13 April 2013

Check out this book about Japan...

...manhole covers!

12 April 2013

Guess who turned 30.

Or what:


It was on this day when the park first opened back in 1983.

Somebody got a makeover?

10 April 2013

Is that smog or haze over Tokyo? #photo

Took this photo back in January 30 while in Atsugi, and looking to the northeast -- i.e. towards Tokyo. The photo is not so clear though; but there's clear blue skies here in Atsugi and seemingly hazy / gray skies towards the horizon. Or is it just some atmospheric visual trickery / illusion?

09 April 2013

Declining Birth Rate in Japan? An economist suggests... Start A Handsome Tax!

Check out this article on SourceFed.

You know, heat on the jewels, they say, reduces semen count. Like, my wife is discouraging me from actually using my laptop on my lap. But you know, Japanese like taking a hot bath in the tub, like, every night. See any connection there?

Also, I see shy people. I see unfriendly people. I see distant people. I see "we can only be friends up to this level" people. I see reserved people. I see "this is the Japanese way" people. Open up. Go out. Date. Touch. Tradition is tradition, sure. But it doesn't have to stay that way. Not everything.

Well, that's just what I see.

06 April 2013

Bento! #267: Tonkatsu meshi from the neighborhood bentou-ya

It's large and it's yum. Comes with a bunch of stuff as well -- potato/ham salad, some seaweeds, and a cabbage bedding.

And tonkatsu sauce and mustard, of course! Forgot how much this was, but it was totally worth it. I think it was around 600 yen.

05 April 2013

It's dusk in Atsugi.

I don't know when or if I'll ever see this view again. The well-lit small building on the left is the empty 学生ホール / gakusei hooru / student hall in the middle of spring break at Tokyo Polytechnic University in Atsugi, my home for the last 3 years.

So many has happened in the last 3 years. I went to Japan, lived on my own, far away from family for about a year. Got married. Lived with my wife in our own little Japanese apartment that we call home. She gave birth to our first baby. I got a doctoral degree. I published 2 papers in an international journal and 1 in a Japanese journal. I made many new friends from around the world. I went to Europe for the first time. And many more things.

Today, I'm leaving Atsugi again. I'll still be in Japan though for just a little while longer. And this is far from goodbye from the Japan! Japan! blog. There's more to blog about Japan, but...

It's dusk in Atsugi, indeed.

04 April 2013

Bento! #266: Cafeteria Tan-Tan Men + Gyoza

Thanks to Okada san for the photo.

I actually ordered this again on another day because I forgot to take a photo of it when I ate it with the tantanmen.

Perfect combination. Forgot the prices though, but I'm sure this is all around 500 yen only. 

Also, I forgot if they call the ramen as tantanmen or "Taiwan ramen."

Incidentally, today is also a "perfect combination" : 13.4.4 (April 4, 2013). 1+3 = four / 4 / 四 / よん / yon, which is sometimes pronounced as shi, as in "April" / 四月 / しがつ / shigatsu, which is the same pronunciation as for "death" in both Chinese and Japanese and so... it's an unlucky number in Chinese (like they don't have floors with the number 4 in their buildings). But it's not so much like that for Japanese (like they have 4th, 14th, 24th, 34th, and 40th to 49th floors, etc.).

03 April 2013

Bento! #265: Fried Xiao Long Bao

510 yen for 6 pieces of this 上海名物 / shanhai meibutsu / Shanghai specialty that's sold at this small store in Machida, Tokyo. And about a 15 minute wait?

02 April 2013

A story of love and hate in Japan

UPDATE: The original video has disappeared. Thanks to reader Grin Isobe who has pointed this out. I have since replaced the link. If this goes down again, I recommend to search YouTube for "japan a story of love and hate BBC". Alternatively, you can find the official video on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/ondemand/japanastoryofloveandhate.

01 April 2013

Where can a white man go to not find himself privileged?

In case you didn't know yet, I ain't white. And being Asian, though not East Asian, I think if I studied the language (including their intonation/accent) and culture well enough, I could blend right in and no local would ever know except close friends. Alas, having an engineering and research "job," it is difficult to find enough time to become that person. It would be really great for life in Japan.