Anime

Akihabara is famously known around the world for the electronics and it is very easy to find when you are going to Asakusa Shrine.

It is located on the Yamanote line, this is the circle line of Tokyo, a circle takes exactly 60mn, so you cannot go wrong, if you take it on the wrong side, dont worry, sit, relax and wait!

In Akihabara, you will find Bic Camera but also Yodobashi, that I prefer as it has a larger choice. My recommendation is to go earlier morning when it opens at 10h00 as it will be less crowded.

Akihabara is also renowned for Anime and a lot of Manga shops complete the landscape, it is a noisy and busy day, but worth it as this is a true Japanese experience

 

Reiwa

so it will be Reiwa from May 1, 2019 onwards – the new era

and all of  a sudden, everybody gets busy with consumerism, selling, printing and proposing anything Reiwa can do, including coca cola bottles!!

I reckon there will be a record breaking sale on calendars too this year

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wa- was a known (although tough) kanji but Rei will need some practice

 

Peak hours – Shinagawa

Shinagawa is a business area in Tokyo that offers many advantages, it is central, it is smaller than Tokyo station and therefore easier to locate the Shinkansen platforms, there is less queue at the counter to activate a rail pass for tourists and in general less queue all together

On the other hand, if you wish to activate your Rail Pass, make sure you go from 9.00 to 17.00 only

and the station can be mega busy at peak hours!! watch out!! the station is set as a mega corridor and it can feel daunting to jump in the flow.

 

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Plastic world

When I relocated to Japan, I had never contemplated the fact that this country could not be very focused on sustainability.

My lifestyle changed drastically from there as all of a sudden, buying organic was no longer an option (could not read, not available), checking product origin was not displayed or in Japanese I could not read. All items are over wrapped. Bananas come in plastic bags, all products are wrapped once or twice, something 3 layers of plastic.

We officially recycle, I have 19 different categories at home but by far the package bag is the biggest every week !

Japan will need to address it as anyone else and removing straws is NOT a progress, rather a drop in the ocean

 

check this out – https://japantoday.com/category/national/not-so-fantastic-can-japan-end-its-love-affair-with-plastic?

Karoshi #2 – overtime

Overtime in Japan is a catch 22, when you think you are addressing it, something comes across that makes it worse.

In preparation of Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the government and the Mayor of Tokyo, Koike San, are taking things very seriously, asking companies to allow holidays, home work, different working hours. Some metro lines (Tozai being the worst) have a 200% occupancy rate on peak hours, having the huge flow of tourists during the Olympics will make things worse no doubt. However, we could be helped with the fact that Olympics fall in the summer close to the Obon week where many people take a week-break and kids are on holidays.

The governement also considered changing times for the period so athlets would avoid the heat a little

JR now offered to extend train operations until 2am (instead of midnight) and guess what? this could push overtime even further… what can we do?

Exciting times in Japan

Today, 1st April marks the start of the countdown to the change of emperor in 30 days. I feel so privileged to be able to live this very special time for Japan history live in the country.

To start with, today at 11h30, the government will announce what the next era will be. this will close the Heisei era and has a lot of meaning behind, including a mindset shift for the Nation. The name is such a heavy process and thinking behind, I cannot wait – will keep you posted

It needs to be composed of 2 kanji, easy to write for all, easy to understand, must be kanji not used in previous eras, cannot start with the same letter as the previous 4 and must reflect a change and the mood for the years to come!! An army of people have been secretly working at this in the last 2 years.

I will try to share findings from today!! surely a lot more to come

Nikko – #1 – access

Nikko is a historical city 2 hours north of Tokyo in the Tochigi Prefecture.

Getting there is relatively easy although there is a small thing to know when taking the train in Kita-Senju. It appears that the express train needs a reserved seat ticket that you can buy, on top of your nomal train ride, at the gate to the platform

that platform is actually a bit like a Harry Potter special one! you need to go to the indicated platform in the station BUT once there, you need to walk all the way to the end and go through a special passage to a hidden platform for that train

you will then get a very vintage train all in brown velvet, so cute, kawaii desu ne

Enjoy the ride!

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You may purchase a combined ticket that will include the return ticket and access to the bus in Nikko as well as the monuments. I did not as Nikko is a very walkable city.