Culture Wars

Disappearing Japan served on pizza toast

Alan Booth’s The Roads to Sata created a modern English language book genre: Disappearing Japan, an endangered species that has been disappearing for decades, aka “the real Japan.” Whatever that is. I read Roads to Sata long ago and liked it, but that was before I had experiences to compare, […]

Mobile Payments

The Morning QR Code Buzz

For the past few days the same young gentleman has been in front of me in the tiny Ikegami LAWSON store self checkout line. Each time he attempts to navigate the touchscreen menu but is ultimately defeated and goes to a staffed checkout.. The self checkout supposed to go something […]

Help Desk

Inbound Mobile Suica Q&A

With more first time inbound visitors coming to Japan recently, there are many westerners experiencing highly integrated wide area public transit for the first time. This results in the same questions posted repeatedly on social media sites which isn’t very helpful because people who think they know the answer post […]


My Private Oeshiki

Japanese Buddhist memorial services are festive events. Even though family members dress in funeral attire, the mood is never somber. Kids like it because they get to eat sweets before and after the temple service. Adults like it because it’s a mini family reunion with good food and drink. Buddhist […]