26 Japan Links You Might Want to Check Out (From the Past 2 Weeks) - June 18

Hakone Shrine, Hakone, Kanagawa, Japan

Another week (or two, actually), another set of Japan-related links from around the web. A wide variety today: from the rainy season to GoLloyds being sold to saving energy to moldy Mos burgers to suicide in Japan, archery in a volcano, a Lego theme park, Expressway Service Areas, and the Oi Reactors being restarted. Enjoy!

Living in Japan

The rainy season is officially here, as it started in late April down in Okinawa and early June for most of the rest of us, aside Hokkaido, of course.

Smartphones, car navigation systems may aid evacuations when next Big One strikes: Tokyo officials (Japan Times)

Foreign residents decline a third year, by 56,000 (Japan Times) - Consider too, that this still leaves 2.079 million foreign residents in Japan, according to the article.

Tokyo-area driving school offers lessons in English (Japan Times) - If you're in or near Tokyo and plan to get a driver's license (although I can't really imagine why you would need to own a car in Tokyo), you might want to check out driving lessons in English (especially if you've never driven before). Although I can attest it's possible to pass with very little practice. Take one or two hour-long practice sessions at a nearby driving school and you should be good to go. The rest is all about memorizing the course. (This all assumes that you already have a license issued in a country abroad, otherwise, you have to start from scratch anyway).

Calls made for bicycles to have number plates (Japan Today) - Some people think this is a bad idea, others, a good one. Personally I think they would be helpful, especially for reporting purposes, but I also do strongly feel parents and teachers need to do a better job teaching kids how to ride bikes safely in Japan. This comes from numerous times of children not stopping and not looking when they suddenly ride their bike across a crosswalk in front of me while driving, or not stopping or looking at any of those annoyingly small intersections on narrow roads all over the place.

Just yesterday I had to come to a skidding halt, when two junior high age girls, who had been biking straight along the sidewalk, suddenly decided they would cross the street, without looking and without stopping to check for cars. Fortunately I had been watching them as I was driving and was able to slam the brakes in time and skidded to a halt right in front of the cross walk (and fortunately the car behind me was far enough behind that they didn't rear end me). I wasn't thrilled.

Shinagawa will pay to raze quake firetraps (Japan Times) - Why? Because people's wooden houses are all built ridiculously close together, creating a potential difficult-to-put-out neighborhood fire.

Parents, you might want to read this article from Japan Healthcare Info about how to locate pediatric emergency services in Japan what to prepare in advance. (Japan Today) 

You may have read our recent post on how to transfer money to and from Japan, and users of GoLloyds might be interested to know that Lloyds is selling GoLloyds to Shinsei Bank. (Financial News)

Did you see those crazy (expensive) bladeless Dyson fans last summer or this year? For hardly anything, you can get smaller, portable versions of those, although not Dyson. (RocketNews24)


A few simple steps at home can save energy (Japan Times)

Firms urged to pull plug on incandescent bulbs (Japan Times) - They're going bye-bye!

Bad (and Good?) Food

Moldy Mos Burger confirms koji boom (Japan Pulse) - Think of it like cheese in the sense of mold and it doesn't sound so bad.

Morinaga Milk to recall over 322,000 contaminated packs (Japan Times) - Just in case you bought one of seven milk products, including Lipton Milk Tea, and the expiration dates range from June 17 to 20

In Support of Others

I recommend listening to this interesting interview about suicide in Japan by Tokyo Podcast with Andrew Grimes of Tokyo Counseling Services (a previous SiJ interviewee).

Single fathers unite to voice their concerns about benefits in Japan (Japan Times) - I believe all single parents need support, in Japan and elsewhere. The story of the father in this is heartbreaking.

Travel and Recreation 

JAL serving Air Mos Rice Burgers on select flights (Japan Today) - I'm not a huge fan of Mos, but I know many of you are - would you eat this?

American Airlines resumes flights from JFK to Haneda (Japan Today)

Have you ever tried archery in a volcano? You can, in Japan. (The Japan Daily Press)

Enjoy hot springs and earn JAL Mileage (Japan Today)

Virgin America partners with Japan Airlines for interline deal (The Japan Daily Press)

I thought this editorial was very interesting on reasons why Japan's tourism isn't as strong as other locations.  (Travel Weekly)

Lego seeks theme park in Nagoya (Japan Times) - The seven-year old in me is seriously doing backflips.

Exploring Japan: All About Expressway Service Areas (The Japan Daily Press) - They are practically tourist destinations themselves.

Fukushima Nuclear Crisis/Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

Fishing recommences off Fukushima coast for 1st time since disaster (Japan Today)

Reactors at Oi plant to be reactivated (Japan Times)

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