Monday, October 19, 2009

Refills do not exist

One thing that I have learned from living in Japan is that I take free refills, available at many establishments in the U.S., for granted. There is essentially no such thing as a free refill in Japan. Not anywhere. This includes McDonald's (which in itself will be the topic of another post in the future) or any fast food restaurant. I think I have HEARD of one mythical place that offers free refills (must find...), but that's the extent of free refills in Japan.

And to make matters worse, the amount of drink that they do give you is extremely small and quite insufficient to (especially my) drinking needs. The tasty beverage is NOT filled to the top by any means; I would say there is often a solid inch of free (i.e. wasted) space left between the liquid and the top of the cup. Add that to the space that ice takes up, and you got yourself one small drink. And this, of course, also applies to ALL places. I have never gotten a substantial enough amount of beverage anytime I order a drink... which always leaves me with a big frowny face and a desperate attempt to drink every possible drop (which, if there is a straw, doesn't create a pleasant sound for those around). And added to the fact that there are no free refills, I have begun to skipping the whole ordering a drink thing, saving me a lot of frustration and disappointment (not to mention money).

I will try to secure a photo of this as soon as possible.

So, to end, don't come to Japan for the refills.

Just to note, all of this applies especially to fast food establishments. When it should be the opposite in my opinion.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

ZIMA - It's the shit here

This is going to be the first in a group of ongoing posts known as "Shit That Sucks in the U.S, but is Somehow Popular in Japan." (trust me, there is plenty of this to have an ongoing segment about it) Today's topic: motherfuckin Zima.

Anyone who was alive in the 90's in the U.S. knows what Zima is, but probably hasn't thought about it since the 00's rolled around. Despite being the first drink of it's kind ever, spawning the creation of many more like it (e.g. Smirnoff Ice), it failed and U.S. production was halted. However, that hip, new alcoholic beverage that was pushed so heavily but was more of a joke than a drink in the U.S. is alive and fully kicking in Japan. Yeah, that's right, people love Zima here. When I say "kicking," I mean fucking thriving; there isn't a bar, club, or convenient store that doesn't sell Zima. They love it so much they they have different TYPES of Zima (such as Orange Zima), much like Smirnoff Ice.

Zima..... ORANGE

If you didn't know, the big joke about Zima in the U.S. is that it was the girliest possible drink (as I mentioned earlier, it WAS the first drink of it's kind ever, preceding Smirnoff Ice and all the others that are now quite popular). This somewhat explains its popularity here. For the most part, people in Japan love their sugary/light (i.e. "girly") drinks. Love. And not just girls by any means, men love them and drink them just as much (this is in general of course, not every Japanese person is like this). So, I have a feeling this is why Zima has been able to do so well here. But honestly, who cares? It's god damn Zima. It's a mystery.

I, for one, still haven't tried the clear beverage. But, I guess I have to now that I live here, I'm actually extremely curious but also a little scared of what might happen. I'll post an update with the review. To leave you, here's a pretty sweet advertisement for Zima I came across in an izakaya (basically all drinking establishments in Japan are known as "izakayas." Learn it well.)

Yeah, that's a monkey holding up 300 yen (in order to buy himself a Zima). Hope this really drives my point home of how popular Zima is here.

They sell single eggs

Not much more to it than that. Here's a another angle of the packaging:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Let's start with something easy

So here's my first actual post about something in Japan that you probably didn't know about. And it has to do with bicycles. Yes, bicycles.

Like most countries that aren't the United States, bicycles are an extremely popular form of transportation in Japan. Therefore theft runs high, as it does anywhere where there are a good number of bikes around. To prevent this, ALL bikes COME with a very convenient, easy to use, and rather small, but also very effective lock already installed on the back wheel. My bike has one. All bikes have one. Here's a nifty little picture to show you how they work that I found on the world wide websites (I would have gone out and taken a picture of my own bike right now, but it's quite dark outside at the moment. Plus this has all the steps to it anyway)

source -

So when you buy a bike, you also get a handy little lock and keys with it. Not to mention the fact that you never have to carry around any sort of large, unwieldy lock at any time of your life just to make sure your bike isn't stolen by some fool. It's pretty clever and very convenient, so way to go Japan.

Ok so maybe this one isn't so interesting. But they're going to get better, I promise. I just wanted to get something on here, and this was an easy one. I am very excited for some future ones, but they will require much more effort. But, they're worth it, so look forward to it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

To get us started

Quick intro: I'm an American living in Japan (Tokyo area), working full time. I studied abroad in Japan before (see here, a site into which much effort was put) when I was still a college student, but that was more of a vacation, this shit's the real deal now. Living here and taking care of ALL of your own things (nobody holding your hand here) is interesting to say the least.

Anyway, through living here I know and see and notice things about Japan that anyone who DOESN'T live here full time would probably never know. And I'm not talking about boring shit like "oh there are vending machines everywhere isn't that so NEAT?!" No no, those are the slightly interesting things that are very obvious to anyone who takes one step into Japan. The stuff I'm gonna put on here amazes even me and is not talked about when Japan is brought up (there's the "you probably don't know about it" part).

Therefore, I have decided to start this blog to share the wonderful, relatively unknown wonders of Japan with the world (whenever I have time). Some will be very specific and some will be very general. I already have a list of things going around in my head that I want to put on here, so as Eminem finely stated in some stupid song, get ready, this shit is about to get crazy.