Commuters

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Do I need to comment on these numbers? We do feel this every dau with the famous subway pushing. However, the transport system is mega developed. The next alternatives would come ftom flexi time or home based employees but Japan is very reluctant to those so far.

Japan’s summer holiday exodus gets into full swing

Key airports and railway stations in Japan’s major urban areas became congested with travelers Thursday as the annual rush of Obon summer holidaymakers got into full swing. A number of domestic flights from Haneda airport in Tokyo, notably those bound for the northern main island of Hokkaido and southern islands…

Source : Japan’s summer holiday exodus gets into full swing

In my case, I would live this 100% as I was going on a business trip to Nagoya. So far, I am not able to purchase my tickets online since JR does not provide this functionality in English (to my knowledge). So, each time I travel, I need to pay a first trip to a JR station, queue at the counter and purchase my ticket. Then, on the day, go to the station again for the actual travel. This week, I had been so busy that I did not find the time to go and buy my ticket in advance and found myself queuing to see that all trains were full. On the Tokaido Shinkansen, which is the one that goes to Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, there are many trains, up to one every 10mn, I still had to let 7 of those pass by until I had one with a middle seat available.

Despite that, people remain quiet, peaceful, the platforms are busy but not congestioned, you simply stand in line and all goes fine!! Viva Japan

North Korea

Here what I read in the press and watch at the news. However, on a day to day, I also notice that my colleagues no longer discuss this and are even sometimes reluctant to do so. We dont notice of course anything different in our routine, just that some areas in western Japan have started to think of safety measures, alert drills, exercises,

The Japanese government was on high alert on Wednesday after an overnight news report that North Korea can now arm its missiles with miniaturized nuclear warheads. Threats posed by North Korea ‘have reached the level at which we have to remain vigilant about and properly monitor whether it already possesses…

Source : Japan on alert after report of N Korea’s nuclear-tipped missile threat – Japan Today

bathtub

No tap in this one!! Japan has moved to panels years ago (I remember those already in 2002). You set from your panel the temperature you wish and how much you want it to fill up. Then, you may reheat it and keep it at temperature, you may also cover the bath for the next day and reheat! Remember that the bath in Japan is daily and is to relax, you wash in the shower, and then enjoy the bath.

 

I spent 2 weeks carrying all the notices of the appliances around as it was so sophisticated. I am getting better at it (maybe I do everything wrong but just have not realised) but the fridge still is daunting and I have purchase small stickers where I have written the translation into English for all the buttons! Et voila!!

 

A bit more on Sendai

here are few more photos of what I saw in Sendai. I recommend to use the loople bus, this is an old fashion type of hop-on hop-off version, very cute and with that you get an overview of the city.

 

 

Here are some views of the tour

 

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We were there at the end of July just before the week end of Tanabata Festival on 5th and 6th August, this is very special apparently. While Japan celebrates and have their Matsure in May, Sendai celebrates in early August and that brings over 2M visitors in one week end!

Everywhere, where displayed the Tanabata and the hotel do their own with the employees every year.

 

 

Supermarket

This very basic chore never stops to impress me, every time I go for groceries, I discover new items, try out new food, here are some differences

Beer – Coming from Belgium, I thought we had a huge choice of items in a long shelf, well, here, all beers are stored in fridge sections, in a long shelf, but 90% comes in cans and you get god knows how many different type of strength, color, flavour, mostly from a couple of brands!! I only recognise one so far (Asahi grey can) and only this one comes in 4 different formats, S, M, L and XL

Fish – as you would guess, there is plenty of choice, one thing to remember, in Japan, sushi are displayed in the ready-meal section while sashimi come in the fish area, it sounds logical but good to know. Fish is almost always great value for money and much cheaper than in Belgium or Europe in general. To give you an idea, I can get a large sashimi plate with 12 to 15 pieces for 400 Yens (3.50 euros), 2 portions of salmon fillet would come around 300 Yens (2.50 euros)

 

One thing that I enjoy a lot here are the pickles, they are healthy, tasty, not to vinegared and there are so many different choices. for a guilty pleasure and more quality and taste, I pay trips to Isetan monthly to buy the best of all

Rice is still very difficult to choose and it comes better from a rice cooker, which I have not got yet. So, I buy a different one each time and make notes to be able to discern (maybe one day). During my trip to Niigata, where rice is at its best, I could really taste the difference, it is excellent up there, trust me!! try it!

choix de riz

 

so, all in all, nothing to do with what we are used to, here is how a typical shopping day looks like