Shipment from the US or “why does it take so long”

I ordered a product from dbrand and selected the standard shipment method via DHL, expecting it to arrive in Japan within approximately 10 days.

Having been accustomed to Japanese delivery companies, where most deliveries arrive the next day accompanied by frequent location updates, the contrast was quite noticeable. As an illustration, I ordered a few days ago a Vinyl record from Kyoto, and it was delivered the very next morning, with a series of four location updates provided until the moment of delivery.

In contrast, DHL’s updates left much to be desired. There were significant time lags between updates, and the reasons behind these delays were far from clear. For instance, the package reached Melrose Park, IL on August 5th; however, it took a full week (!) until an update was registered, simply stating “In Transit to Destination Country.” As of August 16th (Japan time), the package’s whereabouts remain uncertain. Is it still in the US, or has it already arrived in Japan?

Another reminder of the exceptional quality of service provided by Japanese delivery companies.

怪物 , Monster , the movie

Kore-Eda san’s “Monster” won the screenplay prize (to Sakamoto Yuji) at Cannes Film festival.

Went to see it on the opening day in Shibuya, it was a very stormy night with very strong rain which caused floods and even casualties, but I want to write about the movie.

It is a good movie.
Very difficult to write about it without disclosing the “secret” part of the story, so will not write about the movie but the way it is being marketed in Japan. The movie Trailer is shown quite often which I also believes attracts a lot of attention, But(!) to me it feels misleading. The way scenes are glued together to enhance mystery and fear as if there is horror behind, as if the adults have secrets which harm the children.
Well, the adults do have secrets, and children are always affected by them, but this is not the main story… or so I think. Maybe this is the strength of the story, but I do feel manipulated by the trailer.

Great movie, great writing, actors and filmography, highly recommended, but please avoid watching the trailer .

Japanese Whiskey

I have a deep appreciation for Single Malt Japanese Whiskies. I used to be able to purchase them quite frequently around 10 years ago, but nowadays, it has become increasingly difficult, and at times even impossible, to find them.

The combination of limited availability and rising prices has made acquiring these whiskies quite challenging. I recently heard from a bar owner that even if they attempt to order them, there is a significant lead time and the prices are exorbitant.

For instance, the price of Yamazaki 12-year-old whisky has skyrocketed to approximately $200, whereas in the past, I used to purchase it for around $60-80. As for Yamazaki 18-year-old, I was fortunate enough to have bought it several times in the past for about $200, but it has now become completely unavailable, and if it were to be found, it would be far beyond my means.

The same unfortunate situation applies to other esteemed brands such as Hakushu (白州) and TakeTsuru (竹鶴).

Oddly enough, I can still manage to acquire Scotch whiskies. Although they have become slightly pricier compared to several years ago, they are still accessible. Just yesterday, I ordered Talisker from Amazon and it was promptly delivered to me on the same day. I can’t complain about Scotch whiskies, as they are undoubtedly exceptional, but I do long for the opportunity to enjoy Japanese whiskies once in a while.

Mobile Monthly plan Japan

Or how come I pay a full monthly plan for only one day(!)

I have recently changed from one of the major mobile network operators in Japan to a lower cost. Doing that will help me lower the monthly plan from around 9000 Yen to 3000 Yen.
As I selected a low cost provider which is associated with my previous one, the procedure was very simple and fast.

But, what I forgot to consider is the actual transfer date. Maybe I was being naive, maybe I thought that the date does not matter, but I changed providers on September 2nd.

Now, you would assume that I would have to pay for 1-2 days to my previous provider, but surprise surprise. I was charged for a full month! YES! 9000 Yen for 1 day service.

My kid told me :

Oh, it is well known. When you sign up, you pay for only the time you joined, but when you move out, you pay for the whole month

That means that for the month of September, I am paying a full month for my previous provider and almost a full month for my new one.

Isn’t this something that the Japanese government needs to regulate and control ?

I thought about complaining/calling, but if this is a common practice in the Japanese mobile market, maybe I should focus my efforts in discussing with consumer protection groups.

Will think some more about it.

Did not write the names of the providers as I guessed it does not really matter.

Murata Sayaka book translated to Hebrew

Just say in ynet that Murata Sayaka (村田沙耶香)’s book was translated to Hebrew.

While in Japanese the name of the book is コンビニ人間 , meaning “a person of the Convenience shop” , in Hebrew the title is “בשולי הנוחות” which is a word play of Conveience, meaning “the Edge of Conveience”.
Have to say I do not like the Hebrew title as I feel it does not keep the meaning of the Japanese title.
The book cover is also problematic a shows a take away paper bag which may be popular in the US, but definitely not in Japan .

Shurijo -首里城 – Flickr Stats

Shuri Castle (首里城) was burnt on October 31.

Same day, my photos of Shuri castle peaked on Flickr

Very happy I had the chance to see it in its glory and hope it will be rebuilt soon.

From this simple example, I can just imagine the amount of data Flickr can extract from searches and trend deduction, but I doubt if they do it.
We all know Google do.

Fukuoka 福岡

Was on a short business trip to Fukuoka, which reminded me that I love this city.

Big, but not too big. Small, but not too small. I really think Fukuoka can (and probably already) attract people from Tokyo area. Read several articles about efforts to create start-ups in Fukuoka and I do feel it has the right infrastructure and “spirit” to accommodate it.

Had only a short walk to take photos, which resulted in the following two.

福岡 屋台
Fukuoka Nakasu

Skill or lack of Skill?

10 years leaving in Japan, my Japanese is reasonable.

It is less common for me to encounter situations when people give me a blank look, not knowing how to talk with me.

Not sure how it happens, how people “know” I understand Japanese. Not sure what is different when people don’t know how to respond to me. It is a Skill of understanding/seeing I am “local”, or is it the lack of skill to adapt to a different situation.

Went to “Paul” yesterday, ordered a sandwich, some bread, and it all went natural. No hesitation from the girl who worked there, no change of tone or speed. Is it because she understood I am “local”, or is it because she can’t change the way she is working.

Will keep watching people and thinking about it, but I guess I will not find a definitive answer.

Starbucks Roastery Tokyo

Did not go inside, as Sakura season during the weekend is definitely not a good time for that.

This blog is about a mistake in the address on official Starbucks website. Megruro instead of Meguro. I wonder when they will notice the mistake and fix it .

Starbucks Roastery 中目黒
Starbucks Roastery 中目黒