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Posts tagged japan links

@Japan_Blogs is back

One of the first things I ever followed on Twitter was Japan_Blogs way back in 2008. For some reason Japan_Blogs stopped working for a month or two, but now it appears to be back in business. With about 24,000 followers I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who missed it. My blog is one of the blogs listed in Japan_Blogs which means I’m now getting an extra few hundred hits a day with its revival. I doubt they are taking new blogs. It isn’t even possible to communicate with the owner as far as I can tell.

Anyway, there are a couple other blogs not listed on Japan_Blogs which I also follow and you may enjoy too.

Chuchai’s Baruto Mania

Today’s photo is of a very crowded Heiwa Street in Kofu. I must have walked this street thousands of times during my eight months in Kofu. The reason for the masses on this occasion was they were all waiting for the Takeda Shingen Parade to begin.

Waseda Walker

Yesterday I was surfing the internet to find out more about my future neighborhood near Waseda University. While I had previously used Google maps, I found Yahoo Japan’s maps to be more useful for finding out what cool things are within walking distance. My son, for instance, was thrilled to see dozens of Ramen shops less than a 10 minute walk away from our future apartment.

I noticed a Shinto shrine just a stone’s throw from our apartment that I wanted to investigate. So I googled 天祖神社 to find some pictures of it. While the shrine itself doesn’t look very impressive, I found a fantastic site, that had pictures of the shrine on it, to learn about my future home. The site no longer exists.

On the front page of Waseda Walker it states, “日本でも有数の学生街として賑わう早稲田・高田馬場周辺の歴史と文化の足跡をたどりながら、この街の魅力を再発見していきます.” which, for those of you who can’t read Japanese, means something like, “Even for Japan, this place is known for its number of students; we’ll follow the footsteps of history and culture around Takadanobaba and Waseda and set out to rediscover the charm of this part of Tokyo.” Given that my apartment lies directly between Takadanobaba and Waseda, I was very pleased in the discovery of this site. I poked around for a bit and then sent the webmaster a brief email in Japanese thanking him for his site.

He responded today with a very nice reply, all in Japanese. I look forward to learning more from Hiroki San, the Waseda Walker, and in a couple of months walking the paths that he has researched and explained, seemingly for me, on his website.

Useful websites once you are in Japan

I’ve previously mentioned some useful Japan and Japanese related websites. Most of them deal with learning Japanese. I’m now accumulating links that aren’t language related but will prove useful for someone living in Japan (since we will be doing so in less than four months). I’ll start with a few I know. If you have any to add to the list please do so as a comment to this blog entry.

Japan Train Route Finder allows you to enter your beginning and ending destination (in romaji). The site will then provide you with a variety of ways to get from Point A to Point B, including the fastest way and the cheapest way. We used this a lot on our trip in 2007. It saved us much time and money.

Weather Forecast (Tenki Yoho) is a Japanese version of I suppose you can just use, but I like the Tenki Yoho site better. You can see the whole country at a glance, see how the day compares to averages, and learn Japanese weather terminology (if you can read some kanji) on Tenki Yoho.

Hiking in Japan is a blog with dozens of hikes listed in sufficient detail that you can actually get to the hike location (I hope). The hikes are sorted by prefecture or region so you can find hikes near your location easily.

Softbank’s inexpensive cell phone service is what we plan to use to call each other in Japan. For about $10 a month we can make free calls to each other. You have to purchase a Japanese cell phone though as foreign cell phones don’t work in Japan.

What links have you found useful?

Some Japanese related sites that I visit

For Spring Break 2007 my family and I went to Japan. It was the first time I had been back to Japan since living there in the late 1980s. Before returning in 2007 I stumbled upon a number of websites, a few of which I still visit on a regular basis. These are all travel related for the most part. I’ll post some of the Japanese language related sites that I like another day. This is probably the best travel related site for Japan. It’s a bit “busy” with all of the ads, but if you can cut through them there is a wealth of content. Just about any question you have about traveling in Japan can be answered. And if you can’t find what you are looking for? Just ask in the Forum and you’ll get a good answer (or more than one good answer) within a few hours usually. Blue Lotus is the only blog I check out on a daily basis. She doesn’t update it everyday, but I still check in to see if she has. She is into food more than I am, but all of her thoughts aren’t about food. She has some wonderful takes on life in Japan, and can tell a story in a very enjoyable fashion. Some of her pictures are really well done too. This makes getting around Japan easy, fast, and cheap as you can always find the best train route for your needs in an instant. The quality of the questions and answers isn’t always that great, but occasionally there is something worthwhile here. I haven’t actually used Gaijinpot, but it may come in handy if I need work while in Japan.

That’s it for now. Post your favorite travel-related Japan links in the comments.