Japan: New Era and October 2019 Enthronement Ceremony

The new Japanese Era, Reiwa (令和時代), will start this May 1, 2019.

With the Abdication Ceremony happening on April 30, the new Emperor Naruhito will start his reign the next day with the ceremony for Inheriting the Imperial Regalia and Seals (Kenji-to-Shokei-no-gi) where he inherits the Imperial Regalia, the State Seal and the Privy Seal upon his accession to the throne.

Following this is the First Audience after the Accession to the Throne (Sokui-go-Choken-no-gi), in which the new Emperor Naruhito meets with the representatives of the people of Japan.

The actual Enthronement Ceremony is now scheduled to happen on October 22, 2019. The new Emperor Naruhito will proclaim his enthronement at the Enthronement Ceremony at the Seiden State Hall (Sokuirei-Seiden-no-gi) and receive felicitations from representatives from both Japan and abroad.

Events related to the Abdication from the throne

  • April 30, 2019
    • Abdication Ceremony
      • Ceremony to announce the abdication to the people and for the Emperor to receive in audience the representatives of the people for the last time before the abdication.

EventS related to the Accession to the Throne

  • May 1, 2019
    • Ceremony for Inheriting the Imperial Regalia and Seals
      • Ceremony for the Emperor to inherit the Imperial Regalia (Sword and Jewel), which are treasures inherited together with the throne, as well as the State and Privy Seals, as proof of his accession to the throne.
    • First Audience after the Accession to the Throne
      • Ceremony for the Emperor to receive in audience the representatives of the people for the first time after the accession to the throne.
  • October 22, 2019
    • Enthronement Ceremony
      • Ceremony to proclaim the enthronement and to receive felicitations from representatives from home and abroad.
    • Imperial Procession after the Enthronement Ceremony
      • Procession to show the new Emperor to the people after the Enthronement Ceremony and to receive their good wishes.

Source: https://www.gov-online.go.jp/eng/publicity/book/hlj/html/201904/201904_06_en.html

Japan Life: Helpful Websites and Mobile Apps for Foreigners in Japan

Life in Japan is not easy for foreigners who are not fluent in Japanese. Even after my seven years here, I still struggle to remember the train schedules specially the last train.

Here is my list of helpful websites and mobile apps that will make your life here in Japan a little better.

Google Translate


Google Translate is definitely a must have application if your Japanese language skill is still rusty.

Here are the reasons why I like it:

  • Aside from text translations, you can do image and Augmented Reality (AR) translations with the use of your mobile phone’s camera.
  • You can type in romaji and it will still try to translate it to your desired language.
  • You can download the translation data so you won’t need to be connected to the internet while doing the translation.

Excite Translator


Excite Translator is a translation tool just like Google Translate (with only limited feature). And while they have the same purpose, most of the time, Excite Translator uses more appropriate or more formal translation than Google Translate. This is good when you’re writing emails and messages to your colleagues.

Jorudan – Japan Transit Planner


I know there are a lot of apps and website where you can check train schedule but for me, Jorudan, will always be my go to website for checking train schedule and transfers.

It provides a simple UI to input the starting station and destination station. You can also input the date and time you want to ride from the starting station or arrive in your destination.



Trip.com is my go to website for finding cheap flights. This one saved me a lot of money when I travel for a Philippine vacation.

Our usual round trip flight fare from Tokyo to Manila is around 40-70,000 yen during off peak season but with Trip.com, you can find fare for as low as 20-30,000 yen.



TransferWise is one of the money transfer services I use (aside from MetroBank). TransferWise has the best exchange rate and easy to use and track because they have a mobile application.

There you go. I will update this list every time I find new useful websites and mobile apps.

How to Find Software Engineering Jobs in Japan for Foreigners with No Japanese Requirement

It goes without saying that looking for a job in Japan without Japanese language skill is very hard. Most of the job posting searchable through Google and GaijinPot Jobs are not really helpful in looking for tech companies hiring people that can’t speak Japanese.

Luckily, the number of companies and start ups in Tokyo which are willing to hire English-only speakers are increasing year by year.

Here is a website with a list of good companies (that don’t suck) hiring Software Engineer. Check out the ones with No Japanese requirement.

Here is another website with a curated list of jobs specifically for English speakers.

Rakuten, the Amazon of Japan, is also hiring software engineers for their different departments and teams. I know a lot of foreigner working there and they say the company is promoting the use of English.

Create a LinkedIn account, make a good profile and make yourself searchable for recruiters in Tokyo. They can help you find companies matching your skills.

Good luck!

Japanese Food Guide: Yakitori

焼き鳥 (Yakitori; やきとり) is my favorite Japanese food.

The Japanese word yakitori literally means grilled chicken. It resembles barbecue since the cooking style similarly involves skewering the (chicken) meat on stick and grilling it on top of charcoal fire.

Strictly speaking, yakitori is the word specifically use for skewered chicken meat. If we are to refer to all kind of meat including beef and pork which are grilled on a stick, the formal term to use is 串焼き (Kushiyaki; くしやき). Because of the variety of chicken meat cuts and preparation, there are a lot of kinds of yakitori.

Types of yakitori
  • もも (momo) – chicken thigh
  • ねぎま (negima) – chicken (usually thigh meat) with spring onions
  • つくね (tsukune) – meatballs (made of chicken, egg and vegatables)
  • とりかわ (torikawa) – or just かわ (kawa) is (crispy) chicken skin
  • 手羽先 (tebasaki – chicken wings
  • レバー (reba) – chicken liver
  • なんこつ (nankotsu) – chicken cartilage
Here is the list of less popular types
  • ぼんじり (bonjiri) – chicken tail
  • シロ (shiro) – chicken small intestines
  • こころ (kokoro) – chicken heart (also hatsu (ハツ) or haato (ハート))
  • ずり (zuri) – chicken gizzard (also 砂肝 (sunagimo; すなぎも))

Yakitori are usually served with しお (shio; salt) or 垂れ (tare (たれ); sauce). Since they are on stick, we can eat them directly without the use of chopstick.

The art of saying I don’t understand in Nihongo

4 years in Japan and probably one of the Japanese words I still use the most often when speaking to Japanese people is わかりません (wakarimasen).

There are two easy ways (or phrases) to convey that you don’t know how to answer a question; わかりません (wakarimasen) and しりません (shirimasen). With my limited knowledge of Japanese language, I believe that these are the difference of the two.

しりません (shirimasen)
しらない (shiranai)

Basically, しりません is use when you don’t have the knowledge to answer the question. Translation is literally, I don’t know.

Person A: What is the value of x as it approaches the value zero?
Person B: しりません (I don’t know)

わかりません (wakarimasen)
わからい (wakanai)

わかりません is use when you can’t understand or you don’t understand the question or what is happening (Translations are I can’t understand or I don’t understand). It can also be use when you don’t actually have a way of knowing the answer (like if it’s really raining tomorrow when the weather app says it’s 30% chance of rain).

Person A: <speaking Japanese I can’t understand>
Rowell: ごめなさい、わかりません (I’m sorry, I don’t understand)


There you have it. I hope things are clear about the difference of the two.
Next time someone ask you a question you can’t answer, I hope you remember this article. 🙂

Nihongo: How to respond to “thank you”

In work, my colleagues would sometimes request or ask me to help them. And more often than not, when they thank me by saying ありがとうございます (arigatou gozaimasu), I’m not sure what the most appropriate reply is.

So here I compile the list of phrases we can use when responding to thank you:

どういたしまして (douitashimashite)

This is the textbook and safest reply to thank you but sounds robotic for me. It’s the equivalent of saying You’re welcome.

いいえ いいえ (iie iie)
いえいえ (ie ie)
いやいや (iya iya)

Literally saying No no (don’t mention it).
This one might not be good for formal situation and must be accompanied with a smile. 🙂

問題ない (もんだいない; mondainai)
問題なし (もんだいないし; mondainashi)

Translation: No problem.
The し (shi) makes it sound softer (and more polite but I might be wrong).
This one might not be good enough for formal situation too.

こちらこそ、ありがとう (kochira koso arigatou)

Translation: I am the one who should thank you.
Use this one if you also need to give a thank you to the one who said it.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I hope you can use the above phrases next time someone says thank you to you.

— Edit —
As pointed out in the comment, the above phrases are for casual and informal situation. Checkout まいける’s comment for more formal ways to reply for thank you.