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Wednesday


Okay, so not all of them are. But the Japanese have and somewhat deserve the reputation of being skinny, despite eating huge amounts of white rice. Japan has just over 10% of the obesity rate of the USA, and sits at the bottom of this table of rankings.

I took my nutritional knowledge on a short path to the bottom of this for your reading pleasure.



Monday

A while ago a friend of mine came to visit from the US. It was his first trip to Japan. As he was without a cell phone, we spent a little more time than usual planning how we'd meet up. He told me which train he'd be riding on, and I started to explain the layout of my station--how to exit from the shinkansen area instead of transferring to a local train, which exit I'd be waiting at, what stores were in the area, where the payphones were if he couldn't find me... the conversation got a bit bogged down until finally I realized, "Oh, duh. I can just meet you as you step off the train."



Friday


As we have covered earlier, the alien registration system and basic resident registration system in Japan are undergoing big changes this year. This week, we will look at the replacement for the venerable Certificate of Alien Registration (gaikokjin toroku shomeisho 外国人登録証明書), the zairyu card (在留カード), AKA the "Residence Card."



Wednesday


Bought a food or drink? Want to know the fat content or something?



Monday

Last week we mentioned the cute stationery sets, called レターセット (retta- setto), available in specialty stores and 100-yen shops in Japan. When using the envelopes in these sets to send international mail, however, they often feel cramped. You can stick the whole thing inside a larger, plain white envelope, but it's not nearly as cute, so here are some other options:



Friday

As you may have heard, as of July 2012 Japan will be getting rid of the current Alien Registration System, including the onerous Alien Registration Card and re-entry permit system. In addition to the convenience of not having to shell out for a re-entry sticker on your passport, there is another benefit to the new system. Foreign residents will finally be able to join their Japanese brethren on the Basic Resident Registry (jumin kihon daicho 住民基本台帳).



Wednesday


If you're into hiking, Japan has some fantastic sites.



Monday

Letter stationery in Japan is cute and ubiquitous. It's often sold in packs with matching envelopes and stickers called レターセット, "letter sets". I like to keep in touch with friends and family by post, so I frequently pick up a handful these stationery packs when I'm passing through the local 100-yen shop.



Friday

In past articles we have given a fair amount of coverage to buying or renting your own Japanese mobile phone. However, visitors with their own mobile devices and those who want to avoid the onerous deposits foisted by mobile phone rental companies. If you fall into one of the later categories, a relatively new company called B-Mobile might just be the answer to your prayers.



Wednesday


Summer apparently officially started last week. It's going to be pretty humid, in case you didn't know. Here's how you can make a difference!!!!!



Monday

Spending time outside Takadanobaba Station, along the Yamanote Line in Tokyo, I often noticed an irritating, high-pitched whine just outside the wickets. For quite a while I thought it had something to do with the trains or some high-voltage electric current being wired through the area, but it turns out this whine is intentional. It comes from a device installed to prevent teenagers from loitering in the area.



Friday


If you are anything like me, you might find yourself craving a long, relaxing dip in the traditional Japanese hot spring (known as onsen 温泉) after a long day at work. But how do you go about locating your local bath house? Lets take a look at some handy onsen location resources.



Wednesday


This is a list of vocabulary you will probably need during the self shaken tunnel test. It's mostly Japanified English, so it shouldn't be too taxing, but you should be able to follow basic commands and anticipate slight modifications to the phrases listed here.

For the paperwork, you'll also need to know the name of all the documents and which bits to write where. Click here for that guide.