Shima and Jenny live in Tokyo with their two young daughters, Velvet Jean and Birdie Moon. Shima was born and raised in Japan, while Jenny grew up near Chicago and moved to Japan 10 years ago. I spent a day with the family to learn about all that is wonderful and challenging about raising kids in the city.
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Booking a free flight is one of the most popular ways to redeem Qantas points. Unfortunately, limited availability has made this unduly difficult. In a bid to expand free flights to more customers, Qantas has launched a new 'Points Plane' service that will offer dedicated Frequent Flyer redemption flights to select destinations. Here are the details.
Learning a language for a trip is different from learning it on a large scale; Duolingo is way too comprehensive, as is anything that tries to build up from fundamentals of grammar. You need a few phrases, like “please” and “thank you,” “What does this mean?” and “Where is the bathroom?”
But most of the time, I needed just one word to feel less like an ugly tourist. I needed to say I’m sorry. Which is more complicated than it sounds.
Western cities like New York, London, Sydney and Melbourne are great to wander in — they are all pretty safe, pedestrian friendly, and laced with public parks and waterfronts. But when Lifehacker sent a team to Tokyo to find the local hacks, damn was I jealous of the city planning. There are lots of touches that make Tokyo easier to navigate and a lot more pleasant to explore.
For those who missed the earlier cheap flights to Japan in October, Jetstar is offering up some cheap flights for under $500.
It isn't a good time for Airbnb hosts or renters in Japan right now: The private residence renting service was recently forced to cancel thousands of already booked and paid reservations in Japan, all thanks to a new set of Japanese laws that went into effect on June 15. Here's what's going on over there, and what you can do if you were planning on renting with Airbnb in Japan in the near future.
Traveller, let me give you my most useful tip for visiting Japan: The "konbini" is life. It's a one-stop shop for literally anything a wide-eyed tourist such as yourself may need while you explore the brightly lit corridors of Tokyo, or get swallowed by the serene silence of temples and shrines in Kyoto.
On the fourth Sunday in April, Japanese parents descend on the shrines of Tokyo with their bundles of joy, which they promptly hand over to a sumo.
The two rikishi, babe in hand and weighing over 150 kilograms each, step into the ring. In a normal bout, they'd collide, trying to push each other out of the ring, but on this afternoon, it's the two infants that are the competitors.
This competition is all about seeing which infant can cry the loudest.
The Japanese flag is an immediately recognizable emblem of the island nation, a brilliant red circle stamped on a pure white background. It's simplicity belies it's cultural importance to the Japanese and although you may think of the flag as a mainstay of Japan dating back at least 100 years, until 1999, the flag - known as the Nisshōki or Hi no maru - was designed completely differently.
Okay, maybe not completely differently.
Japan is a great place to visit, especially for first-time international travellers. It feels completely different than Western countries, yet totally familiar. I recently got back from a trip there, and while it wasn't my first visit, I still learned a whole lot. Mainly, I figured out what kind of items are best to keep on you at all times.
If you'd like to see what Japan is like first hand, and maybe check out the Robot Restaurant for yourself, good news: Jetstar is offering return airfares to Osaka and Narita for as little as $419. Here are the details.