Month: Last updated Jun 24, 2017

Odd Japanese Blogs – The Tokyo Stairs Database

The Japanese word “himajin” means “someone with too much time on his hands.” A few weeks ago I came across a blog called “Tokyo Kaidan DB” (Tokyo Stairs Database), and curious to see if there were other odd blogs cataloging really mundane things, I came across some of the most time-wasting blogs you can imagine. I guess the fact that I started looking for these blogs makes me just as much of a himajin as the authors are, though. Putting them all in one post would make it a little long, so I’m going to do one of them each day this week. Here’s a sample from the stairs blog: No. 0357 Location: Bunkyo-ku, Otsuka, 5-1-16 Shape: Straight Steps: 39 (Lower: 9, Middle: 20, Upper: 10) Photo 2007.3.13 There are a lot of staircases on the west slope of Kasuga-dori St. in Otsuka 5-chome, but this is the southernmost. It’s close to Shinobazu-dori St. There is no landing between the upper and middle sections. The middle section is narrow, but the upper section is wide because the buildings have been reconstructed. The narrow path expands to a width of 4m. Several years ago (Apr. 2006-Mar. 2007), the stairway was reconstructed, with the concrete blocks being paved and repairs made. Also, before, there were eight stairs in the lower section, but now, after the repairs, there are nine. Stay tuned...

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Otaku Photos

I found these on a Japanese blog called  V-blog, which is kind of a “best of 2channel” site. The original 2Channel thread the photos come from seems to be gone, though. http://gasoku.livedoor.biz/archives/51296495.html Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

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The Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park

Last summer I was really excited to find the Gyotoku Yachou Kansatsusha, a great bird sanctuary just 30 minutes on the subway from downtown Tokyo. Its really interesting, but the Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park is even more convenient and enjoyable. Surprisingly, it’s right by Haneda Airport, but the birds don’t seem to mind all the planes at all. It’s a wonderful escape from the crowds and noise of Tokyo. To be honest, I have no idea what kind of birds I was seeing, but they were really amazing and I spent hours photographing and enjoying their beauty. If you go down to the basement of the visitor’s center, there’s a mud flat with hundreds of crabs and mudskippers. The reason this park is better than Gyotoku is that you can get a little closer to the birds and have a bit more freedom to go where you want. As with Gyotoku, there are lots of telescopes you can look through, but if you want to take photos you’ll probably want to have at least a 200-300 mm lens. Admission is just 300 yen. There’s a good article with more information at: http://metropolis.co.jp/travel/travel-features/tokyo-port-wild-bird-park/ The official website is in Japanese only: http://park15.wakwak.com/~tokyoko/index.html Open: 09:00-17:00 (Feb.-Oct.) 09:00-16:30 (Nov.-Jan.) Closed:  Monday (Tues. if Mon. is a holiday), New Year holidays Admission]: Private Group (20 or more) Adults (high school and above) 300...

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Money for Nothing

Sometimes Japan’s gift-giving culture can make life really complicated. Having to leave half your suitcase empty so that you have room to put souvenirs for all your co-workers, or trying to figure out if money envelopes are for funerals or weddings can be a nuisance, but this is only the tip of the gift-giving iceberg. Throughout the year and on countless occasions in daily life, Japanese people are socially obligated to slip little envelopes filled with money to one another. Here are some of the more famous and interesting ones: Senbetsu (Japanese: 餞別) – Farewell money is given to someone who is moving, going on a long trip, or quitting her job to get married. Recent university graduates about to go on a working holiday can expect anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 yen from close relatives, and workers who are being transferred or are quitting their jobs to get married get anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 yen per co-worker (usually depending on their rank within the company). Average take: 50,000 yen Choju Iwai (長寿祝い) – Make it to the age of 60 in Japan and you’re entitled to some cash. Kanreki is a celebration based on the Chinese zodiac, and happens when a person has lived through the entire cycle of astrological signs and returns to the same year and horoscope sign as they were born in. Achieve this...

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