The Habit of Tracking Expenses

I have been tracking my expenses quite successfully for about a year in my home country before coming to Japan. I would diligently key in whatever I have purchased straight after I bought them, or kept receipts to enter them in later. I did all these because I read that a person who is in control of their financial situation has a much better control of their life overall. However, after coming to Japan, I stopped doing this. Reason being I did not → Read more

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GW4 – Cool Biz has started

It is Golden Week, and I am in my office – for the morning – as I have presentation slides to finish up. In addition, today is the first day of Cool Biz here! It will last until the 31st of October. Cool Biz is a campaign that was initiated by the Ministry of the Environment back in 2005 to save electricity by having everyone dress in an attire more appropriate for summer – instead of the usual neckties and suits, to allow the air conditioner’s temperature to be set at 28 degrees (temperature might vary from office to office). I was surprised to see that polo shirts are allowed here! However, formal wear will of course still be required during formal events.

How to sort and handle trash to prevent bugs in Japan

A big hello to those who are about to step into Japan, the country that has a reputation for crazy trash sorting!

I am here to tell you that you will most likely receive a huge poster or a guidebook in English that explains how to sort the trash, so not to worry! It is different from prefecture to prefecture, and even for places within the prefecture, so it is best to refer to your own guide. Some places are strict, others less so.

Most items can be sorted into burnable and non-burnable waste. They will only be collected on certain days of the week. Food waste, which can be classified under burnable, rot faster in the summer. I suggest that you → Read more

Cycling in Japan

Having never needed to ride the bicycle in my home country, I only just started learning how to ride it before I came to Japan. Thus, I experience OH MY GOSH THAT WAS FREAKING CLOSE situations when I’m on my bicycle at least three times a month if not more.

Let me share with you what happened today.
I have to post my 年賀状s (new year greeting cards) by the 25th, so I figured that I should get them posted now in case I forget tomorrow. Unfortunately, today was a rainy day. I looked out my window – hoping that it would lighten up enough so that I can cycle to the post office relatively near my place. It did, so I went out.

However, it started to rain quite a bit on the way back, and I had two close shaves. A car didn’t notice me as he turned at the traffic light spot (it was still green for pedestrians), and I had to shift my course of direction towards the left before he realised I was there. Another incident happened when I → Read more

How to write a Nengajo (年賀状)

When writing 年賀状 (nengajo – new year cards),

1) Commas and periods are not used. Try to use sentences that do not require them. If it is not possible, either leave a space or start a new line, to indicate breaks in the message.

2) Avoid inauspicious words. For example, when saying “last year”, instead of using 去年, use 昨年 or 旧年. Words like 去る, 離れる, 切れる, 落ちる, 終わる, 離れる should also be avoided.

3) Ballpoint pens are also frowned upon.
Here is a list of writing tools lined up from the most recommended, to the least recommended. Writing Brush → Calligraphy Pen → Oil-based Felt Pen → Ballpoint Pen
→ Read more

Tackling the Cold

It’s extremely cold in my house. Whenever I shift from one room to another, I need to endure the cold. It takes forever for my rooms to heat up with this tiny little heater I have. Thus, an idea 閃いた (to flash into one’s mind). I will make my bedroom livable by making it my Study Room, Shamisen Practising Room and probably even my Dining Room at times as well. The three above-mentioned activities were usually done in my living room instead. After this make-over, I only need to heat up my bedroom and just stay in it forever. Yes.

#4 Fukayomi – Cash vs Cashless

The world is slowly making the switch from cash to cashless – more and more people pay with cards these days. Just how much is one able to use their card (or virtual cards in phones) to pay at various locations are shown below,

China 55%
Korea 54%
America 41%
Japan 18%

According to the programme, China thinks that Japan still needs change – old country.
There is also the concern that → Japan needs to go cashless so that foreigners who do not like to use cash will purchase merchandise from Japan. Other people from other parts of the world are going cashless. A huge amount of loss is expected from → Read more