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Resolution: drinking water just after waking up

Is drinking water just after waking up good for you?

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Today is January second and if you are already hard at work on your New Year’s resolution: congratulations. If you are yet to start of are struggling, don’t worry. A New year’s resolution is a promise to change your life style- it is a marathon NOT a sprint.

After starting to establish a sleep schedule, another small habit to add is drinking water in the morning- just after waking up.

Drinking water upon waking up has several reported benefits even if some of them are more placebolike in nature. Several sources state that drinking water on waking up will help your metabolism, help your concentration levels, help you eat less and help flush out toxins. But does it really help?

It is likely when waking up you may be dehydrated or in the early stages of dehydration. Dehydration does affect concentration levels so rehydrating does help with cognitive ability. Fun fact, the myth that hydration levels can be judged by urine colour is mostly a myth- there are many other things to take into account.

Next, does drinking water help with your metabolism or help flush out toxins? Simply put, there is no direct evidence to support any of this but many sources have claimed that drinking water on waking up has helped them with starting a healthy lifestyle and maintaining body weight.

What is the point then? I drink water in the morning because I have found it useful- as it helps reduce my appetite and eat less- but it is not exactly a scientific study.

This is but one small step towards a healthier lifestyle and its benefit is something you need to decide yourself. I would recommend drinking water with a slice of lemon in it for extra taste, but that is my preference.

Thank you for reading and heathy exploring.

The month ahead: resolutions

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It’s been quite a month- even if you disregard the 2 weeks when I was unable to post.

I hope awareness month did prove to be useful and don’t worry- I’ll continue to post topics that I believe need more attention but this will also include global topics- not just Japan.

Now January, and as said in the “goodbye Japan” post, I will be leaving Japan this year which is not something I planned for but is something that I must do. But don’t worry, you will only see this change in April. So, in the meantime, please expect some posts about leaving Japan.

Now resolutions: for many people the new year is a time for change and renewal but most people fail their resolutions as they try to do too much, too soon. What I will post will be a step-by-step guide to being health in Japan. It’ll start small and build up and I will be following this as well.

Resolution 1

For January 1st, the first step is simple: get up at the same time most days. A steady sleep schedule is required as a foundation for a healthy lifestyle. What I have discovered during my life in Japan is simple- Japan operates on Japanese time and most places are open during the day with few things being open outside the 9-5 life.

Additionally, a sleep schedule allows a regular sleep pattern and reduces the chances of some NCDs (non-commutable diseases) such as high blood pressure, diabetes (if you saw my previous post I’m not diabetic woot!), risk of heart disease etc. Furthermore, sleep deprivation can contribute towards loss of balance, mood changes, loss of libido (sex-drive), weakened immunity, and memory issues.

Do all of that sound like a fun time to you? No, well get some sleep! The practise of getting enough sleep is called “sleep health” and getting enough sleep is a global problem- mostly in HDCs (highly-developed countries i.e. the US, UK, Germany, Japan etc). Some things you can do improve your sleep health is reducing screen-time before bed-time, exercise daily, and have a relaxing bedtime ritual.

It is something I am working on as well- don’t worry I’m no where near perfect either!


2019 a year in review

2019 has been a hectic year for me and a lot has happened. It was the year I came back to Japan as a working professional instead of an exchange student- which has been an interesting experience, and I am very happy I did so. However, my ambitions for my future lie beyond Japan- so it is also the year that, in some respects, I must forget about Japan.

Coming to Japan, I was a smoker and extremely overweight (read obese). When I came to Japan on the 4th of January, I was 128 kg and at time of writing I am 97.5 kg- a definite improvement but there is still a lot more work to be done!

With regard to smoking, again at time of writing, I have not smoked for 6 months, 5 days and 1 hour- and I don’t miss it. It will take a lot of time for my body to recover from the abuse I put it under, but I’m going in the right direction.

The other resolution that is popular is exercising more and again I accomplished that. Exercise has become an important part of my life because strangely, it is when I do my best thinking- about my future, about my life currently and about future posts and plot points for my stories I write.

Alas, 2019 also brought about challenges including the deaths of my Uncle Kevin and my Grandmother. I knew before coming to Japan that I could be unable to say goodbye if someone died- but facing this reality was completely different. Additionally, my last remaining grandparent, my Nana, has been diagnosed with stage 3/4 Parkinson’s disease (which is the reason for my repatriation in April).

Furthermore, there was a period of time that my father and sister faced challenges that I have been unable to help them with including hospitalization, medical emergencies, problems with hosing, social isolation and depression- things that I would have been able to help with. Finally, I would have been able to help my cousins (or at least offer help) when their father died.

While I have experienced some brilliant things in Japan, I feel I have also experienced hardships as well. So please be aware of this if you are coming to Japan- there will be positives and negatives as well.

My final note on 2019: it’s been a mixed bag but I think many other people also feel this way as well.

How was 2019 for you? Good, bad, or indifferent?

Thank you for reading and happy exploring in 2020.

What’s on: World Masters Games

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If you have been looking at your available vaction time in 2020 and have come to realise that attending the Tokyo Olympics will remain a dream, don’t worry Japan still has your back!

In 2021, the World Masters Games will take place in the Kansai region. This event will start on the 14th of May 2021 and will finish on the 30th of May 2021.

What is it?

The world masters games is the largest international multi-sports event which is open to anyone of “masters” age or 25 years old and older. Anyone can enter any even if it is NOT a world championship for that sport.

There are currently 59 events to take place in 35 locations in the 9 prefectures of the Kansai region, which is said to be the cultural heart of Japan.

What is the point?

Like any sporting event, the main 3 winners (first, second, and third) get a “beautifully crafted custom designed medals” and also and more importantly, the IMGA (the International Masters Games Association) state that “the real prize is exploring beautiful new locations, playing the sports you love and making lifelong friends!”

In other words, this is the Olympics that anyone can take part in.

How to take part?

The athlete is responsible for travel expenses, personal expenses, accommodation, spending money and participation fees. Included in the participation fees are “world class venues, officials and equipment in a number of sports” or everything you need to peform!

You may be wondering- why am I promoting this? As it is the start of 2020, many people will be looking to start a new challenge (or resolution) and many people become disheartened that they have no way to show how far they have come- and this is the perfect ‘measuring stick’ to show exactely that.

2021 is far enough away to become good at a new sport but close enough to be something to motivate you to get there.


There is a base entry fee which will allow entry in up to 5 disciplines. From the 6th onward, there is a fee of 2000 JPY per discipline. Additionally, some sports will require an additional fee for either more specialized equipment or for World Championship entry.

The base entry fee for overseas participants is 24,000 JPY which includes a Kansai travel pass and for domestic participants (including foreign nationals living in Japan) is 15,000 including a Kansai travel pass.

The 2 quick notes I’ll add on are: there is limited insurance coverage during the event for participants and all events will conform to World Anti-doping code.

What’s on?

Early entry opens on the 6th of January 2020 and will close on the 31st of January 2020. General entry opens on the 1st of Febuary 2020.

The list of events and locations have not been finalized but the current list, as printed in the Asahi newspaper on the 30/12/19, are listed below. Please note, dates are not listed- for further information, please check out the official website at:

Please note, I have not listed all events

Tottori Prefecture
Tottori CityArchery (indoor and outdoor)
Kurayoshi CityGround golf
Yurihama cycling (track and road race)
Yonago CityJyudo
Okayama Prefecture
Okayama Cityclay shooting
Hyogo Prefecture
Tando, Yabu, HyogoForest orienteering
Shiso CityProfessional cannoing
Kasai CityTennis
Himeji CityTaekwondo
Miki CityTennis and baseball
Kobe CityBasket ball, swimming, baseball etc
Amagasaki CitySwimming
Minami-Awaji Cityvolleyball
Fukui Prefecture
Takahama Citylife saving
Osaka Prefecture
Osaka CityClosing ceremony
Higashi-Osaka Cityrugby
Sakai CitySoccer/ football
Kishiwada City BMX
Senann City Swimming
Wakayama Prefecture
Wakayama CityVolley ball, sailing etc
Kainan CityShooting- rifle
Tanabe CityLong distance relay race
Kamifukuda TownHalf marathon
Tokushima Prefecture
Naruto CityGolf and weight lifting
Tokushima CityBowling and golf
Ishii CityBowling
Awa City and Kamiyama-choGolf
Naka Citycanoeing
Minami Citytriathlon
Shiga prefecture
Nagahama City and Maibara Cityhockey
Hikone Citytrack- 10 km road race
Higashiomi City and Moriyama Citybaseball
Kusatsu CitySoft ball
Otsu CityCanoeing and boating
Kyoto Prefecture
Kyotango CityCanoeing
Fukuchiyama CitySoft tennis
Kyotanba TownGate ball
Nantan City triathlon
Kyoto CityOpening ceremony, Track and field, Karate etc
Uji CityFrisbee, Handball
Kyotanabe CityHandball
Wazuka TownMountain biking
Nara Prefecture
Katsuragi City and Kashiba CityTug-of-war

Are there any events that you would like to take part in?

Thank you for reading and happy exploring and training!

New year plans

Planning to say good bye to Japan

Before I give my review of Japan, it is important to say that the 3 strike rule has been exceeded in 2019. If I ignore the numerous times one of my family was hospitalized, my Uncle died, my Grandmother died and finally my Nana has been given a life limiting diagnosis. This is the final nail in the coffin to my life in Japan, and I am sad to see it go.

However, it has been said that only people who love Japanese culture can thrive here, but that is not necessarily true. Only people who love Japanese culture and who are willing to make major concessions can thrive here.

What do I mean? Simply put, Japan operates as a closed country and is unwilling to accept others.

Firstly a bit of background information. I am a Japanese speaker and I did study Japanese culture, language and history extensively as an undergraduate- so I have an excellent understanding of “why?” in Japan. However, understanding why something is, doesn’t always help.

During my time in Japan, I have had people seemingly be nice to me in English and say rather offensive things in Japanese to their friends, I have had people literally run away from me because I’m foreign, I have had people shun me, ignore me, and I am tired of it.

This blog will reflect global cultures and histories but it will always be heavily influenced by the country I live in. In 2020, Japan will become the UK. Or to be put a different way, I will seek to complete another degree in something I am passionate about and almost forget about Japanese.

Even writing this is hard. Will I stop my exploration into Japanese culture and history? No, but I need to do something that gives my life purpose and being in Japan is not one of these things.

The sad part about this is that I don’t think I will miss Japan. Have I met some brilliant people, yes, however I just have colleagues here- no close friends nor family.

I will not be moving immediately and I will give more information once more things are clear. Awareness month was my attempt to leave a positive legacy in Japan and help those who need it.

No matter my wants, or what I once wanted, I believe that I will never be accepted in Japan or be seen as more than a foreigner even if I were to marry, and I know many foreigners who have, I would remain an outsider.

As I said when starting this blog: let’s explore global cultures and histories together, not just Japan.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

Japanese and UK helpline numbers

Japanese and UK helpline numbers. If you need help, please use the needed service.

Photo by lalesh aldarwish on

As the year draws to a close, many people feel like they are unable to cope or have severe difficulties at the dawn of a new year. Below is a list of helpline numbers in the UK and in Japan.

UK helpline numbers

Please note, some of these helpline numbers are for Lancashire only. For more local helplines, please google your county along with what service you need.

Children’s social care0300 123 6720
Health Visitors0300 247 0040
Police101 (non-emergency)
999 (emergency)
National Domestic Violence healpline0808 2000 247
Harv01245 879855
Women’s centre01254 871771
Samaritans116 123
Job Centre0800 169 0310
NHS direct111
NSPCC (adults concerned about a child)0808 800 5000
Childline 0800 11111
Food banks
Maundy Relief
Our food bank
Accington and Rossendale
Churches Together food bank (St. mary’s)

01245 232 328
01254 389933
01245 232433
Mindmatters01254 226 037
Calm (suicide hotline for men)0800 585 858
Papyrus (under 35’s suicide prevention)0800 064 4141
Lancashire Wellbeing Directory0300 123 6701

If you are at all concerned with the well-being of a friend or family member, please ring 999 and ask for a “welfare check” to be performed. I have spent New Year’s Eve with a friend at A&E for physiological help and they are still here!

Japanese helpline numbers

Ambulance/ Fire119Japanese*
Tell Japan (Suicide and general help)03-5774-0992English and Japanese
Befrenders Japan06-6260-4343 Japanese
Foreign Residents’ Advisory Center 03-5320-7744 English/ multilingual
Health and Medical Information Center 03-5285-8181 English/ multilingual
Emergency Translation Services 0570-099283 English/ multilingual
Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners 03-5339-8625 English or Chinese
Legal Counseling Center for Foreigners 0570-055-289 English, Chinese , or Spanish
*English may be available in major cities

If any of these numbers are useful for you, please do use them. I hope that they will not be needed but better safe than sorry.

Thank you for reading and happy (and safe) exploring.

Awareness: Parkinson’s disease in Japan

A guide to Parkinson’s disease and the costs in Japan

Parkinson’s disease is quite a common NCD in Japan with over 150,000 people who suffer from the disease in Japan. But what exactly is it?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder is caused by the loss of dopamine production in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra- part of the midbrain.

Parkinson’s disease is not a life shortening disease alone but many sufferes also develop dementia separately which can be life-shortening.


Early symptoms

Parkinson’s is comprised of 5 stages and early symptoms of the disease include:

  • A tremor in a hand, leg, finger
  • stooped posture
  • stiffness
  • difficulty walking
  • small handwriting
  • Bradykinesia: sudden stiffness with often a ‘mask-like’ expression

Later symptoms

  • Loss of balance
  • sleep problems
  • problem with swallowing
  • memory issues including dementia

Basic treatments for Parkinson include medications which when taken convert to dopamine and help the body cope with loss of production, a healthy and balanced diet. However, as the disease progresses, patients will often decline physically.

Loss of independence

Late stage Parkinson’s patients will likely require around the clock care as they become unable to complete simple household tasks such as cooking, cleaning or washing.

About 40% of stage 5 patents will have a form of dementia as well as more common symptoms such as loss of bladder control, frequent mood changes, respiratory problems, less responsiveness to dopaminergic medications (dopamine replacement medications), dysphasia (inability to understand language), dysarthria (the inability to speak) etc.

Some late stage patients have described it as being a “drooling vegetable” but each person with the disease is different- and each treatment plan is different.

In Japan

Many universities in Japan are studying Parkinson’s disease and are running clinical trials including Kyoto University (who have transplanted iPS cells [induced Pluripotent Stem aka non-specific stem cells] to supplement dopamine-emitting neurons), and Tokyo Metropolitan University of medical science (looking at the effects of adiponectin [a protein produced by fat cells with many effects] on neurodegeneration).

The costs of PD in Japan is high. Curative care (treatment which looks towards a cure- even if not possible) is around 500 USD a month. Palliative PD care or PD care requiring a care home is significantly higher and estimates are hard to find in Japan.

With a monthly cost of around 500 USD and an annual cost of around 6000 USD, it is estimated that 90% of this cost is from PD medication- but this is mainly for earlier stages. For patients in later stages and for patients who have had PD for more than 10 years, the costs are between 550 and 600 USD a month. Costs do change with symptoms. If a patient requires pain medication, the costs are higher; if the medication is “wearing off”, the costs are higher.

One problem with PD costs in Japan is that there is very little research. One article I used (see further links page) doesn’t consider long term care home costs. But the costs are comparable to the cost of PD in the US, UK, or Germany.

Basic care home costs in Japan are around 40,000 JPY a month for basic care needs which is 446,000 JPY a year. This would be in addition to direct PD care costs. Please note, the care home cost is for a basic level of care only- PD would require a lot more care and thus expense.

In order to combat this costs, it is estimated but the JT that around 470,000 people left their jobs between 2007 and 2012 to help care for elderly relatives which does reduce costs but by how much is yet to be determined.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

2019: Japanese news highlights

There are many articles and posts that look at the year just (or almost) gone and this article is no different. 2019 has been an extremely busy year for Japan and I have picked out the 12 main news stories of this year- but don’t worry it’ll be kept short.

There are many more important news stories that did occur across Japan, but the stories I have chosen are ones that seemed to make Japan stop and think- unfortunately hit-and-runs, executions and other “depressing” events are mostly ignored.

  • January 2nd

    Was the last chance to visit the imperial palace in the Heisei era.

  • February 7th

    1324 Leo Palace Apartment buildings are heavily criticized for failing to meet minimum construction standards nationwide

  • March 21st

    Ichiro resigns from major league baseball. His career lasted for more than 28 years. He had 4367 hits in his career.

  • April 1st

    The forthcoming Imperial name “令和” was announced on live TV. The name is the first from a Japanese source

  • May 1st

    The crowning of a new emperor, following the abdication of the previous emperor. Reiwa begins.

  • June 30th

    President Trump crosses the North Korean border with the Supreme leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un

  • July 17th

    An arsonist attacked the Kyoto animation studio. 36 were killed in this attack

  • August 28th

    Toyota and Susuki announce a collaboration to speed up the development of autonomous technology

  • September 20th

    The rugby world cup starts in Japan. It ended in August with South Africa winning the title

  • October 12

    Typhoon 19 hits Japan. It was the worst typhoon in recent Japanese history. The death toll stands at 74, with millions of dollars of damaged caused

  • November 10th

    The imperial parade celebrating the new emperor takes place in Tokyo. Thousands lined the streets in the hopes of seeing the new emperor and empress.

  • December 4th

    Japanese doctor Tetsu Nakamura was killed in Afghanistan. His body was returned to his family on the 9th of December and the funeral took place on the 11th.

It has been quite a year for Japan and other highlights include the end of the pager in Japan, the end of 7 pay, and the execution of Wei Wei, a Chinese national on the 27th of December.

But there are dates to look forward to in 2020 including:

  • Oshogatsu, new Years celebration and the shrine visit on the 1st of January
  • 31st of January is the proposed Brexit day
  • 23rd of February the J-league starts
  • 26th of Match is the start of the Olympic torch relay
  • 24th of July is the start of the Tokyo Olympics

What are you looking forward to in 2020, besides perfect vision?

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

Olympic torch relay

This month the Tokyo Olympic Torch relay timetable had been released. The relay will go to all 47 prefectures, starting in Fukushima-cho on March 26th and Finish in Shinjuku, Tokyo on July 24th- an event which will last 121 days and see 858 villages, towns, cities, and wards.

Additionally, it will visit several world heritage sites throughout Japan including Mt. Fuji (富士山), and Himeji Castle (姫路城).

The following article is a list of where the torch will be day-by-day and I highly recommend planning an Olympic trip to at least feature part of this country-wide relay!

Please note, due to the length of some place names I have romanised the Japanese with the following rules:

  • If the place name starts with a direction, I have placed a hyphen between the direction and rest of the name
  • I have ignored the kanji “町” meaning town and the kanji “市” meaning city except in cases where the Prefecture shares a name with a city. I have translated “村” as village but this doesn’t need to be included.
  • For Tokyo wards, some include the ending “ku/(区)” and others do not.
  • Place names in bold are the prefectural capital.
Fukushima Prefecture (福島県)
3/26Naraha, Hirono, Iwaki, Kawauchi Village, Tomioka, Okuma, Katsurao, Namie
3/27Soma, Shinchi, Iitate, Kawamata, Fukushima City, Inawashiro, Kikatake
3/28Minami-Aizu, Shimogo, Shirakawa, Sukagawa, Tamura, Motomiya, Koriyama
Tochigi Prefecture (栃木県)
3/29Ashikawa, Moka, Kaminokawa, Tochigi, Oyama, Sano, Natsu-Kasasuyama
3/30Utsunomiya, Kanuma, Nikko, Mibu, Mashiko, Nasushiobara, Sakura, Nasu
Gunma Prefecture (群馬県)
3/31Maebashi, Isesaki, Kiryu, Ueno Village, Ota, Oizumi, Tatabayashi
4/1Takasaki, Tomioka, Fujioka, Naganohara, Kawaba, Numata, Kusatsu, Shibuhara
Nagano Prefecture (長野県)
4/2Nagano City, Hakuba Village, Nozawa-Onsen Village, ueda, Yamanouchi, Saku, Karuizawa
4/3Matsumoto, Azumino, Omachi, Suwa, Ina, Nagiso, Iida
Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県)
4/4Takayama, Gujo, Yaotsu, Tajimi, Nakatsugawa
4/5Gifu City, Hashima, Ogaki, Sekigahara, Kakamigahara, Gero
Aichi Prefecture (愛知県)
4/6Nagoya, Kiyosu, Inazawa, Ichinomiya, Inuyama, Kasugai, seto
4/7Toyota, Obu, Okazaki, Kariya, Anjo, Toyokawa, Hanada, Toyohashi
Mie Prefecture (三重県)
4/8Yokkaiichi, Suzuka, Kamiyama, Tsu, Toba, Ise
4/9Iga, Nabari, Matsusaka, Taiki, Kihoku, Kumano
Wakayama Prefecture (和歌山県)
4/10Wakayama City, Kainan, Arida, Gobo, Tanabe, Shirahama, Kushimoto, Nachikatsuura, Shingu
4/11Hashimoto, Koya, Katsuragi, Kinokawa, Iwade, Wakayama City
Nara prefecture (奈良県)
4/12Kashihara, Asuka Village, Tenri, Tawaramoto, Sakurai, Totsukawa, Gose, Gojyo, Katsuragi
4/13Nara City, Ikoma, Uda, Yamato-Koriyama, Ikarugi, Yoshino, Yamato-Takada, Kashiba, Koryo, Kawai
Osaka Prefecture (大阪府)
4/14Suita, Ibaraki, Minoh, Ikeda, Toyonaka, Hirakata, Kadoma, Higashi-Osaka, Sakai
4/15Habikino, Washiwara, Taishi, Kishiwada, Izumi, Kaizuka, Izumisano, Fujiidera, Osaka City
Tokushima Prefecture (徳島県)
4/16Ishii, Yoshinogawa, Awa, Kamiyama, Mima, Tsurugi, Higashi-Miyoshi, Miyoshi, Naruto, Kamiita, Itano, Aizumi, Kita-jima, Matsushige
4/17Komatsushima, Anan, Katsuura, Naka, Minami, Kamikatsu, Mugi, Kaiyo, Sangochi Village, Tokushima City
Kagawa Prefecture (香川県)
4/18Tadotsu, Zentsuji, Kotohira, Naoshima, Manno, Marugame, Utazu
4/19Takamatsu, Miki, Sanuki, Higashi-Kagawa, Shodoshima, Tonosho, Ayagawa, Sakaide
Kochi Prefecture (高知県)
4/20Shimanto City, Shinmanto Town, Yusuhara, Susaki, Tosa, Ino, Kochi City, Sukumo, Tosashimizu
4/21Nahari, Aki, Kitagawa Village, Konan, Tanu, Kami, Yasuda, Nankoku, Toyo, Kochi City, Muroto
Ehime Prefecture (愛媛県)
4/22Kumakogen, Toon, Kamijima, Imabari, Saijo, Niihama (Chuo and Shikoku), Masaki, Matsuyame
4/23Seiyo, Kihoku, Matsuno, Ozu, Uchiko, Iyo, Ainan, Tobe, Yawatahama, Ikata, Uwajima
Oita Prefecture (大分県)
4/24Hita, Nakatsu, Usa, Bungotakada, Himeshima Village, Kunisaki, Kitsuki, Hiji, Beppu
4/25Oita, Bungo-Ono, Usuki, Tsukumi, Saeki, Takata, Yufu, Kokone, Kusu
Miyazaki Prefecture (宮崎県)
4/26Miyazaki City, Saito, Takanabe, Hyuga, Nobeoka, Takachiho
4/27Ebino, Kobayashi, Miyakonojo, Mimata, Kushima, Nichinan, Miyazaki
Kogoshima Prefecture (鹿児島県)
4/28Kagoshima City, Aira, Kirishima, Minami-Osumi, Amami, Kanoya, Shibushi
4/29Ibusuki, Minami-Kyushu, Isa, Hioki, Satsumasendai
Okinawa Prefecture (沖縄県)
5/2Nago, Motobu, Ishigaki, Uruma, Okinawa City, Ginowa, Naha
5/3Itoman, Nanjo, Miyakojima, Chatan, Zamami Village, Urasoe, Tomigusuku
Okinawan names are NOT used
Kumato prefecture (熊本県)
5/6Yatsushiro, Uto, Amakusa, Minamata, Hitoyoshi
5/7Kumamoto City, Tamana, Nagomi, Yamaga, Kikochi, Aso, Aso Village, Mashiki
Nagasaki Prefecture (長崎県)
5/8Nagasaki City, Omura, Isahaya, Shinkamiguto, Goto, Iki, Unzen, Shimabara, Minami-Shimabara
5/9Sasebo, Saza, Hirado, Matsuura, Tsushima, Goto, Saikai, Togitsu, Nagayo
Saga prefecture (佐賀県)
5/10Karatsu, Genkai, Imari, Arita, Takeo, Shiroishi, Ureshino, Kashima, Tara
5/11Tako, Ogi, Kanzaki, Yoshinogari, Kamimine, Miyaki, Tosu, Kiyama, Saga, Omachi, Kohoku
Fukuoka Prefecture (福岡県)
5/12Dazaifu, Toho Village, Asakura, Kasuga, Kurume, Itoshima, Chikugo, Omuta, Shime, Fukuoka City
5/13Kita-kyushu, Fukutsu, Nakama, Munakata, Miyawaka, Kaisen, Iizuka, Soeda, Tagawa, Chikujyo
Yamaguchi Prefecture (山口県)
5/14Yamaguchi City, Hofu, Shunan, Kudamatsu, Hikari, Yanai, Iwakuni
5/15Hagi, Nagato, Mine, Shimonoseki, San’yo-Onoda, Ube
Shimane prefecture (島根県)
5/16Onan, Kawamoto, Gotsu, Hamada, Masuda, Chibu Village, Tsuwano
5/17Matsue, Yasugi, Okinoshima, Okizumo, Unnan, Izumo, Oda
Hiroshima Prefecture (広島県)
5/18Hiroshima City, Saka, Kure, Higashi-Hiroshima, Shobara, Miyoshi
5/19Fukuyama, Fuchu, Onomichi, Mihara, Kaita, Hatsukaichi
Okayama Prefecture (岡山県)
5/20Okayama City, Kurashiki, Soja, Kibichuo, Takahashi, Ibara
5/21Tsuyama, Nagi, Mimasaka, Akaiwa, Maniwa, Tamano
Tottori Prefecture (鳥取県)
5/22Kurayoshi, Daisen, Hoki, Kofu, Hino, Nichinan, Nanbu, Hiyoshi Village, Yonago, Sakaiminato
5/23Tottori City, Chizu, Wakasa, Yazu, Iwami, Yurihama, Misasa, Hokuei, Kotoura
Hyogo prefecture (兵庫県)
5/24Toyooka, Asago, Shiso, Kato, Ono, Kakogawa, Himeji
5/25Kobe, Akashi, Minami-Awaji, Nishi-Nomiya, Amagasaki, Sanda
Kyoto Prefecture (京都府)
5/26Kyotango, Miyazu, Maizuru, Ayabe, Fukuchiyama, Nagaokakyo
5/27Uji, Ujitawara, Joyo, Kizugawa, Seika, Kyotanabe, Yawata, Kumiyama, Kyoto City
Shiga Prefecture (滋賀県)
5/28Takashima, Moriyama, Yasu, Omihachiman, Ryuo, Konan, Ritto, Kusatsu, Otsu
5/29Koka, Hino, Higashi-Omi, Aisho, Toyosa, Kora, Taga, Hikone, Maibara, Nagahama
Fukui Prefecture (福井県)
5/30Takahama, Oi, Obama, Wakasa, Mihame, Tsuruga, Minami-Echizen, Echizen, Sabae
5/31Echizen, Ikeda, Ono, Katsuyama, Eiheiji, Awara, Sakai, Fukui City
Ishikawa Prefecture (石川県)
6/1Kaga, Komatsu, Nomi, Kawakita, Hakusan, Nonoichi, Uchinada, Kahoku, Tsubata, Kanagawa
6/2Wajima, Noto, Anamizu, Suzu, Shika, Hakui, Hodatsu-shimizu, Nakamoto, Nanao
Toyama Prefecture (富山県)
6/3Oyabe, Nanto, Tonami, Imizu, Himi, Takaoka
6/4Asahi, Nyusen, Kurobe, Uozu, Namerikawa, Kamiichi, Funabashi Village, Tateyama, Toyama
Niigata Prefecture (新潟県)
6/5Itoigawa, Joetsu, Kashiwazaki, Sado, Tokamachi, Minami-Uonuma
6/6Nagaoka, Sanjo, Tsubame, Yahiko Village, Niigata City, Shibata, Aga, Murakami
Yamagata prefecture (山形県)
6/7Nishi-kawa, Sagae, Kahoku, Shirataka, Nagai, Takahata, Yonezawa, Nan’yo, Kaminoyama, Yamagata City
6/8Tendo, Higashine, Murayama, Obanazawa, Shinjo, Tsuruoka, Yuzasakata
Akita Prefecture (秋田県)
6/9Yuzawa, Yokote, Yurihonjo, Misata, Daisen, Semboku, Akita City
6/10Katagami, Hachirogata, Ogata Village, Noshiro, Odate, Oga, Kazuno
Aomori prefecture (青森県)
6/11Hirosaki, Nishimeya Village, Hirakawa, Kuruishi, Tsugaru, Goshogawara, Imabetsu, Aomori City
6/12Mutsu, Towada, Misawa, Oirase, Hashikami, Hachinohe
Hokkaido [prefecture] (北海道)
6/14Hakodate, nemuro, Hokuto, Nanae, Kushiro, Toyako, Muroran, Obihiro, Shiraoi
6/15Tomakomai, Furano, Mukawa, Asahikawa, Atsuma, Abira, Chitose, Wakkanai, Sapporo
Please note, Sapporo is the prefectural capital. There are sub-prefectures and sub-prefectural capitals in Hokkaido.
Iwate prefecture (岩手県)
6/17Shizukushi, Takizawa, Hachimantai, Iwate Town, Ichinoke, Ninoke, Hirono, Fundai Village, Noda Village, Kuji
6/18Iwaizumi, Tanohata Village, Miyako, Yameda, Otsuchi, Kamaishi, Oyunato, Rikuzentakata
6/19Ichinoseki, Hiraizumi, Oshu, Kamegasaki, Kita-Kami, Hanamaki, Tono, Shiwa, Yahaba, Morioka
Miyagi Prefecture (宮城県)
6/20Kesennuma, Minami-Sanriku, Ishinomaki, Ongawa
6/21Higashi-Matsushima, Matsushima, Shiogama, Shichigahama, Tagajo, Ohira Village, Rifu
6/22Yamamoto, Watari, Iwanuma, Natori, Sendai
Shizuoka Prefecture (静岡県)
6/24Kosai, Hamamatsu, Iwata, Fukuroi, Kakegawa, Shimada, Shizuoka City,
6/25Makinohara, Fujieda, Yaizu, Shizuoka City, Fuji, Nagaizumi, Mishima, Numazu
6/26Ito, Shimoda, Izunokuni, Susono, Oyama, Gotemba, Izu, Fujinomiya
Yamanashi prefecture (山梨県)
6/27Nanbu, Minobu, Hayakawa, Fujikawa, Ichikawa-misato, Chuo, Showa [city], Kai, Minami-Arupusu [Southern Alps], Hokuto, Nirasaki, Kofu
6/28Fuefuki, Yamanashi, Mt. Fuji, Koshu, Uenohara, Otsuki, Tsuru, Nishi-Katsura, Oshino Village, Fujikawa-guchiko, Narusawa Village, Fujiyoshida
Kanagawa Prefecture (神奈川県)
6/29Hakone, Isehara, Odawara, Oiso, Hiratsuka, Chigasaki, Fujisawa
6/30Miura, Yokosuka, Kamakura, Ebina, Atsugi, Sagamihara
7/1Kawasahi, Yokohama
Chiba Prefecture (千葉県)
7/2Kisarazu, Kimitsu, Futtsu, Minami-Boso, Isumi, Ichinomiya, Susa, Sammu
7/3Choshi, Asahi, Katori, Shibayama, Narita, Narashino, Chiba City
7/4Urayasu, Funabashi, Kamagaya, Kashiwa, Abiko, Matsudo
Ibaraki Prefecture (茨城県)
7/5Kashima, Hitachinaha, Oarai, Daigo, Hitachi, Hitachiota, Kasama, Mito
7/6Koga, Bando, Joso, Ushiku, Ryugasaki, Namegata, Tsuchiura, Tsukuba
Saitama Prefecture (埼玉県)
7/7Kawaguchi, Warabi, Toda, Wako, Asaka, Niiza, Hidaka, Sayama, Fujimi, Miyoshi, Fujimino, Tokorozawa
7/8Soka, Yashino, Misato, Yoshikawa, koshigaya, Chichibu, Minano, Nagatoro, Kasukabe, Sugito, Miyashiro, Kuki, Kazu, Gyoda, Kumagaya
7/9Kawagoe, Tsurugashima, Sakado, Honjo, Fukaya, Ranzan, Higashi-Matsuyama, Namerikawa, Konosu, Kitamoto, Okegawa, Ageo, Saitama City
Tokyo Metropolis (東京都)
7/10Setagaya, Komae, Inagi, Machida
7/11Tama, Hino, Akishima, Hachioji
7/12Hinohara, Okutama, Hinode, Ome, mizuho
7/13Hamura, Akiruno, Fussa, Musashi-Murayama, Tachikawa
7/14Kunitachi, Kokubunji, Kodaira, Higashi-Yamamoto, Higashi-Murayama
7/15Kiyose, Higashi-Kurume, Nishi-Tokyo, Kogamei, Fuchu
7/16Chofu, Miyake Village, Kozushima Village, Niijima Village (Niijima and Shikinejima), Toshima Village, Oshima
7/17Mikurajima Village, Hachijo, Aogashima Village, Ogasawa Village (Chichijima and Hahajima), Mitaka, Musashino
7/18Suginami, Nakano, Nerima
7/19Toshima, Itabashi, Kita, Adachi
7/20Katsushika, Edogawa, Sumida, Arakawa
7/21Taito, Bunkyo, Chiyoda, Chuo
7/22Koto, Ota, Shunagawa
7/23Meguro, Shibuya, Minato
There is no prefectural capital as Tokyo is the capital of Tokyo. Ward or “区” meaning special district in Japanese just translates to city in each official English translation. Every place from the 18th is a ward in Japanese. Finally, Chiyoda could be considered the “capital” of Tokyo if such a thing were to exist.

I hope that this information is useful in planning your Olympic trip to Japan.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

Recommendation: Hard-off

Firstly- Hi eveyone I’m back!! On the 16th of December, while updating my laptop, the update broke my laptop and it is stuck in boot-loop (it still is) and I was left with a rather bad phone to try and type on.

I did try to post during this time but what once would take an hour, took over 2 days to research and type, so this post is still to come, along with several others.

So what to do? My first thought was to back up and restore my laptop and while all files and everything else still works, I could not open the recovery options. Additionally, my back-up hard-disk would not work and finally, there was no recovery save on the hard drive.

At this point, I decided to buy a Windows 10 OS disk to wipe my laptop and reinstall windows. The problem with this is that it costs 20,000 JPY and that was unacceptable. I then decided to look at buying a new laptop and this is what I decided to do.

Hard-off is a second-hand electronics store that offers laptops, PCs, Macs, new and old games and hardware (Xboxes, PS4s, Switches, Femicons, N64 etc) at a very reasonable price. I had bought a half decent laptop with 500 GB HDD, 4Gb (dual core), windows10 (32 bit) etc for 16,500 JPY including tax. The cheapest new notebook at a similar spec costs at least 60,000 JPY- but anyway I am very happy with my purchase.

My recommendation, therefore, is to go to hard-off for all your technology needs. If you are wondering/ worrying about buying something used in Japan, please don’t worry- a used product is like new in any other country.

Thank you for your patience during my period of silence.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

Allergies in Japan

A quick guide on allergies in Japan

Although this is not applicable to me, for many people coming to another country can cause anxiety because they have allergies. Sometimes allergy some minor things like hay fever for example however some people can have major anaphylactic reactions to certain products.

This post is to fold the first post this post will be a guide on how to navigate Japanese food labels and restaurants. The second part of this post will be an awareness post on allergies in Japan.

Food labels

Under Japanese law there are 7 foods or ingredients that must be labelled on food packaging and these are: shrimp (えび), crab (かに), wheat (小麦), buckwheat (そば or 蕎麦), eggs(卵), milk (乳), and peanuts (落花生).

There are more foods that may cause a deathly reaction and an epipen to be used and that is the first problem: what are you allergic to? Because there are so many other allergens, you must look up in Japanese, ideally before you travel, what you are allergic to. A handy phrase would be:

______アレルギーがあります。I’m allergic to_____.

A person I know who moved to Japan is allergic to bananas and must be careful with any confectionery product because it’s an ingredient that is used everywhere.

In restaurants, the 7 allergens will be listed in Japanese on the menu if not apparent e.g. “egg salad” contains egg. If you are allergic to anything else, research before you arrive. Most menus are available online and even if you only have the ingredient that you are allergic to, you can usually see if they have it.

Additionally you can ask! If you don’t speak Japanese, use the phrase above and the waiter/waitress will help you out.

Voluntary ingredients

In addition to the 7, there are an additional 20 ingredients that can voluntary be put on packaging. These 20 can roughly be separated into 4 groups: nuts (walnuts, cashews etc), fruits (oranges, bananas etc.), meat (pork, fish roe etc.), and other (gelatine). This is down to the manufacturer of each product and you need to be aware of this fact when buying food.

Furthermore, there is always a risk of cross-contamination because even though there are extremely high standards of food manufacturing in Japan, allergies seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

The reaction to allegies

Japan is becoming more aware of allergens and allergies as the number of sufferers increases globally. One brilliant example of this is Mos Burger. This fast food chain has released a range of low allergen products in an effort to allow people with severe allergies to still enjoy their food.

According to the ministry for health, it is estimated that around half of the Japanese population have some sort of reaction to some foods.


Japan is known for having a hey fever problem and there are many medications for this and others. There are 5 types of medicines for allergies in Japan:

• General allergy medicines (the best I would say is Claritin EX [loratadine 10mg] which is a pharmacy only product, or contac Z [cetirizine HCl 10mg]- if you can take these. There are many other ones but the list of contras(contra indications e.g. Don’t take if you have X or not for people who are Y) does get quite long.
• Eye drops. Many people use medicated eye drops to stop an inflammatory reaction occurring.
• Eye washes. None medicated option to clean the eye of irritants
• Nadal sprays. To stop the airways reacting to allergens or to prevent this reaction
• Epi pen.

I hope this guide is helpful if your travelling to Japan.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

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