Taking the stage at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in Sendagaya are stars like pop princess Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Yasutaka Nakata's Capsule and slick choreography kings World Order, while fashion shows and the like will also take place. A wide assortment of promotional booths will be set up, allowing you to participate in a variety of fun workshops. Furthermore, the area around the venue will feature DJ performances, a temporary food court serving juicy meat and festival grub like yakisoba and takoyaki, and opportunities for trying traditional matsuri activities like cork gun shooting and wanage (quoits).

Just like last year, all non-Japanese citizens can get in for free: register on the festival's official website, bring your ticket along with a passport or residence card, and display these at the gate.

A lot of textbooks and websites try to teach you functional Japanese and ignore the grittier parts of the grammar. Unfortunately, this means many learners miss out of the structure and beauty (and structure!) of Japanese that, while complex, might help put things into place. This primer is designed to get you more familiar with what is actually going on with Japanese conjugations. It won't cover everything and may even tell some "simple truths" (aka, white lies you'll unlearn later) but it will get you started on achieving a deeper understanding of Japanese verbs.

On check in you have the options of speaking to either a humanoid robot or a dinosaur wearing a bow tie! The humanoid robot has been designed to mimic a human being as well as possible. This receptionist blinks, appears to breath and can even make eye contact. Sadly, however, these robots cannot hold a conversation and so to check in you can use the touchscreens to the side of the front desk. Your bags are then taken by a robot too and for left luggage a large robot arm will pick it up and place it in a locker for you.

The cards, aptly named Prepaid SIM for Japan, can be purchased along with smartphones, mobile routers and smartphone accessories at the vending machines, the Tokyo-based telecommunications firm said.

The airport will have two such machines, for Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, with only credit cards accepted for added ease.

NTT Communications said the SIM cards are priced at ¥3,450 for one week and ¥4,950 for two weeks. Both types offer a maximum download speed of 150 megabytes per second and 50 Mbps as an upload speed. If the data amount exceeds 100 MB a day, the network speed will slow down.

There just isn’t a resource out there that shows the counter with a list of things that can be counted in this way. I’m hoping to fix that with this guide.

The cashiers I interviewed all agreed that the trays are convenient because there’s less risk that someone will drop a coin and set off a scramble to retrieve it. The trays also make it possible to spread out the bills and coins so customers can see at a glance that they’ve been given the correct change. And as one shopkeeper explained it, offering change in a tray feels more polite than simply placing money in a customer’s hand. “Japanese prefer not to touch other people’s hands and the tray creates desirable distance,” he commented. “So you could say that using a tray is an expression of reserve as well as an extension of good customer service.”

These experiences will help you understand who the Japanese people are, and why they act the way they do. Get ready to move from tourist to cultural expert after the jump!

I've done about half of these so I guess I'm about half-way between "tourist" and "cultural expert".

Google Inc. on Wednesday released new Street View images showing the present condition of the Tohoku region devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami as the country marked the fourth anniversary of the disaster, which left more than 18,000 people dead or missing.

The U.S. company posted pictures taken since November 2014 online as part of a project launched in 2011 with the aim of keeping the memories of the disaster from fading.

Sekai Menu (meaning “World Menu” in English), provides multi-language localization of food and beverage menus via QR codes placed around partner restaurants. Users can simply scan the code and place their order via smartphone or tablet, ensuring that neither party gets lost in translation.

New Japanese words every day, with kana, romaji and kanji. And colorful pictures, just in case.

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