The 5:00 Song

In the town where I live, we have two tunes. One on 4:30 p.m., and the other on 5:00 p.m. I believe those music are for reminding kids to go home before the sun goes down. Although, many kids stay out after 5 p.m. 😉

Cascadian Abroad

Everyday at 5 p.m., the loudspeakers around town play a charming little tune. At first, I thought “well isn’t that a nice little tune,” but as the weeks went on, I wanted to know what purpose it served. End of the workday? Not likely with all of those salarymen shuffling home at 9 p.m.

My Japanese googling skills are getting better and today I finally found the answer, although the next question is why I was thinking about the 5 o’clock song at 9 in the morning.

Turns out, it really is called the 5 O’clock Chime (五時のチャイム or goji no chaimu) and each city has its own version. It’s actually a daily test of the Municipal Disaster Management Radio Communication Network. Much like the Emergency Broadcast System in the U.S., if you hear the chime at any other time than 5 p.m., trouble is a’brewing.

In Kawagoe, our song is called “Wild…

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Zama City Kite Festival

Nice Kite and Koinobori photos. I believe May is the best month for the big kite, because it is before rainy season and we have some good winds. Thank you for sharing!

Steviekun Foto: Life in Japan

Here are some pictures from the annual Zama City Kite Festival. Once a year, very large kites are flown near the Sagami River. It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but the kites are very large.

Zama Kite Festival 03

Zama Kite Festival 01

Zama Kite Festival 04

The kite was tied off to this truck and maintained by two people.

Zama Kite Festival 02

Here are some pictures of some koinobori (こいのぼり) near the Sagami River with the Tanzawa Mountains in the back.

Zama Kite Festival 05

Zama Kite Festival 06

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Top 5 Best Things about Japan

I really enjoyed your ‘top 5′ list. Thank you for sharing. Reading other blogs by travellers, I wonder why they feel safer in Japan because there are pickup thieves who pickup others’ purses in crowded stores. Maybe we have fewer of them in Japan?

And ,yes, Japanese, including myself, sleeps everywhere, in train, in coffee shops, in classrooms ;). I believe many of Japanese stay up too late at night because there are so many TVs and DVDs to watch ;).

kanagawa kyary

  1. The food.  Duh!  If you cringe when you think of raw anything then stop reading here.  I absolutely looooooove raw fish.  Sushi and sashimi are in my blood (well maybe the mercury is).  I can’t get enough.  I could, and did, eat it every day.   When I was in Osaka I was lucky enough to be able to stay with my Japanese little sister, Haruka, and her mom.  There is nothing like homecooked Japanese food. In Hiroshima I ate grilled oysters from a street vendor that were as big as my head!  Kyoto is famous for their multi-course meals and we were lucky enough to find a place that would prepare our meal without soy sauce (allergy – more on that later).

    oyster Oyster Risotto in Hiroshima

  2. The safety.  Coming from the Murder Capital of Canada (Winnipeg)  I’m a pretty cautious and street-smart person.  I know what to do when in…

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Graduation Panic

As one of those Japanese salary men, I understand what you say. I work for a japanese company, I at least can say that the situtation of women has been improving slowly, or very slowly. But if you get a job in a Japan branch of a non-japanese company, I don’t think you will have to serve tea for guys. 😉


That’s right. A survey says at the age of 23, Japanese is 172cm tall (statistics: ). I am Japanese and over 50 years old. For my age, ‘tall’ means ‘over 175cm’ in my gut feeling. Over 6 feet tall is very tall!

Michael Weening: a few pictures

We have a friend coming over from Canada this weekend and he is very tall – 6’ 4ish. He will probably have a tough time with the doors in Japan … This is a not-uncommon door frame height in older buildings.

2013 11 03 Mt Mitake_-92

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The kimpira seems so delicious! My wife (I live in Kanagawa, Japan) sometimes make kimipira with renkon (lotus root).


Souzaiis a classic example of traditional Japanese home cooking.  Rice and misosoup form the base of this type of meal with three other dishes, souzai, to accompany it.  Often one souzai is the main dish, a baked fish, for example, served with two smaller dishes (maybe some nimono).  This style of meal is called ichijyuu sansai (一汁三菜) with the soup being the “ichijyuu” and the three other dishes being the “sansai”.  I hope to feature a lot of this style of cooking and will create a new page of recipes soon.  This will be the first one.

Tonight, my wife made one of my favorites.  We’d had a huge lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant and weren’t very hungry and were in the mood for something light.  So she made kinpira gobou, which is carrots and something called “burdock root” with sesame seeds.  It’s really good even…

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