Premium Friday

A little over a month ago Japan began a new public-private initiative called Premium Friday (aka プレミアムフライデー or プレ金) as part of ongoing labor reform efforts from the government.  This monthly event will take place on the last Friday of each month, and its official launch was on February 24th.  The idea for Premium Friday was conceived by the Japan Business Federation, and the concept is that employers let their employees leave at 3 p.m. on the final Friday of the month.

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是枝監督の新作!

I seem to have a knack for timing my business trips to Japan in sync with releases of my favorite director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s films, and this time is no exception.  Last night I had the chance to check out 海よりもまだ深く (Umi yori mo mada fukaku) or After the Storm), a welcome addition to Kore-eda’s impressive body of work.  It features the familiar cast of characters who can be found throughout the rest of his films, such as Hiroshi Abe and Kirin Kiki paired once again as mother and son, and Lily Franky.

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Kauai's Japanese lantern

I just returned from my 3-week State Department interpreting trip and subsequent mini vacation in Hawaii! While enjoying some R&R on my favorite island of Kauai, I discovered something that I hadn’t noticed in previous visits.  I was staying in Kapa’a, a centrally located area boasting a beautiful bike path that I love using for morning runs overlooking the ocean.  During a run, I happened to turn my gaze away from the ocean and a Japanese-seeming lantern in the distance caught my eye.  I was curious about its location on what looked like the edge of a playing field.

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おわハラ and other Japanese harassment

I had the chance to go back to Japan on business this month and will be going again next month to interpret for the same project, so I’m excited to be able to visit on such a regular basis.  Being back in a Japanese workplace reminds me of the different styles our two cultures have when it comes to this environment, whether it is the uniforms worn by OLs or the wide open floor plan consisting of endless islands where people sit.

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WIT Life #102: Learning Disabilities in Japan

I was very excited to hear from one of my closest college friends that her husband would be having a business trip in Japan.  Not only was I happy for him, a fellow classmate as well, to be able experience Japan, but also because of his line of work.  Jonathan Mooney grew up with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia and didn’t learn to read until he was 12.  However, he is now an amazing author and public speaker...

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Poison Blowfish: A Deadly Dinner in Japan Puts 11 in the Hospital

Sushi is a delicacy in Japan, and probably the most famous Japanese food in America. Whenever anyone hears sushi, they think of raw fish, and how adventurous (and healthy) it must be to eat fish uncooked. No one ever thinks it might be dangerous. The one exception to this is blowfish. To anyone who’s ever lived in Japan or thought about going there, blowfish is famous for its borderline poisonous properties. All restaurants that carry blowfish need special chefs to prepare the fish just ...

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