All posts by Ao

Yokoso! Fingerprint Please!

All foreigners to be fingerprinted when entering Japan from November 2007Starting November 20, 2007, all foreign nationals landing in Japan will be required to submit to fingerprinting and having their picture taken. Yōkoso! Smile! You’re a terrorist suspect!

This controversial new procedure snuck its way into existence on May 24, 2006 when the Japanese Diet passed a law requiring all foreign nationals (with a few exceptions, such as children under 16, diplomats, and special-status permanent residents such as Zainichi Koreans) to submit biometric data to prove they’re not Osama bin Laden or one of his cronies. I’ll spare you the details; if you Continue reading Yokoso! Fingerprint Please!

J-WOTD: 二枚目 (にまいめ)

nimaime kabuki
二枚目 or nimaime is the handsome guy here ↑


* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”

For some reason, the Japanese language has many words to describe good looking men. かっこいい, ハンサム, イケメン, 美少年, and Kansai-ben’s 男前 are quite a selection, proving that Japanese can be more expressive that English when it comes to certain things. Continue reading J-WOTD: 二枚目 (にまいめ)

Natsukashii “Japan Trip” – When Magic ‘Shrooms Were Legal

Magic Mushrooms in Japan
Until June 2002 Magic Mushrooms were legal in Japan

Japan, despite its lax attitude toward tobacco and alcohol, has always been very strict when it comes to matters of “more illicit” drugs. Laws regulating soft drugs such as marijuana are as strict as those toward heroin and cocaine. This was not so until the American Constitution was imposed on Japan after World War II; actually hemp has been an integral part of Japanese culture and religion since ancient times (see for more details), but that is another article altogether.

Generally, restrictions on all drugs in Japan are so strong that it is not uncommon for customs officers to seize over-the-counter foreign cold medicines, and possession of cannabis can lead to weeks in jail. The most famous victim of this law is Continue reading Natsukashii “Japan Trip” – When Magic ‘Shrooms Were Legal