USEFUL AND ENJOYABLE LINKS
The following list is not meant to be exhaustive, but to give you a glimpses of everyday life in Japan—capturing its humor, irreverence, and moments of beauty as well. We also included a variety of information sites that give you tons of concrete and useful information on living in Japan. Most sites are in English or bilingual; a few are only Japanese.
I. SITES ABOUT EVERYDAY LIFE:
JAPAN FAQ: KNOW BEFORE YOU GO The Japan Web Guide's FAQ of Japan A teacher at Seinan University in Fukuoka published this detailed guide to the mechanics of living in Japan: finding an apartment (cheap) and getting utilities, banking and finance, mail, cars and transport, customs and tips. Very useful.
JAPAN WINDOW A good and thorough site by Andy & Hitomi Grey that takes you through all the nitty-gritty steps of Living in Japan, from Getting Started, Life Guides, Glimpses of Japan, to Something Completely Different.
ED JACOB'S QUIRKY JAPAN HOMEPAGE Lots of good things including Real Cool Places That Almost No One Ever Visits, the Honest Photographer, Budget Travel and Living Cheaply, Updated SAQ (seldom asked questions), Odd Shops and Vending Machine Heaven. You’ll learn lots of things that no one ever tells you here!
ED JACOB'S QUIRKY JAPAN INDEX Filled with funny, astonishing, and unsettling statistics; from the average monthly income of a pachinko player, to the percentage of elementary schools that teach students to ride unicycles, to the number of Foreign Ministry bureaucrats found to have used "improperly pooled funds" for personal purposes over a 5 year period. (under "Quirky Japan Index" on site) http://www.quirkyjapan.or.tv/
JAPAN FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT A set of real-life essays based on points of experience, or musings in this driver from his truck, such as finding a wallet and getting no thanks for getting it back to its owner. There are also photos, taken from the front seat of his truck. Lots of good stuff here too. English.
ENGRISH.COM A site compiled of English glitches from Japan and elsewhere from 29 areas of everyday life, including buildings, menus, anime/manga, and more, as contributed by astute onlookers. A fun site.
A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A KYOTO STREET "Our aim is to present about fifty photos in the period of one year showing the transitions of the seasons, the local festivals and everyday life." This site shows a real neighborhood with incredible black and white photographs taken in Kyoto's Higashiyama area. English.
REAL LIFE IN JAPAN Thumbnail sketches topics which might seem off the wall, but are important in grasping what is going on in Japan. Topics range from out-of-control grade school classes, to bicycle parking problems, to how to avoid blowing your nose in public. English. Check it out at:
JUSTIN'S TOKYO PAGES More than an amateur travel diary, this is a well-designed site with interesting essays—on love hotels, a snow festival in Northern Japan, and living as a free-lance journalist in Tokyo, among other things. Good pictures as well.
WHAT’S NORMAL IN JAPAN? is a fascinating homepage that asks people to write in and vote on questions like: "Do you use wash you hands in the stream of water that comes out of the toilet tank?", "At what age does a person become middle-aged", or "What flavor did you order the last time you went to a ramen shop?". Japanese.
THE WAY WE ARE: Photo Essays of 10 High School Students in Japan
Compiled from photographs taken by the students themselves along with short captions and messages. It helps if you can read between the lines here, but interesting portraits. Bilingual.
SURVIVAL–ONLINE GUIDES: Comprehensive list of online guides, for both Tokyo and Japan. Japan section includes lots of information links to Kids Web Japan, culture, games, music, job searching, and the BBC Guide to the most exciting websites in Japan.
II. SITES ABOUT STUDY, DAILY LIVING, & TRAVEL
SUPER JAPANESE [LANGUAGE] WEB SITES A resource site with lots of Japanese language sites, culture, food, news, and many other helpful and enjoyable sites for learning about Japan. Links are bilingual.
SHAUWECKER’S GUIDE TO JAPAN is a practical travel guide, with a focus on living in Japan. Tons of information on getting the best bargains out there in both travel and everyday life.
JAPANESE GUEST HOUSES This excellent service (in English) will make reservations for you at ryokan (inns) and minshuku (guest houses) all over Japan. It's free, and they have extensive listings.
47 PREFECTURES IN JAPAN gives you a good overview of every prefecture, and links to hotels, city guides and tourist attractions in the area. English.
WWOOF stands for Willing Workers On Organic Farms and is a great way to see the world on the cheap. In exchange for your labor, you'll be given free accommodation and food. Site is bilingual:
HYPERDIA an online tool that automatically plans train routes for any two destinations in Japan (and plane routes, too). Japanese only.
JAPAN UPDATE by Jan Dodd, author of the Rough Guide to Japan. Contains information gathered for the third edition of the Guide and is incredibly useful.
JAPAN UPDATE TOP 10S is Jan Dodd’s list of favorite places and most memorable experiences, including Tokyo, Kyoto, Onsen, and his Top 10 books and films on Japan.
JAPANREFERENCE.COM has a huge collection of Japan links that you can spend hours exploring. Bilingual site:
JAPAN FORUM focuses on elementary and secondary level. Many attractive sites for kids and adults. Bilingual site: