Quick tips to reduce your waste in Japan

While I hardly consider myself a hardcore environmentalist, I do believe in reducing our unnecessary taxing of resources (i.e. excessive waste).
In Japan, there are many steps the country has been taking (some for many many years) to reduce the country's output of garbage.

Anyway, here are some of my steps I'm personally taking to reduce my waste:

  1. Use the phrase "袋は要りません" (fukuro wa irimasen) meaning "I don't need a bag" when you buy small things at the convenience store
  2. Buy a pair of chopsticks (105JPY at your local Daiso) and keep them at your desk at work. When you buy food from a convenience store, tell them "お箸は要りません" (Ohashi wa irimasen - I don't need chopstics).
  3. Carry a hand towel with you in your back pocket. Most washrooms don't have dryers or paper towels to dry your hands with. Even if they do, save some trees and use your cloth towel. These cost anywhere from a few hundred yen to a couple thousand if you want one made of the finest quality.
  4. Walk or take the train. Chances are what you need isn't that far from where you live. This only holds true for large cities like Tokyo and Osaka, though.
Obviously there are many more things you can do, but every little bit helps!

Credit card please?

Earlier this week I applied for a Yahoo Japan branded Suica Visa card. 

Pretty much within a single day, I was rejected. (They allow you to check your status online, so that's how I found out so quickly).

This is their response (sorry for the japanese):

Direct Translation (poor english):
The result of the investigation, the card distribution has been decided to be restrained.
You did hard work at applying and we are truly sorry. 

Proper Translation:
After our investigation, we have decided to not approve your request for a credit card.
We are truly sorry for the inconvenience. 

Sigh. Just like in America. I guess I'll just have to apply to hundreds of cards again. 

Black Sesame Swirkle

Today I bought a Black Sesame Swirkle (黒胡麻スワークル - Kuro-goma Suwakuru) frozen drink from Tulley's in Tokyo. I guess it's strange that I'm posting about a drink, but it was so different that I had to post about it!

It was quite the interesting flavour! 
It was mildly sweet, with a hint of cream, and a nice dose of black sesame. Of course, I had no idea what was coming when I took my first sip. It wasn't until I tried it again that I really appreciated it's flavour. 

This drink is one of those crazy Japanese/Western fusion food/drinks that are available everywhere around here. Kuro-goma is a very common ingredient in snacks in Japan, most notably in rice crackers. But the introduction of this popular Japanese flavour in a creamy milkshake is quite nice. 
I'm definitely going back for seconds.

Blog problems

Hi everyone,

Sorry about the problems with the blog the last few days. 
student.cs went down sometime last night (without me  noticing) so a lot of my images weren't being served up for all of marreka.ca.
I've been meaning to migrate all the images over to my server, but I've been lazy about it.
However, now it's all done so I shouldn't have this problem again!


Free music!!

One of the great things about working at Amazon is the loads of free giveaways we get.

Today I went down to the music department and culled the giveaway shelf, or at least partially. It was pretty much all Japanese, which is pretty exciting. I was looking for new J-music!

What's great is that I can try a lot of these artists without having to make any sort of payment and thus I find new music I like!

Today I got 5 CDs and 3 made the cut. Next week, I'll definitely be going back to find some more new music.

By the way, if you're wondering which artists I like, here they are: