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Monday

Living with a roommate is not as common in Japan as it is for university students and young adults in the US and other western countries. In fact, a lot of apartment rental contracts specify that only the person (or family) who has signed the contract is to be living in the property, and only one person is allowed to put their name on the contract. Apartments allowing two people to put their name on the contract (and thus both officially live there) are an option that requires searching, akin to pet-friendly properties.

But that doesn't mean the idea of living with an unrelated roommate that isn't your boyfriend/girlfriend is unheard of in this country.



Friday


Unless you have been sleeping through the electronic revolution, you have probably heard that all the cool kids on the block are using wireless connections to access their net connection. While ISPs love to try in rope you into paying a monthly fee for renting their own wireless modems, you can easily save some cash and bring your own modem.



Wednesday


This part of the series covers the running and visual tests performed at the user shaken centre.



Monday

Continuing last week's article, here's a look at the characters of the other three junior high English textbooks.

Total English
Art Style: The Most Generic Anime.
The ALT: Female. From Canada.

Click to enlarge!



Friday


Once you get your super fast 100 megabyte a second internet connection, you may be tempted to test out your new set-up by torrenting (for back-up purposes only, of course) a few odd files. While you probably won't be as scrutinized to the level that US college students with dormitory net connections are, too much file sharing might get you in trouble. Let's take a look at the details.



Wednesday


There are some seriously suspect mushrooms in Japan. Some delicious ones, too. Here are some varieties you'll find in most supermarkets/on many menus. Most typically appear in nabe or fried rice dishes, or unwelcomely raw and work enkais.



Monday

Next in our textbook bonanza, let's take a look at the characters appearing in the six new junior high English texts.

New Horizon
Art Style: Educational comic book.
The ALT: Female. From the US.

Click to enlarge!



Friday


Japanese internet providers offer a wide variety of extra services including phone and television-over-internet. Read all about it.



Wednesday

A little while ago, Dom posted about the cost of going to driving school to change an AT licence to MT (see our "Live" archive page for more driving articles).

That's expensive. Luckily, if you are already capable you can just take the test. Today, guest poster Joe talks us through it:



Monday

The other week we learned about the six MEXT-approved textbooks for teaching English to junior high school students in Japan.

Ostensibly, MEXT leaves room for other textbooks that meet its curriculum guidelines. However, those six books are the official English text for 99.9% of junior high schools students in Japan, according to the annual 教科書レポート (kyokasho report, "textbook report") released by the Japanese Publishers Union.

I qualify the books as "official" texts because although every school in Japan must assign MEXT-approved texts to their pupils, some schools, especially private ones, may not actually use those books in class.



Friday


After a long, internet-less month or so, the time to hook up your net connection has finally come! So long as you remember to be home on the proper day, it is not too difficult, but just in case you are nervous....



Wednesday


This year is the first year of online JLPT applications for Japanese residents. So, instead of our usual entry about paper applications, here's how to do it online.




This is a guide for all the paperwork necessary for the User Shaken. It includes descriptions of what to take with you, what to buy/ask for at the shaken centre, images and guides to completing the documents, and a .pdf guide to print and take with you for reference.

This is part of our ongoing user-shaken series.



Tuesday



Oh yes we did!

Thank you everyone. 18 months after we started, we now have over 500,000 hits.

Batten down the hatches. We're just getting started.

Follow us on various modern forms of communication today!




Monday

A long time ago, there was a post here on my thoughts about pronoun usage in Japanese language learners. It covered only a couple pronouns, and though there were some more I wanted to write about, the article was already long so I stopped.

Here are some other pronouns that you'll hear when you're in Japan, but that you should probably avoid using yourself: