For many people eating is a very social activity, and having a comfortable place to sit down and eat is a must for most. Some people can barely drink while walking, but in Japan, especially in crowded, busy cities, eating lunch while standing is not an uncommon practice. When there is limited space and real estate comes with a premium price tag, standing restaurants are the top choice for food establishments. There are a couple of reasons these are so popular in Japan, which I will explain below.
Time is money, and time is precious. In Japan, salarymen and many full-time workers who eat out for lunch are limited in how long they can spend relaxing at a restaurant during their lunch break. Standing restaurants have quick service and fast turnovers, and you literally waste no time sitting down to eat. You go there, order, eat, and leave. There’s no time wasted cleaning large tables and shuffling around chairs, and you are guaranteed a meal no matter how crowded, because you don’t need to wait for a table!
The second reason that makes standing restaurants so popular is their affordability. Because these establishments are not wasting extra money on space, tables, chairs, and extra cleaning supplies to maintain those things, they can deliver a meal to you that is affordable, but still of good quality. Costs for a meal can range from 300 yen to about 1000 yen, which is extremely affordable for most people.
Another reason for the cheapness is the amount of self-service involved. You will know a standing restaurant by the food ticket vending machines outside the entrance. Instead of having hall staff take your order, you insert money into a machine and buy a ticket representing your order, which you exchange inside the restaurant for your food. You also pick the food up yourself, so only kitchen staff who prepare your food are really required. Even after your meal, you have to return your empty plates and utensils yourself to the return counter at the restaurant, basically cleaning up after yourself.
These places are usually small and individually run, so each standing restaurant will have a different, unique atmosphere that will show you much of the authentic side of Japan. Since the shops are small and space is limited, you may often find yourself elbow to elbow with strangers at these kind of places, leaving you will ample opportunity to interact with the other customers and maybe learn a little about Japanese culture from them.
ある一定の目安のようなものが、英検やTOEICには実在します。それらを本気で単語帳で入れ込むことは、Precious One English Schoolでは行っていません。中学生・高校生には、英語のみのサイトで、英語や絵（イラストや映像）で変換をしてもらっており、日本語を介することを極力減らしています。が、それも導入段階であり、最終的には「どのくらいの単語を知っているのか？」というチェック機能となります。
In forming the USA National Government, George Washington, one of the Founding Fathers and the First President, laid down a standard for all citizens: Put the U.S. Constitution first!
That wise guidance has been, from the beginning and continuing, formally put into effect by a sworn oath “to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic”, taken upon assuming office by Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Members of both Houses of Congress. As an aside, that oath is also taken by every Member of the U.S. Armed Forces and every appointed Official of all three separate and independent Branches of the Federal Government: Executive, Congressional, and Judicial. We are all in this boat together…
George Washington also established the precedent of two 4-year terms as President being enough. President Franklin D. Roosevelt broke that precedent and was elected four times: 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944. The Constitution has since been amended to conform to George Washington’s original two terms precedent.
Donald Trump became the USA’S 45th President, having no political or military experience. Among the many changes he has verbally supported has been “To drain the swamp” in Washington, DC. Technically, when the State of Maryland donated the land that became Washington, DC, it was literally a swamp. It had to be drained before construction of the new seat of the national government could begin, circa 1805. So in a sense, Trump is about 200 years late in his proposal.
On the other hand, it is not too late to “drain the swamp” (reduce graft and corruption) in the U.S. Congress via new term limits. But it is always, and should be, difficult to pass another amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and one for Congressional term limits essentially would be viewed as “suicide” by long-serving members, who would be voting on the issue.
My idea for such an Amendment is to set a life-time limit for each citizen as follows: two terms in the Senate (12 years) and six terms in the House of Representatives (12 years). That should keep the Congressional swamp drained.
After World War II, Japan seemed to almost miraculously come out of its closed door policy and catch up with the rest of the world in a span of a few decades, quickly becoming one of the world’s leading economic and technological powerhouses.
However, with the advancement of technology, some aspects of Japan seemed to remain stuck in the past, and I will introduce a few of those things here.
One of the first and probably most famous aspects to talk about is the Japanese toilet. It seems that nowadays, wherever you go there is either an extremely modern toilet that is pretty much entirely hands free, or there is the infamous squat toilet, a toilet type not found in the US. Japanese modern toilets usually come with a button panel that give you many options for using the toilet, from playing music while you’re going to mask any noise to spraying water to clean your privates. They are truly very convenient works of ingeniousness that should be installed in all toilets around the world.
However, despite such toilets becoming more common, you will still find the older squat toilets, especially in the countryside and even public parks in the city. Not only are they hard to use, but these toilets are also often paired with…a lack of available toilet paper. In fact, toilet paper in many public restrooms is so rare that people have grown accustomed to carrying tissues around with them wherever they go.
If you do happen to go to Japan, you’d be better off carrying a small pack of tissues or napkins. There will also often be people outside train stations handing out packs of tissues for free, so take advantage and grab a pack or two when you walk by them. You never know when they will come in handy.
My first use of credit in Japan was with a credit card issued by American Express Japan (AMEXJ). As a foreigner I had few options. In the beginning my charges were listed on the monthly statement sent by snail mail (Japan Post). The total amount listed was automatically transferred from my Mitsubishi bank account to AMEXJ the same month.
As a result, there was no interest for me to pay. However, there was a significant fixed annual service fee for use of the card. On the good side, AMEX followed me everywhere, including to Manila where I had an office for a while. In that place I needed the extra security AMEX provided. For example, our local company bank with knowledge aforethought allowed an unauthorized person in my company to withdraw money from a company account.
Recently, AMEXJ has advertised a revolving time payment plan, whereby an account holder can select how much of the total amount due she/he wants to pay each month. AMEXJ was very quiet about the interest rate the account owner would have to pay on the remaining account balance.
USA banks such as Bank of America have long been providing VISA or MASTER CARD accounts with a set interest rate and a set maximum amount of credit, often in the thousands of dollars. Interestingly, my USA credit rating goes up or down as the total amount of credit authorized by all my bank credit cards goes up or down.
Concerning revo barai (revolving payment) in Japan, there are some dark money loan/high interest rate lenders in the market place (such lenders have long been active in the USA as well). While legally registered companies in Japan can charge annual interest in the 3%-18% range, revo barai companies are known to charge interest in the 10%-50% range for a 10-day loan.
Separately but related, there is a massive student loan scandal in the US. This involves legal interest rates by a lot of banks and legitimate finance companies; but they knowingly loaned huge amounts to college students who have minimal likelihood of timely repayment. As a result, the interest on the unpaid loans typically increases faster than the student payback….