35 Useful and Entertaining Japan Links From the Past 2 Weeks

Shed and tea bushes in rural Japan

Hope you all enjoyed a fabulous weekend. Mine went by all too quickly, although I'm excited because we're heading out of town this coming weekend for a few days! Time for a short break and a slight change of scenery (although I'm hoping desperately for a change in temperature). The following links have been collected from the past two weeks - please enjoy!

Living in Japan

Krispy Kreme expands in Japan (Tokyo Weekender) - For more of that sickly sweet, glazed goodness, they may be popping up near you.

Ben & Jerry’s to return to Japan with Omotesando Hills store (Japan Today) - Ben & Jerry's fans? I'm still waiting for a Red Mango franchise to show up here.

Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us store to open in Fukutsu in April (Japan Today) - Who doesn't enjoy shopping at the toy store? I still feel nostalgic over the annual Toys"R"Us Christmas catalog my sister and I used to pore over every year, circling the things we wanted. So materialistic, I know, but we never got many toys anyway.

Support for child-rearing families (Japan Times)  - This is an editorial on the new plan to combine kindergarten (yochien) and daycare (hoikuen) to make a new "kodomoen."

Tax Time Again (ACCJ Journal) - Some tips and advice for filling our your Japan tax return, if you need to file one (not everyone does, keep in mind).

Tokyo’s Crime Hotspots (Tokyo Weekender) - Though Japan is known for its lower crime rates, incidents still do occur, and sometimes more often than you think. The article includes a map of the hot spots.

Bullying, child abuse at record highs (Japan Times) - But is it at "record highs" because more people are reporting it than in the past, which has been the case in the U.S. and other places? Regardless, it's still an important issue.

Japan Post launching new, cheaper international parcel delivery for auction buyers on April 1 (Japan Times) - This seems like a good deal, although it says it's for items bought via auctions in Japan, weighing under 2kg and shipped abroad.

Earthquake/Disaster Preparedness

Japanese airbag protects homes from earthquakes - video (The Guardian) - It's crazy enough that a house can be elevated slightly by a giant airbag, but also amusing once you get to the demonstration of shaking with two people sitting in chairs. The guy on the right is sitting through a "regular" earthquake, and it's pretty amusing to watch. 

Big One 'likely to be shallower' (Japan Times) - Now all the talk is focused on the next "big one" in Kanto now, rather than the Tokai Earthquake, which is what everyone was talking about before the Tohoku quake. Doesn't seem like anyone really knows where the next "big one" will be.

Retailers report surging demand for disaster & emergency goods (Japan Today) - It seems a lot of people were not prepared. Make sure to buy or put together your emergency kit! Don't wait!


Real-time online tsunami feed starts (Japan Times) - Though unfortunately not available to the general public, the concept is still a cool one. Hopefully they'll implement it elsewhere in the country as well.

Japan Develops Flashing LED Shoelaces, Perfect For Night Joggers and Pet-Walkers (RocketNews24) - Considering Japan won't adopt daylight savings time and in the summer you hardly have a chance to enjoy a run during the day if you work, these shoelaces might be useful.

NTT Docomo to begin voice messaging service for communication during disasters (Japan Today) - A few emergency services to take advantage of, just in case.

Softbank gets approval for 900MHz band specific base station plan (Japan Today) - This band is supposed to improve general service to users, although not all phones are currently compatible.

Instagram Supports Japanese Social Networks Mixi (Asiajin) - If you use Mixi, you can now share your Instagram photos! (p.s. Android will be getting Instagram soon)

Just for Fun

Tokyo in Timelapse - Very cool video. Worth a watch, especially if you're into the timelapse thing.

Sh*t Japanese Students Say 日本の生徒がよく言うこと (YouTube) - If you've taught youth in Japan, this is quite amusing, and right on, especially for high school students.

It's rabbit season for cafes (Japan Today) - No, the cafes aren't serving actual game. :)

An Illustrated Guide to the 12 Creatures That Haunt the Crowded Trains of Tokyo (RocketNews24) - Have you seen (or are you?) one of these?

Prizes for every picnic as spring campaigns blossom (Japan Pulse) - Various spring campaigns for a chance to win... something!


Heartening recipes from Japan's northeast (Japan Times) - A cookbook of Tohoku recipes, half the proceeds donated to charity. 

Nestle Donates New Kit Kat Profits to Earthquake Recovery (RocketNews24) - Says it's a world variety pack but it's actually only three countries, though I'm sure the chocolate does taste slightly different.

Tokyo to drop fugu license ordinance amid decline in fatal diner poisonings (Japan Times) - I'm not sure this is a wise move... Have any of you tried fugu?

Greek Yogurt in Japan (Cooking In Japan) - In case you were wondering how to find Greek yogurt in Japan, @kirsty_girl shows us in her post. (Hint: Look for カスピ海) Very useful!

Fukushima Nuclear Crisis/Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

Below we've got lots of links related to the triple disasters, and the titles are generally self-explanatory. The pictures are certainly moving, in particular the ones from The Big Picture. You might find the food and radiation links particularly worth a glance.

Kanagawa group starts checking food for radiation (Japan Times)

Photographer captures then and now of tsunami (Japan Today)

Fukushima farmer presses Tepco to look after abandoned animals (Japan Times)

Tepco to pay ¥600,000 to pregnant voluntary evacuees [from Fukushima] (Japan Times)

No cesium detected in milk at 116 firms (Japan Times)

Workers at Fukushima plant toil away in deadly conditions (Japan Today)

86% of municipalities leery of taking [disaster] debris (Japan Times)

Illness, suicides drive up disaster-linked toll (Japan Times)

Radiation fears haunt food shoppers in Japan (Japan Today)

Japan tsunami pictures: before and after (The Big Picture)

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