Source: 世論 What Japan Thinks
Contactless payments, be they IC chip or barcode-based are perhaps becoming more popular due to COVID-19 making physical cash a potential transmission vector, so this survey from MMD Labo into smartphone QR Code-based payments may reveal some trends in Japan.
I mostly use smartphone-based public transport IC chip-based payments, JR East’s (the major train operator in the Tokyo area) SUICA. Once in a blue moon I use QR Code-based methods, the mobile phone operator Docomo’s dBarai system, and I once got 500 yen free credit from FamiPay.
Between the 1st and 4th of January 2021 45,000 memnbers of the MMD Labo monitor group aged between 18 and 69 years old completed a private internet-based questionnaire. Further demographics were not given.
Manager has had enough of people using the sento for casual hookups.
In Japan, public bathhouses, known as “sento“, are used by people of all ages, from very young children, accompanied by a parent, to the elderly. While some people simply like the ease and convenience of using a public bathhouse, which can save on water bills and cleaning at home, others like to visit the sento for the purported health benefits of their waters, which are sometimes sourced from natural hot springs, while others have no choice but to use the local bathhouse, given that some apartments in Japan don’t come with baths or showers.
▼ Sento often include both indoor and outdoor bathing areas.
Then there are others who appear to confuse the bathhouse as a place for sexual activity, which is not its intended purpose. That’s what’s been happening at one particular sento in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, where two men were caught engaging in sexual acts last November. The two men, both in their thirties, were subsequently charged with public obscenity and admitted to the charges, saying they were aware that they would be causing trouble for the establishment, due to signage on the premises, but they “succumbed to temptation”.
The men say they had no previous acquaintance with each other, and met at the public bath on the day of the incident. The sexual activity was said to have taken course over about 20 minutes in the open-air bathing area, while the door to the area was unlocked and about 15 guests were using the inside baths.
▼ This TBS News report shows the facility where the incident took place.
The manager says he has reported around 40 such incidents of sexual …continue reading
Conductor flips the bird on snowy night in Tokyo.
Japanese companies pride themselves on customer service, and that attitude carries over to public transportation providers too. Japan’s largest rail provider, Japan Railways Group (also known as JR) is particularly committed to presenting an image of its staff as courteous and capable, so many were shocked to learn that one of JR’s conductors recently flipped off a station-goer.
The incident took place last Saturday at Hakonegasaki Station, located on the Hachiko Line in western Tokyo, and can be seen in the images below.
As snow fell on the evening of January 23, word got out that the Hachiko Line would be running its 209-series carriages. This older model has been largely phased out of service, but issues with the weather that day prompted a temporary comeback, and a pair of train enthusiasts had come to Hakonegasaki Station to take photos from the platform. At around 8:30, though, the JR conductor at the rear of one train bird-bombed the photo by extending both his arm and his middle finger as the train pulled away.
One of the rail fans posted a video of the incident on Twitter, and some wondered if he may have been exhibiting the less-than-polite behavior that train enthusiasts are sometimes known for. He explained, though, that he had been properly standing behind the yellow safety lines marked on the platform, and that he hadn’t been using a flash, using an umbrella, or doing anything else that he felt would pose a safety risk or impeded the staff from doing their job and other passengers from getting on or of the train.
Eventually the video caught JR’s attention, and the company was able to determine who the conductor …continue reading
Today’s YT Live lesson topic was “All About Particles ~Live lesson version~”.
In this lesson, I introduced several Japanese particles for the beginners.
First of all, what are the particles?
は： Topic Marker
– pronounces “wa” but written “ha: は”
を： Object Marker
– pronounces “o” but written “wo: を”
が (1)： “but”
が(2)： Subject marker
– For certain phrases, ”ga” is used.
Make Merry collaborated with the shopping district this time on the “Cat Exhibition,” which was very popular during the box gallery era (2006-2019). We launched the Kawaramachi Cat Exhibition Executive Committee, powered up and came back!
Closed: Every Tuesday
During the period, 160 plum blossoms will bloom and you can enjoy cherry blossom viewing for a month, and you can appreciate it while being wrapped in the scent of plum blossoms. Umemi Chaya next to Umezono offers free plum tea services, amazake, and zenzai, and demonstration sales of steamed buns, rice cakes, and jakoten are also held at various locations throughout the park. There is also a distribution event of “Fukumochi” where you can win homemade umeboshi from Nanrakuen Garden, so you can enjoy it with your family.
Actually, we think we need one at home too.
When you feel a chill in the air and a rumble in your stomach, one of the best ways to solve both problems is with some oden. A wintertime favorite in Japan, oden consists of various meats, vegetables, and other foods, like tofu and fish cake, stewed in a savory broth of soy and dashi soup stock.
But unfortunately for our oden-loving reporter Ikuna Kamezawa, oden is kind of hard to find this winter. Usually convenience stores offer it with self-serve pots that you pick the pieces you want out of, but many chains have suspended this service during the pandemic, and health concerns also mean fewer street-side oden stalls, where customers usually have to eat shoulder-to-shoulder, this year. However, Ikuna now has a new favorite place to get oden: right at her work desk!
On a recent shopping trip to Tokyo’s Akihabara electrics district, Ikuna stumbled across manufacture Hac’s Oden Maker (it’s also available here through Amazon for 2,970 yen [US$29]). The plug-in cooking appliance is compact enough to fit on a small table or desk, yet spacious enough to allow you to cook multiple types of oden simultaneously.
▼ There’s a removable divider to keep things organized, and you can also use the Oden Maker as a hot plate.
To test the machine out, Ikuna also picked up a pack of oden ingredients containing the necessary broth plus sliced friend tofu, thick-cut daikon radish, chikuwa fish sausage, and eggs (though technically you can make anything into oden as long as you …continue reading
After visiting Taisanji, the first temple on the Shikoku Fudo Myo Pilgrimage, I headed down the mountain and returned to my room in Tokushima City. There was still some hours of daylight left so I went to the Tourist Information Office and asked about any good gardens for viewing the Fall colors.They only had one to suggest, Zuiganji Temple at the base of Bizan Mountain. Founded in 1614 it is a
A sad day for travellers, especially Seishun 18 ticket holders.
While Japan’s Shinkansen bullet trains get all the limelight on the international stage, where they’re loved for their punctuality, speed and spick-and-span interiors, there are plenty of other Japanese trains equally deserving of our love and attention.
The Moonlight Nagara is one such train, reliably ferrying passengers across the land on long-haul overnight trips between Tokyo and Gifu, spanning a total of five prefectures and covering a distance of roughly 442 kilometres (275 miles).
▼ The six-hour-40-minute train journey takes around nine hours by car, using expressways.
The current rapid overnight train service, operated by Central Japan Railway Company and East Japan Railway Company, has been active since 1996. However, in recent years its popularity has declined due to competition from cheap overnight bus services, and after its schedule was reduced to busy seasonal periods only, it’s now been announced that the service will stop running altogether.
▼ The 165 series Moonlight Nagara in 2000
▼ And the 183/189 series in 2007
The announcement came as sad news for many, but nobody is feeling the loss more than users of the Seishun 18 Kippu. This discounted ticket package–limited for use during four weeks in winter, five weeks in spring, and around seven weeks in summer–contains five days’ worth of unlimited travel on local and regular Japan Railways express trains for just 2,410 yen (US$23.24) per day.
▼ We once used the ticket to travel with a discount to Korea by ferry.
Considering a one-way journey from Tokyo Station to Gifu’s …continue reading
Amazura was a popular sweetener among Heian aristocrats but its method of production was lost to time after the widespread diffusion of sugar.
With the proliferation of patisseries and baked goods in Japan today, it’s easy to forget that table sugar wasn’t always around. It’s believed to have been introduced to Japan in 754 via envoys from the Tang Dynasty in China but didn’t become widely used until the Edo period (1603-1868). Up until then, another plant-derived sweetener, called amazura, was enjoyed by aristocrats of the Heian period (794-1185). It was often noted in classical works of literature of the time, such as The Pillow Book, Konjaku Monogatarishu, and Uji Shui Monogatari, which detailed its use drizzled over shaved ice or boiled in a gruel with diced sweet potatoes for a dish known as imogayu that was served at aristocratic banquets.
▼ An excerpt from Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book (completed in 1002) references amazura at the top of the third line from the right.
Fast forward to the Reiwa period (2019-present). Ritsumeikan University Assistant Professor Yukihiro Komatsu, a member of the Ritsumeikan Global Innovation Research Organization, is now attempting to recreate amazura for the modern age. It may sound like a fun and fairly straightforward project, but here’s the catch: both the list of raw materials and production method used to make amazura all but disappeared from written records after sugar became more widely available in the Edo Period.
▼ Komatsu introduces amazura and his research goals in this short video.
In order to accomplish his goal, Komatsu has appealed for the public’s support on Bluebacks Outreach, a unique crowdfunding website which aims to bridge scientific inquiries with …continue reading