Kyocera Card-Keitai E-ink Phone Runs Android (video):

Aside from a single model made by Onyx, E-ink phones are basically dead as a door nail. Ar at least they were until Kyocera released the Card-Keitai phone in Japan last year.

This phone sports a 2.8″ E-ink screen with frontlight and touchscreen. It weighs 47 grams, and has both Wifi and 4G LTE. Retail is around 330 euros, and it is reportedly only available through NTT.

The Card-Keitai is apparently running a very limited version of Android. It only has a few apps, and is mostly intended to act as a companion to your smartphone. That would really make it something closer to the Txtr Beagle or the Oaxis Inkcase, only a lot more expensive and with a little more functionality.

Neither the Inkcase nor the Beagle had much success before they were discontinued, and it is very likely that the Card-Keitai will follow the same path.

(Via The Digital Reader)

Who do I know with an NTT account that can hook me up? Or maybe I just watch for them to be released on eBay?

Kirie Octopus Cut From a Single Piece of Paper by Masayo Fukuda:

all photos courtesy Masayo Fukuda

Kirie (切り絵, literally ‘cut picture’) is the Japanese art of paper-cutting. Variations of kirie can be found in cultures around the world but the Japanese version is said to be derived from religious ceremonies and can be traced back to around the AD 700s. In its most conventional form, negative space is cut from a single sheet of white paper and then contrasted against a black background to reveal a rendering. Veteran kirie artist Masayo Fukuda has been practicing the art from for 25 years and recently revealed what she says is her greatest masterpiece of 2018.

Although the intricate piece looks like several layers overlapped, Fukuda stayed true to the conventional form, using only a single sheet of paper to render her detailed depiction of an octopus. The level of detail at times even looks like a fine ballpoint pen drawing. But a closer look confirms indeed that each and every detail is carefully made from cut-out negative space in the white paper.

If you’re interested in Fukuda’s work, she’ll be showcasing her kirie in a joint exhibition planned for next year. She’ll be showing her work along with fellow kirie artist Jun at Miraie Gallery in Osaka from April 24 – April 30, 2019.

Fukuda also shared this image as a teaser to her upcoming show, which would suggest that we can expect more stunning cut-outs of underwater life

(Via Spoon & Tamago)

I like the summary at Open Culture:

At first glance, the octopus in the video above might appear to be breathing. A second look reveals that it isn’t actually breathing, nor is it actually an octopus at all, but seemingly just a highly detailed drawing of one. Only upon the third look, if even then, does it become clear that the octopus has been not drawn but intricately cut, and out of a single large sheet of paper at that. The two-dimensional sea creature represents a recent high point in the work of Japanese artist Masayo Fukuda, who has practiced this curious craft, known as kirie, for more than a quarter of a century now.

Very cool.

All You Need to Know before Coming to Work in Japan- Taxes, Salary, Pension, Insurances and Work:

You either have a passion for the Japanese culture or just want to eat sushi every day, you’ve probably decided already:
“I want to live in Japan!”
Am I right?
However, there is some important information you need to find out before deciding to come here!
What I will cover in this article will be related to money. More precisely, the amount of salary paid by companies, taxes and reasons.

From a monthly salary of 200,000 yen you get deducted 20 %?!

Have you heard someone saying that “When you are looking for work (be it contract, temporary, part time or full time) in Japan, you are drawn 20% of your salary?” and thought to yourself “Maybe a tax? But Why so much? Is it mandatory?”

In this article, I will explain thoroughly what and why 20% is deducted and many other important things you should know if you are planning to work here!

Income tax

In fact, the income tax in Japan depends on the annual income.

You can see more details on the NTA Website. *Japanese Only

If the salary is less than 1,300,000 yen per year and the monthly income is less than 88,000 yen, income tax is not applied.
Then, in the case of more than 1,300,000 yen, how much will be the tax?

Here`s an example to help you understand it better:

First of all, let’s take a person whose monthly salary is 200,000 yen a month as an example.
For a salary of 200,000 yen a month, the annual income will be 2,4 million yen. In this case, the income tax will be around 56,000 yen per year and if you convert it, the tax deducted every month will be 4,700 yen.

Besides taxes is anything else being deducted?

Yes, below there are more details about everything being withdrawn from your salary:

The largest amount withdrawn is the for the company`s insurance.

The company`s insurance is a social insurance system that includes health insurance, welfare pension insurance, employment insurance, workers compensation insurance etc.

I will briefly explain the types of insurance included in the social insurance system:

1. Health insurance

Health insurance is a type of coverage that pays for medical/surgical expenses( injury, illness, childbirth, death) incurred by the insured/a person who works for a company. Even if you are not a Japanese citizen, cases when you get sick or suffer an injury may happen, so the state / municipality will bear a part of the expenses(such as treatment expenses).

In addition, there are situations when you may surpass a certain amount for high-cost medical expenses, but you can receive a refund after. For more details, please refer to the Kenporeon Website. *Japanese Only

When paying for health insurance, you automatically receive an insurance card that you`ll need to show whenever you go for a health check/hospital.

2. Pension Insurance

The employees’ pension insurance is a public pension system for the employees. It is a system for people with ages between 20 and 59 years old that provide benefits when retiring; the accumulated amount will be received according to the Old-Age Benefits. There are also unfortunate cases that lead to death (because of illness, disability or injuries) when the family gets the pension of the deceased one.

There are disadvantages such as paying insurance for over 10 years in order to receive an employee’s pension and also the current system says you can only get it when you turn 65 years old. So, there are many things to take in consideration when it comes to your future.
For those that are freelancers, temporary workers, unemployed people, etc. they will need to join the “National Pension”system and pay themselves.

In the present Japan, according to a set of factors(mainly working conditions), joining the system becomes mandatory and I will explain it in detail below:

If (A) and (B) below are Regular three-quarter or full time employees, they are insured persons.

(A) Working hours
-If the working time per week is at least one of a Regular three-quarter employee

(B) Number of working days
-If the working time per month is at least one of a Regular three-quarter employee

So, the number of working hours should be over 30 hours and the number of working days per month, more than 15 days.
The reason is that the company calculates the employee`s working time reported to 5 days a week /8 hours per day, 40 hours × 3/4 = 30 hours or more, deducting the national holidays/weekends, the monthly working days will be calculated as 20 days × 3/4 = 15 days or more.

Based on the income amount of the previous example here is how I calculated it:

-The health insurance: in standard remuneration monthly amount × 4.95% (Tokyo metropolitan government`s case), the rate varies in the whole country.
-Employees’ Pension: Standard remuneration monthly fee × 9.15% (Individual share)
-The social insurance from a monthly salary of 200,000 yen(9,900 per day), the contribution amount of the welfare pension will be about 18,300 yen monthly.

Now, what happens if:

“I paid the national pension in Japan, but can it be refunded if I go back to my country?”

A partial refund is possible but it depends on the period of payment(details are described on the home page of the Japan Pension Organization`s Website)

3. Employment Insurance

Employment insurance (insurance) is a system of insurance concerning unemployment / employment continuation etc. based on employment insurance law in Japan. The insurer is the Japanese government.
A typical benefit is “job seeker benefit” (so-called unemployment insurance) that can receive for a certain period of time when unemployed.
The insurance that the employer must notify the participation to workers who work 20 hours a week.

The amount paid is the amount of 5/1000 minutes of face value of salaried money, and if you earn 200,000 yen per month it is about 1000 yen amount.
Likewise, if you work within 20 hours a week, you do not need to pay employment insurance, but if you work for more than 20 hours, you need to pay, and it will be a non-refundable insurance.

4. Resident’s tax

Another tax you`ll have to pay is the inhabitant tax(a tax on income).
Same as income tax, there is a tax rate to decide an inhabitant`s tax amount. However, the resident will get it deducted from the previous year`s income and won`t get it withdrawn from his/hers first salary.
Residents` taxes vary depending on the prefecture/city you live in; for example,Tokyo’s residence tax is about 9,958 yen.

Conclusion

To summarize the above explanation, it is a fact that you can not receive the full salary because a small amount from it will be deducted monthly according to the working hours for that month in order to pay the taxes mandatory for the country.
Of course, there are cases when some people have a really low income, therefore the tax they will be paying will also be lower and entering the company`s insurance won`t be mandatory for such situations. However, if the monthly salary is 200,000 yen, the insurance company, employment insurance, resident taxes` all together deducted will result into an amount of 43,858 yen, almost 20% of the salary you are supposed to be getting.

Also, as explained earlier, for your first working year in Japan, you won`t be needing to pay the residence tax. So, with 200,000 yen per month, the amount withdrawn, such as company insurance, employment insurance, income tax, etc., will be about 33,900 yen. (That means a few differences in trial calculations).

People who work in Japan and those who plan on coming here in the future have to comprehend the circumstances of all these Japanese tax and insurances introduced above, know what what they are paying and have an idea of what to expect or what to ask for when working for a company in Japan. That way, living here will become much easier when you know get a hold of the situation.

Also, in case of troubles with your employer, such as unpaid salary, contracts not being respected etc., you can consult with “Tokyo Labor Counseling Information Center”`s labor standards supervision department.

“Tokyo Labor Counseling Information Center Website”

We will continue following this topic on our Website, so if there is anything in particular you`d like to know, please leave a comment or contact us on email.

(Via Japan Info)

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the above, so don’t take it as actual tax advice. However, in my experience it seems a decent summary of the things one should think about before pulling up stakes. I would have liked this kind of summary before I moved. Please note that I fixed some formatting and English above, but your mileage may still vary.

6 New Year’s Resolutions to Make If You Live in Japan:

As we step into 2019, here are six suggestions for achievable resolutions that can have a positive effect on both you and your surroundings.

Be More Minimalist

While there are many benefits to living in Tokyo, small apartments are not one of them. Instead of constantly rearranging your possessions like a game of Tetris, convert to a more minimalist living arrangement (bound to refresh your headspace, too). Take inspiration from the abundance of Japanese interior style magazines or read up on space saving and life fixing theologies from experts like Marie Kondo and Fumio Sasaki. Organize your wardrobe, commit to decluttering and embrace the ethos of “less is more.”

PLUS: Read our interview with Marie Kondo at hyperurl.co/TWmariekondo

Reduce Your Plastic Waste

China recently introduced a ban on importing plastic waste, which means the 1.5 million tonnes previously being offloaded from Japan each year now have nowhere to go. How can you help? Switch takeout cups and PET bottles for “keep cups” and flasks, and replace plastic straws with reusable metal or silicon alternatives. Keep eco bags on hand, say no to plastic shoppers, and try to change out your regular purchases for sustainably packaged products. Some brands, like LUSH cosmetics, even offer rewards for customers who recycle empty plastic bottles back in their stores.

PLUS: More green tips at hyperurl.co/TWgreen

Get Active, Japanese Style

Arguably the most frequently broken New Year’s resolution is to lose weight or get in shape. To help make exercising more motivating, mix in some culture and take a class in one of Japan’s traditional sports or performing arts, for example martial arts, matsuri dancing or taiko drumming. If low cost and low impact is more your thing, even practicing radio taisou morning exercises can be a step in the right direction. Tune in at home on your TV or radio, or head to your local park to stretch alongside your neighbors.

PLUS: Five Tokyo martial arts classes to try at hyperurl.co/TWmartialarts

Improve Your Cooking Repertoire

While Japan has an abundance of diverse cuisine on offer, few foreigners ever attempt to make authentic dishes at home. Make 2019 the year you master healthy Japanese home cooking. From cute bentos to homemade gyoza, there are dozens of books, video tutorials and cooking schools out there to sharpen your skills. You’ll even find local cooking teachers on skill-sharing apps and in meetup communities who run classes from their own kitchens.

PLUS: Our favorite Tokyo cooking classes at hyperurl.co/TWcookingclasses

Try Your Hand at Horticulture

Getting in touch with nature can reduce stress, keep you active and improve your mood, regardless of whether it’s cultivating houseplants or organic vegetable farming. Lately, the demand for shimin noen (city farms) and allotment plots has been increasing, so try contacting your local ward office to find out if there is space available or a community project with which you can get involved. Your apartment balcony or rooftop are also potential green spaces where growing plants, flowers, herbs and vegetables will not only have aesthetic and culinary benefits but can also provide a crucially needed habitat for the endangered honeybees who help sustain our agriculture system on a much larger scale.

PLUS: How to add greenery to your balcony at hyperurl.co/TWgardening

Visit Recovering Areas

When choosing your vacation spots this year, consider supporting areas that have been hit by natural disasters. The Tohoku region, for example, is still working hard to recover after the devastating 2011 tsunami. Tourists remain less than a tenth of what they were before the disaster, and local industries and agriculture are struggling to sustain business. In order to regenerate communities and restore valuable landmarks, affected areas rely heavily on the support of visitors in order to repair and flourish. Up-to-date online resources make it easy to research and confirm any potential dangers and closures before you visit.

PLUS: Top things to do, see and eat in Tohoku at hyperurl.co/TWtohoku

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Via Tokyo Weekender)

I’m not going to grow anything, but the other five seem doable.

Seijin No Hi: Celebrate Japanese Coming of Age Day in Japan:

Learning about the different holidays in Japan is a great step in better understanding Japan’s culture. This is because Japanese holidays and traditions offer both insight into the country’s past and values, as well as opportunities to learn the language itself more efficiently. (Because context can mean everything!)

In particular, Coming of Age Day in Japan holds great value to the country’s youth and elderly alike. This is a day to celebrate all of those Japanese youth who have turned 20 years old, Japan’s legal age of adulthood.

In addition to celebrating this momentous occasion in every Japanese adult’s life, this day is also designed to encourage them to be the best adults they can be.

Despite the fact that what was once one of the most popular Japanese holidays is losing momentum, many people still hold to this holiday’s traditions in Japan.

Learn more about this monumental day in the lives of young Japanese adults, including vocabulary and information about the Coming of Age Ceremony in Japan, with JapanesePod101.com.

1. Why Should You Know About Coming of Age Day?

Coming of Age Day in Japan is an exciting day for the country’s youth, and is celebrated throughout Japan. This day is a reflection of Japan’s culture in that it promotes the wellbeing and success of those who have officially become adults.

The passage from childhood to adulthood is important in Japanese culture (as it is around the world!), and in Japan this happens at the age of 20. As one of the most significant public holidays in Japan, there are some interesting holiday traditions in Japan for recognizing it.

Learn more about Japanese Coming of Age Day and its significance to the Japanese people!

2. What is Coming of Age Day in Japan?

Young People Celebrating Coming of Age Day

On Japanese Coming of Age Day (or Seijin no hi), Japan celebrates its youth who have turned 20 years old—the age which signifies official adulthood. And this is no minor celebration; it’s celebrated openly across the country, and is one of the most popular Japanese holidays.

This day is marked by the Coming of Age Ceremony, during which town officials around Japan hold celebrations for these new adults to welcome them into adulthood.

3. When is it?

The Month of January

Japanese Coming of Age Day takes place on the second Monday of January each year. For your convenience, here’s a quick list of the date of this holiday for the next ten years:

  • 2019: January 14
  • 2020: January 13
  • 2021: January 11
  • 2022: January 10
  • 2023: January 9
  • 2024: January 8
  • 2025: January 13
  • 2026: January 12
  • 2027: January 11
  • 2028: January 10

4. How is it Celebrated?

1- Coming of Age Ceremony

On this day, the most important celebration is a Coming of Age Ceremony; one of these ceremonies takes place in various regions of Japan. All those who’ve turned 20 years old attend and are granted congratulations by town officials, as well as given a souvenir to remember the event by.

These ceremonies also serve as an opportunity for the new Japanese adults to step up and show their maturity. It’s common for there to be a “representative” participant at these ceremonies, who gives a speech on behalf of each new Japanese adult. Oftentimes, these speeches contain promises of growing to become good and successful people, as well as hope for the future.

Another special feature of the Coming of Age Ceremony is that participants from the previous year are also welcomed to attend. This not only allows the new adults to see their older friends and acquaintances; it also gives the older visitors the opportunity to cheer on their younger friends and reflect on their own Coming of Age Ceremony the year before.

2- Dress

It’s common for the young people to dress up in nice traditional clothing, particularly the young women who wear a 振袖 (ふりそで) or “furisode,” which is a special type of kimono. Men tend to opt for a suit and tie themselves, but on occasion will choose to wear a kimono with a 袴 (はか)
or “hakama,” which are like loose-fitting trousers.

3- Food and Fun

After the ceremonies are over, some of the young people choose to spend time partying with their close friends and family. Oftentimes, they go out drinking and enjoy eating 赤飯 (せきはん),
or “sekihan,” which is a popular dish with rice and red beans often associated with holidays and special events.

Despite recent changes in the holiday (namely: lesser participation among youths and lowered age of maturity to 18 soon to take effect), it remains a significant day in the lives of many new adults and their families.

5. Must-Know Vocab for Coming of Age Day

Now that you’ve learned more about Japanese Coming of Age Day, let’s delve into some vocabulary you should know to celebrate this Japanese holiday to its fullest!

  • スーツ (スーツ)
  • English Translation: Suit
  • 袴 (はか)
    • English Translation: Hakama (loose-fitting trousers sometimes worn by young men on this day)
  • 成人の日 (せいじんのひ)
    • English Translation: Coming of Age Day
  • 振袖 (ふりそで)
    • English Translation: Furisode (a special kimono worn by females on this day)
  • 二十歳 (はたち)
    • English Translation: Twenty years old
  • お祝い (おいわい)
    • English Translation: Celebration
  • 成人式 (せいじんしき)
    • English Translation: Coming of age ceremony
  • 赤飯 (せきはん)
    • English Translation: Sekihan (a dish with rice and red beans)
  • 1月の第2月曜日 (いちがつの だいにげつようび)
    • English Translation: The second Monday of January
  • 新成人 (しんせいじん)
    • English Translation: New adult
  • 羽織 (はおり)
    • English Translation: Haori coat (a type of coat worn on top of a kosode)

    If you want to learn how to pronounce these words, be sure to check out our Japanese Coming of Age Day word list. Here, you can find audio pronunciations along with each word to help you better learn them.

    Conclusion

    Now you have a greater knowledge of Japanese Coming of Age Day, including the most important vocabulary for you to know.

    If you want to learn even more about Japanese culture, be sure to visit JapanesePod101.com! We have an array of helpful tools to help you learn Japanese efficiently and in an entertaining manner. These include vocabulary lists, blog posts on various Japanese topics, and our MyTeacher app which gives you access to one-on-one training as you learn Japanese.

    We hope you found this article helpful, and that you enjoy your Coming of Age Day celebration in Japan!

    (Via JapanesePod101.com Blog)

    I am stuck 1 stop from home on the Yamanote line. I wonder what is happening.

    UPDATE: I got off the train. It passed me 5 minutes later with 2 more hot on its caboose

    Apple Maps Japan adds Indoor Mall Maps:

    Apple continues their slow rollout of Indoor Maps for Japan. Tokyo Narita and Nagoya Chubu Airport indoor maps were added in September (Haneda and Kansai are still missing). Indoor Mall Maps have been added for a few Tokyo locations. So far I have identified Kitte, the old post office site next to Tokyo station, Ginza Six and Roppongi Hills. There are probably more in other metropolitan areas but we won’t know until Apple updates the iOS Feature Availability page which can take forever. Unfortunately underground station malls maps for important places like Tokyo, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro are missing. Good luck navigating those monster mazes on your own.

    (via ATAdistance.net)

    Every trickle of map improvement is a bonus. It’s funny to me that Kitte gets the treatment this early, but maybe the fact that it is easy to navigate without help makes it easy to add to Maps?

    While Christianity officially arrived in Japan with Portuguese traders in the 1540s, Aomori legend says that Jesus himself is buried in the mountain village of Shingo. Ancient documents unearthed, and subsequently lost, in the 1930s purportedly reveal the Messiah eluded crucifixion, moved to northern Japan, became a garlic farmer, had three daughters and died in Shingo at the age 106. His tomb has a website. Two thousand years later, Christmas Eve is celebrated in Tokyo as a date night with fried chicken. Celebrate the season, for whatever your reason, with these Yuletide events.

    (Via TokyoCheapo)

    Japanese Food Reimagined as Stationery by Johnny:

    Japan’s love for all things stationery can’t be denied. And their reputation as a nation of foodies also holds true. So it was only a matter of time before the two collided.
    Wasabi tube highlighters. They also have grated ginger (yellow) and plum (pink) tubes
    Tokyo-based design and planning firm Geo Design came up with a series of stationery products inspired by Japanese food and food accessories. Their lineup includes wasabi tube highlighters, kamaboko stickies, tofu notepads and chopstick ballpoint pens. They’re make for an easy way to add some playfulness to any desk, which is exactly what the company set out to do.
    If you can navigate their Japanese website, all the products are available through the design company’s online shop.
    Kamaboko stickies that come in pink and white. tofu note pages that replicate the texture of tofu chopstick ballpoint pens
    Japanese Realistic Fake Food Bookmarks Park Pens: twigs packaged to look like stationery

    Tres chic, non?

    This is also a post where I am testing a new iOS Shortcuts shortcut.

    You may remember that, in Japan, you can rent fake family members to fight loneliness (or for other reasons, like you want your kid to have a “dad”). Well, Conan O’Brien has been filming in Japan and, while in Tokyo, he hired a new wife, daughter, and father. He told them right from the start that they must laugh at his jokes (his real wife is “tired” of them, he says) and they do, even when it’s inappropriate. It’s funny, as are the other “Conan Without Borders” videos he and his crew shot in Japan. You can watch them all at the Team Coco website. If you love vending machines like I do, don’t miss the one labeled “Tokyo.”

    Conan’s Japanese rent-a-family is told to laugh at all his jokes / Boing Boing

    My friends got a kick out of Conan’s Japan trip. Most have no idea who he is but delighted in the absurdity.