lifestyle

Not your average game of hide-and-seek: Japanese kids go high-tech!

Although some kids’ games will always be more popular in certain parts of the world than others – rock, paper, scissors is probably played more times in a single day in Japan than in the U.S. each year, for example – there are a handful of classics that kids all across the globe enjoy equally, one of them being hide-and-seek.

According to chatter between Japanese Twitter users, however, the classic game of hide-and-seek is evolving in the digital age, and where once the game was all about speed, stealth and cleverly planted decoys, mobile technology now has a role.

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5 ways for foreign girls to attract Japanese guys

Wandering around Tokyo it’s not at all unusual to see foreign men with Japanese girlfriends, but it’s much rarer to see foreign women with Japanese men. Some people think that foreign girls simply aren’t into Japanese guys, but when Japanese site Madame Riri checked out some English-language websites and forums, they found that there were plenty of girls out there who were interested in Japanese men, they just didn’t know how to go about bagging one.

On the forums of a Japanese culture site aimed at foreigners there were plenty of threads with titles such as “Are Japanese guys not interested in white girls?” and “How can I get a Japanese boyfriend?” These girls were all wanting to discuss how to make themselves appealing to Japanese men, and thankfully they were treated to a handful of great tips for how to do just that from one especially worldly-wise love expert.

Read on for five ways to get a Japanese guy.

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Swank is key! Most young Japanese part-timers wish they worked at Starbucks

Japan has a few really helpful resources for those in search of jobs. Besides their useful Hello Work program, they have a very popular website and magazine called an, publicized by pop idol Kyary Pamyu Pamyu herself. The site lets you search want ads and find places that are hiring in your area and field of expertise. In particular, a lot of college students and people new to the workforce turn to an for help finding employment.

an recently conducted a survey of first-time part-timers to try to find out what places are happenin’ in the modern world of fresh-faced young workers. The results were interesting, to say the least. Who knew how many people longed to become a Starbucks barista??

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“Smoking Café” last oasis for increasingly ostracized Tokyo smokers

Japan has a long way to go when it comes to eliminating the public health hazards associated with smoking, but recent public policy efforts have caused a serious change in attitude toward smokers.

Smoking sections in restaurants and cafes are becoming smaller and increasingly more isolated, while fleets of bike-mounted enforcers hand out humiliating fines to those caught smoking on designated no smoking streets.

Finally, however, smokers can indulge in their pastime in peace at the Koshigaya Laketown shopping mall in Saitama Prefecture. A new specialized café, Smoking Café Briquet, caters specifically to tobacco connoisseurs with a variety of smoking merchandise and cigar and cigarette selections, with every seat in the house safe to light up in. It’s almost like being a character in Kaze Tachinu

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Five things that keep Japanese people chained to their jobs

Japanese workers are famous for their seemingly inexhaustible dedication to their companies and ability to work long, long hours. Japanese even has a specific word for death from overwork: karōshi (過労死). But is this work ethic something that Westerners ought to admire, or is Japan in need of a holiday?

Japan Today asked foreigners “Why do you think Japanese work such long hours?” and received a huge amount of comments from people who had experienced life in a Japanese company. The responses were overwhelmingly negative about the Japanese work ethos, and many believe a shift in attitudes towards work right across society is necessary. Five points in particular stood out as particularly problematic.

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Hey, Starbucks laptop guy, whatcha doin’ over there?

Starbucks and virtually every other coffee shop worthy of faux hipster attention (the real hipsters having moved on to places that use siphons and play accordion music) have become synonymous with scenes of people using laptop computers in recent years, with rows of patrons sipping from paper cups while idly clicking, scrolling, pinching to zoom and staring lazily at their screens. Some even make temporary offices out of their few square feet of space, paying their rent in cups of joe and watched by hawk-eyed staff whose warm smiles drop a millimetre for every second a small cafe latte is nursed just that little bit too long.

For the rest of us, though, these table-hogging laptop luggers are a source of genuine intrigue. “What on earth could they be doing?” we wonder to ourselves, irked that they’ve taken all the good seats. “Are they actually working over there or are they just scrolling through photos on Facebook and tapping LOL into comment boxes?”

Japan’s My Navi News too was keen to know exactly what the folks who camp out at Starbucks are actually doing while the rest of us are engaging in conversations or staring awkwardly at the floor after making eye-contact one too many times with the cute barista, and put together a survey to find out. Let’s take a look at their findings.

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“That’s one large cafe latte to go. Would you like a boyfriend with that?” A Japanese coffee shop’s dating recipe

In Western countries, they say that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Oddly enough, Japan uses the similar phrase: “Otoko gokoro wo tsukamu ni wa ibukuro kara,” or “you can snatch a man’s heart if you start with his stomach.” A local Twitter user managed to find a store in the Okubo area of Tokyo that might have taken this phrase a step too far, however.

Included on the store’s outside sign board, where normally you’d find today’s specials, was the coffee shop’s secret recipe for catching a man:

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Japan and the rise of the male parasol: They’re not just for Lolitas anymore!

Foreigners visiting Japan for the first time might be taken aback by how widespread the use of umbrellas is. Sure, during rain storms umbrellas make sense, but even during pleasantly sunny days you’re likely to see enough women putting up parasols to make you think the Bauhaus were in town.

Even this is understandable as “the Land of the Rising Sun” is not just another pretty name. In the middle of summer the often cloudless skies leave us at the mercy of the sun’s unrelenting rays. Combined with a lack of trees in many urban areas there’s simply no escape. And with pale skin traditionally considered to be a sign of beauty and elegance, it’s no wonder so many women still carry a parasol, but it would seem that the heat is getting so bad these days that men, too, are bit by bit turning to a once exclusively feminine accessory for relief and protection.

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Chiharu Hatakeyama and self-sufficiency in the 21st century【People we love】

“Forgive me for asking so abruptly,” Chiharu Hatakeyama begins as she stands on a stage decked out in the familiar TED colours of black, white and red, “but who among you thinks they could wring the neck of a chicken before they ate it?”

After the events of March 11, 2011, when the largest recorded earthquake in Japanese history tore the northeast to pieces and brought with it a wall of water that smashed through everything in its path, Chiharu decided that she had to change. Realising that her entire world could be turned completely upside down in the blink of an eye and that she relied on others–most often people that she had never nor would ever meet–in almost every facet of her life, she set out to achieve a life of complete self-sufficiency. Growing her own vegetables, butchering her own meat, making accessories and clothes for herself, she is now sharing her newly acquired knowledge with as many people as she can via her blog, Facebook page, and more recently a TEDxTokyo talk. This is her story.

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Lettuce farmers of “Miracle Village” looking for love – benefits include cute dogs and a six-figure salary

Kawakami Village in Nagano Prefecture is considered Japan’s premier lettuce producing village. Located near Tokyo and with just the right conditions for farming, residents have been able to pull in a good chunk of cash from their own brand of lettuce, earning it the nickname “Miracle Village”.

Bumper crops such as their Chinese cabbage are booming so well that the village’s 4,759 people boast and average annual income of over 25,000,000 yen (US$252k). However, all work and no play makes Jyoji a dull boy, so the mayor of Kawakami is sending the call to all Japan that some eligible bachelors may soon be hitting a ski-slope near you!

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Japan’s sex habits laid bare – Condom maker reveals results of national survey

Known the world over for impecable manners and social etiquette, yet at the same time home to a thriving sex industry, Japan is a country of stark contrasts. What goes on behind closed doors is seldom discussed in public and yet with risqué manga and adults-only bars and stores in plain view in most city areas, there are likely few urbanites who aren’t plainly aware that behind its deep bows, well-regimented table manners and ceremony surrounding even the seemingly trivial act of exchanging business cards, Japan has a naughty side.

In a recent survey carried out by Japanese condom manufacturer Sagami Condoms, however, 4,100 people from all over the country disclosed the intricate details of their sex lives, discussing everything from when they first started doing it to how often they have sex today and whether they’re completely satisfied in bed.

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What’s Behind Some Japanese Men Not Being Able to Save Money? Could it be Their Lifestyle?

Have you ever looked at a guy and thought: “Gee, he looks loaded!  He must make a lot of money!”

It’s often the case that guys like these aren’t as well off as they seem. While they look like they live lavishly, they may not necessarily have the finances to support such a lifestyle.  Japanese website Niconico News recently did a survey inquiring into why guys make some costly lifestyle decisions even if they know they should be trimming the fat. Read More

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