How was Japan affected by the tsunami?

In March 2011, Japan was unraveled by, what may be termed as possibly one of the worst and most horrible earthquakes ever. The subsequent 10-meter high tsunami traveled across the whole Pacific coast of the country, sweeping away boats, cars, people, and homes. Check out also this video, though be aware that the footage is very disturbing:

Though the early warning systems did reduce the chances of some loss of life, the death toll crossed 10,000 and many are were missed, and thousands have lost their homes. The earthquake, measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale, has shifted the island by around 8 feet and is thought to have affected the earth’s axis.

Japan was already full of a number of economic challenges and these events were a major reverse to its economic recovery process. All of the affected areas were rendered totally disabled, where trading of daily essentials was also suffering from a shortage of all sorts of supplies.

Read more

Setting up a business in Japan

Setting up a business

There are several types of business entity in Japan as shown below:

  • Gomei Kaisha (Unlimited Partnership)
  • Goshi Kaisha (Limited Partnership)
  • Godo Kaisha (Limited Liability Company)
  • Yugen Sekinin Jigyo Kumiai (Limited Liability Partner)
  • Chuzai Jimusho (Representative Office)
  • Kabushiki Kaisha (Company Limited)

Read more

The Japanese Education System

Japanese schools are run by 6-3-3-4 year system and the school year starts in April and ends in March. Students spend 6 years at elementary school and 3 years at junior high school and education at elementary and junior high school is obligatory.  Then students got to high school for 3 years and spend 4 years at university.

Most foreign exchange students from overseas starts studying in Japan from university or some go to Japanese language school with pre-college student visa before officially starting university education. Most children spend 3 years at kindergarten prior to joining an elementary school.  Those whose parents are working spend time at nursery school from their baby years before they join an elementary school.

Japanese education is quite competitive so most students need to go to juku (preparatory school) to pass an entrance exam to join high school. Some children go to juku in order to take entrance exams for private kindergarten.  As a result, education fees are quite expensive in Japan especially if students go to private schools.

Read more

Working in Japan – Labor Laws

There are many labor-related laws in Japan, but the Labor Standards Law is the fundamental law that sets out the minimum working conditions such as wages, working hours, holidays, overtime pay, annual paid leaves, unpaid leaves and retirement. According to the Japanese Labor Standards Law, no employer shall discriminate against or favor any workers by reason of gender and nationality.

In general, the Japanese Labor Standards Law applies to foreign workers who are also eligible for fundamental labor rights to organize a labor union to negotiate with their employers for better working conditions. When a worker is employed, the employer shall prepare a labor contract to determine the working conditions he or she will work under. To prevent future labor disputes, Article 15 of the Japanese Labor Standards Law stipulates that working conditions must be set out clearly and the following matters shall be handed to the employees in writing.

1. The period of the labor contract
2. The working place and job duties
3. Existence of overtime work
4. Time to start and finish work, breaks, holidays, annual paid leaves and shift time when applicable
5. Amount of wages, the methods of computation and payment of wages, the date of closing accounts, paydays and matters relating pay rise
6. Matters relating to retirement

Read more

Be Patient and Await His Timing

Life isn’t always easy and let’s face it, times are tough in today’s economy, although some seem to be doing so perfectly well. Millions of Americans and Japanese are struggling financially or otherwise. I can only imagine the long list of prayers our God is hearing day in and day out. The tsunami aftermath isn’t over yet, and the nation is tortured by record heat and storms.

Many of our prayers have likely been repeated over and over again from the same people. Maybe you’re one of those people feeling like God isn’t listening. But I guess he is. That he’s listening and He has the perfect plan for all of us. But please, let Him stop the misery for so many people that have been in misery for so long…

Jesus loved his family and often stayed with them. He knew their pain but did not respond immediately. His delay had a specific purpose. God’s timing, especially the delays, may easily make us think that He’s not answering exactly in the way we wish. But He will be meeting all of our needs and wants in accordance with his perfectly scheduled purposes.

Read more

Study Abroad in Japan

A program that allows you to study abroad in Japan can be one of the most valuable and rewarding experiences of your life.  I spent two months in intensive Japanese language instruction while studying abroad in Japan during college and it is unquestionably something that has left a lasting imprint on my life and my character.

The Japanese are, in my experience, the friendliest, most helpful, and most caring people on earth.  Even in this age of lost innocence and hyper-technology, Japan feels in many ways like an isolated, homogeneous place, but one that is extremely welcome to visitors.  It’s an odd dichotomy because the culture is so technologically advanced (they were a decade or more ahead of the United States in cell phone technology when I studied abroad in Japan) but the people are still so warm, friendly and in a sense innocently naïve in the most wonderful way.

Read more

How To Choose A Study Abroad Japan Program

Although the country was practically sealed off from the rest of the world for thousands of years Japan is now one of the world’s most important and developed nations and the chance to study abroad in Japan is a dream come true for many people. And the good news is that these days it is even easier and more affordable than ever before to take advantage of study abroad Japan programs and exchange opportunities.

Why Choose Study Abroad Japan Programs?

There are many different study-abroad programs available that can practically take you in anywhere in the world, so why choose to head East? The better question may be why not? The chance to learn about an entirely different culture as well as to soak in thousands of years worth of history is one that most people with an adventurous streak would agree should not be missed.

Read more

And There is a Time for Every Event Under Heaven

What made me think of these words from the Bible was that my cousin died recently.

I was very sad.

It’s a very different feeling when hearing that someone you knows dies.  I’m used to watching the flowers and trees in our yard die each winter and even seeing an animal in the street who got run over or a baby bird that fell from its nest.  I knew death was part of life, but never had someone so close to me die.

A couple of months ago, my Mom told me that Linda was seriously ill and said that she was going to die.  I had lots of questions ~ like what does that mean, what happens when a person dies.

So I guess when I was told she had died, I knew I would never see her again, she wouldn’t play catch with me one last time, or come to my baseball games to cheer me on, and I wouldn’t hear her silly laugh.  Seems Linda’s body just stopped working. Read more

Green Roots

Roots Canada Ltd. is in it for the long haul. Co-founded in 1973 by Michael Budman and Don Green, Roots emerged just a little more than a decade after the publishing of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring-a book that heralded a new ecological awareness. Thus, the company was age mate with the environmental movement, and it held priorities accordingly.

A leading retailer of apparel and accessories (from athletic to fun casual dress), Roots has grown with the times and our changing concerns. For example, in 1989 they began to incorporate organic cotton into their Nowadays product line, and their new Roots Green collection features sustainable fibers such as bamboo, hemp, and soy.

Departure from the norm is the way of much design, but it seems that Budman and Green appreciate the anchoring effect of dearly loved tradition as well. Their leather pieces are vegetable tanned, utilizing a method more than 200 years old. You see, they’ve named the venture quite appropriately.

Read more

Serving Kaiseki

Serving Kaiseki: Formal, playful and metaphorical, this is the meal made for tea

HIROKO SUGIYAMA is reaching out for a bowl for making a welcoming new brew of hot water using fragrant yuzu, a distinguished Japanese citrus fruit variety. And while though you can find no speck of dust in her charming kitchen, Sugiyama is rinsing the bowl with water before filling it with simmering hot water from the tea kettle on her kitchen stove. She actually will rinse all dishes the moment she takes them down from the kitchen shelves.

She says: “Each time you’re using a bowl, refresh the bowl with water so it’ll become more alive. Suppose I was a true kaiseki master (she refers to those chefs that prepare formal meals at Japanese official tea ceremonies) she sais, I actually would have been spending quite some thought and time thinking about what kind of water I would use. Maybe I would have carried special water all the way down from famous Mount Rainier so the guests could be tasting the snow.”

Now Hiroko views herself not as a master, but she is actually a lifelong student of Japanese tea ceremonies and at her home, she runs a culinary atelier. She studied at the world-famous Cordon Blue Institute in Paris and in Bangkok at the Thai Royal Cooking School. She is also active within the IACP (the International Association of Culinary Professionals) and has earned respect and recognition around the globe as a top authority on “kaiseki,” the art of serving meals with tea.

Read more