Friday, July 27, 2012

Changing the Paper in Your Sliding Doors (襖 - Fusuma)

If you've damaged a 襖, or fusuma in your house or apartment then you're probably rightly worried about losing some of your damage deposit. Luckily, as with the paper doors (shouji) self-repair/replacement isn't particularly difficult.

Let's find out how to do it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Renewing Shaken After it Expires

Shaken (車検), the mandatory vehicle safety and emissions test in Japan, was recently addressed in a series of posts on AccessJ comprising Dom's excellent self-shaken guide. To keep your car on the road in Japan (as a non-commercial driver, that is), you'll have to have a shaken inspection done on it every 2 years, your own car's expiration date indicated by a square sticker top-and-center on the front windshield.

When a car's shaken expires, it is not legal to drive on public roads in Japan. (So... pretty much everywhere.)

...But slip-ups happen, right? What if you forgot about your shaken until it was too late? Or what about cars in used-car lots? Surely the dealers aren't keeping all their cars up to date until they're sold?* A car is illegal to drive without shaken, but it's not illegal to own such a car, so there must be some way to get the shaken renewed, right??

Well, fear not! There is a way to restore road-worthiness to that 1992 Suzuki Alto whose shaken you forgot about while you were vacationing the summer away in Thailand. And we'll tell you how:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Teacher Perks

For those of you who work in the public or private school system in Japan, you have likely noticed that many teachers are always (or at least seem to be) very, very busy. To make matters worse, public school teachers aren't exactly rolling in money when you look at their raw salaries. However, there are some very substantial job perks that almost make the long days and low pay worth it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

5 Types of Japanese Fast Food Joints

Despite their reputation for being healthy and lean, the Japanese do still enjoy low quality, fast-served food fairly regularly. Here are five examples of popular varieties.

Monday, July 16, 2012

How Many Points to Lose Your License in Japan

Japanese driver's licenses work on a point system: Do something wrong, get some points. Get enough points, and your license is suspended.

Different citations carry different numbers of points, but overall Japan's point system is strict: Just a few minor traffic violations will have your license suspended, and frequent repetition will quickly get your license revoked. Let's take a look at the actual numbers:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Japanese Android Smart Phone Apps

Since we covered iPhone Japanese study and reference apps in our last post, fairness demands that we give equal treatment to all those Android aficionados out there. If you are one of those 50 percent or so of mobile users with the audacity to defy Apple, then you are in luck! There are still plenty of study and reference tools to choose from.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Reduced Food Labels in Supermarkets

You may have come across some labels in Japan which look like price reductions, but you can't read them. Here's a guide.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Summer, Automobiles, and AccessJ

Summer has come to Japan, along with its terrible, evil compatriot: the humidity of coastal East Asia. Summer also happens to be the season in which I bought my first car in Japan, and with my shaken almost due, I'll be referencing our own AccessJ User Shaken Guide to help me get the job done.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Japanese iPhone Apps

In addition allowing you to instantly Facebook your friends about that great sandwich you just ate and launching angry birds at green pigs, smart phones are also wonderful study tools. If you happen to have a long commute or are just too lazy to get out of the futon, you can learn a fair amount of Japanese vocab in your spare time.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

List of International Supermarkets in Japan

Sweet and simple: A list of supermarkets in Japan that specialize in or carry a decent selection of imported goods. We'd like to lengthen this post as we become aware of new chains, so if you have a favorite shop you'd like to share, please let us know in the comments section.

Jupiter Coffee (Sapporo)
Costco (Sapporo)
Don Quijote

Jupiter Coffee (Aomori, Morioka, Akita, Sendai, Fukushima, Koriyama)
Don Quijote

Jupiter Coffee (Tokyo, Yokohama, Fujisawa, Kumagaya, Kashiwa, Ichihara, Mito)
National Azabu (Tokyo)
Nissin (Tokyo)
Costco (Tokyo, Yokohama, Maebashi)
Don Quijote

Please also take a look at this wonderful list of Tokyo shops by

Costco (Nagoya)
Jupiter Coffee (Nagoya, Shizuoka, Numazu, Niigata, Fujiyoshida, Nagaoka)
Don Quijote

Costco (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe)
Jupiter Coffee (Kusatsu, Otsu, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara)
Don Quijote

Costco (Hiroshima)
Jupiter Coffee (Okayama, Hiroshima, Sanyo-onoda, Tokushima, Takamatsu)
Don Quijote

Costco (Fukuoka, Kitakyushu)
Jupiter Coffee (Fukuoka, Saga)
Don Quijote


If you don't have a Costco local to you, you can get Yoyo Market to buy from Costco and ship to you
Yamaya markets, other liquor import stores

Here is a list of Yamaya shops, too:

They are quite prominent nationwide, with a great selection of imported goods. (Not just liquor!)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

5 Types of... Japanese Spider


Here's a nasty collection of scary 8-legged insects for you to think about tonight. You're welcome.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Counterfeit "Won" in Place of Yen

Here is the exciting conclusion to our article about why vending machines in Japan have little stickers on them telling you that your old 500 yen coins aren't welcome for use:

This is a 500 won coin that has been altered by a counterfeiter. The divots you see in the face of the coin are from a power drill, available at any home center, or more probably--considering the number of altered coins that were produced in the late 90's--a drill press, standard equipment in a machinist's shop.