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Public Transportation – Japanese Reporter

25 Aug

André Sato

by Sato

According to wikipedia Tokyo has one of the biggest rail systems in the world. You can literally go to any place in the city by public transport.It is by far the fastest way to reach any destination, and the most reliable one. They have so many lines you can easily get confused when choosing the lines you need to pick up to go from one place to another:

The metro map

The metro map


The railway map

The railway map

So how you can find the best route? Piece of cake. There are several mobile apps, or web pages that do that for you. And the best thing is that the arrival time of the trains are very accurate so you can schedule transfers(norikae) between lines very smothly.
You can use this site:
Or this other one if you know how to read Japanese:
There are many other more sophisticated sites/applications that you can even setup your walking pace so it calculates the time from the distance between the stations, and also the distance until your final destination in the map, like in google maps, just search to find one that is most suitable for you.
The public transportation is a very serious business in Japan. They are very strict about the time. One proof of this is the train delay certificates(chien shoumeisho). It is a certificate given by the rail company usually when the train is delayed by more than 5 minutes.
Typical train delay certificate

Typical train delay certificate

Nowadays you can also download from the internet, avoiding paper wasting. This is used to justify arriving late at work or any appointment, and it will be accepted as excuse without any further questions.
Those delays, by the way. in rush hours can cause some the famous scene of the train staff pushing the passengers inside the wagon.

There is always space for one more!
You can go to almost any place in Japan by train, it is very convenient, reliable and in most cases comfortable. If you ever go to Japan, don’t miss the wonderful experience of getting a ride on one of their railroad lines!
乗り換え – norikae – transfer
遅延証明書 – chien shomeisho – delay certificate
電車 – densha – train
地下鉄 – chikatetsu – subway/metro
切符 – kippu – ticket
駅 – eki – station

Japanese does not eat only sushi!

17 Feb

André Sato

by André Sato

When you think about japanese food, what comes to your mind? I bet it is something related with raw fish, right? Nigiri sushi, makisushi (sushi roll), temaki, or any other western invention roll like hot roll are examples of what most non japanese people think about japanese cousine. But how about japanese people? Is that what they eat in their every day life? Sushi 3 times per day? I will try to show what an average person in Japan eats in every meal.

Let’s start with breakfast. In general, there are two types: the traditional one, which is popular among the eldest, and the western type, popular with the younger generations. There are variations, but the main items are: gohan (white rice), misoshiru (miso soup), yakizakana (grilled fish), tsukemono (kind of pickles), nato (fermented soy bean) and sometimes raw or half boiled eggs (nama tamago and onsen tamago). For the western type, usually they have a slice of shokupan (sliced bread) with eggs or jam together with milk or coffee.

Traditional Breakfast

For the next meal: lunch. Again, there are two main options. One is bringing or buying an obento (lunch box) and eat it at the office cafeteria or outside in some nearby square. Newly married men, or married men who the spouse cook for them, usually bring the lunch box filled with white rice with 2 or 3 types of small dishes like fried meat balls, sausage or omeletes, simple and common things most of the time.
Comercial Bento

Comercial Obento

Fancy Bento

Fancy Obento

The other option is eating out in a restaurant or in some fast food chain. A very popular fast food is the gyudon, served in restaurant chains like Matsuya, Sukiya or Yoshinoya. It is very cheap (less than $4) and it consists in just a bow of rice with very thin slices of beef with onions on top.
The plain gyudon

The plain gyudon

There are night bars which serve cheap lunch also, in average the price for a lunch would be around $10.
For dinner, at home, you can have again white rice with miso soup, with more variety of side and main dishes, such as kare (japanese curry), nikujaga (a kind of stew with potatoes), hamburguer patty, nabe (hot pot) in the winter, beef stew, tenpura (deep fried vegetables), shougayaki (chopped pork with onions and ginger), and many others.
Nikujaga, the flavor of homemade dish

Nikujaga, the flavor of homemade dish

After work, people in general go to have drinks in many different types of izakaya (japanese bars). Those izakayas can be specialized in yakitori (grilled chicken in sticks), yakiniku (grilled meat in genghiskan), okonomiyaki, oden, sushi (finally!), gyoza (dumpling), just to list a few of so many options.


They have also a large variety of restaurants, from many countries but this can be a topic for another post!