24/03/2020 Life and Manners in Japan  Visit: Parks & Nature

Tokyo 2020: Make the Most of a Spring like No Other

At a time when Tokyo residents would normally be poised to flood the city’s parks for grand hanami parties, the government of Japan has asked potential revelers to subdue their plans in order to limit the spread of Covid-19.

This may be a disappointment for those looking for a reprieve from the headline-dominating gloom that is currently gripping the world. However, social distancing is one of the only ways Tokyoites can work toward the greater good of keeping this pandemic at bay.

Thankfully, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy cherry blossoms and the dawn of spring—activities that don’t involve large crowds and communal dining and drinking.

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18/03/2020 Buddhism & Shinto  Visit: Temples & Shrines

One-Day Hiking in the Heart of Tokushima Along the Shikoku Pilgrimage

When I think of Shikoku, the first thing that comes to mind is the old pilgrimage route that circles the island. I had been to this part of Japan twice, but I had never walked any part of it, let alone visit any of the 88 temples along the way. In January, I went on a short sightseeing trip to Kamiyama Town in Tokushima. Since the pilgrimage trail passes through this town, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try one of Shikoku Island’s most famous activities.

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16/03/2020 Visit: Modern Japan

Experience a bit of Ishikawa Prefecture in Tokyo

At the end of 2019, my colleague and friend Chigaya invited me to visit the city of Kanazawa and the peninsula of Noto, in Ishikawa Prefecture. I had a great time,  and am thinking of going back with friends for more sightseeing. Until then, there is a place in Tokyo that I can visit if I miss Ishikawa Prefecture: the Ishikawa Prefecture local speciality shop in Ginza. It just reopened last week, so Chigaya and I decided to pay a visit and take part in one of the workshops, bringing back memories of our trip to Kanazawa city.

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Visit: Modern Japan

Shibuya Scramble Square: Tokyo’s Newest Rooftop Observation Deck

Location, location, location. It should come as no surprise that this classic real estate adage also applies to skyscraper rooftop observation decks. Shibuya Scramble Square, the newest addition to Tokyo’s ever-evolving skyline, is no exception.
With so many available vantage points from which to gaze down upon Tokyo’s endless sprawl, I was admittedly skeptical that Shibuya Scramble Square could offer a new experience. Thankfully, I was proven wrong. If you don’t mind spending up to 2,000 yen for a unique, breathtaking view of Japan’s capital, look no further than Shibuya Scramble Square.

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06/03/2020 Japanese Language

How to Learn Japanese the SMART Way

When learning Japanese, motivation and excitement is highest when you’re a beginner. It’s easy to chart your progress, and your world noticeably expands with every word, grammar point, and kanji character learned. You beam with pride as you start traveling to Japan, using key phrases and sentence structures to order meals, greet the locals, and navigate your way across the country.
This newfound confidence quickly propels your language learning journey forward, but before you realize what’s happening, you slam into a wall: the infamous intermediate-level plateau. At this stage, your vocabulary, kanji, and grammar knowledge continues to grow, but it’s much harder to actually recognize this. Everything tends to blend together. Sure, you can hold basic conversations and get through some long-form content, but fully comprehending native-level books and films is still a seemingly unachievable fantasy.
It is at this stage that having clearly defined goals becomes more important than ever. This is when it’s time to create SMART goals.

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02/03/2020 Activities  Life and Manners in Japan

Tips and Thoughts on Cycling in Japan: A Tadaima Japan Roundtable Discussion

So far, the Tadaima Japan team has tackled the highs and lows of using trains and automobiles in Japan. For this roundtable discussion, we’re sharing our thoughts on yet another mode of getting around town: cycling. Read on for a free-flowing conversation on the challenges of cycling in Tokyo and our favorite locations to ride.

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28/02/2020 Japanese Language

3 Applications That Will Help You Read Japanese

After coming to grips with the soul-crushing inevitability of having to memorize over 2000 kanji characters, the next wall of frustration that Japanese learners face is reading the same books, magazines, and blog articles that native Japanese speakers do. Reading is essential for adding context to the constant influx of vocabulary, kanji, and grammar points that learners face and gives purpose to the rote memorization that language learning requires. Unfortunately, reading native materials can also be incredibly intimidating and demotivating, especially when attempting to read something that is too difficult.

Thankfully, there’s an app for that… Or, shall I say, several. Read on to learn about three apps that will aid you in your quest to improve your Japanese reading comprehension skill.

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26/02/2020 Life and Manners in Japan  Travel Tips

Tips and Thoughts on Driving in Japan: A Tadaima Japan Roundtable Discussion

Japan is famous for its comprehensive, efficient, and punctual (for the most part) public transportation system. However, when it comes to reaching more remote areas or experiencing some of the country’s unrivaled scenic locales, you’re going to need a car. Before you get behind the wheel, check out our latest roundtable discussion for three unique international perspectives on what it’s like to hit the road abroad.

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