Category Archives: SOCIETY

5 Ways to Meet Japanese Locals Without Speaking Japanese

Source: Gaijin Pot
5 Ways to Meet Japanese Locals Without Speaking Japanese

For many travelers, getting to live like a local and having the opportunity to connect with new people is a big priority. In Japan, this can be challenging due to the language barrier. Since half of all communication is non-verbal, I figured there must be some ways for visitors to Japan to overcome language differences and really experience the country in depth.

Here’s five ideas to interact with locals and enjoy cultural experiences without needing to speak Japanese. Having said this, people will respond positively if you’re able to say a few key words which is why I’ve suggested one for each scenario.

1. Blend in with the baseball crowd

Japan baseball! Awesome fans! #japanlife #japanbaseball #yokohama #baystars

A post shared by Nanea (@naneac) on Aug 17, 2016 at 7:53am PDT

Attending a baseball match in Tokyo or Yokohama is like going to a basketball game in NYC, or the Melbourne stadium to watch Aussie football. The dedicated supporters in the stands match the energy and entertainment on field. No matter where you sit, you’ll be surrounded by cheerful natives who’ll encourage you to sing along and participate in crazy coordinated crowd dances which put the “Mexican Wave” to shame.

Given the sport’s American influence, English phrases are used to commentate the game and are intertwined into chants. The supporters’ outward love for the game becomes infectious, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself high-fiving strangers and repeatedly shouting chants, even if you don’t understand their meaning. The Hiroshima Carps and Chiba Lotte Marines are well known for their dedicated cheer squads.

One word ice breaker: Ganbatte! meaning “do your best!” Use this word to show your encouragement. You’ll hear it shouted throughout the game and featured within popular cheers.

2. Go on a nomihodai night out

Tokyo Marathon 2017 at Asakusabashi

Tokyo Marathon 2017 in Asakusabashi, Tokyo.


This year, 2017, was a special one for the Tokyo Marathon in that it is the 10th year since the event began, in 2010.

This year’s Tokyo Marathon followed a slightly different course from previous years’ in that it didn’t skirt the

Bystanders watch the Tokyo Marathon 2017 in Yanagibashi, Taito-ku, Tokyo
As in previous years, the Tokyo Marathon went through Tokyo’s “doll town” of Asakusabashi. It was already late morning yesterday when I got down to Edo-dori Avenue, which runs north-south through the district, and – as the caretaker of our building laughingly warned this late-bird on my way out – the main body of serious runners had already gone through long before.

Picking up a cup of Pocari Sweat at the Tokyo Marathon 2017, Asakusabashi, Tokyo
Yet, life isn’t supposed to be all serious, and there was no shortage of runners participating as much to show off their nutty costumes as their athletic prowess. Participants in the Tokyo Marathon are prohibited from carrying bottles, so the course was lined with stalls giving out free Pocari Sweat, a Japanese beverage from way back that has long associated itself with sport.

Tokyo Marathon 2017 happening under the Chuo-Sobu line, Asakusabashi, Tokyo.
Tokyo Marathon 2017, with a Chuo-Sobu Line train overhead pulling into Asakusabashi Station.
The weather couldn’t have been better, with bright blue skies and an invigorating, but not freezing, temperature of about 8 degrees Celsius.

Rah-rah for the runners, in Asakusabashi, at the Tokyo Marathon 2017.
Cheering on Tokyo Marathon 2017 runners in Asakusabashi.
Edo-dori Avenue, which could not be crossed while the …continue reading

Japan News This Week 26 February 2017

Japan News.


Trump Wants More American Cars in Japan. Japan’s Drivers Don’t.
New York Times

Thousands vie for Naked Man title in Japan

Tokyo Olympic golf course must give female members equal rights or lose event, says IOC

For African-American ‘idol’ Amina du Jean, difference is a double-edged sword
Japan Times

What Was the Cold War? Imagined Reality, Ordinary People’s War, and Social Mechanism
Japan Focus

Last Week’s Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


“A new survey by the Japan family planning association found that nearly half of married couples had not had sex for more than a month and did not expect that to change in the near future – the association’s definition of a “sexless” marriage. Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex? Read more The data on married couples were among the findings of a wider survey of 3,000 people aged between 16 and 49 conducted at the end of last year. The association received responses from more than 1,200 people, including 655 married men and women. A record high 47.2% of married men and women said they were in sexless marriages, up 2.6 percentage points from the previous poll in 2014, the association said, and significantly higher than the 31.9% recorded when it conducted its first survey of the nation’s bedroom habits in 2004.”

Source: Guardian


Inside Track Japan For Kindle …continue reading


Early Hanami in Saitama

Cherry blossoms or “sakura” are not just beautiful flowers but it brings me a certain kind of joy that no other flowers or trees do. I remember my first visit here in Japan was during Spring of 2012. Together with my then-boyfriend’s mom (now my mother-in-law), I went to the nearest park where sakura trees lined up and we spent moments just admiring the trees. We took lots of pictures, too. I fell in love with the beauty of a fully-bloomed sakura tree on the first sight. But getting a closer look on a single flower made me love it even better.Since then, I always look forward to Spring and witness sakura trees bloom. This year, I got a pleasant surprise as some trees in our area already started to bloom. And it’s not even March yet. I am so happy I didn’t have to wait any longer. Also, my mom who is on a one-month visit had a chance to experience cherry blossoms before she comes back home again next week. Oh, what a joy! ;)Here are some photos from our February 2017 “hanami” (flower viewing).Also sharing some photos from my first sakura sighting on March 2012. …continue reading


Fever Fever!

I don’t get sick very often. Even when I do, I can work through most things. This is probably due to my obsession with perfect attendance. I loved getting that certificate at the end of every school year that congratulated me for not missing one day. There were times when my mom suggested that I stay home for my birthday, but I would always refuse because the certificate meant more to me than a shopping trip or going to the zoo. #nerd My desire for this prestige is only quelled by a stomach virus or food poisoning. It’s really hard to work or study with your head in the toilet (trust me I’ve tried). So when I call my Japanese boss and tell him that I can’t come in because I am sick, I am truly sick. A normal response would be, “I am sorry you’re sick. Get well soon.” In Japan, however, my admission of illness is met with, “Yes, but do you have a fever?” It doesn’t matter the illness. It doesn’t matter that I have just puked up the yakitori that I ate two years ago. No fever = ganbatte. Okay boss, but I might just “ganbatte” all over the floor while doing the Hokey Pokey. …continue reading