End of the line

14 Feb

I started this blog almost exactly eight years ago.
It receives, at this time, an average of 1,000 visitors a day.

I appreciate all of the visitors to this blog…especially the ones who leave comments.
That’s what makes blogging enjoyable and is the reason I continued this blog for so long.

It was fun for me to blog…and I’m happy that my blog was fairly popular.

But recently it has become a bit of a chore to write blog posts…and, as this was meant as a hobby, it shouldn’t be like that.

So, for this reason, I have decided to retire this blog.

By all means, please read the blog posts that I have written from 2008 March 26th (when I started this blog) to today (2016 February 14th)!

I am, of course, still living in Tokyo with my family. So, if you leave a comment on any of the posts on this blog…or if you Contact me, I will continue to reply as I always have.

Thank you for your understanding.

Exhibit of retro Japanese tourism posters

7 Feb Featured Image -- 14363


old japan posters topThe 20th century’s version of “Cool Japan” seems a lot cooler than the 21st century’s.

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Today is Setsubun

3 Feb

Tokyo Five

今日は「節分」。(Today is “Setsubun“).

Google’s Japanese page has a “Setsubun” logo today.

Setsubun is a day to cast out bad luck and bring in good luck. It involves an old tradition of throwing beans at someone wearing a demon mask representing bad luck.

It’s mostly done in homes with young children, in which the children throw the beans at their father wearing the oni (demon) mask.

Click here to read about this, and other Japanese customs and holidays in February.

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Book Review & Giveaway 25: Beyond The Tiger Mom

30 Jan

I have received another book from Tuttle Books!
And, as always, they have agreed to give (given) one free copy to a random visitor to my blog!

The book I’m reviewing today is titled “Beyond The Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age” by Maya Thiagarajan.


“Beyond The Tiger Mom”

I will put the details of the free drawing for this book at the end of this post.

Ms. Thiagarajan was born in India and then moved to America after she graduated from high school. She went to college in America and, afterwards, became a school teacher there.  Eventually, she moved to Singapore with her husband and their children and she became a teacher there.

From this, she has become familiar with the American way, the Indian way and the Chinese way of parenting and teaching children.

With her knowledge and experience of what works and what doesn’t work best for children’s education, she has written this extensive, easy-to-read guide.

Beyond The Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age” can be purchased through Amazon here.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Books has agreed to give (given) one random visitor to my blog a free copy of this book.

***** Updated February 14th, 2016 *****

This special promo ended on 2016 February 14th. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.


Metal Excess Awards: The Best of 2015

29 Jan

Star Wars VII Stamps

22 Jan

About seven years ago I wrote a post about the collector Japanese “Star Wars” postage stamps I bought. (Click here to read it.)

Now, to commemorate the new “Star Wars Episode VII” movie, the Japanese post office is offering a new set of commemorative Star Wars postage stamps.

Just like the earlier set I bought, this set includes ten unique Japanese postage stamps with scenes from the latest Star Wars movie, and come in a special hard protective case.  The set costs ¥4280.



Postcard Lottery 2016

22 Jan

New Years is the biggest holiday in Japan.  There are many traditions…one of which is sending 年賀状 (New Years Postcards) to friends and relatives.  A bit like Christmas cards in western countries.

One the back of “official” Japanese New Years postcards (which are the only kind that anyone sends) is a six-digit serial number.

Every year on January 15th, the Japanese post office chooses random numbers as winners in the お年玉 (New Years postcard lottery).

People who have postcards with winning numbers win nice prizes.

(Click here to read a post I’ve written about this before.)

Here are the winning numbers for the 2016 New Years postcard lottery:


2016 New Years postcard lottery winning numbers

★ First place – cards with the number 667085 – the prize is ¥100,000 (approx. US$1,000).

★ Second place – cards with the last four digits of the number being  9648 – the prize is one of several wonderful things such as an onsen (hot spring) stay, a TV, a computer, Nintendo DS, etc.

★ Third place – cards with the last two digits of the number being either 69 or 90 – the prize is commemorative “Year of the Monkey” postage stamps.