Madness in the Mail to the USA

Mike will have a new article on Lew Rockwell today with his comments concerning the mailing of packages from Japan to the USA.

We hope you enjoy it.

You can read it first here:

Japan Has Top Number of Michelin Restaurants!

I have been telling many friends, over the years, that Japan (Tokyo in particular) has some of the best restaurants in the world. Today’s news once again confirms this.

From Google

Japan has for the first time drawn level with France in terms of the number of three-Michelin-starred restaurants it can boast, according to the latest Tokyo guide released Wednesday. The 2011 version of the French foodie bible saw 14 eateries in Tokyo get top marks from Michelin, giving Japan a total of 26 of the coveted stars nationwide and putting it neck-and-neck with Michelin’s home turf. Tokyo itself managed to keep its status as the world capital of cuisine, according to Michelin, with its 14 three-starred establishments, up from 11 last year, building its lead over Paris, which has just 10.

Thanks to News on Japan

Win a Vacation to Croatia With Domino Pizza!?

This just in and not officially announced (nor confirmed):

Rumor has it that Domino Pizza Japan will make a Valentine’s Day Heart-Shaped Pizza this next year.

Anyone who is a part of their e-mail magazine or web-member will get the chance to win a vacation to Croatia – The Mediterranean the way it used to be!

The campaign looks like it will be announced in January! Stay tuned!

Croatia Tourism Japan website

Thanksgiving in Japan

It’s almost Thanksgiving time in Japan.

In Japan we don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving like people in the USA do. I ‘ve been here so long that I can’t remember anymore but it seems to me that Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the third Thursday of November.

In Japan, November 23rd is, “Rinro Kansha no Hi” (Labor Day) and it is a national holiday.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I think it is best because we don’t have to fight crowds at department stores buying cheap trash for people we don’t even like like we do at Christmas. Thanksgiving is just sitting around and drinking and eating too much… That and watching the Detroit Lions get the shit kicked out of them every year….

Christmas sucks because we have to go out and buy crap for people we don’t really like… Remember? Like that shit necktie you bought at the last moment for your uncle two years ago? What a waste of time and money. You know, they say “it’s the thought that counts?” Hell, you put zero thought into that purchase.

You know uncle hates that necktie even more than that awful cologne that you gave him for his birthday last year.

Oh yeah, did I mention that I hate buying presents for birthdays too?

Anyway, so, since there is no long holiday on the third Thursday of the month in Japan and no football on TV; no shopping at packed shopping malls; no mom & dad fighting about how to make a turkey; no uncle getting too drunk to walk; and no older brother too stoned to associate with family members anymore, we celebrate Thanksgiving at the Rogers house in Japan on Labor Day, November 23rd.

That’s my iPhone there in front of the turkey so you get an idea

as to the size of this bird.

Anyhow… I just got back from the International super and bought a turkey. It weighs in at 4.77 kilograms (10.5 pounds) and cost ¥3,900 ($46.67 USD). Including tax, that comes to ¥4,095 ($49.00).

A 10 pound turkey might seem tiny to those of you in the west, but, in Japan it is pretty big as we don’t usually have huge ovens like American homes do. Most Japanese dwellings don’t even have an oven. This one is just right for our oven.

Compared to the USA, is this very expensive?

Proof That God Exists!

You know, whatever you want to call it, God, Allah, Buddha, Spirit-in-the-Sky, The Great Nambuti or Kharma (or whatever)… It can be a bitch when you are not living right.

You can’t lie to a nun

Here’s a hilarious story from the Japan Times about a guy who tried to rip off god and paid the price!

Man in shrine theft ‘punished by God’

TOKUSHIMA (Kyodo) An elderly man was arrested Monday after botching an attempt to steal coins from a shrine in Anan, Tokushima Prefecture, police said.

Heihachi Kadoguchi, 75, tried to pry open the “saisenbako,” a wooden box used to store coins tossed by worshippers, but was unable to break the lock on the box, the police said.

He then tried to flee the scene but slipped on the steps, hitting his head on the ground, they said. The stunned man was later caught by police officers called in by shrine workers.

“That was a punishment by God,” Kadoguchi was quoted as telling investigators. Kadoguchi, who comes from Komatsujima in the prefecture, suffered cuts requiring six stitches.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! You can’t make this stuff up!

Japan Has the Coolest Key Chains

In Japan, keychains and cellphone straps are must have items for every student in the country… Even if they only have one phone and one key, they have several key and cell phone chains.

In America, they have the funniest and most bizarre websites. America might be messed up but, because of that wildness, some folks have great ideas.

And one of those great ideas has to do with bacon…. I’ll admit it like most guys I love bacon. With bacon, you can fix any terrible meal.

Well, along those lines, there’s a funny website in the states that is all a website should be. I’ve written before about how a focused website is critical (even this website is too wide spread – but I’m working on it). But here is a website that is about just one thing: Bacon! Like I said, how can you go wrong with bacon?

The site is called The Daily Bacon and today it has a feature about cool keychains from Japan:

As a nerd I have always been partial to the Lego Star Wars mini figure keychains, but this absolutely takes the cake…

Seriously, if a cooler keychain exists I don’t know about it!

Now that’s a burger…bacon, cheese, avacado, tomato, blah, blah, blah, yum, yum, yum…

This little wonder is from the Japanese company Re-Ment.  It’s one of a series of 12 sculpted food keychains.

They’re $1.99 and available at the Japanese supermarket chain Mitsuwa. Thing is each package is a blind draw, so you have no idea if you’ll get a bowl of ramen or what I am officially calling the coolest keychain ever.

If you are a bacon fan or need a daily bacon fix, then try The Daily Bacon and tell them Mike sent you.

Fly From Haneda to Malaysia for ¥14,000 on Air Asia

Wow! I think I’ve gone to heaven! Air Asia, a Malaysian based airlines, is starting service from Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Thursday, December 9th, 2010 and flying to Kuala Lumpur direct for the incredibly low price of ¥14,000! That’s about $169 USD!

That’s an incredible deal!

At ¥14,000 yen, the flights on these beautiful Air Asia planes will about 1/3 that of the next nearest competitor that charges over ¥40,000 per person! Heck, that extra ¥26,000 yen in your pocket will pay for two nights at some of the best hotels in Malaysia!

The Nikkei reports:

AirAsia X to launch KL – Tokyo Haneda flights

KUALA LUMPUR (Nikkei)–Budget Malaysian carrier AirAsia Bhd said Tuesday that it plans to launch its first flights serving Japan by the end of the year, selling one-way tickets between Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo for as low as 14,000 yen.

Operated by AirAsia X, AirAsia’s long-distance airline, the flights between Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Tokyo’s Haneda airport will begin at a pace of three per week. But the company aims to ramp up to seven flights as soon as possible, AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes told The Nikkei.

The flights are expected to use Airbus SAS’ A330 aircraft. The Japanese government has already allotted landing and takeoff slots to AirAsia X at Haneda.

At present, the cheapest round-trip airfares for Japan-Malaysia flights sell for more than 40,000 yen. Saying that the one-way fare for its flights will likely cost less than a cab ride from Tokyo to Narita International Airport, Fernandes expressed his confidence in the service’s success.Read more:

Alright!!!! I know where I am taking my family on vacation next year! We are going to Malaysia and we are flying Air Asia!

Also! There is a rumor going around that Air Asia will be running some cool promotions on Tokyo area FM radio stations where you can win tickets (hotel too?) to go on vacation to Malaysia on Air Asia! Stay tuned to this blog for more information as – as always – I will be the first to announce that information so you have a better chance to win!


Kuala Lumpur

Thank God for Air Asia!




Air Asia online booking is here:

Direct hotel online booking:

Direct hotel online booking:

Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo Closed Dec 1 ~ Jan 20th, 2011

If you plan on going to the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo this year, I suggest you get over there in the next two weeks. It will close from Dec. 1.

Tuna’s the size of a sofa

The Japan Times Reports:

Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market will shut out sightseers from its popular tuna auction area from Dec. 1 to Jan. 22 to ensure sales can be conducted smoothly, market officials said. The auction area at the Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market will be off-limits to sightseers around the New Year’s holidays for the third straight year. The measure was introduced in 2008 because activities such as flash photography by tourists disturbed tuna middlemen and because the area will be particularly crowded around New Year’s due to an upsurge in tuna transactions.

Read More.

Linkedin and Twitter are Going Downhill

Both Linkedin and Twitter sometimes greatly irritate me. I wonder if they irritate a lot of other people too.

Before I complain about Linkedin, let me complain about Twitter. I’ve complained before about Twitter here (60% of all Twitter users quit using Twitter within the first 30 days), here (about Twitter manipulating the “Trending” numbers) and here. Now, the most recent thing that irritates me about Twitter is all the junk mail and hard sell pitches; or should I call them “Hard Sell Tweets”?

I got 1,000s of followers!

Way too many people are posting (in a dishonest and sneaky way) about something that takes you to a site that asks that you sign up or buy something. The most absurd (and by far the most irritating) are the ones that say, “Get 1000′s of new Twitter followers.” Then when you look at that person’s Twitter profile, you see that they only have two-hundred followers or so.

How can they say, “I got 1000′s of new followers” etc., etc., blah, blah… When they only have a few hundred? At the link, it tells you that it costs, for example, $500 dollars for 200 “new friends.” I thought only rock stars and people like that had paid friends (read: entourage). Why in the world would anyone want to pay for “friends”? What good is it to follow someone who you have zero interest in excepting to add a “1″ to the numbers of followers you have?

If I have lots of followers, does that make me popular?

Anyway, that’s a dishonest sales tactic, no?

That takes me to my next target; Linkedin. And speaking about dishonest sales tactics; twice in the last 3 weeks, I have been asked by someone to allow them into my network (or whatever it is called) only to have them soon reveal their true purpose: They aren’t interested in connecting; they are interested in selling me something.

One girl wants to write a book on Japan and asked me to help out. At first I was flattered, then I realized that she didn’t even bother to find out who I was and what I have done here in this country. All she wanted was somebody – anybody – to write something about Japan. What a load of BS.

I kind of felt like the last girl at the bar who gets taken home by a drunk guy who gets her in bed and the next morning wonders how she got into his apartment…

Please excuse my childish vanity here while I blow off steam… There are very few foreigners in Japan who have been here longer than I have. I only know of two. One guy is named Roger Marshall and the other guy is Bruce Jackson. Both gentlemen are the most upstanding – and outstanding – guys you could ever want to meet. I’ve been here since 1984 (the first time was 1979). Both these guys have been here since the 1970′s! Plus, they are true Japanophiles: They speaks the language and understand – as best as any of us can – what the hell is going on here.

I think that a guy like Roger or Bruce, if I wanted to approach them for sales, at least deserves enough respect from me that I do my due diligence and find out all I can about them before I bother them. Maybe I am conceited, but I hope some young sales person would offer me the same consideration.

Hell, it doesn’t have to be Japan, either. Most good salesmen would do their homework before pitching…

So, I wasn’t happy when I realized that this dumb girl hadn’t even bothered to find out who I was before she asked for my help.

The next guy was from an investment company named, Argentum Wealth Management. He claimed that he wanted to connect… Then, within an hour, he was trying to sell me a sales meeting.

Once again, I gathered that he had no idea who I was or what I have done here in this country. He also claimed that “It would only take 20 minutes of my time to show me how I could make more money from my investments”!? Oh really? I’m over 53 years old and someone can come into my office, shake my hand, sit down and yak for a minute and tell me everything I need to know about taxes and investments? Wow! That’s amazing. I wonder why people bother to go to university for 4 years or bother getting a license to become a financial advisor?

Of course, I told this guy, “No!”

The next time I want to go and feel abused by a salesman I’ll go back to the USA and look at used cars, thank you.

I have a good piece of advice for any sales person; before you bother to even make a sales pitch, at least take 10 minutes to try to find out some background information on the people or company that you are approaching.

If I wanted to have people approaching me for sales like this (like Amway did in the early 1980′s) then I would have joined the Mormon church.

One more event like this and I will “un-friend” a lot of people or cancel my Twitter or Linkedin account. Actually, I don’t need either. If someone really wanted to get a hold of me, they could.

Just Google; “Mike” and “Tokyo” and there I am.

Is it just me or are there others who feel the same way; why have Twitter and Linkedin become so much like a dumpy singles bar?