Clean and spacious stations!
Time schedules! (For those of you who don't know, I miss this greatly since Boston's MBTA offers no time schedule; at least for the line I use)
Beautiful and modern trains! (Something the MBTA lacks as well)
Spacious inside with lots of bars and such to hang on to when it's crowded!
Gotta love love love the train system here in Yokohama/Japan. They offer ultimate convenience as well as a premium experience; I didn't realize this until I started living in Boston. I must have took all of this for granted for 18 years.
I used to work in the colour contact industry back when I was in HS. Back then, it was only me, my coworkers, and some other girls on the street wearing "Beauty contact lenses". Basically, contact lenses that define the coloured bit of your eye. When the coloured part of your eye looks bigger you...
1) look younger (children have a bigger coloured bit of the eye compared to adults, making them look 'cuter')
2) your face looks slimmer (other attributes of your face seem smaller)
3) you tend to look better in photographs since your eyes are more defined
...benefits benefits benefits!
....These benefits are appealing and amazing to me, but now those contact manufacturers are going a little overboard. They make 2mm diameter contact lenses. Yup, you see some girls who look like ALIENS cause their iris is so big.
So when purchasing "define" contacts, make sure you try them on first to see if they fit you, and make sure you don't buy one which defines the coloured bit of your eye too much!
If you want to give it a try, but don't want something so intense like the picture above, I strongly recommend Acuvue's Define Series. It's a safe bet! :) You can purchase them here: Contact Lens Exchange (For US/Japan/Korean/Chinese buyers)
If you are a step ahead and are looking for Japanese colour/design/extreme/define contacts which look like the picture above go here! This company delivers to the US for only $15(USD) charge, great service as well. When I ordered, the contacts came in only 2 DAYS....They also sent me 2 packs of contact solution for free :) : 007 Contact Lenses
Personally, I do not like the contacts that Japan manufactures since they do not look "natural". Being Japanese with boring brown eyes, I've always wanted beautiful green or blue eyes. When wearing colour contacts, I want them to look as natural as it could be! I want people to ask me "Huh? Are they your real eyes?" , not "Oh, wow your lenses look cool". Through experience, I've found that the Freshlook colour contacts (especially the colour blended series) are the most natural looking, beautiful colour contacts that I have ever purchased. I love them! Go here to go to their website: http://www.freshlookcontacts.com/
I strongly recommend Green and Hazel for people with dark brown eyes like me! :) Hope it helps for those of you looking for lenses! Ask me any questions!
Japanese cherry blossoms are transient.
Once they bloom, the flowers only last for up to a week, or a week an a half. So make sure you are on alert if you are in Japan during April and May, because there will be amazing cherry blossoms blooming everywhere. There are roads full of cherry blossoms..It's like going into a tunnel of just cherry blossoms. How romantic is that?
As cherry blossoms only bloom for a short period of time, the Japanese tradition is to celebrate the blooming by having picnics and parties under the trees - "Hanami" (花見) : To watch flowers.
People who are organizing these parties go to get a spot under the best trees very early in the morning as there is high competition! If you go observe these parties, you will see happy Japanese business men who are usually serious, joyful families, and teens just having a great time. All age groups will be at parks for just one reason; to celebrate!
So thinking about such great memories I have from sakura (桜; cherry blossoms), I painted...
Please keep in mind that this is the 3rd painting that I have drawn since 7th grade. So forgive me for the roughness.
The quote written on the right: 明日ありと思う心の仇桜(ashita ari to omou kokoro no ada-zakura). It is a Japanese saying meaning people and people's hearts tend to rely on the fact that there is a tomorrow, but people should not think that way as you never know what could happen. Cherry blossoms like I said only last for a very short period of time. It is also very very fragile. Strong winds and rain could easily blow the blossoms away after blossoming for just a day. So we should always remember not to take for granted the time we are given. There is not always a tomorrow. :)
Sunflowers and the Japanese kanji, "chikara."
力 (chikara) is : Force, power, energy.
"Sunflowers have shown to be selective in absorbing metal, they were able to absorb heavy metals while leaving others － such as iron －behind. This increased their ability to quickly absorb the radionuclides. And, once they have absorbed the radionuclides,the sunflowers are then stabilized, ashed or vitrified and the resulting radioactive waste is stored in a disposal facility."
Sunflowers may give hope and power to the radiation problems Japan is facing.
Boston = College town = College students = Late night munchies = PIZZA!
I decided to compare pizza prices and sizes here in Boston and in Japan...
The maximum size Domino's pizza offers in Japan is the XL size pizza which is 48cm (18 inches).
The regular pepperoni pizza (aka "The American Special" on their website) only offers an L size (36cm/14inches), and is...2,520 JPY (32 USD)!!!!
I also went to Domino's pizza website for delivery in Boston...A pepperoni pizza of 14 inches is only 13 USD + tip (994 JPY + tip)!
Other than that in Japan, there were L size pizzas (14 inches) that cost up to 4000 JPY (52 USD!!!!!!). But keep in mind that there are really.... various kinds of pizza..Some pizzas that you have probably never SEEN in your life!
Check it out for yourself -> Domino's Pizza Japan's MENU
As I kid I don't remember eating much pizza at all...I guess it was something luxurious! :D I would not pay that much to feed my kids when I can get much cheaper and better food outside in restaurants. :P
Using my US dollars and exchanging them to Japanese yen this summer while 1 dollar being equivalent to 75 yen average. Taking into account that a bottle of coke is 150 yen and a McDonalds meal is around 600 yen to 800 yen, I had to prepare myself to see my money fly away!
If you want to take out money from your BANK OF AMERICA account (I'm not sure for other accounts!), go to your nearby post office and use the ATM!
Convenience stores which are located anywhere in Japan also have ATMs. However for some reason, I could not withdraw cash from those.
Post offices are everywhere in Japan as well so don't you worry!
(HIM ●) During our experiences here in Japan we have coined a name for the way most Japanese operate in general, but most apparently in the urban environment. We call it the Japanese Follower Mentality. If you look closely enough on Japanese streets and modern culture you will find it everywhere around you. Japanese entertainment, fashion, and business, its everywhere. A great example is idol groups such as AKB 48. Where on earth do you find people following so called idol groups just because everybody else is following them? Where does fashion come and go like seasons based on popular consensus as fast as in Japan? Everybody follows everybody else and it seems that there is a follower mentality among the masses which affects everybody. For the media, the Japanese masses as a whole could be considered as a living breathing organism!
Initially we saw this interesting behavior on the streets. If there is a street performer without an audience, nobody will join in unless there is an innovator who stands by for the show, most of the times this is the case. In Japan you will see lines that span street blocks in length for a food stall but most of the times we wonder, do these people even know what they are lining up for or are they just lining up because they saw a long line to start with, which might indicate that there is something good at the end of the line.
This is something good to think about, how does this mentality affect business and marketing in Japan?
Wearing a yukata on my own ended up taking me 2 hours!
Wearing a yukata on your own is very difficult in general. It takes years of experience or a couple of lessons from a professional. That's why most people go to a professional to get that perfect look! If it's on your own, the yukata could look "darashinai" (which means sloppy, messy and loose). You need to know the perfect length of the yukata or the perfect amount of opening behind the neck, so that it looks classy and beautiful to show off Japanese tradition!
Since I am not a professional when it comes to kimonos or yukatas, I felt very worried and embarrassed walking in the yukata that I wore myself, especially when I walked by an old lady who looked so elegant in her yukata. Is the length of my yukata right? Does it look sloppy on me? Am I walking correctly? These questions were constantly going through my head.
The video below may help if you are trying on your own.
The Bon Odori festival in Minato Mirai was a great success. Everyone was smiling, the atmosphere was very peaceful. Everybody can join the circle to experience Bon Odori (Japanese festival dancing) ! They also play each song twice so you can learn it the first time and join the second time! People of all ages are in the circle dancing, so it's an amazing experience for every single person.
Japan is a paradise if you love PENS, PENCILS, ERASERS, GLUE, NOTEBOOKS...STATIONERY!!!(Stationery = Bun-bou-gu in Japanese)
There used to be thousands of bun-bou-gu shops in Yokohama. There used to be one on Motomachi street which has now disappeared. An old man owned the shop. Once you stepped into the shop you would smell the old wood. No AC in the summer of course. Just a fan in the corner of the tiny shop. You would hear it running very loudly - it must have been years old. When I was a little girl I used to go to these traditional shops to buy stationery. As I grew up, I started to go to large department stores such as Tokyu Hands and Loft.
In Boston, I can never find pens that are comfortable and smooth. In Japan, they have different kinds of pens made for different people with different writing habits. If you like fat pens, thin pens, multi coloured pens, stylish pens, classy pens, customizable pens...Any pen! I am sure you will find the pen just right for you here in Japan.
Pens I find in Boston are usually very cheap and boring. I also find that people I have met in Boston don't really care about how the pen looks on you when you write, what your handwriting looks like when you write with a specific pen, what colours you use to take notes. Most Japanese students (especially girls) do care about such things!
There were 3 additional stalls similar to the photographs located in the stationery section.
The price of a regular consumer grade pen can start from 100 YEN to about 10,000 YEN in this store. They are all worth investing in!
(HER ●) Read a quick article about small to medium sized companies in Japan. Most of them being suppliers for larger companies.
What happened when the earthquake struck Japan?
Production paused, then slowed down. Absolutely no electricity in most areas.
Even at those small to medium sized companies who supplied for larger companies.
How do those larger companies keep their production process going in this case?
Most companies called similar companies abroad (e.g. China) and replaced their suppliers.
Few months later...
Most of those larger companies still have not gone back to their old local suppliers.
Most of those smaller local companies are known for great quality products. So why don't they expand abroad?
A man who owns a small local company in Tokyo who supplies for a large company was asked that question.
His answer surprised me.
He said that he did not want his company to expand abroad because he did not want to share his company's technology and skills that his company was able to get through hundreds of years of experience to non-Japanese people. Tradition is to be kept in this country, he said.
What do you think about this?
By the way have you all heard about the 19 year old Japanese girl who fell into the Niagara Falls?!