how to find a non-smoking restaurant in Japan

Going out in Japan can sometimes be rough if you're a non-smoker (like me). Granted, times are changing in Japan, and more and more facilities and areas are now completely non-smoking, or have a small room or area designated specifically for smoking. Kanagawa prefecture went completely non-smoking last year, making it the first prefecture in Japan to ban smoking in public areas such as beaches, and various public facilities such as schools and hospitals (though I think both of those are *generally* non-smoking in Japan now anyway) and even restaurants, if the restaurant didn't already have separated smoking/non-smoking areas. At times, I wish I lived in Kanagawa, if only for that.

Q&A: Downy Wrinkle Releaser in Japan?

Another Q&A some folks out there might be wondering about, for those who hate ironing. Can't say I do much ironing so didn't even know products like this existed, but was able to find it quite easily.

Q: I have a weird question. Is there Downy Wrinkle Releaser in Japan? Or a similar product. I pretty much hate ironing more than anything in the world.


A: Yes, Japan does in fact have Downy Wrinkle Releaser (otherwise known in Japanese as ダウニーリンクルリリーサー). You can easily order it on Amazon.jpand, including the travel size version.

I checked a few local stores in my area and didn't find it, but I haven't had a chance to check in some larger cities nearby - but even if you can't find it in the store, can easily get it online.

Anyone else out there know anything about wrinkle releasing type products in Japan? Feel free to share below.

how to find Tylenol in Japan

I've previously showed you how to find ibuprofen in Japan, but what about acetaminophen? Otherwise known as Tylenol. Though Tylenol itself is a bit more difficult to find in Japan than ibuprofen (I can't find it in my local drugstore but I can find it in the drugstore in the closest major train station in my area). You can also find it online quite easily. Though, keep in mind that some other brands of medicine in Japan also contain acetaminophen, but many of those brands also contain caffeine (カフェイン), occasionally aspirin (アスピリン), and some other active ingredients. Yeah, probably not what you want, necessarily.

First things first: acetaminophen in Japanese is アセトアミノフェン.

And, Tylenol is タイレノール.

You can buy it online via, an e-drugstore I reviewed in an earlier post, or, check out your local drugstore/daily goods store (though I think you'll probably have better luck finding it in stores nearer larger train stations or larger stores in general).

You might be thinking that the amount of acetaminophen is nothing compared to Western-bought Tylenol, but I can assure you, the box I have says each pill holds 300 mg, while Tylenol's English website states their regular strength pills have 325 mg of acetaminophen in each tablet. Yes, it's a 25 mg difference, but most of you will probably agree that's practically the same.

So there you go, if you need acetaminophen, for whatever reason, now you're set.

[Update] Q&A: Satellite TV in Japan?

I must admit, I really don't want too much TV - I rarely have time and only have a few favorites. Nonetheless, when I do want to watch something, I usually look for it online, or via iTunes. This works for me, but what if you want more than that? The question today is exactly that, and I'm asking YOU, yes, everyone reading, to please leave a comment if you know anything about getting satellite TV in Japan. I was able to find a few links with basic information, but nothing too substantial.

So, please feel free to leave any ideas or tips in the comments.

Q: I wonder if you know whether it is possible to get satellite TV in Japan. I know that Hikari TV is pretty limited on English and international channels and I don’t think will be worth the money. I saw some satellite dishes for sale and wonder whether it is worth getting. Or maybe you know someone who provides satellite TV services? I live in Tokyo.


A: Thanks to everyone who contributed answers to this question. I've included some of them below, and feel free to add anything else to the comments (and look in the comments for the rest of the answers).

kimnsin said:
I actually have the Hikari TV and love it. I'm happy with my basic pack which has a nice variety of English TV shows, movies, music channels, documentary channels and news. Many of the programs repeat throughout the week so you can see many episodes over again if you miss them. The only downside is that many of the shows are behind in season and episodes of such programs as "American Idol" run a few weeks after they have shown in the US. With Hikari, you can also access a number of free videos or pay per view of them. It's easy to use and was easy to install. 
When I lived in Osaka, I used to have satellite TV but the problems I had with the satellite dish was that when the weather was bad, it sometimes affected programming. With Hikari TV or Cable, you don't have those problems. Also, with a satellite dish, it needs to be placed to pick up the signal so if you live in a place which faces a certain direction or is blocked by other buildings, the signal might not pick up.

Sally said:
Yes! I have satellite TV! All the way out here in Shizuoka! The apartment next to mine is empty, so I'm using the abandoned satellite dish the previous occupant left attached to the balcony, so I can't offer any info on how to GET a satellite dish (though that part shouldn't be hard).
I AM paying for the satellite TV service -- Y3000/mo (plus about Y3500 initial setup fee) for a package called e2スカパ基本パック (e2 Sky Package basic pack) on the CS2 band, which has 41 channels (there's other packages for different prices, and there's also the BS & CS1 bands, which have different channels):
5 movie channels (3 which are all/primarily foreign movies)
5 foreign and 2 domestic drama/variety
3 sports, 5 music, 4 documentary, 5 news, 4 animation, 7 general entertainment, and 1 foreign music/interests
I LOVE it. House MD; CSI; The West Wing; ER; Ugly Betty... you can definitely get my fill of foreign entertainment. Signing up for it is easy if you have an internet connection & can read some Japanese -- you hook your TV up to the internet & send an application via the TV. The first 2 weeks or so are free for a lot of the channels so you can see some of what's offered. From any of those channels you should be able to go to an "information screen" where you can apply and get set up.

Over on Facebook, De Vallion Piper Sr suggested:
I have SkyPerfectTV, you can pick up a standard reciever & antenna at Best, Kojima, or Yamada denki. the valuaable pack is 3500 yen a month and has BBC World News, CNNj, FoxLife, Fox movies, Fox Crime, AXN, AXN Mystery, Discovery, National Geographic, Universal in English and about thirty more channels in Japanese, its a pretty good deal.
Mike said:
If you have any connection with the U.S. Government in Japan, by that I mean armed forces or some other federal agency, it's possible to get a satellite dish and service to receive armed forces television network. They broadcast much of the standard U.S. programming on ( if I remember correctly) two channels. There's some military programming but not so much that its intrusive. The dishes are available in many exchanges, and from there you sign up for the service.
Another little item I recall was a converter box to allow you to listen and hear programs in English when such programs were broadcast on Japanese TV. Some TV's had this as a built in function. Might be worth considering. 

Thank you very much to everyone for your thoughtful suggestions! 

The Best of Surviving in Japan 2010

Happy New Year! Yes, things have been quiet here the past couple weeks due to the Holidays, but I hope you've had a chance to relax a bit and enjoy time with family and friends, as I have. I'm looking forward to the new year for Surviving in Japan, and to show you some exciting new things, and of course, continue providing helpful and useful content for anyone living in Japan (or who will be living in Japan).

And now, to present Surviving in Japan's top content for 2010. Enjoy!