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Living as an expat in Tokyo

Living in Tokyo, the capital of Japan, the world’s second largest economy, means experiencing one of the liveliest cities the world has to offer. Japan is well known for its rich culture, incredible cuisine, efficient transportation, and friendly people and is home to more than 10 million people.

Tokyo is a hub for a large number of international corporations, so having an office or affiliate in Japan is common, and consequently the expat community in the city is significant. Tokyo city offers a plenty of options for families with children, which includes daycare, play spaces and international schools. Tokyo is also one of the safest capitals in the world, boasting a very low citywide crime rate.
For those looking for excitement, culture shock, neon lights and the hustle and bustle of one of the top cities in the world, Tokyo is definitely the place to be. Tokyo truly has it all and for the expat that is looking for a true challenge, there are fewer places in the world that are so different from the United States.
Housing for expat in Tokyo is much harder that many think. Many expats after spending few months in Tokyo figure out that the place is definitely not for them. It is not only a huge language barrier, but the culture is really mystifying. There are lots of infrastructures in Tokyo; in fact most expats wonder how extraordinary the city of Tokyo can be.
Most of the expats in Tokyo are on an expat package and their housing is taken care of. Majority of expats live near the international schools, around Roppongi, Minami Azabu or Hiroo. These places are full of cafes and grocery stores where English is widely spoken. Normally, housing for expats in Tokyo either is very fine, western style apartments or very bad conditions. Many good, international schools are available for expat children. An expat can get almost everything you need here and even more fun or wacky stuff you cannot get back home. Tokyo is a city that never sleeps. There is so much to do here and one is never short on entertainment.
Tokyo is an amazing city whose residents are always on the go; working and playing hard. One should not try to completely understand Japanese ways but can always take the good and leave the bad, thereby enjoying stay in Tokyo.

A typical Japanese kitchen

The world has been fascinated by the Japanese style and culture for the longest time. From their uniquely outrageous sense of street wear to their other worldly culture, everything about them has been a constant point of bedazzlement for all of us. To top it all off, the Japanese also have their very own unique way of cuisine as well.

The world outside has constantly been fascinated by the Japanese’s unique approach to food. In what other cultures gourmet restaurant could you possibly find an entire menu made up of raw uncooked fish?

The fascination for their cuisine does not only stop at the extent of their food, many people out there are extremely curious as to how a typical Japanese kitchen would look like, what utensils would be in there?, how different would their kitchen be from ours?. To answer all those questions, today we are going to be looking at a standard build for a Japanese kitchen, and what you will likely find in your typical everyday Japanese kitchen.

In the heart of the typical Japanese kitchen you will find that their cooking style revolves a lot around the use of a stove and a hearth. You will notice that most of the elements of the typical Japanese kitchen carry forward certain trade marks from traditional predecessors, for instance the stove actually resembles the traditional style of cooking using pots over a Kamado, which is the traditional Japanese equivalent of a stove except that it uses an open fire instead of gas or electricity.

The hearth however is the more idyllic Japanese cooking place. The hearth or better known as Irori is the most symbolic items from the Japanese kitchen. It is basically a square shaped pit located in the floor and is normally found to be packed with ashes or earth. Over this pit you will find a hook which is used to hang pots and kettles. You might be wondering how a pit which was meant for a kettle be used for cooking, however if you look closely at the traditional Japanese style of cooking you will find that their cooking style revolves a lot around boiling, broiling and steaming, thus making the Irori a valid part of the Japanese kitchen arsenal.

How do Japanese Celebrate Christmas

Christmas in Japan is relatively different from the Christmas celebrated in most countries. Only 1/2 of 1% of the Japanese population is estimated to be Christian, In spite of this, the Japanese are big fans of festivals and celebrations, including Christmas. Japan is a Buddhist country and Christmas has no religious meaning to them. The Japanese, who love anything sparkly with lights, could not resist importing Christmas and import only the fun parts of the occasion.



Almost everyone has a small plastic Christmas tree in their house decorated with bells, stars, wind chimes, etc. The stores all have Christmas trees and Christmas decorations. Santa certainly comes to home for kids through their bedroom window and left the present below the child’s pillow. The presents tend to be ‘cute’ presents and often include Teddy Bears, flowers, scarves, rings and other jewelry. Christmas cards are also given to close friends. Presents are also given during this season as well to people who have done you a favor during the year, may be to companies, to bosses, to teachers, and family friends. These presents are known as ‘Oseibo’.
Christmas in Japan has also developed into a romantic holiday like Valentine’s Day in December. It is seen as a time to be spent with one’s boyfriend or girlfriend in romantic ambiences, so fancy restaurants and hotels are often booked solid at this time. So on Christmas Eve, couples go to restaurants for dinner and may exchange presents & gifts. Christmas Day is not a holiday for people working in Japan. December 25th is not a national holiday in Japan, although December 23rd, which is the birth date of the present emperor, is.  Christmas day is the biggest day of the year for KFC in Japan. Many Japanese even make reservations for their “Christmas Chicken” ahead of time. People line up at their outlets to pick up their orders.  Christmas cakes are also popular. Cakes are round, two-layered with chocolate or white icing and Santa’s gracing the top. In short, Christmas in Japan is more like New Year’s is to us—just a fun holiday.
The Christmas season comes during the month of the year-end parties. Company groups, hobby groups, sports groups, etc. often book a section of a restaurant to have drinking parties, known as ‘bonenkai’. This phenomena leads to streets, subways, and trains full of people in varied states of intoxication during this season. Every year more than 400 million people celebrate Xmas around the world — that makes Xmas one of the world’s biggest religious and commercial festivities. In approximately year 300 A.D., Christmas began at the beginning of the 20th century and is sure to keep on going.