Tag Archives: Japan


It’s the third anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami of 2011.  Hard to believe it’s been that long.  I remember that day very well as if it were less than a year ago.  I’m going to go back in time and show you my posts after this event.

On the day of the earthquake, I posted this short post, letting people know I was fine.  The next day, I posted this quick update. On March 13th, I posted this long account of my day. If you read any of these posts, that’s the one to read.  At the time, I was still doing my first Picture of the Week series, and I posted a picture of the supermarket shelves.  On March 16th, there was an earthquake at Mt. Fuji.

After the earthquake, there was a lot of media attention, much of it about the nuclear meltdown in progress in Fukushima.  The situation continues there, and it hasn’t improved.  It turned out that both the government and the officials at the nuclear plant covered up the truth about what was really happening.  I’m quite disappointed in how the government handled things.  It’ll be a very long time until anyone can go into the affected area again.

I’d also like to draw your attention to a post I made on my writing blog, I Read Encyclopedias for Fun.  It’s all about what an earthquake feels like.

Comments are always welcome!


Filed under Japan

Book Review – Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist

Jay Dee:

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. Sorry about that. I’m not giving up on this blog or Exploring Japan. It’ll continue. But right now, I’d like to share my review of Baye McNeil’s book Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist. Enjoy!

Originally posted on I Read Encyclopedias for Fun:

himynameislocoHi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist is  part memoir, part social commentary written by fellow Japan resident Baye McNeil.  He talks about his experiences ranging from his childhood in New York, his time in the Army, and teaching English in Japan.  But throughout this book, there is one common theme: racism.

He starts the book off with something most foreigners in Japan experience, the empty seat on a train.  It’s quite obvious that the reason is that he’s a black man in the homogeneous Japanese culture.  He returns to the empty seat several times throughout the book, sometimes as an enemy, sometimes as a friend.  He talks about his experience with racism not only in Japan, but also growing up and living in pre-911 New York.  But it’s not all about racism against him, it’s more about how he and everyone else in the world has…

View original 291 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

The World Spa & Travel Magazine Blog

I’ve got myself a little official writing thing going on!  I am writing for the World Spa & Travel Magazine‘s travel blog, focusing on the area I live in.  It’s a weekly post that I do, and it won’t take away from my regular posting here.

So far, I’ve written two posts, one about the three most popular beaches in the Shonan area, and the other about festivals in Japan, focusing on the Kamakura Festival, Hiratsuka Tanabata, and the much smaller Warabi Festival.

So, I suggest you go and check out the blog and keep watching for my posts.


Filed under Blog Announcements

Adventures at the Hospital

Jay Dee:

This shows a bit of an account of what it’s like to use the hospital system in Japan. Very annoying thing is that the first hospital we tried has an ER that closes at 11 pm. We were told not to use an ambulance unless it’s an emergency. Use a taxi. We did, and we wasted our time and money to go to a hospital that’s closed. We were quite fed up with that, so we did get an ambulance. Glad we did, because there was a possibility of a very serious medical problem.

Originally posted on Foreign Dad in Japan:

The last few days have been a blur.  So much has happened.

I should begin by saying that April had been one of the more difficult months for us, because Tomoe had caught a cold twice in the first half of the month, requiring us to take a lot of extra care of her.  She’d been to the doctor several times, had to stay at home with a very expensive babysitter on the weekends, and stay at a clinic’s nursery on weekdays that she had a fever.  Other times, she went to her regular nursery.  Halfway through the month, she was finally healthy again.  It was great to see her like that.  But then, on April 26th, we went to Costco in a rental car, and this is where the saga begins.

We’re not sure how she got sick, but after spending the day out shopping, Tomoe developed a fever. …

View original 1,485 more words


Filed under Daily Life, Japan

Renting a car in Japan

On Friday, my wife and I decided that we’d rent a car to go to Costco, rather than take the train all the way to the Kanazawa store in Yokohama, dealing with the crowded Seaside Line and a sick toddler, and spending money to have most things delivered.  In the end, it cost us about the same, it was faster, and we could run around and do some other errands, such as take our daughter to the doctor for her stomach virus.

Well, we rented the car in the morning, and it cost us less than 4000 yen for a small car.  We got a Nissan March (could’ve chosen a Toyota Vitz, but I wanted the instrument panel in front of me, not in the middle of the dash) and it was lavender.  Since we were driving only a short distance, we didn’t have to fill it up with gas, and only paid a bit for the gas at the end.

So, when we rented the car, we had to show driver’s license and health insurance.  I have a Japanese driver’s license, so I can only drive in Japan!  They did a check on the car, walking around it to make note of any current damage.  Once all of that was done, we strapped in the baby car seat and went on our way.

Driving in Japan is a bit different.  Although the rules are mostly the same as in Canada, we have to drive on the left side of the road in Japan, with the steering wheel on the right.  This is actually an easy adjustment for me.  The only difficulty I have with the car is that the turn signal and windshield wipers are opposite.  Many streets are very narrow in Japan, and a big problem for me is blind corners.  Far too many of them!  And then there are all the people who stop on the street and turn on their hazard lights.  It’s not easy to get around those cars because they occupy most of the lane.  But otherwise, it’s fairly easy to drive if you have a car navigation system.  We didn’t get one.  Our route was quite direct, so we relied on my iPhone’s Google Maps app instead.

Parking is something I have to get used to in Japan.  In Canada, we’d normally just park in a space driving forward.  In Japan, everyone backs into a parking space.  Easy to get out, but not so easy to get in.

When returning the car, I drove back to the rental shop by myself.  For some reason, I find it easier to drive alone.

Renting a car in Japan is fairly easy, and some places will accept cash.  Most places prefer credit cards, though.  But since I don’t have a credit card, I need to find a place that doesn’t require them.  Where we rented the car, the staff was quite nice.  We’ll probably be renting from them again.  And now, some car pictures!


Our car for the day, a lavender Nissan March. Yes, I left the wipers on when I turned it off.


The March is a fairly basic looking car inside. The steering wheel on the right side is easy to get used to.

Have you experienced renting a car in Japan?  Share your experiences in the comments!


Filed under Daily Life

365 Rotations – A photographic experiment

I decided to try something I’ve seen done a few times, post a picture a day from the same location.  Others have also taken a picture of themselves every day for several years.  I want to show how the seasons change here in Japan, as well as show the daily weather.  So, I started 365 Rotations.

It’s called 365 Rotations because the Earth rotates 365 times in a year (well, 365.256363004 times).  I’m posting a picture every day from each of 3 locations (all within 50 metres or so of each other), as well as some weekly photos from places I don’t go to every day.  I’m looking forward to seeing how the view changes over time.  So please head on over and check it out.


Filed under Blog Announcements