31 March 2013

What is Japan? THIS is Japan.

From the YouTube description: "Follow one international student's breathtaking journey through the heart of Tokyo and experience the sights and sounds of Keio University." He actually visited many more places outside Tokyo. These are the things you should look forward to when you visit Japan. If you aren't interested in anything Japanese, or if you're just generally not open to new things, other than a higher income or some university degree, you shouldn't probably come here. That said, while you should look forward to all these wonderful things in Japan, you need to save some hard-earned dough to enjoy these things, learn Nihongo one way or another, and know that in every place, life is not all you see on TV. Or YouTube.

Thanks to my friend RL for sharing the link to the video!

30 March 2013

Bento! #264: Canned sardines in miso sauce

I think this was around 105 yen at the supermarket? You can also find these at your local 100-yen store (e.g. Daiso).
 いわし / iwashi = sardine. 味 = miso. And that other kanji... :D

Pretty good. I've always hesitated trying this because I thought it might be too sweet. It is sweet, but it's not too sweet.

Just to show you that this is not an easy-open can with the tab, like on their canned tuna here. Atypical in Japan.

Another milestone: 5000+ pageviews for the first 29 days of March. Time for another round of Thanks!

Thanks ありがとう Thanks ありがとう Thanks ありがとう Thanks ありがとう Thanks ありがとう 

I wonder though if it's still possible to beat 6,000 this month. Anyhow, I'll keep the posts comin' so stay tuned. Thanks again!

29 March 2013

Bento! #263: Party sushi + pizza!

We had a farewell lunch for one of our colleagues here and this is what we had. I love sushi and pizza!

Oh, the suspense!
More photos when you click the "Read more" link!

28 March 2013

Bento! #262: Gyuu Suki? Bentou

"New!!" From 3F.
牛 / gyuu = beef. And... you know sukiyaki, right? This is that except it's not yaki because it's not heated in a metal pan. I forgot how to read the 2nd kanji (4th character above)!


27 March 2013

Bento! #261: Canned tuna + cole slaw = quick meal for a busy guy :D

This is larger than the usual canned tuna, good for 1 meal for me. It's actually シーチキン / shii chikin / sea chicken / chicken of the sea; i.e. skipjack tuna. This is probably around 300 yen from the supermarket. I love canned tuna. :D

Kooru suroo sarada / コールスローサラダ / cole slaw salad. 'nuff said.

26 March 2013

Bento! #260: Buta Roosu Yaki Niku Bentou

"New!!" From 3F.
Buta / ぶた / 豚 = pig. ロース / roosu = "roast," but it actually means more like a certain slice of pork usually used for tonkatsu. 焼 / やき / yaki = grilled or (teppan-)fried. 肉 / にく / niku = meat. And of course, bentou / べんとう / 弁当 = "lunch box."

25 March 2013

Bento! #259: Canned "Akebono" Pink Salmon

Pretty good. I forgot how much -- maybe under 300 yen from the supermarket. By the way, I don't know what akebono means. Maybe.. "dawn"?

24 March 2013

Just wanted to say... I saw a lot of "hakama" again yesterday. ;)

Check out my "Graduation time!" blog post from last year to find out what's the difference between the "traditional" kimono, hakama, and the Korean traditional attire.

Bento! #258: Hambaagu to Ebi Pureeto

A.k.a. hamburger plus shrimp plate. I think this was 440 yen from the school cafeteria. Comes with demi glace sauce, the shrimps are fried breaded ones, plus there's a ball of potato salad, and some salad greens. Not the best in the world, but good enough to satisfy my craving for variety. I also don't like potato salads, macaroni salads, and egg salads. To me, those aren't salads. Oh well.

23 March 2013

Bento! #257: Fruits from...

...the Philippines! Love 'em. They're healthy, too.

Painappuru / パイナップル

Banana / バナナ

They're not exactly large. This one's 128 yen I think though I usually get the 98 yen ones.

22 March 2013

Coming to Tokyo (Narita) from/via Manila on Philippine Airlines?

Image from Wikipedia.

Don't. Here's the problem: they only have one flight per day and it arrives in Narita at around 8pm. Because of that schedule, I always miss the last (8:30pm) bus going straight home. So I take another bus instead and just take an extra train ride. No biggie. But here's the real problem: if the flight gets delayed. I have an aunt whose PAL flight just got delayed 2 hours and so she missed all buses going anywhere. If she were able to fast-track her way through immigration, baggage pick-up, and customs, and got on the last bus (10:30pm), she still wouldn't have made it to my apartment because there would be no more trains. So, her only option was to stay at a hotel near Narita airport for a night and just take the first bus the morning after.

Here's the other problem: going back home. The PAL flight leaves Narita at around 9:30am. This means, if you have to be there 2 hours earlier, you have to leave Tokyo by 6am. From our city, you have to take the 5am bus. From my apartment, you have to take a taxi at 4:30am to make sure you get the 5am bus, and make sure you're at the airport at least 2 hours before your departure time. If I miss that 5am bus, there's a big chance I might miss my flight altogether. What I do then is I just commute to Narita and stay at a hotel around the area the night before. Because I don't want to risk missing my flight going home (without having to pay extra extra). Of course, you can always hope that it's this flight that gets delayed...

Goodbye, Softbank.

Coffee mug from SoftBank, given to my friend who availed of one of SB's "promos."

I hope you continue to do well. I'll be cancelling my account with you soon. I hope you can also unlock my almost-3-year-old iPhone 4.

21 March 2013

Cherry Blossom Forecast Update!

The best viewing times in Tokyo and Yokohama areas are now from March 21 to April 1! I had a feeling these warm days of the past week would affect the cherry blossoming dates. By first week of April, the flowers would start to fall off already and give way to the green leaves. What's funny though is that the Tokyo/Yokohama area will have earlier cherry blossom views than some parts south (e.g. Kyoto).

Check out the updated forecast at Japan Guide. Check out this useful infographic from JNTO as well!

Bento! #256: Sarada Maki

There was some event one Sunday (last February 3, 2013 to be exact), and I didn't know what it was nor heard of anything about it. But they had a ton of maki (or rolls; more commonly known as sushi rolls) of different kinds at the supermarket. So I got me the "salad roll" / サラダ巻 which was a pretty good meal.

19 March 2013

Bento! #255: Iwashi Furai (Fried Breaded Sardines)...F

From the supermarket. I don't know what that lone kanji means.

This was pretty good, but obviously it's "fishy-er" than canned sardines. I love canned/preserved sardines though and this is the first time I had relatively fresher sardines. I can say I love sardines. And (fried) fish in general.

18 March 2013

Chokoreeto! #22: Dars Almond

The Japanese actually says ダース クラッシュ アーモンド / daasu kurasshu aamondo / Dars Crush(ed) Almond. I, just recently, have told you about this phenomenon.

17 March 2013

Bento! #254: Spam + Nori + Rice = Spam Musubi?

This was around 450 yen at the supermarket. I wanted the "low sodium" one, but it wasn't available when I went to the supermarket.

I bought the cheapest one with 5 packs of this size. I think it was not more than 200 yen for the 5-pack bundle.





16 March 2013

Bento! #253: Tori Tatsutaage Bentou + Hakusai Kimuchi

498 yen from 3F. They say it's "new," but I feel like I've had this (and blogged about it) before. I did eat it with hakusai (literally, "white vegetable," or Chinese cabbage) kimuchi (Korean kimchi), 158 yen also from 3F. Here's the inside of the kimchi cup:

I like kimchi. :D  Meanwhile, here's the "new" fried chicken bento, ready to be devoured by yours truly:

It came with black & white sesame seed sprinkled rice, and a carrot-tofu-spinach (mini) side salad.

15 March 2013

Blog Stats Update + Thanks! + Please share! :) @japanjapanblog

Just wanted to mention that last February was our best month yet with 4,278 pageviews, edging out January by 20 pageviews -- and considering January had 3 days more (i.e. 31 vs. 28).

Today is March 15, roughly halfway through the month, and we're already at 2,500 pageviews. Can we reach 5,000 this month?

Help me out, friends! Please share the blog posts on Twitter and Facebook or simply share the homepage via e-mail:


Thanks a bunch!

Don't come to Japan if you are this kind of gaijin.

Check out this video:

If you check out the video on YouTube, there are links to helpful information in the video description. The essence of it is this, but I still strongly encourage you to watch the video. It's not just meant for Westerners; it's for everyone even thinking of coming to Japan. But I hope you can understand English.

"If you can't adapt to different places... If you have trouble with the food... If you can't stand changing their culture... If you feel strange in a different place... Do not come here."

14 March 2013

This was just last week.

This week, almost all that pink is gone now. Can't wait for the sakura in two weeks.


Not so cold, but also not so sunny in Tokyo through April...

Image screen-captured today at Accuweather.com.

13 March 2013

This Must Be the Coolest University Graduation Ceremony on Earth #japan

From Kotaku.com:
"...At the Kanazawa College of Art's graduation ceremony..., new grads dress up in costumes as they take to the stage and receive their degrees."
Image from Kotaku.com.
Check out the link for more photos: http://kotaku.com/5987807/this-must-be-the-coolest-university-graduation-ceremony-on-earth?post=57887644

Thanks to my friends R and C for sharing this link.

12 March 2013

When you come to Japan, it's good to know the language.

Check out this photo:

Note: I already used 6 and so I'm left now with just 2.
You know what it is -- it says "colored spoon." Above it is the description of the contents in Japanese, and it says カラフルスプーン / karafuru supuun. Did you read that out loud? It actually reads more like "colorful spoon." This is just a trivial thing but this is essentially representative of things you might have trouble with when coming here.

11 March 2013

6.5 hours of videos during the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011

Check out all videos at this website:


Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected, especially those who are, to this day, still suffering due to this tragic event.

Now, for some Nihongo:

In Japanese, the "Great East Japan Earthquake" is 東日本大震災 / higashi nihon dai shinsai.

Higashi / ひがし / 東 = east, but in some proper names, it is pronounced as とう / tou, as in Tokyo / 東京 / とうきょう / toukyou / east capital.

Nihon / にほん / 日本 = Japan, which literally means sun origin, i.e. where the sun rises (because Japan is to the east of China, whereas the sun rises in the east). 日 means sun, but it also stands for day as in nichi / にち. 本 stands for origin, but it also means "main" (as in Hon-Atsugi = downtown Atsugi) or "this" as in 本日 / ほんじつ / honjitsu (usually used in more formal situations, for example, when announcing the day's special menu item, or a special announcement for the day).

Dai / だい / 大 = big, as in 大学 / だいがく/ daigaku / university, or literally big school (gaku / がく / 学), although gaku also means "study of," as in 工学 / こうがく / kougaku / engineering, or literally study of industry (or study of engineering).

Shinsai / しんさい / 震災 = earthquake disaster. Earthquake translates directly to jishin / じしん / 地震, where ji means ground, and shin means tremor / shaking. Sai means disaster, but disaster (or calamity) translates to wazawai / 災い.

10 March 2013

Bento! #252: Ebi Tendon

Or 海老天丼 / Shrimp Tempura Rice Bowl. From 3F. Pretty good. There's just two pieces of ebi tenpura though, and the rest are veggie tempura like nasu / eggplant, renkon / lotus root, and kabocha / pumpkin tempura. Oh and I think there's a squid tempura in there too.

09 March 2013

Bento! #251: Salmon Roe / Caviar and Clam Onigiri

From 3F. Pretty good. Comes with matching orange-colored pickled radish. いくら / ikura = salmon roe (or caviar). しじみ / shijimi = clam?

Note that ikura also means "how much."

08 March 2013

Bento! #250: Dinner from the nearby bentou-ya

I've seen this place many, many times before. And now, after almost 3 years, is the only time I ever tried to order here. Bentou-ya / 弁当屋 means "bento (lunch box / packed lunch) shop." This is almost the equivalent of the "carenderia" and "turo-turo" (small mom-and-pop or hole-in-the-wall restaurants) in the Philippines.

This exact bentou-ya, more specifically, is ほかほか弁当 / hokahoka bentou, which literally translates to "warm lunch."

6 more photos below!

07 March 2013

Japanese-style marriage proposals #didyouknow #not-so-known-Japan

"Can you prepare my miso soup everyday?"

"Can you shine my shoes everyday?"

"Can you be my miso soup?"

If a "Gaijin" does it in Japan, it could be like this:

05 March 2013

Bento! #249: Okura to Nameko no Okakaae + Updated Photo: Demi Chiizu Chikin Katsu

I posted a photo at http://japan.ronjie.com/2012/11/bento-161-demi-chiizu-chikin-bentou.html of my squished bento box from 3F. Here's a better photo:

And I had this as for my dose of vegetables:

オクラ = okra / lady fingers. なめこ = a type of mushroom. おかか和え = that fish flake "sauce" thing. Pretty good.

04 March 2013

Bento! #248: Corn and Potato Salad

It's the one on the lower right, which you can see I ate with sanma yaki which I've blogged about earlier. You can also probably see that there's volumetrically more cabbage in there than either corn or potato. :D  It's コーンとポテトサラダ / koon to poteto sarada in Japanese, by the way.

03 March 2013

Bento! #247: Buta Roosu Tonkatsu Bentou

Or 豚ロースとんかつ弁当, literally Pork Roast Pork Cutlets Lunch Box. You know what it is. Only 498 yen and big and yummy, from the supermarket.

02 March 2013

Bento! #246: Special Hamburg(er) Bento

スペシャルハンバーグ弁当 / supesharu hanbaagu bentou
I love burgers. And sausages. With egg and rice. And spaghetti with a tomato-based sauce! :D  398 yen from the supermarket.

01 March 2013

Bento! #245: Chaa-Siu Yaki-Biifun


Or essentially Char Siu / Roast Pork Pan-Grilled Bihon/Bifun/Chinese noodles. 398 yen from 3F. If you're Filipino, you would be familiar with Bihon (noodles).

Surprisingly pretty good for 398 yen!