Stephen Crofts

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Japanese resort closed after volcanic eruption

A small volcanic eruption at a Japanese hot springs resort not far from Tokyo prompted authorities today to further limit access to the area, warn …

Natural Disasters

Driving in Tokyo (part 4 of trying to stay alive while travelling, even though you gave already turned very grey through the experience of buying a car)

This post is called driving in Tokyo, because Tokyo is very different form the rest of the country. Driving elsewhere is relatively easy. The only …

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Buying a car in Japan (Part 3 of how to turn grey quickly, or driving in Japan)

Ok, so now you’ve got your license, and thought that was the fiddly bit. Sorry, there is a bit more to do unless you’re just going to use hire cars. …

Visiting an onsen (hot spring)

You cannot come to Japan without experiencing an onsen. If you’ve never tried a good onsen, then you really cannot know what it feels like to have …

How to apply for a Japanese Driving Licence- Part 2- at the Driver Licence Centre

Ok, so you’ve been brave enough to search the web and found the previous page and thought, ok, I can do that. Well yes you can and here is a page to …

Holy cross church

Now we have been here about five months and the dust is just beginning to settle, and I’m beginning to find my feet in basic conversation, it’s time …

Two Japans

It’s an unfortunate fact that Japan is a nation struggling to become a truly modern nation. Yes it has the most amazing trains and technology, but …

How to apply for a Japanese driving license

11/5/15- An update for steps three and four in this post exist in a new blog entry- this is because the experience is very involved and you need to …

Prince William transformed into 3D virtual model in Japan

Prince mixes public appearances and politics as he visits technology exhibition and playground as well as region of Fukushima nuclear disaster<p>The Duke of Cambridge was transformed into a 3D cartoon, with his hair miraculously restored, by a group of Japanese schoolchildren yesterday.<p>On a visit to a …

Forget Greece, Japan is the world's real economic time bomb

The eyes of the financial world are on the high drama playing out in Greece right now, and for good reason. Greece’s attempts to renegotiate its debt …

Crown Prince turns 55, calls for accounts of history to be passed down correctly

Crown Prince Naruhito, marking his 55th birthday on Monday and ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II later this year, called for …

Japan

The closeness of heaven

There is a saying in Japan, you’re born Shinto and you die Buddhist, such is the closeness that’s developed between the two religions over the last …

IBM's Watson Stakes Out New Territory In Japan

Ever since Watson first made its debut as a human-beating game-show contestant, IBM has been looking for ways to turn this vast collection of artificial-intelligence and machine-learning algorithms, sometimes called “cognitive computing,” into a money maker. Although commercial deployment of …

Softbank

In Japan, it soon may be against the law to not take a vacation

The Japanese government plans to submit legislation to the country's parliament that would make it mandatory for workers to take at least five days of paid vacation a year.<p>The move reflects the desire of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to curb Japan's notorious work culture, where …

Japan

Preparing for danger

a tsunami warning sign, telling whether you may take shelter here. At 4m above sea level, I’d want a higher building than this two story library<p>Here …

Japan: Abe seeks major shift in military policies after hostages killing

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed major changes in military policy that would allow his troops to launch overseas operations to save …

Isil murder Japanese hostage Kenji Goto

World leaders condemn barbaric killing of Japanese hostage after Islamic militants release video purporting to show hostage's beheading<p>Isil militants have murdered Kenji Goto, the second Japanese hostage to be killed in a week.<p>The death of <b>Mr Goto,</b> a journalist, came within days of the slaughter of …

Japan self-censors images, words linked to hostage crisis

TOKYO (AP) — Images or mentions of knives, ransom or blood — or anything else that can be seen alluding to the hostage crisis involving two Japanese …

Self-Censorship

Speak this in public?!

If only this language wasn’t quite so different <br>I’ve many years practise at reading individual words and learning some script. But now, I have to …

Language Learning

The Japanese medical system

a small standalone clinic treating ear nose and throat near our home.<p>There’s a lot I find frustrating about Japan. I know it fairly well as a …

ISIS' Japanese hostages receive mixed sympathy at home

<b>Tokyo (CNN) —</b> Fighting back tears, Junko Ishido stood before dozens of television cameras, just hours before an apparent ISIS deadline to execute her son, Kenji Goto -- one of two Japanese hostages who appeared in a shocking propaganda video days before.<p>One of the first statements she made, before …

Japan

Two workers die in accidents at Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants

Two workers died Tuesday in separate incidents at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant and the nearby No. 2 complex.<p>The fatality at No. 1 was first there …

North Korea

A silent liquid machine

Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning I head off to the Cathedral near the Tokyo tower. My time there is very different from the local church where I …

At last, Samuel starts kindergarten

It’s taken a long time but Samuel is finally going to kindergarten, just in time for the end of term next week :/He enjoys it immensely, and it might …

Thomas goes to school, but…

As we start out one of our most pressing issues is sorting out schooling for the boys. Thomas is joining year two at a local Japanese school. Here he …