The Late-Blooming Cherry Blossoms: Yaezakura. Never too late for Hanami

The late blooming yaezakura (八重桜) are the 花見 (hanami) to end Hanami.










There are many kinds of cherry blossom. Yae-Zakura is a double-layer type of sakura which is famous for its beauty and strength. The normal type of one-layer sakura tends to be fragile and easily be blown away by strong wind or rain. I believe that a lot of us have never heard or seen this type of sakura before.







Heal Your Expat Heart: Find Your Element Workshops

Well-known and respected Yogini, Mae Yoshikawa will be conducting a workshop in June.










If you feel like you’re on someone else’s path, feel creatively blocked, are bored with your current job, and remain unsure about whether you are maximizing your potential and/or whether you ever will, you are not alone. We created the “Find Your Element Workshop” and the “Enhance Your Element: Introduction to Mindful Meditation” to help connect you with what you want and with who you are.







“Does My Gaijin Husband Go Good With My Dress?” Mixed Marriage in France & Japan

A niche manga about the life of a Japanese man and his French wife living in Tokyo










France has the highest rate of mixed marriages in the EU – close to 20% of married couples are of differing nationalities. For the rest of Europe that number on average, is a paltry 3%. In Japan, mixed marriages have soared since 1965: one out of every 30 or so couples who got married between 2006 and 2013 fit that bill. 50 years ago, it was one out of every 230. (Source: nippon.com)







Merry and Gay Pocky? Japan discovers LGBT marketing.

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We discovered something amazing after we flipped the bottle of tea. On the reverse side, it has picture of the opposite gender– meaning you can make a boy kiss a boy and a girl kiss a girl. These products are gay and lesbian friendly! Are Glico and Gogo no Kocha sneakily marketing to same-sex couples? Or are they unaware that they made their packaging to include them.







Critics Up In Arms Over Doglegs

Sambo and Antithesis





Heath Cozen’s controversial documentary ‘Doglegs’ has already scooped up a ‘Best Director’ award at Fantastic Fest 2015, and continues to divide critics since making the rounds of International film festivals.       For the uninitiated, ‘Doglegs’ is an underground, radically-minded wrestling league formed by a group of physically and mentally disabled people and the volunteers […]




Confessions of A Yakuza Bodyguard/芸能界のドンの用心棒の告白

In October of 2011, it became illegal to profit the yakuza in any business including showbiz.  The attempts to ban yakuza from the entertainment world have sadly been more amusing than effective.










It may come across as an excuse but the entertainment industry will never see the end to altercations with the local yakuza regarding profit. When I was requested to be the bodyguard, I initially thought that I would serve as the fixer for yakuza issues. In actuality, Suoh asked me to work for him after the shootings targeting him, which later turned out to be staged by nobody but Suoh himself. I did not for a second imagine that I would be asked to “destroy” or “kill” an actress when I first took the job.







The Rise & Fall Of Japanese Xmas: Please Bring Back The Sex & Money & Carnal Pleasures

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One is referring to the Japanese Christmas, of course. Back in the day, or the 1990s to early 2000s to be exact, Christmas was drenched in two things: sex and money. A quick round-up of the salient spending points: dinner in a swank restaurant followed by a night at a hotel, where the exchange of gifts will lead to carnal delights and a morning-after confirmation that yes! this girl was indeed going to be the official girlfriend.







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

Black Corporation










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.”







The Girl’s Guide to Decluttering and Hunting (in that order)

tokyo-clutter





Consider these 2 pictures. Before: Single, living alone in a 29 square meter apartment in Tokyo. The place is so filthy it’s a struggle every morning to shower, get dressed and get to the door. The toilet hasn’t been cleaned in 4 months and the tiny kitchen defies description. After: Living with a younger, handsome […]




Former Prime Minister Murayama Tells Japan’s Leader Abe, “Study Up or Shut Up!”

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In that statement that we need to study history and his pointing out that Abe had not read or understood the Potsdam Declaration, Murayama seemed to be saying to his successor, “Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. And if you knew your history, you’d make a proper apology. Get smart or shut up.” In many ways, the press conference was like a wise, cranky old teacher scolding a lazy student. However, will the lazy student listen?