I don’t know about you but in my family it is a tradition to gather together with lots of friends on election night and follow the opening of votes. That’s right: “Election Party Night” and it is on again this Sunday. So just in case you are only a “social watcher” of politics, I decided to put together a few of my notes on the election so that a few more people can enjoy following what could be a historic election for Japan. If you know your Japanese politics pretty well then feel free to skip the first 2~3 paragraphs and get into the meat.
The LDP won the last lower house election (2005) after Koizumi dissolved parliament to win support for his key policy of privatizing the post office. Voter turnout was huge (for Japan) and the LDP won 296 out of the 480 seats in the lower house. (327 including Komeito) The Democrats didn’t even win a quarter of the seats (113/480).
When in the mansions of Tokyo what do you do when you have a rogue neighbour who you just can not get along with? One that annoys you with their mannerisms, one that complains about your kids, one that gives you the shiroime (white eye) look in the elevator when you try to aisatsu (make small talk), or one that is all of the above (and just plain crazy). This, is what I have. Is it simply time to move? Do you guts it out and pretend it does not exist? Or do you confront the a-hole directly and try to rectify whatever it is that bugs you? Apparently my family gets on his nerves so much, that words such as “korosu-zou!” (I’m going to kill you!) being yelled from the window below has now become commonplace. Continue reading Crazy Japanese Neighbours – What would you do?→
If this was any other country I think you’d assume that a political party named the “Happiness Realization Party” was a hoax (or a bunch of hippies). But this is Japan and if the amount of donations to fight the next election is any gauge, I think it is safe to say that this new party on the Japanese political scene is very serious.
It’s more than likely that you’ve heard their trucks driving around near you because the Happiness Realization Party (幸福実現党) are fielding a candidate in every one of the 300 single-seat electoral districts (小選挙区, shosenkyoku) and if that wasn’t enough they are also providing a list of a whopping 45 candidates for the proportional-representation constituency (比例区, hireiku).*1 While their “uguisujo” (鶯嬢, noisy hired help shouting out politicians names from vans) don’t mention it directly, the Happiness Realization Party are actually a close affiliate of the shinkoshukyu (新興宗教, slightly controversial religion) known as “Happy Science”. Continue reading Happiness through Japanese Politicians?→
Did you sign your current rental agreement at the top of the market and wondering whether or not you should move houses at the end of your current contract? Would you be willing to stay where you are if you to didn’t have to pay an entire months rent (or sometimes two) to your landlord to thank them for renewing your contract? Or does it just really irritate you that it’s hard to compare one rental contract due to all of the unwritten customs in Japan? Either way, rental life is getting a little bit closer to being simpler thanks to a man from Kyoto.
Contrary to popular belief, I believe the best hamburgers are definitely a slow food. Just because McDonald’s made hamburgers into the archetypal fast food, it doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice the concept of a real high quality burger. While it’s rare to find a burger joint that is willing to keep their customers waiting 15 minutes or more after ordering, T’s★Diner (T’s Star Diner) is and is proud of it.
If you are tired of all the doom and gloom that appears daily in the newspapers, nightly on TV, weekly, monthly, yearly… in the media in general, then it’s time for something else, something new, something worth both your time and your money, no?
In a city as replete with distractions as Tokyo, rivaling no other city than perhaps New York for the limitlessness of its possibilities, there is always something else to do, see, hear, eat and generally check out. With that in mind, grab a thick black marker and circle the dates May 16th & 17th on your calendar. Done? Good! Now, write in bold, black letters; “Design Festa vol. 29” Got that? Okay, now put away your marker. Continue reading Design Festa – Artistic Chaos in a Downturned Economy!→
It really frustrates me the number of heart-ache stories that I hear from friends who’ve been totally convinced by the Japanese mass media that their breasts aren’t good enough for their babies. Just as depressing are the number of stories that I’ve heard where mothers in Japan who had previously believed that breast is best, have been convinced by their doctors (after only a few weeks of trying) that they’re not making enough milk and switched to formula or a mix of formula and breast milk. Whereas 90% of Japanese mothers when surveyed before giving birth suggest that they want to raise their child on breast-milk, only 3~40% of them are still exclusively feeding their babies breast milk by their three month check up. That is lower than most countries in Asia, and is extremely low when compared even with Continue reading Daddy-san (part 2): Breast is best and don’t let your Japanese OB/GYN tell you otherwise→
With all of the focus on the arrest of Ichiro Ozawa’s secretary and the debate about whether or not Construction companies should be allowed to make official donations to political parties and candidates, the Japanese parliament seems to have come to a halt. Normally I wouldn’t give two hoots if the Japanese parliament had a back log of laws to vote on because it is extremely rare that Japanese politicians have anything of interest to say. But this month, I really wish that they would speed up their act. If they don’t pass an upcoming bill then your (and my) cheese bill could be 30% higher from next month, thanks to the inept Japanese parliament. Continue reading Rush and buy cheese!→
This is part two of our series on Japan’s best burger. Here, you can see the first article, and the “stippy” rating system we use to tell you whether you need to get one of these burgers into you, or whether you should avoid them like a drunk oyaji on the shuden (last train).
Review #2 – Jef Burger, Okinawa:
For some reason whenever I visit Okinawa I find myself expecting to land in a mini-America and see American signs, restaurants, customs, etc all over the place. Then I arrive and remember that the locals have done a pretty good job since 1972 of reversing the American influence gained (if any) during the 27 years of occupation. Naha isn’t really that different from most other marginalized regional cities in Japan. I personally don’t find the beaches there to be all that attractive, so besides visiting the Aquarium, there is only one thing left to do: eat! And If there was one part of American culture that must still be alive and well, I figured it had to be the hamburger. Continue reading The Quest for Japan’s Best Hamburger: Part 2 – Okinawa Jef→
When I discovered that I (I guess I should say “my Japanese wife”) was pregnant, every day was an eye opener. Being the excited, first time Father that I was, I was keen to get everything right. Unfortunately, the more I read, the more I got confused. Why is that something as common as pregnancy could be so unscientific? Furthermore, why is that the “rules” surrounding pregnancy for human beings could be so different across our two countries? My belief that this must be a peculiar situation specific to pregnancy led me to write my pregnant Dad series (click here if you haven’t read it yet). Hah! How naïve was I. Just like Richard commented in series five of the pregnancy series, the fun had only just begun. Continue reading Daddy-san (part 1): The adventures of a first-time Gaijin Dad in Japan→