!!First ever Gaijinlife contest!!

Ok everyone! I’m lunching the first ever Gaijinlife contest

Starting March 26th  2010, till April 5th  2010 I will be giving away 5 TokyoTeleport plus app for iPhone, iTouch or iPad

For more info on the TokyoTeleport app check out my review about the App here:

TokyoTeleport review

The contest is really easy and open the every one!


All you have to do is make sure you follow me on twitter


After you made sure you’re following me

tweet to all your friends:

http://gaijinlife.com is giving away the best Tokyo app for iPhone, iTouch and iPad! @TokyoTeleport @agaijinlife  #contestgaijinlife

MAX one tweet a day

The contest will end on the 31st of March at 12:00 am GMT-05:00

Good luck to everyone!


An interview with Dan from Japanese Castle Explorer

Ok everyone today Im having an interview with a good twitter friend of mine! His name his Daniel O’Grady his is the owner, webmaster writer of the wonderful website Japanese Castle Explorer website.

If you never took a look at his website please after reading this go check it out!


you can also follow him on twitter @jcexplorer


Here is Dan getting it done with a real ninja (yes they do exist hihihi)

Ok let’s get this started!

Hello Dan how are you today!?

I am great and really happy about your interview today!

It is my pleasure.

When did you first came too Japan?

I came to Japan in 2001 more precisely in August

What made you decide to come to Japan?

Way back when, I was doing some martial arts (Karate & Iai-do) and at the same time my interests in other aspects of Japanese culture were developing. Nothing to deep but I started to notice things like bonsai, ukiyo-e, samurai, castles… Anyway one day my sister showed me in the newspaper that there were some job offerings teaching English in Japan. And fortunately, due to Nova’s we’ll-take-anyone policy, I was on my way.

How could you say your living experiance in japan changed your life?

The short answer is, completely.

It’s difficult to answer further because I don’t have my alternate life to compare it to….. but, some of the obvious things are, I met my wife, had kids. Kinda massive.

What do you love about japan?

Castles, chicken-katsu-curry-cheese-mix, the ability to travel around with relative ease.

What don’t you like in japan?

So rigid. And what is the deal with the megaphones?

Will you ever leave?

Yes. Unless Japan is the island from Lost.

Now about your website
When did you start the  Japanese Castle Explorer?

Hmmm… early 2000’s

Why did you start the site?

I have an I.T background, I like Japanese castles. Another big factor was that I needed something to occupy myself. And that it did, but it also put me on the road to learning something.

Where was your passion for castles born?

Taiko by Yoshikawa Eiji! This book is about the life & times (mid-late 1500’s) of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Japan’s three unifier. There are plenty of descriptions of some of Japan’s most important castles, ranging from “overnight-built” forts to the nation’s most lavish.

Where do you want Japanese Castle Explorer to be in 5 years?

Hmmm… somewhere between facebook, wikipedia & youtube. Too ambitious?

Are you the only one behind the JCE?

Yes, I programmed the site, took the pictures(most), shot & hosted the video(just one & probably shouldn’t admit to it), researched the castles & wrote all the descriptions.

Dan future ride! kidding but as he told me the day he saw that car in japan he was like a kid in a candy store!

Authentic Teriyaki Burgers!!

teriyaki burger

“Teriyaki Burger” by tsukacyi

Every Japanese burger shop has a teriyaki burger in its menu, and it is one of the most popular burgers here in Japan.

A teriyaki burger normally has a chicken or beef patty with teriyaki sauce, mayonnaise and lettuce in of course a buns.

Many people in other countries get surprised to find mayonnaise on teriyaki sauce but Japanese mayonnaise is bit vinegary, so it tastes great with sweet teriyaki sauce.

At MOS BURGER, the fast-food restaurant that sold the very first teriyaki burger in the world, they serve rice buns, which are crispy,  kind of chewy textured and perfect for teriyaki burgers!

Do you want to eat teriyaki burgers now?

Well, you don’t have to go to a Japanese burger shop, you can make it at home!

All  you need is buns, a beef patty, thick teriyaki sauce, some mayonnaise and lettuce.

Bon appetit!!

From Japanstyle2010


Manga Cafe’s 漫画喫茶 and Internet Cafe’s ネットカフェ

Manga Cafe’s 漫画喫茶 and Internet Cafe’s ネットカフェ

Internet and Manga cafe’s are everywhere in Japan.

They are now part of the modern Japanese culture. The internet cafe’s are the newest version of the original manga cafe. Manga Cafe’s or in Japanese mangakissa 漫画喫茶 made their debut in post world war 2. Back then, most people could not afford to buy manga’s or for the most fortunate ones the space restriction that many Japanese home have made it difficult to store those comic book.

But what exactly is a Maga or internet cafe?

Pretty easy! It’s a place where you can kick back and enjoy a good Manga ( japanese comic book) or surf the web.

Mostly like everything Japanese there is a bit more to it!  A lot of Japanese people go in those cafe only to relax and enjoy some good reading.  But there is a hole sub culture behind those cafe’s!

In Japanese it is mostly refered as netto kafe nanmin ネットカフェ難民 which literally mean Net cafe refugees.  In recent year in major cities like Tokyo, the price of living as sky rocketed, leaving many people with employment homeless. In august, 2007 the Health Ministry of Japan stated in a new conference that Around 5,400 people with no fixed address spend their nights at 24-hour Internet cafe’s across Japan, of whom 27 percent are in their 20s. Since then the government has being reluctant to release new numbers but the number of those refugee as most definitely sky rocketed!

Photo by Ryosuke Kawasaki

You must wonder why!? Why those homeless business man or woman would live there and not at the hotel or even a hostel?

Internet cafe’s are cheap usually 400yen an hour, plus the normally offer packages for long time periods. You can have a variety of different room types like: normal chairs, non-smoking seat, sofa, massage chair, party room, internet seat, pair seat, zashiki (a tatami), reclining seat and they even have some small futon rooms too. Then you have the other interesting aspect for those homeless business man the free stuff. In all manga and internet cafe’s you have a variety of free drinks and snakes all included in you basic prices. They also offer sheep convinces type food.

Photo by Ryosuke Kawasaki

You can also have access in your room or inside the cafe to movies,DVDs players, shower room, darts, magazines, PC class, music CDs, nail salon, pool table, newspapers, CATV/CS broadcast, table tennis, slot machine, tanning bed, mahjong and many more depending of the location.  All those services under 1400 or 1600yen a night which is way cheaper than a really crappy capsule hotel or anything in the cheap range.

!!Coming soon!!

Here is the list of the up and coming post on Gaijinlife

Internet and Manga Cafes

An interview with Dan from Japanese castle explorer.com

money gifts gosyugi

skateboarding in Tokyo and Japan

Koishikawa Korakuen Garden in Bunkyo-ku

Tips to understand Japanese’s sense of humor

Many more post coming in the next weeks

Here is the picture of the day

This picture was taken by Guillaume Marcotte form tokyoluv.com

The shibuya crossing

Nice interview with Pearl!

You must wonder who is Pearl ??

Here I am! I will introduce her to you!

Pearl is a Japanese singer and musician I met through twitter. Since then I must say I listen to her myspace page mostly every day. Since her songs make me happy and I’m totally in love with them I wanted to make an interview with her so you can first get to know her and second so you could all enjoy her wonderful music.



Hello Pearl how are you today?

”Im pretty fine thank you very much!”

When did you start music?

”I started to learn piano when I was little. At first, my grandma taught me how to play then when I was 6 I started to take piano lessons.

I wanted to major piano at university and become a concert pianist, but like  many things in life  I couldn’t. I graduated from an ordinary university then worked and forgot music.”

What made you start again?

”A few years ago I got sick, and I’m still undergoing  treatment, this situation made me think about my old passion. I really thought that I should live and I should do all the things I want to do till I die. From there I started to play again.”

Is music an inspiration for you?

”Music helped me all through my life. It helps me now and I think music help so many people around the world to go though many hard situation.”

On your myspace page you sing and do you play other instruments?

”I must say I think my singing is not good, but I want to move people’s soul with music. I play the piano and the flute.
When I was little I joined the local chorus and I played the flute at school brass band.
In my University days, I played the flute at chamber orchestra, sang  chorus for Russian folk songs, and joined a piano circle.
Also joined international friendship circle and theatrical company. I was really busy back in those days.”

What motivates you when you sing or write songs?

”Everything motivates me, especially things of nature, water, moon, plants….etc
I sometimes ask guests to give me theme and improvise  live.”

When you play how can you describe your feeling?

”humm this is hard in English! I’m thinking of moving people. I try to feel them feel their souls. I try to send them something that will move them ….lol”
Since you started music again what did you accomplish?

”I created a music circle in Niigata. It’s called “International Friendship with Music”. At first I wanted to do 2 things, a music circle and an international friendship one. After thinking about it I realized  it would be hard to manage two circles, so I thought of unifying them. People may laugh, but I believe if there is music, borders are meaningless.”

What music do you like to listen ?

”I listen to all kinds of music. In childhood, my parents were listening classical, jazz, bossa nova and many Japanese tunes.

Now I still enjoy those types plus I listen to rock and R&B, too.
I love ethnic music and I absolutely check world music corner at CD shop.”

In the future where would you like to be with your music?
”I don’t know, but anywhere. I want to move help and heal people all around the world.
Thanks to internet, I can send my music to the whole world. I’m  trying hard to keep on sending good music.
And it would be nice if I could ease someone’s mind and cheering up him.
Thank you so much Pearl
”Your welcome, I love you all.”

Again if you want to listen to Pearl’s music just go visit her myspace page.

Tsukiji fish market 築地市場

Tsukiji fish market 築地市場

Did you know Tokyo holds the biggest fish market in the world?

Yes the Tsukiji fish market is the biggest whole sale fish and seafood market in the world.

The market is located near the Tsukijishijo Station on the Toei Oedo line and Tsukiji Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya line (that’s my home line). I love this market, if you are a sushi fan its heaven. You can eat delishously fresh sushi’s of any kind and witness the live auctions if you’re an early bird.

There are two sections at Tsukiji market: the Jonai shijo and the Jogai shijo
In the Jonai shijo section you will find all the whole sealers, this is where the action takes place in the morning and when I say morning it’s early around 5h30 am because that’s when the auctions starts. The actions normally stop around 8h00 am but the market is open till 3h00pm. I must say, if you can go there around 5h30 6h00 you will witness and live a quite nice experiance.There is approximately 1000 wholesale dealers so i let you imagine the action that this section of the market can pack up during the early morning!

The second section of the Tsukiji market is the Jogai shijo. In this section you will find some wholesale and retail shops. In these shop you can find of course fish and seafood but also find Japanese kitchen tools, restaurant supplies and groceries. For the sushi lover in you this section is also home of many Japanese restaurant many of which that serves sushi.

For all of you intrepid early birds, that are willing to visit this market I would like to give you some little rules of conduct at the market. Why rules super simple the wholesale section of Tsukiji Market is where business is conducted and it is really really important for visitors not to interfere with those sales or activities. In 2008 the market, especially the famous tuna action was close to the public because of bad behavior form visitors. If you want to enjoy this wonderful sight of Tokyo here are those rules:

You should visit the tuna auction between 5:00am and 6:15am
Don’t use your flash during the auction if your taking a photo
Do not enter restricted areas
Don’t obstruct traffic or the operations
Do not bring large bags or suitcases
Do not wear high-heel or sandals!
Don’t smoke in the market
And of course don’t touch the fish!

A  little History about the Market and the fish industry in Tokyo

Tokugawa Ieyasu was the one to establish the first fish market in Tokyo. Since he was the shogun he wanted a stable source of fish and seafood for the Edo castle. He there for invited fisherman’s from Osaka to Edo so they could provide fresh food for the castle. All the fish that was not taken at the Edo castle was sold near the famous Nihonbashi bridge. So the first Tokyo fish market was created, it was called Uogashi, many more markets were created along the rivers and canals near Nihonbashi. The Tsukiji market was then created in 1935. The condition as for why it was created were not so pleasant, in September 1923 Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake refered as the Great Kanto earthquake. This event destroyed most of Tokyo including the Uogashi fish market.

I hoe you enjoyed this post. Feel free to comment.