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The best iOS game you’re not playing: 太鼓の達人

If you’ve ever been in a Japanese video game arcade, there’s one machine you can’t miss: Taiko no Tatsujin (太鼓の達人), AKA the one with the two huge drums (photo above by Amy Jane Gustafson). It’s a hugely fun game, not least because it’s so simple: there are only really four things you need to learn: […]

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Japanese TV in the UK: JSTV-i

In the past I’ve written about using iOS apps to help study Japanese, and I even ended up writing my own Kanji flashcard app. But lately I’ve been trying something a bit different to help absorb vocabulary and the patterns of informal speech: watching a load of Japanese TV. And, as there’s not much information […]

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Japan on a Budget: Beppu and Aso-San

My last must-see stop in Kyushu was the area around Aso-San, a massive volcano in the middle of the island. To get from Aoshima (via Miyazaki) to there involves passing through Beppu – take a limited express up via Oita. Beppu: All about the Onsen I’ll be absolutely honest: if you don’t like onsen*, you […]

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Japan on a Budget: Aoshima

From Kagoshima I decided to head around Kyushu anticlockwise, with the first stop being Miyazaki and, just to the south of that city, Aoshima. There’s no Shinkansen access to the east of the island, but ‘Kirishima’  Tokkyu express trains run across in a couple of hours. Miyazaki City I was only passing through Miyazaki, but […]

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Japan on a Budget: Kagoshima and Sakurajima

If getting from Nagasaki to Kumamoto proved a bit tricky, getting from Kumamoto to Kagoshima is a breeze: jump on the Kyushu Shinkansen and head south – it terminates at Kagoshimachuo station, right in the city (Kagoshima Eki is to the northwest). I arrived in town early in the morning to find shopkeepers still busy […]

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