Plain Talk


One of the Japanese way of doing things by James Gombas

It was one of those times that I realized “this would only happen in Japan”. I stood in front of the coin locker and felt very near to tears, feeling the overwhelming crush of the Japanese way of doing things.

It started with a simple plan to ditch my suitcase at Tokyo Station in order to attend a business meeting without dragging my bag around. Simple enough plan. Time, however, was not on my side and I had to move quickly. The first set of coin lockers I came to turned out to be completely full. No problem, Tokyo Station is teeming with lockers. Off to the next set.

The next set was filling up fast, but I felt very lucky to be able to get one of the open lockers. Hoisting my suitcase up into the cramped locker, I went to the payment machine with my crisp 1000 yen note. Denied- this payment machine only accepts coins. (I know many accept credit cards, Suica cards, etc, but this one only took coins). Lifting down my heavy suitcase, I looked around for somewhere to make change – luckily there was a concession stand selling snacks across the way.

Trundling up to the elderly shopkeeper, I made her understand that I needed change for 1000 yen. Unperturbed, and in perfect Japanese fashion, she made me understand that I would have to make a purchase in order to make change. Pressed for time, I had no choice but to buy something. Looking around, the lowest cost item was 575 yen. Perfect, I thought, it will leave me enough to pay the 400 yen for the locker. It was only after the elderly lady rung up the chocolate wafer delights that I realized sales tax would push the total over 600 yen. I now had change, but not enough. And I really needed to make that meeting. Try as hard as I might, my elderly Japanese lady friend would not allow me to change a second 1000 yen note even though I just made a purchase. There was quite the standoff, but if you ever tried to make someone in Japan break the rules, you understand exactly why I had to purchase a second box of chocolate wafers in order to get enough change to put in the coin locker machine.

Scurrying back to the locker, I was balancing my suitcase in one hand and two bags of chocolate wafers in the other. This is the point I mentioned at the beginning of this story, the point that I almost broke down. Because after all the hurdles I had to jump though just to get the locker, I found the locker had been taken.







Plain Talk


What to Watch on Netflix Japan by Limarc Ambalina

Netflix has to somehow cater to the large English-speaking population in the country while maintaining a library interesting to the Japanese as well. That may seem like a tall order. However, the Netflix library in Japan is large and there is something to watch for everyone. This list will cover series available in English on Netflix Japan.

1. Derren Brown: Infamous

Derren Brown is one of the best illusionists and stage performers of our time. He mixes psychology, hypnotism, and magic to create shows and performances unlike anyone else out there today. Best of all, whether it be that the negative stories we tell us about ourselves aren’t true, or that happiness is about acceptance, Derren’s shows always have a message. You come away from them thoroughly entertained and also feeling like you’ve learnt something important.

For those new to Derren Brown, Infamous is a great place to start. It is a recording of his live performance in London. During this show he is at an age where he has honed his skill and is much better than he was 10 years ago. The show brings together all the elements that make Derren great: showmanship, humour, audience participation, unbelievable illusions, and a worthy message.

2. Black Summer

A Netflix original series Black Summer is produced by the same team that brought us Z Nation only Black Summer is incomparably their better work. Following five survivors, the story is told in chapters, each chapter following a single survivor and how they handled the outbreak. What surprised me about Black Summer is how raw and unapologetic the story was.

Thrust into a world where survival is all that counts, there is no right or wrong. Black Summer is perhaps the best-paced zombie television show of recent years. The series creates suspense almost effortlessly. This perhaps might be weird for me to say, but it is also one of the most realistic takes on the zombie genre I’ve ever witnessed. Characters act with logic, which is sometimes rare in the horror genre. The relationships are real, forged in the oddest and most horrific circumstances. For zombie fans, this is 100% a must-see series and the best zombie piece since 28 Days Later.

3. Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories is my all-time favorite Japanese series. Set in a tiny diner in Kabukicho, Shinjuku, the diner’s patrons represent Tokyo residents in all walks of life. Since the diner only opens at midnight and is located in a place famous for bars, clubs, and hostess bars, you are introduced to Tokyo’s various forms of vice. The diner’s patrons range from Yakuza members, strippers, and professional gamblers to nurses and grocery shop owners.

The episodes are short and sweet, with each story focused around a food sold at the diner, which is anything under the sun. That’s right. The house rule is the chef will make anything you want, so long as he has the ingredients. Furthermore, with this series you can try your hand at learning the Japanese language and learn about popular Japanese foods. Honestly, I can’t recommend this series enough. For anyone remotely interested in Japan this is a great series to start with.

4. Aggretsuko

I have watched countless anime titles across every genre. However, I have to say that Aggretsuko is one of the most unique anime of all time. Aggretsuko is about Retsuko, a lesser panda salary woman who hates her job and struggles with her love life. All the characters in the show are Tokyo citizens represented as anthropomorphized animals. Just like everyone does at some point in life, Retsuko struggles to find her purpose and romantic partner.

What does Retsuko do to relieve her stress? She doesn’t go to the bathroom to cry. Instead, she goes to the bathroom stall to scream death metal songs at the top of her lungs. She sings about the problems going on in her life and vocalizes her true thoughts. The best thing abut Aggretsuko is, although sometimes stereotypical, its portrayal of Tokyo social culture and work culture. It accurately shows the delicacies and annoyances of office politics. The show explores the difficulties of young adults trying to find love while juggling their work and social lives.

It’s rare that an anime with cute characters can be so appealing to adults. Aggretsuko is a new and refreshing take on the anime medium to appeal to an almost unexplored audience.

Tokyo Fab



The Official RuPaul’s Drag Race World Tour returns with an all new production for 2020! Intergalactic queens including Aquaria, Detox, Kim Chi, Monet X Change, Plastique Tiara, Sharon Needles and Violet Chachki are ready to give out-of-this-world performances! Presented by Voss Events in collaboration with World of Wonder and VH1. EAGLE TOKYO, the biggest gay bar group in Japan, is promoting the Tokyo date. **Cast subject to change**

Date:3/2 (Mon), 2020 @ Zepp DiverCity Tokyo
Closest Sta.: Tokyo Teleport Sta. & Daiba Sta.

For more information, visit


A TRIBUTE TO NUJABES Tribute to Nujabes on the 10th anniversary of his departure

On February 26th 2010, Nujabes, a true rare breed of producer, departed our earthly realm for the stars at only 36 years old – way too young… On Friday February 21st, VENT will hold a memorial event commemorating 10 years since his passing, in the Buddhist tradition.
Artists who were close to Nujabes, like international artists Five Deez, Fat Jon, and Pase Rock will be making their way along with DJ Ryow a.k.a. Smooth Current, massive supporter of Nujabes’ Hydeout Productions print during its golden era, as well as Kenmochi Hidefumi (of Wednesday Campanella fame) and other Japanese artists to celebrate the life and music of Nujabes. All tracks are dedicated to Nujabes.
Nujabes gained massive support form listeners all over the world through his releases, which were purely about the music and completely devoid of commercialism, contrary to the current trend in the music industry. Nujabes has clocked in as one of the top streamed Japanese artists internationally on Spotify, a testament to border, generation, and genre transcending sounds created by a true master. Come and experience this tribute event with us, and commemorate the life and sound of a true sonic legend!

Date: 2/21 (Fri), 2020 11pm - @ VENT
Closest Sta.: Omotesando Sta.

For more details and concert schedules, please visit


What’s App With You?



Fantastical rethinks calendaring for iPhone. It does this not through upending interface conventions, but by saving you time – this iPhone app’s major features mostly have you use your calendar less, so you can get on with your life. For example, events can be created using natural language, with your event building as you type. When events have multiple invitees, you can suggest several different time slots and let Fantastical sort out scheduling based on responses. And then there’s the superb events ticker, a new thumbable menu for quickly accessing views, integrated weather forecasts, and a slew of handy calendar sets (such as for sports and TV shows).


Magpie reimagines notes and reminders for the visually inclined. The experience focuses on photographs rather than being words-first. Create new lists and items, and you’re invited to take snaps or load existing ones. When browsing lists, your eyes are dazzled by the imagery rather than bogged down in text. That said, Magpie doesn’t eschew words entirely. You can add brief notes to any list item, and for the likes of gift lists, it’s possible to add prices, links, and even locations. Once you’ve built up a bit of a collection, Magpie shines especially bright on iPhone, as you browse your items.


Tokyo Voice Column


WINTERTIME IN JAPAN by Jacqueline C. Sarmiento

The winter in Japan is a festive season and a very incredible time to experience and have fun in the colder months. Even when it’s chilly outside, you can still enjoy strolling around.

The Japanese winter starts around the beginning of December and running through the end of February or at the latest, mid-March.

When it’s freezing out, there is nothing like slipping into a natural hot bath or “onsen” as they call it. If you can, find an open air and enjoy the serene atmosphere there. It’s very cosy and relaxing! Just make sure you know the onsen rules.

Slurping “ramen” is good at any time of the year, but it’s nice to enjoy it when it’s cold outside. “Miso ramen” for me is the best! There’s nothing like feeling the hot noodle soup heat you up from the inside out. “Ramen oishi”!

Eating at a “Yakitori Grill”, a Japanese Barbecue, is something every visitor of Japan should definitely try. Normally, they do it outside but yakitori grills are found indoors, too. When it’s cold and freezing outside, the cosy atmosphere is a great place to warm up.

Go shopping! Japan is home to some of the best brands on the planet. From electronics to fashion, you name it, they have it! There is no shortage of unique places to shop, especially, in Tokyo. During the winter season, prices are often reduced as stores are preparing for the coming season.




ラーメンをすするのがおいしい季節でもある。屋外で食べるとおいしさが増す。みそラーメンが私の好物だ! 熱々の汁で体の芯から温まるのは何ものにも代え難い。ラーメンおいしい!


買い物に行こう! 日本は高級ブランドが集結している。電化製品からファッションまで、どんなブランドでも見つかる!。特に東京は、期待を裏切らない買い物天国だ。冬は、次のシーズンに備えて商品の入れ替えがあるため、値下げも期待できる。



Do it at Home!

A fast worker has been fired after a video was posted online showing him taking a bath in the restaurant's industrial size sink. The clip was uploaded to TikTok, where it was viewed thousands of times, before being widely shared on other social media platforms. It shows a man sitting in the sink with soapy water up to his shoulders at a branch of Wendy's in America, while another person throws a cloth into the water and tells him to 'wash himself'. The man wipes his chest, before laughing and saying "it feels like a hot tub" and "I'm just enjoying life, boss" as a metal food tray is also slid into the water. The employee can be seen shirtless and his bare knees are visible above the water, but it's unclear if he is completely naked… According to a spokesperson for Wendy's, the restaurant had been 'completely sanitised' and steps were taken to ensure that 'something like this never happens again'.

DON'T try this at home

If you love keeping up with all the latest cleaning tips and tricks, you might recently have seen one doing the rounds involving toilets. "Dishwashing liquid in the toilet tank compartment and every flush is fresh clean smelly bubbles and toilet always looks clean." Many people thought it was a great idea and vowed to try it for themselves, while others weren't so sure about it. Master Plumbers advised people against using products that were not designed for use in a toilet system as people should always think about the environment when choosing cleaning products. If you're now looking for a more eco-friendly way to make your toilet crystal clean, you might want to consider using a pumice stone.



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