It suddenly got ridiculously humid here in Shizuoka, and it feels like a big choke hold. Here's another round of Japan links, including how to wear a yukata, Hokkaido's abandoned rail, how to travel cheap by train without a Japan Rail Pass, and more. Enjoy!
(And a note to those of you in Kyushu and Shikoku - reading and hearing about all that's happening is frightening. I truly hope if you're reading this that you're safe and well, but my thoughts are with everyone there right now. Please be careful.)
Living in Japan
Guys, not sure how to wear that yukata? Check out this video for some tips.
And girls, a how-to-wear-a-yukata video for you too. (Hat tip to Japan Pulse)
Got some old jeans you don't wear anymore? Bring them to Gap for a 20% off coupon and help folks out in the process. They are accepting used/old denim, whether it's Gap brand or not, and you can receive a 20% off coupon per item you bring. The project goes from July 16 to August 19 and excludes mini skirts and baby denim (unless it's Baby Gap brand). All items must be washed and need to be wearable (no holes, fraying, noticeable dirt spots, broken or missing buttons/zippers, etc.). Donations are going to the Japan Relief Clothing Center NPO to be sent to people around the world in need of these items.
Breaker, breaker: How to conserve energy without thinking too much (Yen for Living) - Useful tip if you own a home.
Complex rules in place for safety's sake, but Red Cross still wants your blood (The Japan Times) - Hopefully the last in our blood donation saga...
How to keep your health insurance when you can’t pay for it (Yen for Living) - Good to know.
Old Navy is in Japan! Who's going? (The Japan Times)
Tokyo Restaurant Serves Fresh Organic Vegetables from On-Site Plant Factories (Japan for Sustainability)
Tea growers go to the top — of Fuji (The Japan Times) - It seems Shizuoka tea growers are now going to be drying out their tea leaves on Fuji-san and selling it as another special type of tea.
Travel and Recreation
Jetstar Japan launches new routes (The Japan Times) - More from the LCCs (low cost carriers).
Good news for us computer users, Delta to add Wi-Fi service to international fleet (Japan Today)
If you're into trains, railways or abandoned things, you might enjoy watching this documentary, Cycling Japan’s Abandoned Rail, put together by a couple who cycled all of Hokkaido's closed and abandoned lines. I read about it on Tofugu, which I've linked to in that link, but the trailer is below. Each part is about 15-20 minutes long, so it takes a bit of time to get through, but the parts I watched were interesting.
Yokohama model train venue open (The Japan Times)
Skytree starts same-day ticket sales (The Japan Times) - I feel like the Skytree has been all over the news the past couple months and it's getting kind of old, but, in case you're wondering.
If you're looking to save some money on dining, Tokyo Cheapo suggests dining at a university cafeteria.
One great way to shop smart in Japan is to compare costs, and one great site for that is kakaku.com. I'll do my own "how-to" on this in the future, but this post gives a nice overview of it: Buying Gadgets Cheaply on Comparison Shopping Sites (Tokyo Cheapo)
Fukushima Nuclear Crisis/Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami
Tohoku Cotton Project (Metropolis) - With the tsunami last year, the affected areas have been affected negatively by the salt water, which makes it difficult to grow various crops. So a bunch of clothing companies are now working with farmers to grow cotton, which apparently does better with a bit more sodium. It hasn't been easy, but it seems they're getting somewhere. Interesting concept, and hopefully it'll help out the farmers.
Cherry Tree Planting 'Sakura Line 311' to Mark Tsunami for Future Generations (Japan for Sustainability)
Government to conduct radiation tests on rice at 40,000 locations in 2012 (The Japan Times)