Proof-of-purchase tape

| Mar 17, 2014

Proof-of-purchase tape

Dear Alice, I find the amount of unnecessary packaging in Japan shocking, and in an effort to live light on the Earth, I take my own bag with me whenever I go shopping. Yet, when I decline a bag at the register, the clerk ...

Coastal shipping

| Feb 17, 2014

Coastal shipping

Dear Alice, I spotted what I think must be a very unusual ship while riding my bike along the Tokyo waterfront near Wakasu Park. It was like a ferry, in that trucks were driving up a ramp right into the boat. But at the ...

Kobe beef

| Dec 16, 2013

Kobe beef

Dear Alice, I’m making my first trip to Japan early next year, and there are two things on my “must do in Japan” list: see Eric Clapton play at the Budokan, and eat Kobe beef. (Actually, I want to be Kobe beef, spending my ...

Fender mirrors

| Nov 18, 2013

Fender mirrors

Dear Alice, I was a bit of a car nut when I was a boy, and while I’ve moved on to other interests, my eyes still tend to be drawn to automobiles. This is why, on my first visit to Japan just recently, I ...

Elevation signs

| Oct 21, 2013

Elevation signs

Dear Alice, Over the summer, a new sign appeared on the wall of the elementary school closest to where I live. The sign includes the English words “above sea level,” along with some kanji and numerals, so I assume its informing us of the ...

Oversized trash

| Sep 16, 2013

Oversized trash

Dear Alice, The other day, on the street outside the building next to mine, I saw a nice looking table with a sodai gomi (oversized garbage) sticker it. When I returned with a tape measure to see if the table would fit in my ...

Okigusuri

| Jun 18, 2013

Okigusuri

Dear Alice, I was on a two-week home stay in the countryside of Japan when a visitor came to the house. I don’t think he was expected, but my home-stay mother greeted him like an old friend and fetched a plastic drawer-box from the ...