Gaijin on Getas Blog

Posts in the ‘Japan’ Category

How much walking do we REALLY do?

Posted on December 21st, 2012 by Rachel Moore

Tour Group

Tour Group

Japan is so beautiful, and you seem to see more, take more in, and get more of a ‘cultural immersion’ experience when you travel by foot and public transportation.  Another common question that comes up when people are considering our tours is “How much walking is there, really?”  We have clients of all ages participate on our tours, and all are welcome, but you will want to be very comfortable with walking and staying on your feet for long periods of time.  We always suggest comfortable, broken in walking shoes to use on the tour.  We take public transportation everywhere. So we walk to the subway and train stations, then we walk to our destination which is always nearby, but may be a good 10-20 minute walk, and we are often on our feet going through wherever we are visiting.  We do encounter stairs, and while there are often elevators or escalators around, they are not everywhere and not always available. Read the full post »

There’s Something Fishy Going On With The Food Here…

Posted on November 23rd, 2012 by Rachel Moore

We will often get questions from people who are interested in taking our tours if it is possible to avoid fish in their meals.  There is so much more to Japanese food other than sushi and sashimi, but escaping fish all-together is near to impossible in Japan.  After all, it is a staple in Japanese cooking and the Japanese eat more fish per capita than any other country in the world!  You can avoid eating the actual pieces of fish, both raw and cooked, but there are so many things that you may eat and not even realize that there is fish in it.  I have enjoyed a lot of meals in Japan where they use fish broth and fish essence, and it often didn’t taste like fish was in it at all. By definition, here are a couple items that you may be unaware of. Read the full post »

Why (Free) Wifi Is So Hard To Find In Japan

Posted on October 26th, 2012 by Mike Roberts

Wifi (at least free Wifi), can be very difficult to find in Japan. Many of our customers will often ask why there are no, or very few, Wifi hotspots available at hotels and cafes in Japan. They mention that in their countries, many places offer free Wifi for guests. Often it is completely open, or you simply need to ask the staff for the password. “After all”, they ask, “Japan seems to be a very technologically advanced country (which it is), so what gives?” Read the full post »

Movie Review – Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Posted on September 15th, 2012 by Mike Roberts

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

At first glance, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is a foodie’s dream. A documentary made by David Gelb, it tells the story of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, generally considered to be one of the best, if not the best sushi chef in the world. The Japanese government has designated him as a Living National Treasure. His small, unassuming restaurant located in a Tokyo subway station with only 10 seats has become the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious three-star Michelin Guide rating. Sushi lovers from around the world go there, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar.

Read the full post »

Japanese Onsens

Posted on September 9th, 2012 by Mike Roberts

Dogo Onsen Honkan

Dogo Onsen Honkan

After traveling around Japan for all these years, I have come to really enjoy and appreciate the Japanese style baths. It is truly relaxing, and part of the Japanese experience that shouldn’t be missed. Bathing is an important part of Japanese life and culture. And one of the best places to experience bathing in Japan are at onsens. However, over the years I have become aware there is a basic misunderstanding of what an onsen is.



Read the full post »

Ozu’s Tokyo Story Selected as the “Greatest Movie ever Made”

Posted on August 29th, 2012 by Mike Roberts

Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Ohara in Tokyo Story

Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara in Tokyo Story

The 1953 film “Tokyo Story” (東京物語 or Tokyo monogatari) by Yasujiro Ozu was selected as “the greatest film ever made” in a poll of movie directors conducted once a decade by the British Film Institute. The organization’s monthly publication, Sight and Sound, reported that Ozu’s masterpiece was the top choice of 358 film directors, including Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Quentin Tarantino.  Read the full post »

Himeji Castle Renovations

Posted on August 26th, 2012 by Mike Roberts

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle

There is little doubt that Himeji Castle is the best castle to visit in Japan About three years ago, the renovation of Himeji Castle was announced in order to preserve the castle for future generations, and to pass on the old methods to the future generations for whenever the next renovation will be needed. The renovation began in April of 2010, and is scheduled to last about 5 years. At present, the renovation is about half-way completed. After seeing a special on NHK about the renovation on Himeji Castle which grabbed my interest, I decided to visit myself to find out how things are progressing.  Read the full post »

Shinsengumi – Peace Keepers or Assassins?

Posted on August 20th, 2012 by Mike Roberts

Modern-day romanticized version of the Shinsengumi

Modern-day romanticized version of the Shinsengumi

The late Edo Period and early Meiji Period (approximately 1855 to 1875) was a very chaotic time in Japan and Kyoto. In 1854, the Tokugawa Shogunate was accused by fuedal lords around Japan of caving in to demands from Commodore Perry to open the harbors to American whaling ships. This was seen as an act of weakness, and many people began to call for the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the reinstatement of the emperor of Japan as the supreme power of the land. Read the full post »

10 Ways to Save Money While Dining Out in Japan

Posted on April 21st, 2012 by Mike Roberts

 One of the biggest misconceptions about Japan we run into commonly is the idea that food in Japan is very expensive. While some things such as fruit are much more expensive (but usually much better), there are many things that are not. And there are many things you can do to save money dining out while you are in Japan. After all, you’ve got to ask yourself: the per capita income in Japan is a little lower than in America. If food was so expensive, how could the Japanese live on that income. (Then again, maybe that’s why there are so many thin Japanese.) But seriously, there are things you can do to cut costs, and still enjoy the wonderful Japanese food. The secret is simple: do as the Japanese do. Read the full post »

Kurosawa Movie One-Liners

Posted on March 25th, 2012 by Mike Roberts

 As a movie lover, it is interesting to see how some lines from a movie are able to entrench themselves into a culture. For example, who has not heard the lines “We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto”, “Go ahead, make my day”, “I’ll be back” and “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” to name just a few. I find myself using these and many other movie-one liners in my everyday conversations. Well, the same thing happens in Japan with Japanese movies as well of course. While maybe a little more difficult for westerners to understand, many of them are worthwhile listing here. Because he is the master, I will focus on Kurosawa in ths blog. We will concentrate on other film makers in a later blog. Read the full post »