7-5-3

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

Last Sunday Mr. J and I went to a nearby shrine to take a walk and look at all the fall foliage, and originally I’d planned to post some of the pictures.  However it’s still 7-5-3 (shichi-go-san) season, and there were too many families and kids running around to get very many good shots.  So in light of that, I figured why not post about 7-5-3?

Continue reading

Traveling: Discount Train Tickets

Most public transportation discounts are only available if you’re a tourist without a visa or buying a multiple trip ticket/commuter pass.  This can be a bit of a bummer if you’re a resident and would just like to save a little money on a one-time trip out somewhere.  Luckily ticket shops have the perfect answer, in the form of discount ticket vending machines. :)

Continue reading

Traveling: Autumn Takes Branch in Kyoto

© J // Washing Rice Blog

Kyoto tower, the first landmark you’ll see outside of Kyoto Station.
© J // Washing Rice Blog

Mr. J and I finally got internet up and running on the 3rd, woohoo!  Over that weekend a couple of friends and I decided to take a short trip to Kyoto, since the foliage is supposed to be stunning there around this time of year.   Up until now I’d only ever visited Kyoto for training with my first company, where all I saw was my hotel room, the boardroom, and a cheap mom and pop izakaya (Japanese-style pub) down the street.  So needless to say I was pretty excited to finally have a chance to actually see the old capital after so many years!

Continue reading

Music: PIERROT’s 2 Day Reunion Live DICTATORS CIRCUS FINAL

© J // Washing Rice Blog

PIERROT’s announcement on Shinjuku ALTA’s big screen.
© J // Washing Rice Blog

Earlier this year on April 12th at Shinjuku ALTA, visual kei band PIERROT announced a two day reunion raibu (live/concert) for October 24th and 25th at Saitama Super Arena.  The crowd that gathered at ALTA was huge, especially considering 8 years had already passed since their break-up, an eternity in the music industry world.  But this, as well as the announcement of the reopening of their fan club, Arlequin, through 2014-2015, were welcome news for people like me who never got the chance to see them perform live before their split.

Continue reading

Honyaku Konnyaku

© Shogakukan

Doraemon holding his honyaku konnyaku (translation jelly), that lets him understand any language.
© Shogakukan

I’ve been translating requests from friends or work, and song lyrics for years, but this week I was offered a part time position where I’ll actually be making a little money to translate articles for the fashion and idol news site Tokyo Girls Update.  It’s my first time working for a real Japanese company (and all the paperwork that comes along with it), so it’ll surely be an adventure!

Continue reading

Changing Your Information or Canceling Your Utilities

For about two years Mr. J and I were using portable wi-fi through E Mobile, and besides being unable to torrent, we liked their unlimited usage service.  Then a couple of months ago they sold or merged with the company Yahoo! Mobile, and with it our contract was suddenly changed to a more expensive, 10 GB data limit plan.  After maxing out our usage mid-month both last month and this month, we decided to cancel and go with a different provider.  At the same time, a co-worker friend of mine quit the main company I work for, and because she doesn’t speak much Japanese I’ve been helping her take care of canceling her electricity and gas.

If you’ve been living on your own, before relocating to a different part of Japan or moving back home, and besides the inevitable packing and sending your stuff, you’ll probably need to cancel or change your address on all of your utilities as well.  While the process can be a bit annoying, thankfully it’s not too difficult.

Continue reading

Traveling: Booking Cheaper Flights Abroad

It’s that time of year where many foreigners living in Japan are starting to cement their winter vacation plans.  In my case, I haven’t been home in 4 years so I purchased a ticket back, and I’ll be joining the crowd returning home for Christmas. :D

With Christmas plans settled, what I’ve been in the market for now is a plane ticket to Quebec to attend a BFF’s wedding next May.  It might sound like jumping the gun, but finding the best price usually takes a few months of keeping up with the going fare, watching out for when it dips in price, and being ready to book then and there when a good deal comes up.

I’m not an expert at playing the market and finding outrageously cheap deals, but I’m generally able to fly back home or halfway across the world for around or lower than 100,000 yen ($1,000 USD) round-trip no matter what season, and so some of my friends said I should make a post about it.

Continue reading