18 May 2011

Welcome to Japan (Part 2)

This is a continuation of the earlier article of links to welcome you to Japan.

Some more basics
  1. Actually, if you read through the Blogs and The Dark Side of Japan sections in Part 1, those are pretty much good reads.
  2. Here are some other useful translation tools.  In case you didn't know yet, there are four systems of writing in Japanese, namely, Kanji (traditional Chinese characters), Hiragana (syllabary to represent Japanese words), Katakana (syllabary to represent foreign loan words, like チョコレート/chokoreeto for chocolate), and Romaji (pronounced Rho-maji, to represent all words in Japanese using Latin/English alphabet letters, like Osaka represents 大阪, the city far south of Tokyo popular as a travel destination and probably the food capital of Japan). Tokyo (English name) is actually Tōkyō, in Romaji, 東京 in Kanji, とうきょう in Hiragana, and トウキョウ in Katakana though it is not normally written in Katakana.
  3. Bad Japanese Words.  Somebody might be actually telling you "You're S**t" but you won't know because of course they don't teach you those words in formal Nihongo lessons.
  4. Tofugu. "Wonky Japanese Language and Culture."
  5. Most Frequently Used Kanji. I probably know all of these by now. Actually this link is from About.com, which has a huge repository of tourist information about Japan, as well as Nihongo learning lessons.
  6. Japanese Lessons with Maggie
  7. Need official document translation services? I've bookmarked WorldLingo and Cosmos, but I never did nor do I think I'll ever use them. You might be better off asking Google first. :D
  8. Highlighting Japan is a magazine about Japan, from the Japanese Government itself. Of course, I hope you have already read through the Part 1 of this article until its very end. Basically, in this and in any other situation, know how to spot true and real from otherwise. But I think this one doesn't have skewed facts or the like; but I think it will only show you the good, fun, and/or happy side of Japan.
  9. Looking for a cellphone in Japan? Softbank offers possibly the best rates for foreigners, as well as a number of English-speaking staff and English-based services. Currently, they are the only authorized mobile phone network to carry the iPhone line in Japan.  Or, just read news about cellphones in Japan, on MobileInJapan.
  10. Culture Japan, by Danny Choo. Featured on BBC, CNN, and NHK! That's more than enough reason to check out this professional website.
  11. Japan it UP! An American's blog about more cool stuff in Japan.
  12. GaijinPot is a very popular website for foreigners in Japan. They have a lot of useful information for foreigners living in Japan, the latest news, job listings, classified ads, and apartment listings.
Watching TV, Listening to Radio, and Reading Print Publications
  1. Video clips
    • You can of course watch video clips online from the different "international" news sites, like the BBC or CNN.
    • Japanese Government Internet TV. There are some interesting stuff in there. Check it out.
    • Watch mass online, daily on CatholicTV.
  2. Continuous TV/Video Streams
    • NHK World News. Doesn't always work though. It's probably Japan's #1 news channel in English.
    • Livestation has a range of live radio and television channels, including Al Jazeera (news channel, in English, etc.), Euronews, France 24, C-SPAN, and BBC Radio. They also have software you can download to watch these channels online.
    • And of course, there's YouTube.  Some of the "international" TV stations have news clips available on YouTube as well.  It's been mostly only a video clip service, i.e. you can't just sit on your couch and let it just stream the content you want to you.  Usually, you have to select and click the next video after each video ends.  With that said, there is a ton of content there, and there are also some classic, out-of-copyright (free to watch), movies and many free "webisodes" (5-minute web series, as opposed to the typical 20- or 40-minute TV series).  The list is so long, but as I've mentioned earlier, you can search for English Teachers, which is one web series about foreigners (teaching English) in Japan.  BUT, now there's YouTube Shows, where there are tons of channels, from which you can just select your channel and voila, just sit back, relax, and watch free TV!
    • Vimeo is like YouTube but has a less number of, but better-produced videos. They also have an editorial staff which have pre-picked cool videos that you can watch in "Couch Mode," whereby you do not need to select and click videos. Just sit back, relax, and watch cool videos like you were watching TV.
    • Hulu. Is an online repository of old TV shows, and new ones but only if you subscribe to Hulu Plus and you're in the US. However, the web-only TV series, If I Can Dream, is freely available on Hulu from anywhere in the world. Not in the US? There are ways of getting around this, but I'm not sure if it's legal. But what if you're a US citizen trapped in some place with no US cable channel access, you only have very fast internet access, but you are honest enough not to download bootleg copies from torrents?
    • Team Coco. Clips from Conan O'Brien's late night show on TBS. Nonstop. With Commercials. I don't mind. Latest videos start first so if you're suddenly watching something familiar, it's time to switch channels. :D  Similarly, there's Lopez Tonight. I like watching these two shows.
    • Revision3. Free web shows. But not so much. Mostly tech-related. The videos also play nonstop.
  3. Continuous TV/Video Streams in Japanese
    • FNN News
    • MBS - last I checked, I couldn't connect though
    • QVC - 24-hour TV shopping network
  4. Filipino TV!
    • ABS-CBN. Unofficial, so streaming could go down anytime.
    • ANC. Apparently official, so streaming could go down anytime.
    • ABC5. Unofficial, so streaming could go down anytime.
    • GMA. Unofficial, so streaming could go down anytime.
    • UNTV. Apparently official, so streaming could go down anytime.
    • Actually, I got all the above links from http://johnrebua.blogspot.com/ or jonreb.com. A MUST-VISIT website for Filipinos abroad.
    • For sports-centric TV streams, visit PinoySportsNHobby.
  5. Filipino Radio Stations
  6. Print Publications (not online/web versions)
  7. More
    • Get updated if your favorite foreign TV shows have new episodes by using mytvrss.
    • You can also watch free video from KQED (a Bay Area educational TV channel), Clicker.TV, and Crackle. Keep in mind always that most shows are available only in the US.
Online Shopping
  1. Amazon.co.jp.  It is also available in English.  I have bought some furniture, and apparel from here.  Note that Japanese shoes and shirts do not have very large sizes, but you can find some that fits you on Amazon.  Trouble of course is, you can't fit them before you buy 'em so, make sure you know what you're buying first.  I think you can return some purchases, particularly if the seller was actually Amazon; otherwise, it might be difficult because again not everyone can speak and understand English very well.
  2. You might want to compare prices first in Kakaku.com.  Kakaku, I think, means price, so this is similar to Price.com.  I frequently check this out particularly for computer and electronics shopping.
  3. I love IKEA.  You can window shop on IKEA Japan's website in English before you actually visit their actual store.
  4. You can have IKEA products, and CostCo and other import items delivered straight to your door from Yoyo Market, The Flying Pig, The Meat Guy, eFoodDepot, and FBC USA. One word to describe all these online shopping options: EXPENSIVE. If you actually buy from these outlets, I guess you really do miss food from home, but I really think if you know your way around town, you can get some similar things cheaper.
  5. Window shop these Japanese online stores: Belle Maison (home and apparel), and Sofmap and Yamada Denki (electronics, appliances, software, video games, etc.). I know the last two are online storefronts of originally brick-and-mortar stores. I'm not sure about the first. I do know that sometimes the prices listed on their web store are not the same as actually in-store. One time, the price online was cheaper than the actual in-store price. I did not buy from these websites though because I found the same item cheaper elsewhere - by using Kakaku.com, a price comparison site.
  6. You can find some I ♥ 東京 (I heart Tokyo) shirts from Zazzle. The link is the Japanese website, but I found out that they only actually send from the US. And I also found out that there are no import tariffs on certain products from overseas? You can also just try the regular (English) Zazzle. Anyways, those shirts might be cheaper than the souvenir shirts you might actually find in the streets of Tokyo. For the artist in you, you can also customize your own Keds sneakers at Zazzle. Another custom shirts store but totally in Japanese and maybe aimed more at big groups is Original Print Express.
  7. You wanna sell stuff from Japan to people outside of Japan? Or maybe you just wanna help people from outside Japan to buy something available only or cheaper in Japan? Then visit FlutterScape Japan Shopping.
  8. You can order Domino's pizza deliveries online, which is available in English. Pizza Hut's website is only in Japanese but maybe you can work on the pictures and the numbers (prices); it doesn't seem like they have an online delivery orders facility. Remember that the Yen symbol in Japanese is 円 and not the Y that we know.
  9. For English book stores, aside from ordering online from Amazon, you can check out this blog article on SpinShell.TV's You Should Know feature.
  10. This place don't have no online ordering facility, but it's a must-visit place if you're craving for some Turkish Kebabs (the equivalent of Persian Shawarma/Shawerma): Star Kebab. It's in Akihabara, by the way.
For Filipinos
  1. To get Filipino food and other stuff, you can call these order-by-phone stores.  I use Ajian Bussan exclusively, but only because they're the first one I found out about and they send me their catalog by mail each time a new version comes out.  Another one I found out about is Akabane Bussan.  From both these two websites, you can also view their respective catalogs online.  You know what, I haven't really compared these two, to find out which one has better prices.  Note that the delivery charges should be standard, and normally you would pay by cash-on-delivery (i.e. "collect") for which there is an additional charge.  As anywhere, check your local grocery stores first to see if some products might be cheaper there than ordering through these outlets.
  2. More Filipino food and stuff from "Alice," and you can find more links at the "Sari-Sari Store" in Japanese. The latter being part of the comprehensive site in Japanese called "Philippine General Information Wiki." Again, it helps to use Chrome which has automatic translation of webpages.
  3. And then there's the online forum japPinoy, which now redirects to SureKaPinoy. The SKP Japan discussion forum is in http://www.surekapinoy.com/forum/115-japan-discussions/. I don't use this though. I just personally feel like it's difficult to find someone you have something interesting in common with, other than your nationality and religion. And I could just meet Filipinos whenever I attend mass in a Catholic church on Sundays. I could just meet Filipinos through introduction by Filipinos who were friends already back in the Philippines. Of course, not all Filipinos are Catholic. Perhaps there is someone out there with better information than I do. If you know someone named Google, you can also ask him for help. :-D
  4. Forgot the Tagalog of one English word? Check out http://www.tagalog-dictionary.com/.
  5. Send gifts to the Philippines via PH Gifts or PhilFlora.
For Catholics

  1. Watch mass online, daily on CatholicTV.
  2. There are (not regularly updated) lists of churches in Kanagawa and in Tokyo. There is one other set of lists for Kanagawa and Tokyo. You can also try the official website of the Tokyo Archdiocese.
  3. For mass times the world over, you can visit MassTimes.org, which you can search for mass times in Japan.
  4. The Atsugi (Atsugi, Kanagawa) Catholic Church has a website. If you're interested, you can visit their old website.
  5. If you can't attend Sunday mass at an actual church due to time or distance or work or whatever reason, you can view one or more of these masses whos videos are streamed online, mostly through UStream or on CatholicTV. The listed times are in Japan standard time, and schedules are for Sunday masses. 12:30am means 12:30am Monday.
  1. GaijinPot
  2. Here's a rather outdated blog article about Japan Job Recruitment websites.
  3. DaiJob.com
  4. Looking for Language Learners or Teachers?
  5. Job-Japan English
  6. Life in Japan for English Teachers
Travel Guides
  1. Mt. Fuji. I climbed it to its peak and so I had to be prepared. These are the websites I was able to find about that Mt. Fuji trek.
  2. JNTO. First and primary site I recommend. You can download free guides in PDF. I usually download the guides for walking tours. They also have an online magazine, "Visit Japan Today," and a YouTube channel with lots of really nice, alluring videos.
  3. There's also the Visit Japan Winter 2011 website, which as you might have guessed is not really useful anymore. Basically they were promoting winter tourism in Japan for 2011, for which they had some discount coupons available. Perhaps for Winter 2012, they will use this website again.
  4. You can read some online travel guides from issuu.com, namely the Japan Travel Guide, and Travel Japan.
  5. Lonely Planet has a comprehensive online travel guide to Japan. Of course you can also just buy their books about Japan.
  6. For information on when the famous Japanese cherry blossoms (sakura) bloom, check out the Sakura guide on Japan-Guide.com.
  7. And then there's Visit First's Japan Guide.
  8. You can also learn a lot from Kids Web Japan.
  9. And there's more
  1. Japanese apartments
  2. Tokyo City Apartments Info
  3. Atsunou real estate company
  4. Nishida real estate company
Looking for friends? Try Meetup.com. Fun in Kanagawa is probably the group closest to Atsugi, and they usually meet at a Mexican restaurant called Pancho Villa, owned and operated by an American.

There might be more but so far, these are all I have.

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