20 PechaKucha Achievements from 2016

It’s become a tradition that at the start of every year, PechaKucha HQ sends out a massive newsletter looking back at the previous year and highlighting 20 achievements — I used to put these together along with the rest of the team. This year’s edition — which you can read online here — is a fantastic list of 20 things that PechaKucha was involved in, that helped make the world a better place. Very proud of my old PechaKucha family on this one.

Starting a Business in Japan

What does it take to start a business in Japan as a foreigner? Elizabeth Mueller did the research, and put together this incredibly clear and detailed guide to all of the steps you’ll need to cross in order to make it happen. It also features interviews with my buddies Mark McFarlane (Tacchi) and Chris Palmieri (AQ), as well as lovely illustrations throughout by Adrian Hogan.

Liberal Democratic Japan

I was really upset that I had to miss last week’s Néojaponisme joint at the SO+BA gallery — it was to be my first DJ stint, dammit — but I am glad to hear that it turned out to be a great NJ lovefest. And now time to point you to the site today for a new podcast, as “Tobias Harris of Observing Japan and [Marxy] hit Showa Era-themed izakaya Hanbey for some Hoppy and discussion on Japan’s status as a liberal democracy.”

Tokyo Chinatown Ikebukuro

Could Ikebukuro be getting its very own Chinatown?

A plan by some Chinese store and restaurant owners to create a community named “Tokyo Chinatown Ikebukuro” to promote interaction with their local Japanese neighbors is getting a negative reaction.

What’s the problem?

There has been trouble between Japanese and Chinese businesspeople over problems such as garbage disposal due to differences in lifestyle and language. Since the establishment of the preparatory committee, Chinese managers voluntarily collected waste material on several occasions around Ikebukuro railway station.

Oh, and this:

The possibility of criminal groups including the Chinese mafia coming to Ikebukuro is a source of concern for some Japanese.

I’m of course interested because I live in Ikebukuro. Read the rest of the piece here.

Just Looking

No, that’s not an idol video, or at least it’s not sold that way. The video is from a DVD series by record label Avex called Miteru Dake (Just Looking). As you can see, it features girls — pumped-up breasts and all — just, well, looking. The idea is that it’s for shy men, to practice looking girls in the eyes. Via Japan Probe, but read more at Clast.

iPhone for Foreigners

Japan Probe has posted some disturbing news regarding the newly launched iPhone 3G in Japan. According to the terms on the Softbank website: “If you have less than 15 months left on your visa, you wont be able to make a contract, but they’ll sell the phone to you without a plan for ¥80.000.”

What??? That’s absolutely ridiculous, and would mean that I can’t get one. Yes, my current 3-year visa expires next summer, as which point I will renew, like I’ve been doing for the past 8 years I’ve lived here. So this means you can only get a new phone when you’ve just renewed a visa?

Of course I can’t check for myself to see if they are really enforcing this rule, since I’ll only be back in Japan at the end of the month, but if this is true, then I am not going to be a happy camper.

Update: Someone posted the following comment in the thread:

I just gave them a call, mainly with the intention of complaining. The woman, Kuro-san, told me that in lieu of the passport and registration card I could show my Japanese health insurance card and any valid credit card. This would be sufficient for the required ID to get a two year contract, regardless of actual visa information.