Area Information



Join the best expat community of Japan. Now!

  • Share your Japan experience
  • Create blogs/Join the Q&A
  • Earn points and get rewards

Can you get rid of the scorching heat of summer ?

It is hot and humid summer in Japan now. Be careful of heat stroke everybody. Do you know everyday many people including children and elderly have to take to hospital only for the treatment of the heat stroke?SO be careful now! Here is some tips how to get rid of the heat stroke:1. Use light dress and try to use umbrella whenever you will go to the sun.2. Take a lot of water/liquid everyday.3.Be careful of heavy food.4. Try to eat vegetables everyday.5. Eat fruits every morning.6. Eat fish rather than red meat.7. Avoid alcohol and smoking.8. Use AC or Fan 9. Do not play outside if it is too hot10. We need to be calm and cool through our lifestyle such as wearing white dress and slipper, use ice bags etc.

How to take care of Bug biting in Japan?

During the summer, a lot of "mushi' disturbs the people of Japan. But here are some tips how to deal with the bugs of summer:1. Avoid the place where un attended trees grows.2. Wear full sleeve dress to avoid the insect bite3. Clean the surroundings. Cut the unwanted weeds.4. Carry antihistamine cream with you. Buy one for your kids. Do not apply it on face!5. If bite then Squeeze the stinger and venom out as quickly as you can if you’re stung. Do not try to suck it out! 6. Apply cream afterward and do not rub too much.7. Go to the hifuka (Skin Hospital) as soon as you can!

I've been spirited off to a Buddhist temple

I think they want to convert me. I'm having fun though.This was the the first message I sent to a friend who had luckily declined to meet up with a lady we had met on the train when I complemented her dragon spike leggings. She seemed nice enough on the train so I traded contact info and she got in touch shortly after and we decided on lunch the next weekend. I thought it normal for her to take a friend, but was taken a bit back when that friend was several decades older. Going with it, I was friendly and the lunch conversation was actually great. We basically had some girl's talk, talk about culture, and some questioning about how much I had  learned about Japanese culture during university. Again thinking nothing of it, the conversation continued on to stories about what happened and where we were during the March 11th quake. That's when it got weird. They both seemed to latch onto how lucky I am, I must have seen a miracle. I also must be worried about my family, and focusing on how we must protect ourselves, they invited me to a nearby Buddhist temple to pray with them. It all happened so fast, and I was completely curious about how they pray and what they believe, I decided to go along with them. And after I told my friend about all that happened.So now I have a prayerbook, some beads and a pamphlet that tells me to deny all other religions or I will burn in the afterlife.That pamphlet also says that it is because not everyone believes in Buddha that ww3 will happen. I thought ww3 would be because of trump.Just because of a lady's leggings.It was... an experience. But really sweet ladies. The girl we met and another much older lady.Fantastic conversation until they started talking about luck and asking if I've seen a miracleThose who have seen Buddha get a miracle.And apparently luck is a non renewable resource.They were very proud of how clean the facility was. And that everyone helped clean. The toilets are the prized chore.I had to give my name and address to be able to enter and the temple was more like an office building with fancy gardening out front.I must say the toilets were cleanThen we got to kneel down for 30 minutes while chanting. And at the end, I apparently got lectured about needing to believe to protect myself and family. Gotta pray to mount Fuji. I was told earlier that there is a seed planted in Fuji that will blossom when everyone believes. After all the natural disaster talk (there was a lot because they gave me examples of miracles about every 5 minutes) I'm thinking I don't want mount Fuji to blossom. I mean it is a volcano...You never know who you will meet when out and about, and I certainly learned a bunch. I'm mostly amused about how easily they would go to pray and then after that 30 minute session of deep breathing required for chanting instantly dropped the feel of awe for some crowed snacks in the cafeteria. 

AoBT 07-Parental Problems (Stick Kid pt. 2)

There have been times since moving here that I've felt disillusioned about the Japanese way of life. It's definitely not a perfect country and I've grown to accept the "that's just the way things are" mentality... for the most part. I've put off writing about this for a while now because it's a touchy subject, but I believe that it is very important and should be discussed. My newest student, "Stick Kid", has had a lot of trouble adjusting to his new environment. He has difficulty concentrating, he has violent outbursts, and he just seems very apathetic about most things. This is normal for most new students. They often test their boundaries and see how far they can push their teachers and classmates. Usually this period lasts about a month before the new child adapts and becomes part of the fold. Stick-kid, however, still is experiencing difficulties. I was having trouble getting answers from the Japanese staff until it was time to make Mother's Day crafts. It was then that I found out that Stick Kid, "Doesn't have a mother." At first I thought that his mother died, but was informed that this is not the case. Rather, it seems like his father took him and his older brother away from their mother. Their mother is from South Korea and after getting a divorce, the father took the boys and came down to where their grandmother lives. While I'm not exactly sure of the situation that led to the father taking the children from their mother, I do know that Stick Kid frequently talks about his mother and how much he misses her. In my opinion, this is probably why he is acting out.   This leads me into a major problem that I have with Japan: The complete removal of one parent after a divorce. In Japanese culture it seems like after a couple divorces, one parent completely disappears from the lives of the children. One of my recent graduates, Wa-chan, changed her last name from her father's to her mother's maiden name. Once that happened, the father stopped coming to all of the school events and when we made Father's Day presents that year, I was told that Wa-chan doesn't have a father anymore and that she could make a present for her grandfather instead. When I asked why the name changed and why the father was completely cut out of Wa-chan's life, I was told, "That's just how it is here." This makes me really sad. As a child of divorced parents, it would have killed me to have been told that I couldn't see one of them ever again.  I realize that this may be a cultural "norm", but it still makes me feel really sad. I feel sad for the parent who is cut out and I especially feel sad for the child. I've been giving Stick Kid extra hugs and head pats. He is a sweet boy and I hope that he adjusts to life in his new school soon.                 sad stick is sad

Policy and procedure

 The absolute most frustrating thing in Japan that I have had to learn to just deal with is procedure and policy. Now mind, I realize that this is in every country, but Japan has a special degree of just how finicky bureaucracy and policy can be played into daily life. Like with the anecdote about my doctors visit here, assumed policy played a big role in deciding wether my children got to go to school or not. One went to the doctor, so could go to school, the other had not therefore had to stay home. A doctor's note permitting either of them wasn't required, I'm guessing because the rule saying that the doctor was needed wasn't really something that the school or the government had set, it was just what the school nurse had assumed. The key word here is assumed. Policy is held higher than actual safety comfort and efficiency, even if that policy is only just an assumed rule or guideline. There are many other occasions in Japan that I've encountered frustration and dismay because things are just done a certain way because that's how they have been done.  At work.There is some unwritten rule that no one uses their paid leave at school unless it's outside of the class time .The only exception is if they are sick, then they will use their paid leave. This is strange because teachers are given sick leave, however they will automatically assume you want to deduct from your paid leave to take a day off to go to the doctor unless specifically told otherwise. Why? Because that's what everyone does. This one is strange because technically it's against policy. You should be using vacation time for vacation and sick leave for sickness.   Giving birthMy hospital didn't let me physically touch my son for the first 24 hours of life. Why? It's policy. When I argued with the first nurse , she told me the policy was there so that mother's could rest and let their bodies prepare for the baby. The second nurse told me it's because they have to make sure the baby doesn't become too cold. The doctor told me that it's just the way it is and to go back to bed.  This would be me not physically touching my child because he is wrapped in a disposable blanket. He was promptly whisked away after the photo.(Just for everyone who has never had a baby, the first few hours of a baby's life are critical and numerous studies show that a mother's touch can improve an infant's body temperature. Also stimulation is required for breastfeeding and if the body doesn't get that stimulation, it will assume there is no need to produce milk.) Why is there really a policy? Probably n because the staff are already over-worked and overbooked at this small clinic to have time to cater to new mother s and care for the children.  At schoolSickness prevention The Japanese ministry of health recently published new guidelines that recommend against gargling to prevent the spread of disease. It's been shown that gargling with only water will instead make viruses more likely to spread because they become aerosol in an area most often used as a public space; sinks and water fountains. The notice was passed around my teachers office, but over the p.a. system before lunch everyone still got the daily reminder to gargle after coming inside from recess. Why? I was told the daily announcement always says to gargle. Did it ever change even with the information about how gargling was a hazard? No.  I have an entire rant about the post office but just to add to the list of things that are frustrating when dealing with the postal service and having a foreign name, offering a credit card. On the card, there is only space for two names, your first and last. However the postal department refused to deliver three card to me because I have a middle name. There seemed to be no way around it and I ended up just canceling the card. Later I tried again but through a different post office and there were no bumps. No problem.  Most of the things on this list really are just annoyances or things that are just the way they are, including other countries.I mean who likes going to the post office? And I could certainly add a billion more things on here.  Any time I encounter something like these though, I just have to shrug and not let it bother me. Doesn't stop me from speaking my mind, especially if a doctor tells me to gargle however. There are good things that come from all the procedure. Children learn proper hygiene(and some improper) , the post office is very thorough and prompt and the hospital I gave birth has a very low mortality rate.  

The Art of Disney - The Magic of Animation Exhibition

What to do on a rainy Sunday if you dont want to sit all the time at home? Just go out and visit one of the many museums or exhibitions around Tokyo. We decided to visit the Disney exhibition "The Art of Disney - The Magic of Animation Exhibition" at the science museum in Odaiba. The exhibition runs from 8 April to 24 September. I hoped that already many visiters saw the  exhibition since it has already been running for a few months, but unfortunately because of the rain, many people had the same idea like me. The exhibition starts with 6 large screens on which projections of Disney figures can be seen. These are line drawings that are moving. For me it is the best part of the exhibition because it was very impressive. In the next rooms all the old works of Disney were presented and some informations about the history of the studio. Afterwards you could go on a little time trip through the film world. A large part of the Disney animation films were presented with pictures and drawings. Especially Disneys newest film Moana had an own big area.Unfortunately not all Disney films were at the exhibition. For example, there was nothing about Aladin or Merinda. The entrance fee of 1800 yen is kind of high but if you really love Disney you should visit that exhibition. They also have a small shop with many disney goods especially from the very old movies.Those goods you can buy only during the time of the exhibition.

Sent home

On monday my youngest daughter woke up in the morning covered in red itchy bumps. They were all over her legs and arms and back and even her poor little tush. My first thought was that she had some allergic reaction. She had no fever and no other symptoms aside from the desire to scratch, so I sent her off to school with the plan to take her to the doctor the next day, which I did. However, while at the doctor with my younger daughter, unbeknownst to me, my older also broke out and was sent to the nurse’s office to wait until the school got in touch with me. This means she sat for about 3 hours in the nurse’s office, not in class, because of some itchy bumps on her legs. Finally finished with the doctor, nothing to worry about, I went to drop off my youngest only to be exchanged with my oldest. It’s at this point I’m completely perplexed by the school’s reasoning for sending my oldest home. “She hasn’t seen the doctor therefore she might have something dangerous and contagious. So she can’t stay at school.”“Well what about my youngest? Shouldn’t she stay home too?”“Oh no, she’s seen the doctor, she can stay”“But the doctor didn’t actually say she could come to school.”“Well if the doctor didn’t say she couldn’t, then she can come to school”“So, then can my oldest because she has the same exact symptoms?(less severe in fact)”“Oh no, she hasn’t had the doctor say she can come to school.” And so I’m off to the doctor yet again and my oldest is now missing her second day of school for what I see as no reason at all. Or my youngest is running around possibly spreading a contagious rash if there really is reason.


Explore Area Information