27 May

Tokyo Skytree

in Life in Japan

Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan and with its full height of 634.0 meters, it is the tallest tower in the world. Twice as tall as the Eiffel Tower, it is only the second tallest structure in the world after Burj Khalifa (829.84 m). Led by Tobu Railway and a group of six terrestrial broadcasters headed by NHK, the tower project forms the centerpiece of a large commercial development in northeastern Tokyo with a reported cost of 44 billion yen. The project was completed on 29 February 2012 and  the tower was open to the public on 22 May 2012. 

One of its main purposes is to relay television and radio broadcast signals since the Tokyo Tower (which is used to be the tallest tower in Tokyo areas with a height of 333 m) is now surrounded by many high-rise buildings. According to some news report, an estimated 200,000 people braved heavy rain on that day to watch this newest attraction in the Japan’s capital.


19 May

The Economy of Solar Eclipse

in Life in Japan

The solar eclipse of 21st May 2012 gave a windfall gain of about ¥16 billion for the economy. According to a rough estitmate by Kansai University economist Katsuhiro Miyamoto, the total value includes about ¥760 million in sales of special viewing glasses and ¥1 billion in spending to observe the full eclipse from hotels. Considering that the event lasts only for a few minutes, it is a big benefit for the economy of Japan. The event is not rare but is first such opportunities to view the event in a perfect time in more than 20 years. 

eclipseThe annular solar eclipse is expected to start around morning 6:30, to peak around 7:34 (in Tokyo) and  can be observed widely in the areas  south of Kyushu, south of Shikoku, south of Kinki, Chubu, and Kanto. The corona and prominence would not be observed and also the stars cannot be seen because the sky is not dark enough like what happens during total solar eclipse. However, it is possible to observe the ring shape of the Sun.  Millions of onlookers watched the eclipse from Okinawa to northern cities of Kanto. In Tokyo, clouds played hide and seek games in several places but most were delighted to watch the rare event. 

07 May

The Tsukuba Tornado

in Life in Japan

A rare tornado tore through the Tsukuba city, about 60 km north of Tokyo, to kill one and injure several around noon on May 6th - the last day of the Golden Week. Many houses were devasted by the passage of the extreme event, which is very rare in time of the year in and around Tokyo. 

An ameture video that captures the dance of this giant weather phenomenon:

20 Apr

The Golden Week

in Life in Japan


The Golden Week in Japan (locally known as Ōgon Shūkan or Ōgata Renkyū) is observed between the end of April and begining of May.   A series of four holidays closely spaced together and together with the weekends, the Golden Week becomes Japan’s one of the busiest holiday seasons. Many Japanese take paid vacations on the remaining workdays in the week, some companies even close down completely to give their employees the much required vacation time. Flights, trains and hotels are often sales at significantly higher rates at this time. Many Japanese travel to popular destinations in Asia, Guam, Saipan, Hawaii, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, and Vancouver, as well as cities in Europe and Australia.