Aug
30
2013

Japan’s city that’s hot as hell

The expression ‘hell on earth’ conjures up images of something very unpleasant, so it is unlikely that the expression would be used to draw tourists. However, in Beppu city the expression ‘hell on earth’ is probably the best way to describe what you’ll get..

Japan’s city that’s hot as hell
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Jul
19
2012

Off the Beaten Path: Gujo-Hachiman

What makes this town unique is not only it’s beautiful scenery, but a castle on a steep mountainside with a stunning view, an “old-style town” (古い町並み) that is a pleasant walk, a pristine river that runs through the town, and a certain very unique product that the town is known for.

Off the Beaten Path: Gujo-Hachiman
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Jul
07
2012

Five Foods You Should Try in Japan

You’re reading this blog because you have some interest in Japan. As such, (I hope that) most of you will go to Japan someday, either for work or for pleasure. When you do, there are a lot of wonderful and surprising things waiting for you. Among them is a variety and quality of food that boggles the mind.

Five Foods You Should Try in Japan
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Jan
18
2012

Go: the perfect game

After a hiatus spanning almost a year and a half, I’m back in 2012 and my first article is about the board game of Go…. which coincidentally was also the primary reason for my absence. (^^;) I first learned of the game at a small cafe in the outskirts of Nagoya. Like many small cafes […]

Go: the perfect game
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Apr
17
2010

Kangoku izakaya: a dinner in prison

Have you been a bad boy or bad girl lately? Well, maybe you should turn yourself in for your heinous crimes at a kangoku izakaya.

Kangoku (監獄) means prison, and izakaya (居酒屋) is a Japanese style drinking restaurant.  So a kangoku izakaya is a Japanese restaurant/bar that has been styled to look like a prison! And if the thought of vicious felons and dirty prison cells doesn’t whet your appetite, I don’t know what will.

Kangoku izakaya: a dinner in prison
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Apr
03
2010

iPhone tip: add Japanese words to the dictionary

While I love my iPhone with a passion, I have to admit that the Apple team could have put a little more thought into what features would be needed in Asia. One of the major shortcomings of the iPhone for users in Japan (and I would guess other Asian countries as well) is that your input dictionary doesn’t learn.

iPhone-chan (or as I call my iPhone: ai-chan) tries to detect words contextually (I think…), but any non-standard character usages you manage to get into the system are quickly forgotten.

Fortunately, there’s a workaround. And don’t worry, you don’t need to jailbreak your phone to get it to work.

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Apr
01
2010

12 Japanese IME Tips

If you’re serious about learning Japanese, I’m sure you will eventually either want to or need to be able to type in Japanese on your computer. Typing in Japanese is done with software called an IME (Input Method Editor), which allows you to type Japanese phonetically (romaji) and have the your typing automatically converted to […]

12 Japanese IME Tips
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Feb
24
2010

Puratto Kodama: Cheap Shinkansen Tickets

If you’re following me on Twitter, you’ll know that I recently went to Tokyo for the weekend. Living in Nagoya, I frequently get hit with the urge to get out and do something new, but one of the biggest blocks to doing so is the cost of travel. Trains are either slow (local), or expensive (shinkansen), and busses are slow and uncomfortable.

But recently I came across a very interesting deal the JR Tokai Tours offers: ぷらっとこだま (Puratto Kodama). I’m not the first to blog about this discounted ticket program, but it really is a great offer and deserves repeating, and I’ll also elaborate on things a little, since I actually tried out the program myself.

Puratto Kodama: Cheap Shinkansen Tickets
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Feb
12
2010

4 Major Japanese pizza chains compared

Oh the hardships, the ordeals I endure for the sake of this blog. But someone had to do it, someone had to stomach 5 whole pizzas in the course of researching a completely legitimate, informative blog post.

(Translation: Lloyd used his blog as an excuse to order delivery pizza 5 times in one month.)…

4 Major Japanese pizza chains compared
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Feb
07
2010

Using Pandora on a Japanese iPhone

Last fall, I purchased an iPhone 3GS through Japan’s official distributor for the device, Softbank, along with a two-year phone contract. But since my credit card is based in the US, iTunes kindly directed me to the US store for all my purchases. I was excited to download Pandora (which I had heard many great […]

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