Category Archives: SOCIETY

Ureshino Onsen「嬉野温泉」

When I think of water in Japan, the first thing I think of is Onsen!Sure, during summer, a lot of people are busy trying to cool off in swimming pools, lakes, rivers, and oceans. There are plenty of those too. Just because it’s hot out doesn’t mean all the sento and onsen empty out during summer. Quite the opposite in fact. A lot of people have more free time to travel during summer and onsen are still relaxing and a nice excuse to escape into nature. If you can’t handle the heat, go into the water for a shorter amount of time, and if there’s a cold pool, take breaks in it. This is actually quite healthy and a lot of onsen have either a cold pool or a cold fountain with buckets to refresh yourself in between the hot pools.We recently made a trip out to Takeo Onsen, which is hardly famous, even for people living in Kyushu. Most people will think of Yufuin and Beppu as the popular onsen in Kyushyu, and rightfully so, as the area produces more hot water (over 130,000 tons of water, just in Beppu) than any other place in Japan.I was surprised that even on a weekday, there were visitors to the onsen, and it was sort of set up for foreign visitors as well. From the English announcement at Takeo Onsen Station (on JR Sasebo Line) to the English, Chinese, and Korean announcements on the 30 minute local bus ride to Ureshino Onsen (the last stop).From Takeo Onsen Station, take a bus from the south exit to Ureshino Onsen. From there you can walk (2-3 minutes) down Onsen Street” to Taishoya, a fancy ryokan with onsen. In the big tearoom, you can sit and enjoy the ceramics displayed while waiting for a …continue reading


The Amazing Japanese Wife: Part II “Fucked Up in Six Trees”

This is part two of series of short-stories by culture commentator, movie reviewer, and fiction writer–Kaori Shoji–on international love gone wrong in and out of Japan.


By my personal estimate, the lives of most white foreigners in Tokyo start and end within the confines of a town called Roppongi, which means ‘six trees.’ Apparently, before the arrival of Commodore Perry and his Black Ships, this area was blah and nondescript save for the presence of its namesake. There were the trees and there was very little else.

A hundred and fifty years later, the trees are gone but Roppongi is prominently featured in every Japan guide book and online travel site. It heads off most tourists’ agenda in terms of must-go, must-see, must-experience. They think this is Tokyo, and a good chunk of its best offering. That’s not a lie but everyone who’s been here longer than 6 months will tell you Six Trees isn’t really Tokyo and certainly has nothing to do with Japan.

Roppongi is the white male’s extra-territorial sanctuary as well as metaphorical catacomb, where pleasure draws a last gasp before crumpling into a heap of old bones. The white man’s loop of entitlement extends from the famed Roppongi intersection to the concrete mausoleum known as Roppongi Hills, then down to a quaint little neighborhood called Azabu Juban and back again. Once you get on the loop, it’s damn hard to get off so you keep repeating the run until you’ve lost track of what life was like before you thought of moving to Japan and immersing yourself in Roppongi’s cesspool of slimey privilege.

Because hey, the deal is this: if you can’t get laid in Roppongi, you may as well move to Mars. There’s no other place on Earth that promises and delivers sex with the same reliable …continue reading


Finding the Right in Japan’s Drug Store Jungle

Especially as a woman you know you are using a lot of beauty products and other such things every day. In your home country you grow up with them and are used to your favorite shampoo, toothpaste and foundation. Moving to Japan now means you need to find all these things from new. Something which makes you struggle especially when you don’t speak much Japanese. Drug stores in Japan have such a big selection which makes it hard to choose and find the right items for you. Here I will tell you some of my experiences with this problem…ToothpasteTo tell the truth, I don’t have such good teeth. So I should take care of my teeth a bit more and I found a fitting toothpaste for me in my home country Germany. However, now I’m living in Japan and need a new one. My first try became a small failure, because I read the Katakana wrong. I really like mint taste and decided on one which had “soft mint” (ソフトミント) written on it. At least, I thought this. At home I tried it – and was surprised. I read again what was written on the tooth paste and found out it is “salty mint” (ソルティミント) … I got used to the salt taste after a while, but I would never buy it again. Lately I learned that the German Sensodyne is called シュミテクト in Japan. Good to know!Shampoo and ConditionerAlready in Germany it took me a long time to find the right shampoo for my hair. They quickly get fatty and I needed to wash them at least every two days in Germany. In Japan, I had to go on the search for a new one. By now, I still haven’t found the best for my hair… The variety is …continue reading


Bold & Wild: Summer 2017 Makeup Trends

Color took the central stage during many of the global Fashion Week events last year. The bright red lips, the sparkling eyes and the bold cheek colors were there to impress, striking a huge difference from last year’s toned-down tendencies. This year, it’s all about ditching the “I-must-follow attitude” and concentrating on actually having fun with what you’ve got.

Without further ado, here are the top makeup trends for this summer.

Daring Blush

During Paris Fashion Week last year, Kenzo went extra wild with the blush, and this is something we’ve already seen around Tokyo’s streets — and globally, too. For this trend, take out you blush brush and have fun with it. The traditional — blush only on the apples of your cheeks — is over. Stretch it further with a nice fade into your temples and make sure to go bold with the colors. To make your cheekbones pop even more, don’t forget the highlighter — it gives a nice glow.

Recommended products: Canmake Cream Blush (¥580) combined with their Matte & Crystal Blush (¥650). Buy at all local drugstores and cosmetic stores.

Bold Lips

This year’s trend moves a step further from the signature Taylor Swift red lips, with different vivid colors equally dominating the stage — electric orange, …continue reading