Japan in the News: Tokyo Is The Most Expensive City

According to the latest Worldwide Cost of Living Survey that was just published from the Economist Intelligence Unit. Tokyo has resumed its position as the world’s most expensive city, surpassing Zurich, which dropped from first to 7th. Another Japanese city Osaka ranked 2nd, while Australian cities were among the biggest movers in the top 10 most expensive cities with Sydney and Melbourne at 3rd and tied for 4th respectively.


Since 1992, Tokyo has been the most expensive city in the world for all but six years. According to the survey, the Canadian city of Vancouver is the most expensive location in North America, at 21st. Los Angeles and New York City tied at 27th as the most expensive US cities.

Top 10 most expensive cities (number in brackets indicates change from last year):

1. Tokyo, Japan (+1 place)
2. Osaka, Japan (+1)
3. Sydney, Australia (+4)
4. Oslo, Norway (+1)
4. Melbourne, Australia (+4)
6. Singapore (+3)
7. Zurich, Switzerland (-6)
8. Paris, France (-2)
9. Caracas, Venezuela (+25)
10. Geneva, Switzerland (-7)

Japan In The News: Japan Sets Guinness Record for Synchronized Mascot Dancing

In Japan, most prefectures (towns) have a cute mascot so it is not surprising to see them set a Guinness record for synchronized mascot dancing (there is a Guinness record for this, really?). Full story can be found in RocketNews24 and the original story (in Japanese) is from Kyodo News along with the YouTube video below.

Photo of the Day: Arcade Claw Crane

Two photos of claw crane machines in a Shinjuku game center taken during new year’s time in 2012.



Ai To Makoto

Ai To Makoto (For Love’s Sake) is a 2012 romantic, musical Japanese film by director Takashi Miike (Japan’s equivalent to Tim Burton) Based on a mid-1970s manga by Ikki Kajiwara. It was shown in the Cannes Film Festival.

Ai to Makoto

Set in Tokyo in the early 70’s, this is the story of pretty Ai, played by Emi Takei, a daughter of wealth and entitlement, top of her class and an outstanding athlete and troubled Makoto, played by Satoshi Tsumabuki, a hardened loner from the wrong side of the tracks with a big scar on his forehead and a huge chip on his shoulder. Don’t take this movie seriously, as it keeps breaking out in musical numbers and fights.

5 Years

Happy New Year, 2013.

Exactly, 5 years ago, we landed in Tokyo on January 1, 2008 to begin our wonderful Japanese adventure – it seems like yesterday. We stayed for 2 1/2 years and have had many wonderful, unforgettable memories. We consider Japan our second home!

Around the same time, I started this blog titled “Konnichiwa: My excellent Japanese adventure”. After 5 years, this blog has:

  • 720 posts (averaging just under 3 posts/week)
  • Over 2,600 comments
  • Almost 300,000 views

When we left Japan to return home to Canada 2 1/2 years ago, I have continued this blog, although with less regular posts since we have had no new experiences in Japan. So now, instead of experiences living and working in Japan, I am posting about Japanese books and movies, as well as older pictures that I have taken before. I am not exactly sure what the future of this blog, but I am still very much interested in Japan and the Japanese culture. There are a number of excellent Japanese related blogs (see my blogroll) if you are interest in this subject.



Robo-G is a 2012 Japanese comedy by director Shinobu Yaguchi (Swing Girls and Water Boys).

An appliance company’s president decides to get into robotics and enlist three bumbling engineers to build a new robot in 3 months and launch in an upcoming robot expo. Not surprisingly, they fail miserably and enlist a 73 year old grandpa to wear a robot suit instead. And this is when the fun begins as old meets new …


Robots (and robotics) play a major part in technology in Japan.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a collection of 24 short stories written between 1981 and 2005 by Japanese author Haruki Murakami (other books I have read by the same author include 1Q84, Sputnik Sweetheart, Norwegian Wood, After Dark, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Dance, Dance, Dance, A Wild Sheep Chase).

In the introductory notes, Murakami declares, ‘I find writing novels a challenge, writing stories a joy. If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden.’ This elegant analogy serves to give the reader some idea of what awaits.


Photo of the Day: Shinai

The shinai is a weapon, made of bamboo, used for practice and competition in kendo representing a Japanese sword.


This is a picture of my son’s shinai, who first learned kendo in Tokyo and has continued it after we moved back home to Canada.

Photo of the Day: Kagurazaka Matsuri

Two pictures of Awa Odori dancers in the night streets during the Kagurazaka Matsuri in 2009.



Photo of the Day: Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine

The Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine is a shinto shrine dedicated to the kami (god) Hachiman founded in 1627 in Tokyo. These two pictures, with distinct red colors, were taken in 2010 in the shrine grounds.