Western celebrities denigrate themselves in Japanese TV commercials

If you’re familiar with the plot of the film Lost in Translation you’ll remember Bill Murray’s character Bob, an out of favour Hollywood actor approaching retirement, is in Japan to film a whiskey commercial, to earn a fee big enough to pay for some home refurbishments and a nestbed for his retirement. The inspiration for this is that it’s actually incredibly…

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Why do Japanese people say moshi moshi when answering the phone?

If you’ve come here after seeing the explanation in the Teen Wolf TV series where one character explains TO the Japanese character (who somehow does not already know, despite being Japanese), that ‘moshi‘ means ‘hello‘ and that by saying it twice you can be sure that whoever is on the other is not a were-creature of some sort, because such creatures have…

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trick to get cheapest flights

Airlines don’t want you to know this trick to get the cheapest flight prices

Here’s a legitimate hack for getting the best flight prices online that really works. Using this method, we got a round trip from London, to Beijing, to Tokyo, back to Beijing and back to London, over the course of a month, for less than £490 per person. The same flights booked directly on the airline’s website, were quoted at £1900! In…

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Example of lean thinking in Japan's railway ticket gates

Why are Japan’s ticket barriers always open in railway stations?

It’s true that on Japan’s railway network and especially in major cities, the ticket barriers are always open. But try to go through without buying a ticket and you could be in for a nasty shock! The ticket barriers are designed to only close if someone attempts to pass through without having already presented a valid ticket (a paper ticket,…

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how to get a job in japan

How to get a job in Japan as an expat

If you’ve been to Japan and fallen in love with the place, you may be thinking, “how can I stay here longer, for six months, a year, or even longer?”. Japan isn’t the easiest country to emigrate to. The immigrant population is tiny relative to other countries like the US, Australia, UK or Germany, and there is not a shortage…

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Beautiful videos of Japan on YouTube – roundup

Here are some of our favourite videos of Japanese scenery from YouTube, available also in 4K/UHD

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kyoto day trip 24 hours guide kiyomizu dera temple

One day in Kyoto trip guide

Kyoto might not be as big a city as Tokyo but there’s still more to see that can easily fit into one day. It is possible however, if you catch an early enough bullet train from Tokyo (before 7AM at the latest), to see many highlights of Kyoto if you really only have time for one day there. Arriving by about…

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kyoto to tokyo

Kyoto to Tokyo and back again – the cheapest, fastest way to travel

The Japanese bullet train, or Shinkansen, is probably the best way to travel around Japan – fast, comfortable, smooth and reliable. But unfortunately also, expensive. Return journeys between major cities can cost more than US $400. Single trips can cost more than $200. About 20 years ago, foreign tourists used to be able to buy heavily discounted Shinkansen rail pass,…

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Great article on Japanese convenience stores at nippon.com

Live in Japan, or indeed anywhere in east asia, and you quickly become reliant on the ubiquitous convenience stores (or konbini in Japanese) of 7-11, FamilyMart and Lawson, not least because of their wonderful egg sandwiches and other ready to eat snacks. Over at nippon.com they have a detailed report on the origin of these nourishment-giving centres of excellence, check…

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mega muffin

McDonald’s review: Mega Muffin from Japan

Available for a limited time, Japanese branches of McDonald’s currently offer the Mega Muffin – a stacked McMuffin featuring two sausage patties, egg, cheese and a slice of bacon. Warning for McMuffin fans though – the Mega Muffin features copious dollops of ketchup, which may come as a nasty surprise for those of you who prefer your McMuffin in a…

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