O-bon: Festival of The Dead or “Please Feed The Hungry Ghosts Day”






The “bon” in O-bon (盆) itself refers to the vessels (plates, bowls, tupperware etc) in which offerings are placed for the spirits of the deceased. The physical bowl has come to refer to the holiday or the period where the holiday is celebrated in modern lingo. Of course, O-bon as a holiday could be translated as “honorable container day” but then it wouldn’t sound as cool as “Japanese Festival Of The Dead.” The practice of offering food and drinks (such as Pepsi-Watermelon Cola and Wasabi Potato Chips etc) to the visiting spirits is believed to have spread from the original ceremony in Japan’s hip 600s.







The Amazing Japanese Wife Part 3: A Man Needs His Carcinogen






Seiko and I still share the same bedroom but sleep in single beds placed two feet apart, because she claimed my snoring bothered the hell out of her. I understand this arrangement is the most popular among Japanese couples. Salariman husbands only come home after the wife and kids are asleep anyway. Two single beds work just fine. The other day, one of the younger Japanese men at my company, said casually that he hadn’t spoken to his wife in a month even though they’re currently sharing a double bed inherited from his brother. “And that doesn’t worry you?” I asked.







Most Evil Corporation Of The Year In Japan Award 2015: 711 Japan?






Power harassment, sexual harassment, unpaid overtime, extended work hours, discrimination, casualization, short-term employment contract, etc…Japan’s workers have been ground down by companies that repeat these practices and sometimes even drive workers to their death. We consider them the “Most Evil Corporations.”







A Few Words On ‘Why’ I Married My Japanese Husband (Just in case you wanted to know…)






I’m always happy to engage people in English conversation in Japan–hey, I was an English conversation instructor and sometimes still enjoy teaching some of my favorite students! I also take into consideration that my Japanese is bad, and that there is no offense meant on your part when you are asking these questions.

You are just curious. But this is not a polite question to ask a stranger when their partner is dining with them.

I am with my husband because I love him. This is not ‘rare’. That is all. Race has nothing to do with it. Thank you.







Student Loan Defaults Increasing At Record Speed in Japan






今年から導入された給付型奨学金が創設されるまで、日本で「奨学金」と呼ばれているものは全て貸与型であり国際的には「教育ローン」に分類される借金です。家庭が貧困化し大学を卒業しても正社員に就けない人が増えていく中で、この「奨学金」を返済できない人が急増しています。返済困難になった若者や連帯保証人が、2015年度は16737人がブラックリストに載せられ、8713人が訴えられました。さらに、入手したJASSOの内部資料で、毎年600人~800人が自己破産していることが明らかになりました。







If you love Japan, make it better. Our mission statement.






I love Japan and many Japanese people are hard-working, honest, and polite. That doesn’t mean the society doesn’t have problems, such as child poverty, gender inequality, discrimination against: the handicapped, women, foreigners, especially Korean Japanese—powerful organised crime, nuclear dangers, staggering injustice in the legal system, repression of the free press, sexual assault on women with impunity for many assailants, rampant labor exploitation, death by overwork, and political corruption. Ignoring the problems doesn’t make them better. If you are offended by that, rethink your love of Japan.







Let’s have a war! The reincarnation of a war criminal, The LDP, and militarising Japan






“Rich nation, strong army” (fukoku-kyohei) was the nineteenth-century slogan the ruling elite used to rapidly industrialize in the advent of the Meiji period to protect national interests against Western colonial powers. It was also the slogan that led Japan to bolster its military and eventually steer the nation toward colonial expansion into Korea, China, and other neighboring nations. Fomented by both the international and domestic media, we are too often conditioned to pay attention to the most fashionable international threat of the week and yet are blind to actions occurring right before our eyes. Recent developments led by Abe’s administration eerily echo the prewar slogan, and we as members of the international community should view these events with extreme caution, as for all we know history may repeat itself.







Abe-Japan’s Time Machine Back To The Nazi Era






In the summer of 2013, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso, famous for his verbal gaffes declared in a speech to his political supporters, “Germany’s Weimar Constitution was changed into the Nazi Constitution before anyone knew. It was changed before anyone else noticed. Why don’t we learn from that method?”
Two of Abe’s Cabinet appointees were associated with Japan’s Nazi Party and several of his comrades wrote laudatory blurbs for a book called Hitler’s Election Strategy, published in 1994, and written by a member of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The book was banned after international criticism.

Comparisons with the Nazis are hard to brush off if your Cabinet members are looking up to them as role models…..







“Letters to the Most Repulsive Parents in Japan”






Amidst the political turmoil and economic recession Japan has found itself in the recent years, how poor parenting takes a toll on the lives of the most vulnerable is often the last thing on people’s minds. The most recent (2012) Ministry of Health and Labor’s reports showed that 16.3%, roughly 1 in 6 children in Japan live […]




Japan’s Labor Ministry Names and Shames “Dark Companies” For Labor Abuse






Burakku kigyō (dark companies, exploitive enterprises) are probably the epitome of everything that’s wrong in Japan today. In 2013, it was among the top trending words of the year. They’re so much a part of the social misery in Japan that they even are incorporated into board games like The Hellish Game of Life. Last year […]