Archive for February, 2007

Racism in Tokyo

Matt Romaine opens the proverbial can of worms that is Racism in Japan.
He recounted two episodes of apparent racism and after being Dugg, the invevitable deluge came.
I’ve experienced minor things that could possibly be due to racism, but overall I get more positive than negative discrimination here. You’re bound to come across some nutters in any big city like Tokyo, but the issue here was whether it is a part of some kind of trend.
The recent campaign by JapanProbe against the racist magazine on sale in convenience stores comes to mind.
Gen and Shin and Japanologist have blogged on the issue.
There was also a big discussion here on the Tokyo Metroblog a while back.



Sunday is a big day for Tokyo. It’s the first big open Marathon that has been held here and is part of the build-up to 2016 Olympic bid, which will be submitted to the IOC next year.
It’s a big day for me too; my first marathon. Look out for number 22650; I’m aiming for 4h15.
There will be loads of events going on across Tokyo to mark the day. Check out the official website for more details.

Check back on Sunday for live updates from me during the run!


A big Metroblogging welcome to San Jose!!!
(AKA Silicon Valley)

I hate Valentine

ChocolateMy co-worker sent me mail this morning. "Hi, Mari. It costs 1500yen for each person to buy chocolates in this section. I will collect money later." This means all women at my work got chocolate for the male co-workers for a Valentine gift. This is a crazy custom. Everybody knows this is a paltry trick by the chocolate makers. I don’t want to spend money to buy chocolate for some guy I hardly talk with. It’s not a money issue, I don’t like to follow such tricks, but if I stop, I feel bad for my women coworkers. I’m not the only woman who thinks like this, but I am not sure we will stop this even though we all are unhappy. You know, we can guess many women will think like this when they buy giri choco. "Ah, maybe I have to buy chocolate for that baldie sitting next to me. But that beer barrel will sulk, if I only gave to baldie…Wow I think I need to send one to my boss to ask for three days off next week. Ah, I want to eat a nice lunch instead of spending my money on this!" Will you enjoy a chocolate when you imagine this? By that I mean, guys can’t be happy to get such a gift. Who can be happy in this Japanese valentine? Not women, not guys. Only chocolate makers.

Valentine’s around Metroblogging

See how different cultures celebrate Valentine’s: Karachi has an active discussion going on, Detroit has been running a Countdown to the big day, Melbourne has some “cheesy” suggestions of things to do and Islamabad wonders how many people will be celebrating this year.
However, of course, Tokyo is the best place to be.

Japan: The Best place for Valentine’s

LOVE…. if you’re a man that is. All female relatives give you chocolate, female work colleagues give you chocolate and of course your lovel one(s) give you presents. What does the man have to do? Just eat the chocolate, if you can manage it all.

There is White Day in a month’s time, when you are supposed to give white chocolate back, but Hey, they don’t do that where I’m from; it’s just a commercial creation anyway!
Mari blogged about it. Pity Japanese women today!

Tonight’s Dinner

Chilled whole crab.
Very tasty, once you work out how to get inside!

Falling in Love Again

I’m riding the Shinkansen out of Tokyo for a long weekend in the countryside. It’s been more than 6 months since I did this journey and there is something very poignant about it.
I work in a Japanese office and have been very busy for months now, working weekends and evenings. My recent experience of Japan consists of rush hour trains, dour salarymen and working 12 hours a day in near silence.

Japan: Look to Scandinavia?

John Sandvand writes about some possible solutions to Japan’s birth rate “problem”, using Norway as an example.

The Nationalists

My office is near Yasukuni Shrine, so these guys turn up every now and then, blaring their loadspeakers and complaining about foreigners.
Their vans look pretty cool though, covered in Kanji and flags. People seemed to find it funny when I took photos of them…
The Nationalists The Nationalists

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