Located close to residential areas, work and school commutes, and in business districts in fact EVERYWHERE you look..
Most stores are open 24 hours per day and 7 days per week.
Food products offered include a large range of meals, snacks and sweets, sandwiches, bread, rice crackers, chips, chocolate, lunch boxes, salads, dairy products, instant noodles, microwave meals and various hot dishes like nikuman and oden. Cold dishes can also be heated up by the store personnel.
Its a very cheap way to eat on the run...prices range from 100yen to 500 yen for food products..
They also offer a variety of services as well.
ATMs offer various banking services . Foreign credit and debit cards are usually NOT recognized by the ATMs found in convenience stores.
Copier/Fax A copy machine and fax is available at most convenience stores.
Ticket Reservations Tickets for sport events, concerts, theme parks, highway buses and other travel services
Digital Camera Prints You can get prints of digital pictures by inserting your camera's memory card into the multi-purpose terminal. Depending on the store, the prints will be ready instantly or can be picked up later.
Bill Payment Many bills, including utility, cell phone and insurance bills, can be paid at convenience stores.
Delivery Services At many stores, it is possible to drop off or pick up deliveries (takuhaibin), such as parcels or luggage. A limited range of postal services, such as the sale of post cards and stamps, is also available.
BUT keep in mind if you need help with any of these services most store staff dont speak much English..
Look for 7-eleven, Circle K, Yamasaki, D store , Family Mart just to name a few...
attentiveness and agreement, but they do NOT employ a shake of head to signal NO....
Instead, they hold the hand flat in front of their face and wave it back and forth..(pic#1).This gesture can indicate disagreement, denial, lack of understanding...
For us westerners , that gesture will indicate something smell stink....:)))
The gesture that signifies oneself is a forefinger pointed to one's nose..(pic#1)...and not your heart like I am used to.....
Another thing to remember is that the japanese language requires frequent use of rejoinders words or sounds that indicate the listener is following the speaker...
The short words EE, HAI, and SO DESU NE, are inserted in conversation to show attentiveness, if not agreement...
It is a MISTAKE to assume that HAI(usually understood as YES) means agreement....In many contexts all it means in that the listener is paying attention......
In face to face conversation, a nod of the head can communicate the same thing, but on the phone these rejoinder are necesary..
A can of Coca-Cola costs more than one dollar US from a vending machine.
Restaurants in Japan give you moist towels or wipes before or with your meal.
It is usually mandatory to give a landlord a gift of money of $1,000-$2000 when moving into his apartment building.
The Japanese love corn, sesame seeds, and mayonnaise on their pizza.
The green traffic light is called "blue".
Slurp your soup.
KFC is the place to be on Christmas Day.
Japan has about 1,500 earthquakes each year.
In the Japanese language, it is considered rude to say the word "no" directly.
It is nearly impossible to become a naturalized citizen of Japan.
Japanese people take a hot bath every night, some do not have showers installed in their bathrooms.
There is no insulation in Japanese homes' walls.
When you go to a funeral or a wedding you must take a gift of money.
Three words: "heated toilet seats".
In Japan, flower arranging is an art.
The new generation of Japanese people are not as short as Westerners think.
You can buy batteries, beer, wine, condoms, cigarettes, comic books, hot dogs, light bulbs, and used women's underwear from vending machines.
Many Japanese people eat rice with or for their breakfast, lunch and dinner.
McDonalds employees will run outside to give you your drive-thru order.
The Japanese visit shrines and give each other money for New Year's.
It is impolite to tear the wrapping paper off of a gift.
Japanese junior high school students do not need to pass any of their classes to graduate.
Education only through junior high school is compulsory.
There is almost no vandalism in Japan.
It is socially acceptable to pick your nose in public and urinate at the side of the road, but you cannot blow your nose in public.
Snowmen in Japan are made of two large snowballs instead of three.
There is at least one vending machine on every corner.
It is not uncommon to pay $2 for a single apple.
In recent years, there has been a boom in "karaoke" in Japan. These are disk players with voice mixing facilities and are used to provide musical accompaniment for solos or singalongs.
The "kara" of kara-oke means empty, while the "oke" is a Japanese abbreviation of the English word, "orchestra." These two words coming together mean an orchestra without a vocalist.
Karaoke are widespread in many countries nowadays. I think "karaoke bars" are well known by Americans, but actually we have few karaoke bars in Japan. What we call "karaoke box" is more popular in Japan.
WHAT IS A KARAOKE BOX
The karaoke box consists of a lot of isolated rooms on several floors and each of those rooms has a karaoke set in it.
Generally they charge you one or two dollars each per hour ..
The room has some couches, two microphones, remote controls for the air conditioner, karaoke set, menus for snacks and drinks, thick song books on a table, and a big TV with karaoke system just for you and your company.
The room also has a telephone that is connected to the reception desk; therefore, you can order some food or drinks from that phone. They will also call you when your time is up.
Fondest memory: WHAT YOU DO
After you have settled into the room and gotten something to eat or drink, you are all ready to sing.
You look up one of the songbooks and choose a song you wish to sing. You can look up the songs in two different ways.
One side of the book has the titles of the songs, names of singers and five or six-digit code numbers following them.
The other side of the book starts with singers' names, titles and numbers,
So that you can look up songs either by the singer's name or title of the song.
After you choose a song to sing, enter the code numbers of the song into the remote control by pushing the buttons on it to send information to the karaoke set.
Soon your music will start. The remote control also has a section to change the key or tempo of the songs.
If you feel the key of the song is too high or low for you, or too fast or slow, you can adjust them as you want.
Also, if you want to have harmony, you can.
Some karaoke sets even have a voice change system. You can change you voice from a woman's to a man's, and a man's to a woman's. This is very interesting.
When you finish singing, you can search for the next song while another person is singing.
....... the important thing here is you should listen to other people singing at the same time. Usually people like to have audiences, and you want them to listen to you while you are singing, too. You can fee like a real singer if you have someone to listen to you, and that's what people like when doing karaoke
March, April, May
Springtime in Japan means flowers. Peach and plum blossoms are the first to appear in early March but it is the flowering of the cherry or 'Sakura' tree from early April to May that truly signals the arrival of Spring in Japan.
Spring is also a time of parties and festivals. The Girl's Festival
takes place on March 3 and the Boy's Festival is held on May 5. The Boy's Festival is famous for colourful Koinobori (carp streamers) that can be seen rippling in the Spring breeze.
Clothing : Mid-weight clothing - trousers/jeans, long sleeves, jackets, sweaters.
December, January, February
Except in the far north of the country, winter in Japan is not very severe, and is usually tempered by sunshine and blue skies.
In northern and central Japan, visitors can enjoy the full range of winter sports. Well-developed resorts and some of the best skiing & snow boarding conditions in the world await the enthusiast.
Away from the slopes, the winter months are the perfect time to relax in one of the thousands 'Onsen' or Hot Spring Resorts located in mountain towns throughout Japan.
In February, on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, the annual Sapporo Snow Festival attracts visitors with its elaborate displays of snow and ice sculpture.
Clothing: Heavy-weight clothing - trousers/jeans, extra warm jackets and sweaters, woollen skirts and tights.
Thick, woolly socks are a must for keeping your feet warm when visiting temples and shrines in winter.
The clothing you will need to take with you will depend greatly on where you are planning to travel in Japan.
September, October, November
Autumn's cooling breezes signal the end of summer and the beginning of harvest season.
In rural areas, the many rice fields turn golden, and the grain is soon cut and stacked in neat upright bales in even rows.
Swirls of changing leaves paint the hills and mountainsides in a kaleidoscope of colour. Silhouetted against this backdrop, the shrines and temples of old Japan are arguably at their most charming.
Popular festivals of the season include ichi-Go-San(Children's Shrine Visiting Day), held throughout the country and the Festival of the Eras or 'Jidai Matsuri', held at the Heian Shrine in Kyoto.
Clothing : Mid-weight clothing - trousers/jeans, long sleeves, jackets, sweaters.
June, July, August
Summer begins somewhat coolly with a rainy season but when this ends in late June, much of the country is characterised by hot, humid days.
Balmy evenings can be spent enjoying the numerous fireworks displays that light up the summer skies across Japan.
Summer is the time for rice planting, an activity that is celebrated in many festivals around the country.
It is also the best season for hikers and climbers to explore the mountains and forests of Japan. Climbing Mt Fuji to watch a spectacular sunrise is a popular summertime activity. The climbing season runs from July 1 to August 31.
Clothing : Light-weight clothing - short sleeves, shorts, trousers, sun dresses. Warmer clothing for mountain areas.
Kanji, one of the three scripts used in the Japanese language, are Chinese characters, which were first introduced to Japan in the 5th century via Korea
Kanji are ideograms, each character has its own meaning and corresponds to a word. By combining characters, more words can be created.
For example, the combination of "electricity" with "car" means "train".
There are several ten thousands of characters, of which 2000 to 3000 are required to understand newspapers. A set of 1945 characters has been officially declared as the "kanji for everyday use".
Before the introduction of Chinese characters, no Japanese writing system existed.
When adopting the characters, the Japanese did not only introduce the characters' original Chinese pronunciations, but also associated them with the corresponding, native Japanese words and their pronunciations.
Consequently, most kanji can still be pronounced in at least two ways, a Chinese (on yomi) and a Japanese (kun yomi) way, which considerably further complicates the study of the Japanese language. :(
Kanji are used for writing nouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs. But unlike the Chinese language, Japanese cannot be written entirely in kanji.
For grammatical endings and words without corresponding kanji, two additional, syllable based scripts are being used, hiragana and katakana, each consisting of 46 syllables.
In Japan, the rules for disposing of garbage are quite strict. Each neighborhood has its own pick-up schedule .
If garbage is put out on the wrong day, or if types of garbage are mixed, the collectors will most probably refuse to pick it up.
This includes pieces of metal or glass, china, rubber, Styrofoam and plastic packages or wrappings, plastic 'pet' bottles, shampoo bottles, and the like.
This includes regular household trash such as paper, diapers, clothes, wood, food waste, and so on.
Food waste should preferably be put in a plastic bag (such as those from convenience stores or supermarkets) and tied up before being thrown away.
This keeps the smell from the garbage from attracting flies or scavenging animals such as crows or stray cats, which rip open the bags in their search for food.
This include cans and bottles, such as soda cans and bottles, and cans from canned foods.
These should be rinsed out before being placed in the garbage, again to avoid attracting pests.
Many neighborhoods also have collection points where things such as glass bottles and cans, Styrofoam, and newspapers/magazines can be taken for recycling.
These can be found by simply looking for the bins in front of supermarkets and convenience stores.
Favorite thing: When I went to the park in early July, I often saw Ebony Jewelwings (Calopteryx Atrata) which we call HAGUROTOMBO. I also saw Ceriagrion melanurum a yellow-bodied damselfly which we call KIITOTOMBO.