World heritage site Nijo Castle in Kyoto lights up in Ukrainian flag colors to pray for peace


An expression of solidarity and prayer for peace

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kyoto, a sister city of Kyiv, lit up the World Heritage site of 二条城 Nijō Castle in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag on the evening of March 4th, 2022.

The lights will be turned on from sunset to 10 p.m. until March 15th, 2022, as an expression of solidarity with Ukraine and to wish for peace.

Nijo Castle: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Built in 1603, Nijo is the former Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period. As one of the best surviving examples of feudal-era Japan castle palace architecture, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

For more information, visit their official English website here.

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Japan Post introduces new system for overseas shipping


Last week I wanted to send my sister, who lives in the United States, a gift for her wedding. Upon placing the packages on the service counter and informing the postal worker of their destination, I was met with a flurry of confusion.

Apparently I was one of the first foreigners who’d wanted to send a package to the USA since a new rule went into effect.

As Japan Post’s official website states in perfect English:

“As of January 1, 2021, we will no longer accept postal items addressed to the USA with handwritten labels.”

I was unaware there’d been any change in policy so a simple trip to the post office turned into quite a hassle. So I write this article in the hopes of increasing awareness to make this process less painful for others to come.

How To Prepare a Label

Since handwritten labels are no longer accepted, Japan Post requires all senders to register on their website, fill in the basic information about the package, and then print out a label.

Here’s the link to Japan Post’s International Mail My-page Service below.

The process is simple enough. Input your details to create an account. You can register your home address, as well as other addresses for future labels. Then input information about your package such as the contents and quantity.

It’s not necessary to input how much everything weighs or costs, just fill in the required fields marked with an asterisk.

The site is accessibly by PC and smartphone. You can print out the label yourself if you have access to a printer or want to print it out at the convenience store.

However, you should also get an email confirmation from the sender ems-label which includes a link to a 2D code you can scan at post offices equipped with …continue reading