depths of downtown Tokyo lies the cultural gem of the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art and its current exhibition, showing the mesmerizing portraits of American artist Elizabeth Peyton, is not to be missed. Sparsely curated, this is the perfect place …continue reading


TV Service in Japan

By Cherus (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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In the past, the best TV programming option for expatriates living in Japan has been to contract with one of the cable providers which offer a dozen or so popular English channels. In recent years, with the growth of internet-based content providers and VPN service usage to access geographically blocked content, the number of options has grown extensively. Here is an introduction to some of the basics.

Japanese Satellite/Cable TV

There are several large paid TV providers in Japan, however most have similar channel offerings and similar pricing of around JPY 5,000/month for their basic packages, with additional offerings of premium paid channels. The deciding factor between these providers is usually just which service area the housing falls under.

Sky PerfecTV!

Sky PerfecTV! uses either a satellite (two types: BS/CS110° or their own type of satellite) or runs through NTT’s fiber-optic line. English customer support is relatively good.

Some English Channel Offerings

Fox, Fox Sports, Disney, Cartoon Network, Discovery, Animal Planet, History, Natural Geographic, CNN, BBC


A cable company which also offers internet …continue reading


Triumph International unveils Premium Friday-inspired concept bra

triumph international premium friday bra

Twice a year the lingerie maker Triumph International announces a “concept bra” inspired by trends in the Japanese zeitgeist. By turns amusing and innovative, past bras include one based on Abenomics, space travel technology, and women leaders. Naturally these never go on sale but are decided to generate publicity for the brand, which they are pretty much guaranteed to do each time.

This time Triumph has opted for a theme based on Premium Friday, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) campaign to encourage workers to clock off at 3pm on the last Friday of every month. However, the jury is still out on this monthly gimmick and whether it will succeed or not, in spite of some ostensibly support from major corporations.

triumph international premium friday bra

Triumph’s Premium Friday bra, which was unveiled earlier this week, may not reflect a genuine “trend”, since Premium Friday is yet to catch on. The next Premium Friday is scheduled for April 28th.

The Premium Friday bras have integrated alarm clock that sounds at 3 p.m. This is intended to remind the wearer that it is time to leave the office and into …continue reading