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Wednesday

Japanese highways have tolls. You either pay in cash, or use a fancy ETC reader installed in your car, paired with an ETC card, which electronically tracks your highway usage and charges your credit card as appropriate.

However, getting hold of one was not as easy as it sounded... until today!!!!!!!!!!

Read on for a full description and a guide to filling out the application.



Monday

Among the weird characters, objects, and symbols that Japanese adopt as cultural icons (including, but not limited to, Stitch from Lilo & Stitch, human feces, faux-Russian rabbit-centric series Usavich, the V sign, popularizing NG as a handy opposite to OK in everyday life, the abomination that is Sento-kun, and Sento-kun's girlfriend) is one that still catches me off guard every time I see it:

The seven-pointed cannabis leaf.



Sunday

Blockbusters is a famous quiz show format which you've probably heard of. Here's how to play it with your students.

Any age can play this if they can understand your questions (or translate some words).

Here goes...



Friday

In part 3 of our credit card mega series we will be covering the finer points of how to fill out  a model credit card application. 


While it is always good to have a Japanese friend handy, this guide should help you understand the basics of the whole process through example.


Read on...



Thursday

It's that time of year again. Applications are now available in the bigger book stores in Japan.

For more information, see the entry posted earlier this year.



Wednesday

The very worst thing you can do, and which a lot of people will unfortunately find themselves doing in this age of the internet and downloading, is drowning in resources.

I've seen torrents and download packs of things like "120 Japanese Learning books" etc and had to wonder why anyone would doom themselves to failure before they've even begun.



Monday

A while back, Tofugu wrote an article about why having a Japanese girlfriend (or boyfriend) won't improve your Japanese. Some of the points there are pretty valid. I mean, laziness is the same reason that keeps Pimsleur CDs disappearing into living room shelves without any meteoric rise of polyglots in the English speaking world.

Anyway, in regards to the article, the only point I had any particular problem with was point number 2.



Sunday

Three sessions may seem like a long time on one grammar point, but "I can" is so important, and has so many uses that it's well worth it.

After learning "can (+verb)" you can introduce more complex things.
I can play, I can play the, I can cook, I can make, I can eat etc.
By keeping the main grammar point constant ("I can" and "can you?") the introduction of these new verbs isn't as conceptually difficult as it may seem.



Friday

Some of you veteran expats may have heard that getting a credit card as a foreigner is near impossible in Japan. 


Unfortunately that is not too far from the truth. However, there are various ways to increase your chances for approval. 


Read on...



Wednesday

If you work in a school in Japan, you've probably seen your students flipping their pens around their thumbs or some other such trick. When I was at school, we just punched each other for fun... ah, well.

Anyway, I was curious and looked it up. I like sharing, so here you are.

Read on to not only watch some funky videos, but also find out how to do some tricks yourself.



Monday

So you lived in Japan, or you went on holiday to Japan, and you fell in love with some of the delicious foods and drinks.

But now you're home (in the UK)... and you just can't quench your craving for dried octopus suckers, or have a burning thirst for the sickly sweet Royal Milk Tea.

Well look no further. The Japan Centre, based in central London, has an online shopping service as well as a Physical Store (in Real Life).



Sunday

This is the second lesson teaching 'I can'. You may wish to introduce 'can you' at this point, but I found that due to time restraints, and a two week gap in my being at this school, the students couldn't remember 'I can' as well as I would have liked. So I stuck with it for another week



Friday

For our next AccessJ super-feature, we will be thoroughly covering the Japanese credit card system. We'll also offer a guide and tips for getting your own Japanese credit card.

Read more for an introduction to the credit card system of Japan.





Wednesday


You may think that your hair is straight after using a straightening iron, but you don't know straight until you have had a Japanese straight perm! And gone is the frizz of humid Japanese summer!

A Japanese straight perm, or "thermal reconditioning" as it is also known, is a technique developed in Japan in which the internal hair bonds are first broken, and then reconditioned into a straight style; giving glossy, soft and easy to manage hair.



Monday

It's natural to be scared of kanji at first. They're complicated collections of what look like random lines with various readings and meanings.

Over time, though, you will hopefully come to realise how useful the kanji are for learning new vocabulary. Read on for a full explanation.



Sunday

Lesson 4 attempts to teach a lot, and I find this is another lesson which needs to be spread over 3 if not 4 periods. Even with this much time I find it impossible to teach all of the vocabulary and grammar from the textbook.

In my lessons I mainly concentrate on; I can, I can play, I can play the and Can you...?



Friday

So you are planning a short trip to Japan but you don't want to invest in a pre-paid phone and a contract is out of the question? 


Never fear, there is another way (two, in fact)- the Japanese rent-a-phone, and overseas roaming.



Wednesday

Worried about not being able to have kids with your "part-time" English teaching job? Well, I've got some news for you which I hope will make you as happy as it made me.



Monday

...here are some videos teaching you all about the wonders of taking a poo in a grown-up toilet.

For adults having trouble, don't forget to check out our "How to Take a Crap in Japan" post.

Wiping troubles, too? AccessJ's got you covered...