Traveling: See Japan for Cheap with the Seishun 18 Kippu

On a previous travel guide post, I mentioned some cheaper ways to travel around Japan.  One of the ways to to do this is with a Seishun 18 Kippu (read as “seishun juuhachi kippu“), that allows you 5 days of unlimited JR train access except for special expresses/shinkansen.  Granted you’ll need a lot of time to get around, but it’s great for backpackers, group travel, and hopping off random stations to explore…  Or people like me who don’t mind spending half a day or two on the train to save 40,000 yen ($400 USD) in travel costs.

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

That’s right!  I went to Gifu, Okayama, and back, and that’s about how much I saved with this ticket and choosing to by local/rapid trains instead of taking the bullet train.  My whole train fare for the trip (including another trip I took to Tokyo with a friend to see the Fushigi Yūgi play) cost me less than 10,000 yen ($100 USD) with a Seishun 18 Kippu.

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Fushigi Yūgi Stage Play at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

Last Saturday a friend and I headed out to Tokyo to catch one of the last Fushigi Yūgi play showings at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel.

With Sailor Moon getting a musical revival (here and here), it was only a matter of time before another girls’ anime got one as well.  Fushigi Yūgi brings back so many great memories for me, because it’s how I connected with a group of girls that later became my best friends throughout high school.  We would pretend we were priestesses and pass around a priestess notebook that we filled with letters, drawings, and notes to one another during class.  It was silly and fun.  I still consider one of these girls to be my absolute BFF even to this day.

Here’s a short summary and review of the show, with pamphlet scans, too. 🙂

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White Day in Kawasaki & Yokohama

Valentine’s Day in Japan is a day where girls give chocolate and other baked confectionaries to their significant other or the guy they’re crushing on.  But what do girls get out of it, you might ask?  A month later, on March 14th, is when guys are supposed to offer up something in return.  That usually means some sweets they’ve bought from a department store or a hot date.

Personally I prefer the American style way of celebrating Valentine’s Day, but because Mr. J and I didn’t have any time to spend the day of, we both had the weekend after White Day off, and so Mr. J promised to take me out somewhere then.

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Graduation Ceremonies

Graduation season is here!  If you’re new to the way Japan works, the school and fiscal year begins in April and ends in March, so most graduation ceremonies occur on a Saturday at the beginning of/mid-March.

If you ever become an ALT, or are dispatched to teach at any kind of public or private education institution, chances are you’ll be invited to at least one graduation ceremony.  For the most part, they’re your average affair, but Japan does a put a few of its own twists on the occasion.

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Music: Psycho le Cemu 15th Anniversary Live @ Zepp Diver City

© 2014 SWEET CHILD

© 2014 SWEET CHILD

I didn’t spend Valentine’s Day weekend with Mr. J, but rather hopped a bus to Tokyo with some friends to catch a two-day reunion concert of one of my favorite bands that disbanded several years ago.  So after giving him his chocolate that morning, off I went!

Little did I know I would be reuniting with some gals I used to run around with 5-10 years ago, too!  It was a really fun weekend filled with adventure, great people, old visual kei (Japan’s version of glam rock) throwbacks, and lots goods/cosplayers.  What’s more awesome than that?

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Easy Peasy Valentine’s Chocolate

Valentine’s Day is coming up this Saturday and if you don’t already know, it’s a day where women give chocolate (with the expectation of it being handmade) to their significant other as a gift, or as a means of confessing how they feel to their crush.  Some women also give chocolate out of politeness to their co-workers or male friends, called giri choco.

If you’re not much of a chef but would like to give this unique custom a try, here’s an easy way to make some handmade chocolate without a lot of fuss.

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Working in Japan: After the Interview/Getting Hired

The interview is done, yay!  All you need to do is wait.  Or maybe you’ve just gotten notice that they want to hire you.  In that case, congratulations! 😀

Here’s some pointers on how to wrap up the job application process.

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