Trains: Lines, Times, and Fares

With numerous different train companies in Japan, hundreds of train lines and heaps of people all trying to cram on the same train, public transit can be a little overwhelming at times. The following information should hopefully help make traveling on trains a little easier. There are three major train lines for travel in the […]

Trains: Vocab and Tips

Useful Train Vocabulary General Vocab Ticket Gate – 改札口 (kai-satsu-guchi) One way – 片道 (kata-michi) Round Trip – 往復 (ou-fuku) First Class Car – グリーン車 (green-sha) Non-smoking Car – 禁煙車 (kin-en-sha)Smoking Car – 喫煙車 (kitsu-en-sha) Non-reserved Seat – 自由席 (ji-yuu-seki) Reserved Seat – 指定席 (shi-tei-seki) Window (Seat) – 窓側 (mado-gawa) Aisle (Seat) – 通路側 (tsuu-ro-gawa) […]

About the Apartment

With burdens like language barriers and “key money”, finding an apartment in Japan is not a pleasant business. One of the blessings of the JET Program is the Contracting Organizations usually arrange housing for participants. Of course, that means we get plenty of questions about housing. My friend’s apartment is better/cheaper than mine. Contracting Organizations […]

Typhoons

The typhoon season in Japan runs from May through October, with most activity from July to September. Typhoons are tropical cyclones or giant hurricane-like whirlwinds. These storms, accompanied by heavy rainfall, can cover areas of up to 500 miles in diameter and generate winds up to 180 miles an hour. Typhoons that hit Japan are […]

Useful Everyday Items

Keeping Cool Fans: uchiwa and sensu Shaved Ice Maker Cold Patches and Ice Pillows: 熱さま (Atsu-sama) in sheet and pillow variety   Dealing with Bugs Mosquito Incense and Refills: アースノーマット and 水性  are two brands Roach Motels: ゴキブリホイホイ (gokubuiri hoihoi), and ゴキブリ取り (gokiburitori) Tick Spray for ticks that live in tatami: ダニアース (dani aasu) “Cockroach JET” コックローチジェット Fly Spray […]

Religious Institutions

Churches Kobe Bible Fellowship A bilingual church in Sannomiya (everything – songs, prayers, message are in English and Japanese). It’s a couple of minutes walk from Ikuta Shrine / Tokyu Hands. There are lots of Japanese and foreigners, and a variety of ages. The style is quite contemporary. The main service is at 4pm, and […]

Preparing for Winter

Seemingly overnight, office complaints in Japan turn from atsui! to samui! You may have your reservations about joining the choir of complaints right away, but eventually the charm of cool, fall weather will wear away and you’ll find that you can see your breath in your own home. You’ll learn to put certain items, such as olive oil, in the fridge to prevent them from freezing. There are plenty of these so-called “life hacks” to keep you on the side of sanity as you progress sluggishly through the long winter months.