What is a Melon Pan?

A Melon Pan is a kind of Japanese bread roll. What is it actually? A bread roll, with a sweet, crusty yellow topping. There is no filling, unless you put one there yourself. What does it taste like? It’s a bread roll, ever so slightly sweet due to the crusty topping giving it a cake-y taste. To be honest, if…

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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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Is it safe to eat raw egg sauce in Japan?

Many dishes in Japan, especially Sukiyaki (a hotpot of meat and vegetables) and Donburi (meat on rice), are meant to be eaten with a ‘golden egg sauce’ – but egg sauce is basically a raw egg, or sometimes just the raw yolk of an egg, slightly beaten. Sometimes it may have lemon juice or soy mixed in with it. But since…

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Make your own McDonald’s Melon Ice Cream Soda at home

This is a McDonald’s melon ice cream soda from Japan. Common throughout Asia, McDonald’s offer a Coke variant as well, while in other regions like Singapore, you can get a ‘McFizz’ ice cream soda, made with Sprite mixed with fruit cordial to provide other flavours. In the case of Japan, it’s a Fanta Melon soda, melon being a popular soda…

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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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