All posts by Ted Tanaka

  • Hatsumode: Shrines that bring you good luck in the New Year

    Just as Christians go to midnight mass on Christmas eve, the Japanese ring in the new year with a first visit to a Shinto shrine, an age-old tradition called Hatsumode.  The visit happens on the first 3...

    • Posted December 27, 2017
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  • Japan’s Internet Download Speed Has Just Gone Faster Than Last Year

    Internet speed-test company OOKLA reports internet download speeds for world’s broadband and mobile connections grew more than 30 percent in 2017. In just one year, Japan’s broadband download speed jumped to 73.51 mbps in 2017, a 20.7%...

    • Posted December 17, 2017
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  • Japanese couples sleep in separate beds, seldom kiss each other but many are happy in their marriages, says new survey.

    One in three marriages in Japan leads to divorce. Many have cast doubt on the notion that unhappy marriage is likely the result of the absence of intimacy in Japanese couples. A recent survey shows that the...

    • Posted November 21, 2017
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  • Everyday is a bargain at OK supermarket.

    I have been making a mental list of interesting names of shops I find in Tokyo: ‘Eye Rashes’, an eyelash extension salon, ‘Assort’ hairdressers, and a new one I’ve added to the list – a supermarket called...

    • Posted November 15, 2017
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  • Ninja wannabes take a certification test in Japan

    In Japan, if you want to be a certified NINJA, you need to take a test.   On October 22, Sunday, 200 Ninja wannabes will be taking a certification test at the Koga Ryu School of Ninjutsu...

    • Posted October 19, 2017
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  • What to look out for when buying a mom bike in Tokyo

    When it comes to Tokyo living, the most important purchase for most families is a bicycle. Buying a bicycle requires knowing what to look out for says Liz, a 28-year old Tokyo mom who was disappointed when...

    • Posted October 4, 2017
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  • What is the best debit card in Japan for foreigners?

    A debit card is a card on which the price is immediately deducted from the bank account when paying for goods or services. It is issued by a financial institution with a deposit account, and it can...

    • Posted August 21, 2017
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  • ‘Ganbatte’ is not the same as ‘Good Luck’

    Japanese parents believe that having their children focus on hard work is the ticket to academic success rather than an inherent ability. Where some cultures say ‘good luck’, the Japanese put emphasis on effort.  Thus, the ubiquitous...

    • Posted August 11, 2017
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  • Do you want to cut your communication costs? Here are the best deals in Japan now.

    The lure of purchasing a new handset in installments bundled with voice calls and data plan through major mobile phone carriers in Japan may sound attractive at first. But, if you do the math, you actually pay...

    • Posted August 3, 2017
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  • Former Software Engineer Ditches IT Job for a home-based business.

    “JOB STRESS WAS KILLING ME” Right after college, Indian mum Ashitha Sreejesh was hired by an American multinational company as a Software Engineer.The work involved grueling night and weekend shifts with frequent overtime in between. “All I...

    • Posted July 27, 2017
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  • Japan’s Fishermen Sells Wake Up Call Service

    Busy brains keep deep sleepers from waking up. If an alarm clock doesn’t work for you and have trouble jumping out of bed in the morning, fret not, Japan’s fishermen have your back. Yes – fishermen. The...

    • Posted July 9, 2017
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  • Nintendo Super Famicom is back in a smaller version.

    Japan’s video game company Nintendo,  has announced today the return of its classic Super Famicom box in a version smaller than the first video game system played by families in the 90s. Aptly named “Nintendo Classic Mini:...

    • Posted June 27, 2017
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  • The new questionnaire US visa applicants all over the world need to know

    Are you traveling to the US this summer and need a US visa? According to Reuters, the Trump administration has approved a new questionnaire for those who need a visa to enter the United States. The new...

    • Posted June 3, 2017
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  • How are bonuses calculated in Japan?

    In Japan, most companies pay twice-a-year bonuses to its full time employees.  The summer bonus or Kaki Shoyo  is paid in June or July and Toki Shoyo or Winter bonus is paid in December. Giving of bonuses...

    • Posted June 1, 2017
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  • License now required for people renting out properties to people through an online marketplace.

    When you rent out your property or motor vehicle to visitors through an online marketplace, there is a risk owners have to take in case occupants cause some damage to the rented property. Occupants too can be...

    • Posted June 1, 2017
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  • Toshiba’s new ‘Ultra fine bubble’ washer gets rid of stubborn laundry stains once and for all

      Many top washing machine brands are reliable but none of them has Ultra fine bubble. Zaboon Ultra Fine Bubble is Toshiba’s latest fully automatic washer/dryer to be released in early July. WHAT DOES ULTRA FINE BUBBLE...

    • Posted May 31, 2017
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  • Booking your summer vacation online? Be vigilant with credit card fraud.

    Summer is here and most families may be shopping online for cheap air tickets and hotel accommodation. While e-commerce has become the norm for many, Japanese people are still concerned about the security of online shopping because...

    • Posted May 26, 2017
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  • Vintage photos of Samurai in the 19th century

    These are beautiful vintage photographs of Samurais taken between 1863 and 1900 in Japan. In the 19th century, people who took photos were called camera artists, not photographers as we know today. Camera artists believed that a...

    • Posted May 23, 2017
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  • Ice cream that does NATTO melt

    Parents can now say adieu to dripping ice cream cones because scientists at Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee in Scotland have finally cracked the code to creating a firmer, slower-melting ice cream by using a special protein...

    • Posted May 22, 2017
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  • Japan’s next generation bicycle tires don’t need air

    When conventional tires’ pressure drop after about a certain distance travelled, it is normal for bikes to become sluggish and less responsive. The good news is with Bridgestone Cycle’s next generation ‘air-free’ nirinsha, (Japanese word for two-wheelers) ...

    • Posted May 16, 2017
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  • What the Japanese law says about paying for goods and services in coins

    Almost everyone in Japan pays in cash at convenience stores.You might be surprised by how many coins in spare change one can accumulate every single day. I have a bucketful of stashed one-yen coins collecting dust at...

    • Posted May 13, 2017
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  • Internet puzzled: Japanese engineers can’t solve Junior High school math equation

    Kobe University and Doshisha University research group  found out many engineers at major companies can not solve a fundamental mathematical equation used for  junior high school entrance examination tests in Japan. In the 1980’s, the percentage of...

    • Posted May 3, 2017
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  • A visit to Sony ExploraScience

    As a working dad in Tokyo, it’s not unusual that I want to spend all of my weekends with my two boys. I decided to take them to Sony ExploraScience at Aqua City in Odaiba. We drove...

    • Posted May 2, 2017
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  • Japan’s new luxury train will leave travelers spellbound

    Beginning today, rich travelers who have money to burn will be able to experience true luxury while traveling around the country via the Train Suite Shiki-Shima , JR Higashi’s version of the Majaraja Express, except that, its...

    • Posted May 2, 2017
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  • Adorable dad and daughter review Oreo’s new flavor

    Thirty years ago when NABISCO’s snack icon OREO first arrived in Japan, it had to undergo minor tweaks : less sugar and creamier filling to suit the Japanese taste.  Japan got it right because after 3 decades,...

    • Posted May 1, 2017
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  • New glider bikes for kids 2-5 years old

    Kicker Avance, a new two-wheeled pedal-less bike by Asahi designed for children ages 2-5 years old is what every parent needs to make his child’s transition to a regular kids bike easy. It rides like a regular...

    • Posted April 26, 2017
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  • Best passport in the world 2017: Germany shares top spot with an Asian country. Hint: It’s not Japan.

    Global Financial Advisory firm Arton Capital recently revealed the most powerful passports in the entire world this year. Although Germany remains to be on top of the list, it is joined for the first time this year...

    • Posted April 15, 2017
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  • UK based Japanese artist puts heart to art

    Kazuhito Takadoi may not be a household name in Japan but art aficionados in Europe pay a high price for his brand of art. Takadoi studied Garden Art and Design at Leeds Metropolitan University in the U.K....

    • Posted April 12, 2017
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  • If you drink tap water in Japan, here’s something you need to know.

    According to posters distributed by Japan Water Works Association (Nihon Suidou Kyokai), Japan is one of only 15 (out of 196) countries in the world with potable tap water.    (Source: Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000...

    • Posted April 6, 2017
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  • A bilingual toy that helps your child think and learn about colors

    Every time the chameleon’s brush scans a palette of paint around him, the chameleon’s body lights up and changes to the same color. It also says the name of the color in Japanese and English which can...

    • Posted March 29, 2017
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  • Float Over to Huis Ten Bosch As You Sleep

    Over at Hollanda Mura or Huis Ten Bosch,  Japan’s Dutch Village and Theme Park in Nagasaki, a floating capsule that drifts along the surrounding scenic spots while you sleep, is the park’s newest attraction. The two-level floating...

    • Posted March 10, 2017
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  • Hawaii’s ‘Mochiko’ chicken comes to town

    Teddy’s Bigger Burger, Hawaii’s popular burger chain with stores in Tokyo, has just added Mochiko Fried Chicken on its menu. Just as popular as Teddy’s 100% U.S. beef, large burgers, Mochiko Fried Chicken is well loved by...

    • Posted March 9, 2017
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  • A look at a Japanese Daycare Center

    There are many things that work in Japan that won’t work in other countries.  One of them is the ability of children to be independent and go about their day-to-day tasks with no parent or guardian in...

    • Posted March 4, 2017
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  • Tattoo-friendly Onsen resorts

    Going to an onsen is Japan’s favorite escape from the humdrum of busy Tokyo life. Get naked, rinse and relax in these atmospheric and therapeutic  onsen resorts.  Got a tattoo?  These places don’t mind. Shirakaba Resort Ikenohei...

    • Posted March 1, 2017
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  • Strange Japanese Laws You Never Knew Existed

    Every country has its own weird laws and Japan is no different. We’ve compiled a list of laws that you  probably haven’t heard of. Articles 1 and 2 of the Cupid Ordinance in Mie Prefecture Kisho-cho Article...

    • Posted February 26, 2017
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  • Famous Tokyo Chef shares his tips for a perfect Japanese-style fried chicken

    A master chef at ‘Sanpi Ryoron’ (Pros and Cons) , a Japanese restaurant in Ebisu, Tokyo, Masahiro Kasahara is also a popular face on cooking show “Wakaki wa no kyosho” (Young Japanese Maestro). His chicken recipe was...

    • Posted February 26, 2017
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  • Aikido state of mind

    People in 67 countries around the world take Aikido lessons according to Aikikai Foundation, the official organization promoting one of the most respected Japanese Martial Arts. It is no surprise that like me, many people are drawn...

    • Posted February 15, 2017
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  • Japan’s new gorgeous TV

    Sony has joined the OLED bandwagon and its latest offering was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The much talked about sleek and flat Bravia 4K OLED TV A1E series come in...

    • Posted February 14, 2017
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  • Even old people in Japan play Pokémon Go

    This augmented reality game that drives people to hunt down kawaii (cute) monsters in the most unreasonable places has created a stir in the gaming world. With more people of all genders and ages getting hooked on...

    • Posted January 3, 2017
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  • Why is your electric bill high in winter?

    Electric bills rise over winter as households in Japan use more electric appliances. Even with Christmas lights running all night long in December and people using tumble dryer more frequently in winter, a survey conducted by I...

    • Posted December 23, 2016
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  • Japan’s Best Chef Knives: A Cut Above

    Highly skilled sushi chefs in Japan will tell you that one way to tell a great chef from an amateur is by looking at his knife. Japanese sushi chefs take pride in using professionally crafted extra thin,...

    • Posted December 17, 2016
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  • Where to get a ¥2,980 an hour massage in Tokyo

    Getting a body massage at a proper salon in Tokyo could cost anywhere between ¥8,000 – ¥12,000 an hour. The other day,  I spotted a ¥2,980 an hour massage signboard at the entrance of a narrow building...

    • Posted December 16, 2016
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  • Where to eat ‘Uni’ (urchin roe) in Tokyo

    A favorite of snarky chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain, ‘uni’, is a prized delicacy in Japan consumed in December and January for Japan’s holiday festivities.   Many people like its creamy texture and a slightly sweet...

    • Posted December 12, 2016
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  • Japan’s Gundam says goodbye

    Mobile Suit Gundam, the 18-meter (59 feet) high giant robot in Odaiba’s Diver City Tokyo Plaza that has attracted large crowds in the city since appearing in 2012, will be gone by March 5, 2017. The Gundam...

    • Posted December 2, 2016
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  • Finding Mr. Right

    Italian mom writes a book about her experience dating a Japanese man before finding Mr. Right. Love doesn’t always come about in quite the way that the storybooks lead us to expect. As Claudia Frambini has experienced...

    • Posted November 13, 2016
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  • A 4-word song by Japanese comedian/singer makes it to Guinness World Records

    The 4-word song PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen) that Japanese DJ/ comedian and singer Pikotaro (producer Daimaou Kosaka) wrote made it to the Guinness World Record as the shortest song ever written to hit the U.S. Billboard Hot Chart 100....

    • Posted November 3, 2016
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  • Alexander’s Steak House, California’s upscale restaurant opens in November

    Tokyo is a foodie’s happy place for its high quality food and craftsmanship. Recently, there is a growing trend for foreign restaurateurs and food companies to expand to Tokyo despite its highly sophisticated market. Licensing deals with...

    • Posted September 14, 2016
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  • What to do if you don’t have enough money to cover your hospital bills

    What’s great about the Japanese health care system is that when you are hospitalized, a big chunk of the medical bills you paid upfront  can be reimbursed to you within 3-4 months after making an insurance claim ...

    • Posted September 9, 2016
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  • Tokyo’s spacious 100 yen stores

    Let the kids loose with a few coins at the biggest Hyaku-en stores in Tokyo. You have to love Daiso for providing just about everything you could possibly want or never knew you wanted for a few...

    • Posted August 16, 2016
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  • Why average Japanese families have more cash savings than people in other countries

    Last year, the Japanese households’ average savings reached ¥18M and is steadily increasing every year. The habit of saving money is deeply ingrained in the Japanese culture because not having enough money can make one run  into...

    • Posted August 11, 2016
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