|Light tunnel at the big illuminations in Gotenba, Shizuoka|
Living in Japan
Immigration changes to come as new law takes effect in July (Japan Times) - I also wrote extensively about these upcoming changes here.
Skilled foreigners to get grades, perks (Japan Times) - Earn 70 points and you may earn your permanent resident visa sooner.
Many angles to acquiring Japanese citizenship (Japan Times) - If you're considering going down this avenue, this article highlighted some important points. Did you know 99% of applications are approved? Quite different I'm sure from permanent resident applications.
Wendy's is back, and I'm ready for a Frosty! (Japan Today)
Tourist info centers to get rankings (Japan Times) - I'm hoping they'll be scored on helpfulness too, as we've run into a few very unhelpful places.
@jamie_elbanna recommended an easy way to pay for a highway bus: "Go to 7/11, say 'Intanetto no shiharai' and tell them the number."
Island overrun by rabbits, tourists (Japan Today) - Someone mentioned to me on Twitter that the rabbits haven't been that busy...
JTA ticket giveaway scrapped (Japan Times) - This caused a media circus when it was first announced, and now? A no go. Perhaps they should have gotten budget approval before announcing it? Or maybe it was all a publicity stunt...
Get to know Tokyo's ninja neighborhoods still hiding in plain sight in 2011 (CNNGo)
Airline passengers face random frisks (Japan Times) - At least they don't have those ridiculous scanners yet, but still, I'm not sure which I'd prefer...
Enjoy a hot night out at Nozawa Onsen (Japan Times) - This reminds me, I need to make a trip to the sento... Not that it's quite as exciting as playing with fire.
2011: The year when Japan went global over social networking (Japan Times) - Mixi, Facebook, and Google+, oh my!
New Wi-Fi Dispensing Vending Machine (Japan Trends) - This link was especially popular the past week or so. Given that free wifi is so hard to come by in Japan, it does seem like it could be a good thing for a lot of people. What do you think?
Anti-Sleep Driver’s Sheet “Sleep Buster” Warns You 10 Minutes Before Falling Asleep (Asiajin) - I honestly just love the idea of something that warns people when they're falling asleep driving. Maybe it's just me, but it's almost comical (not because it wakes people up, as obviously none of us want people falling asleep while driving).
Creamy Miso Chicken Pasta Recipe (Steamy Kitchen Recipes)
My mother's Kanto-style ozōni with chicken and greens (Japan Times) - Well, not my mother. Ozoni is a traditional New Year's soup made with mochi, made various ways.
Japanese soy sauce - all you need to know (and then some) (Just Hungry) - Dark? Light? Tamari? Low-sodium? No-wheat? What to choose? All is explained here.
Fukushima Nuclear Crisis/Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami-related
Unprepared for what happened (Japan Times) - This was an interesting piece about how TEPCO and the government basically weren't prepared at all to handle the nuclear plant crisis in the event of an earthquake/tsunami. It's sad and frustrating to think that with the impending Tokai earthquake here in Shizuoka, that had an earthquake of that magnitude happened here first, the very same thing could have likely happened here too (there's a nuclear plant in Shizuoka). It's sad that so many people have been negatively affected due to poor planning and decision-making.
Radioactive cedar pollen detected in Fukushima (Japan Today)
DIY cesium scanning store may be 'new normal' (Japan Times) - Of course, it'd be better to avoid getting contaminated items in the first place, but I could see something like this giving people some peace of mind, either way.