For any golfer, getting a hole-in-one is a momentous experience. For Japanese golfers, it can also be incredibly expensive.
Nintendo: Cutting Edge Games — Old History
When you think of Nintendo, you probably think of Super Mario Brothers, Legend of Zelda, and the company’s never-ending progression of gaming consoles. With such high-tech products, it might surprise you that […]
Helen Keller and the Dog Breed She Brought to the USA
Helen Keller (1880-1968), the legendary speaker, author, and political activist who overcame deafness and blindness, made an often-overlooked contribution to American dog lovers; she introduced the Akita breed to the United States.
The Shortest National Anthem for One of the World’s Oldest Countries
If you are the impatient type, who can’t wait for the national anthem to end so your favorite sporting event can begin, then Japan may be the place for you. It holds […]
End Noodle Harassment With This Technological Marvel
Slurping. Depending on your cultural background, hearing this sound at the dinner table may be interpreted as a compliment or as an annoyance on par with fingernails on a chalkboard. If you […]
Olympic Competition Couldn’t Divide This Eternal Friendship
What happens when two highly-competitive friends go head-to-head in the biggest competition in the world? Something has to give; will it be friendship or Olympic-sized dreams? When the world’s top athletes gathered […]
Hawaii’s Special Wartime Currency
With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States found itself preparing for the unthinkable: what would happen if Hawaii fell under Japanese occupation? One of the […]
After Escaping Cannibals, Dealing With Politicians Was Easy
In September 1944 nine US airmen were shot down over Chichi Jima, a small island 700 miles south of Tokyo, Japan. Of these nine men, only one evaded capture by the Japanese. […]
Would You Use These Weirdly Named Products?
In marketing, deciding product’s name is the first big step to letting the world know why it needs that particular item. Unfortunately, the language barrier sometimes presents its own obstacles and sends […]
Did One Wrong Word Cause the Hiroshima Bombing?
Readers of Commonplace will not be surprised to learn that one little mistranslation from one language to another can be embarrassing. Whether it is one misplaced letter when cheering General Douglas MacArthur, an incompetent […]
It’s Not Easy Being Green in Japan
Japan is the largest exporter of frog legs.
Under the Same Management for Over 1,300 Years
In the Western world hotels frequently attract customers by advertising “Under New Management.” The family that owns the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan hotel hasn’t been able to do that for more than 1,300 […]
Pucker Up and Kiss Your Allergies Goodbye
Countless songs, poems, and dramatic works have been written about the power of a kiss. You may have been unaware of one of the additional benefits of the exercise: allergy reduction. Dr. […]
Have a Finger-Lickin’ Good Christmas!
While visions of sugar plums may dance in the heads of children in most of the world on Christmas Eve, in Japan the dreams are more likely to be filled with images […]
If you are traveling in Tokyo, Japan, and the trip is for fifty minutes or less, a bicycle is, on average, faster than an automobile. source