Category Archives: SOCIETY

Oh Snap! Another Japan Election

Source: Gaijin Pot
Oh Snap! Another Japan Election

Unlike the United States, where politicians constantly seem to be engaged in fully automatic election mode and where pretty much anything goes on the campaign trail, this Japan election — like all others — is a heavily regulated affair.

For starters, campaigns only last 12 days before the polls open. This is why you didn’t see, or rather hear, sound trucks and politicians making stump speeches in front of stations and lonely street corners until Oct. 10, even though the snap election was announced in late September.

The price of admission to join in on a Japan election is also expensive by international standards — though not necessarily by American ones where over fifty million dollars was spent recently in a single congressional special election alone.

Fielding a candidate in an individual, or first-past-the-post, electoral district requires a deposit of ¥3 million (a little under US$27,000). Another ¥6 million deposit is needed to run a candidate in a proportional representation block. Candidates must garner 10 percent of the vote on election day if they hope to get any of that money back. In 2012 and again in 2014, Kofuku Jitsugen To, or The Happiness Realization Party, fielded some 345 candidates — or nearly one for each electoral district and more than any other party — yet failed to win a single seat, forfeiting, I believe, over ¥2 billion in each election it has participated in.

While some other nations also require deposits to participate in elections, the amount is negligible: both Australia and Canada demand $750 up front; Britain, only £500 pounds. The percent of the total vote needed for a refund of the deposit is also easier to accomplish: 5 percent or less. Japan’s election deposits, which were inspired by those in Britain, were created to keep the rabble out of …continue reading


Crafts center in southern Japan creates miniature furniture for cats

japan miniature furniture cats okawa city

There’s an old joke that the Japanese internet comprises 50% food and 50% cats.

This campaign by Okawa City probably won’t do much to change this reputation: it’s clearly made to indulge feline fans everywhere. And there isn’t anything wrong with that.

Furniture makers created genuine furniture scaled down to be the ideal size for cats. If you’ve ever wanted to see a cat getting comfy on a miniature sofa or bed built perfectly for pets to enjoy, then this is the publicity campaign for you. If that doesn’t scream “clickbait,” then you’re probably missing a pulse.

japan miniature furniture cats okawa city

japan miniature furniture cats okawa city

japan miniature furniture cats okawa city

japan miniature furniture cats okawa city

japan miniature furniture cats okawa city

The gimmick is intended to show off the craftsmanship of Okawa in Fukuoka Prefecture, where many furniture manufacturers are located.

The ad also reminds us of this Yutaka Foods commercial from a couple of years ago that created a series of intricate miniature models.

…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


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

Technically home sweet home

Source: j-hoppers

I usually say I’m from Hiroshima. Although it’s actually not true.
My town is exactly on the border of Okayama and Hiroshima, and my home address is Okayama side, but I always hang out in Hiroshima, my mom goes to grocery shopping almost everyday on Hiroshima side, our dialect is also Hiroshima-ben and overall, I don’t know much about Okayama.

Lat weekend, I visited Okayama city for my friend’s wedding ceremony and reception.
And of course I decided to stay at a guesthouse in Okayama for the first time!
The place was hip, they have cafe and gallery on the first floor, second floor is the hostel and top floor is rental space for exhibitions or private events. The staff I talked at the reception was so excited when I told her that I also work at a hostel, and told me about a bit of Okayama hostel situation like they only have 3 guesthouses in Okayama city, or their concept and location. She was so nice!

In the evening, I hit the town to catch up with my friend who used to live in Fukuyama, and it was such a blast!

And the next day, I checked-out a bit early and decided to walk all the way to Kourakuen (one of the 3 major Japanese gardens) taking about 40 mins. (I’m a slow walker.)

It was so great seeing the city in the crisp morning – the riverside area was mysteriously foggy, and so quiet on Saturday. I had coffee in my hand, and enjoyed the fall air in my “home” that I’m not familiar with.

I almost forgot that Okayama is a castle town! Unfortunately I didn’t have time to …continue reading