Tasty hamburger joints in Japan are quite elusive. As anybody who has made the mistake of typing in the word “hamburger” and their local address into a google map search will vouch (yes, all you get are a bunch of McDonalds), there doesn’t seem to be a particularly easy way to find them. I’ve found that the only way of finding a tasty hamburger joint is by finding a reliable hamburger connoisseur. While my repertoire is still growing, I’ve found that a quick explanation of my culinary heaven at Awajishima Burger (if you haven’t yet, you can read about it here is enough to get any hamburger addict talking. And so it was, while speaking to a fellow Hamburgerer, that I bribed my way into discovering Yokoji Hamburger.
Even Osaka, despite its size, doesn’t have a very large selection of authentic burger joints. As my local informant was reluctant to give up too many details, I was quite keen to check out Yokoji for myself and see how it measured up to Awajishima and the other burger joints in our series so far (#2, #3, #4).
Thinking of starting up your own company in Japan? Why not, Japan is the home of the small enterprise. The tax system is set up to promote large tax holidays for owners of small businesses and there doesn’t seem to be much of an expectation from the tax office that you even need to break a profit. I was surprised at how simple it was to start up a company when I inked the papers at the local government offices last year here in Japan. There are plenty of under-worked book keepers willing to weave through the bureaucracy and just tell you where to sign. The only two things that you really need to give thought to is the name of your new baby and which town you would like to establish her in.
How can the CEO of a 1.2 trillion yen company (13 billion USD!) can get blackmailed and forced to quit at the whim of one or two old cronies on his board? To put this in perspective, despite being a truly global company with a strong international brand name, Fujitsu is the 40th largest company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. While I knew that Japanese companies have never really taken the concept of corporate governance on-board, I had thought that at least the top one hundred listed companies in Japan would have had some understanding of fiduciary duty.
Over the weekend it has emerged that Nozoe Kuniaki (野副州旦), the financially savvy president of Fujitsu, who “resigned due to health reasons” (病気療養 byoki ryoyo) back in Sep ’09 was actually blackmailed into resigning by Akikusa Naoyuki (秋草直之), another former president of the company. note: Akikusa is famous for destroying 91% of shareholder value during his five year reign at the top of Fujitsu and blaming it on his employees who “don’t work hard enough”. Continue reading Fujitsu CEO Nozoe Kuniaki blackmailed into resigning (Japanese Corporate Governance Watch)→
For most long-term parents of children in Japan, there is little to consider when it comes to vaccinations. The Japanese government immunises the population against the primary diseases in Japan and so long as you’re here in the long-run then you’re not going to give it a second thought. Unfortunately, things are not so simple for families who shift to Japan in the first six months after their child’s birth. When we came to Japan six weeks after my son was born in Hong Kong, we discovered pretty quickly that immunisation schedules don’t conform to any international standard and continuing vaccination programs that were begun overseas isn’t straight forward. Hopefully this article saves a bit of stress of other young families that have recently moved to Japan. It’ll probably also be of interest to any parents keen to immunise their children against some diseases that aren’t part of the standard program for Japanese children. Continue reading Daddy-san (part 4): Immunising your child after arriving in Japan→
So after all of that rhetoric about abolishing road tolls (高速道路無料化法案), Hatoyama has decided to rethink his plan and only allocate 1/6 of the original budget detailed in their manifesto. Until last week, I, like 65% of Japanese voters, actually wanted him to scrap the entire plan altogether. I happened across some insightful interviews with the academics who originally proposed the policy and have since gained some insight into where the concept came from. How does Hatoyama look at himself in the mirror after promising that Japan will cut green-house gas reductions by 25%? Continue reading When should Japan’s Highways be Freeways?→
At the end of each year, there is always plenty of news about the Christmas shopping rush, and how and what people are buying. We just saw, that for Christmas 2009, the focus seemed to be firmly on online retail for Christmas shopping, a trend that seems to encroach more and more on the more traditional approach. The Wall Street Journal reported on December 15th 2009 that despite shop sales being flat compared to last year, online sales in the US had grown 4% in only the 6 weeks since the beginning of November. Also, online sales in the US totalled $913 million on December 15th alone, a record for a single day. So why is this happening, what does it mean, and what’s going on in Japan in online retail?
Unless you get claustrophobic, the highlight of any trip to Okinawa has got to be visiting the Churaumi Aquarium (美ら海水族館). How many places in the world are there where you can see two huge whale sharks swimming gracefully in front of you? And what about the manta rays, sting rays, shovel-nose rays and eagle rays that escort them? Or the evil looking schools of giant trevally that would probably taste alright on a hibachi? Every time I visit Okinawa I have to visit there. If my family would let me, I could sit for hours in front of that huge twenty metre wide window gazing into the Kuroshio Sea (黒潮の海). It almost feels like you’re watching a larger than life Sharp Aquos television.
My family is currently looking for a house to buy in Tokyo. Originally I was just thinking about buying near a park and a supermarket that had a decent stock of cheese and wine. For the simple reason that most of my friends live centrally, I was predominantly looking in the South-Eastern corner of Tokyo. However, after talking with a few friends, I’ve recently wondered if I should be looking in the opposite corner of the big smoke. How many of you knew that in less than a year (mid 2010), Keisei Railway is going to start a new express line that will connect Tokyo and Narita in 36 minutes? Yes, 36 minutes. How cool would it be to move seamlessly to and from Narita every time you visit home? I don’t know about you but the whole prospect of travelling to and from Narita depresses me so much that it generally takes a day into my holiday to get over the fiscal and mental pain associated! Clearly I’d had my head in the sand because the lovely little Ueto Aya (上戸彩) Continue reading Narita Sky Access (New Skyliner): Tokyo to Narita Airport in 36 Minutes – JR Narita Express Killer?→
I’ve been looking for an excuse to write about Japanese toilets for years (see our first Japanese Toilet article here). Now I’ve got Steve Jobs and his avid Japanese team of iPhone app developers to thank! Who else but the Japanese would think of designing an iPhone app that replicates the sound of a toilet flushing.
Ordinarily you wouldn’t assume that an article about travelling with babies has much of a Japan specific angle. Maybe it doesn’t. But the impression that I’ve received from friends and the on looking eyes of broader society as well is that it’s not that normal to travel with a young baby. Actually it’s not even that normal to take a young baby outside of your home for the first month (or more) in Japan. I have no idea what is “best for baby” but I’m more than happy to relay our experiences of baby travel and how much fun we were able to have without all of the stress that is apparently assumed when you’ve got a baby.
I figured that this is particularly relevant to other gaijin daddies out there who either want to take their child “home” to see their half of the family, or, if the child was born and lives outside of Japan, probably have a wife hoping to do the same. Continue reading Daddy-san (part 3): Travelling with your Baby→