Author Archives: Benjamin Martin

Once more on Marriage and TV

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If you follow this blog you might have seen my original post on dating in Japan and my experience with the TV show Motemote99 (now Omiai99) or the post on getting married in Japan. From that you probably know that the lady I met on the show and I got married in February, and that the camera crews came along for the ride. Last week the popular Tuesday night show Motemote99 returned as Omiai99. The four-hour special focused on the

A School Closing in Japan

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What is the importance of a school? To small communities like the ones in rural Japan a school can be the very heart. In a land where the PTA has a far more visual and important role, the school acts as a focal point for community events and networking among parents, local government, and even the large population of elderly people not comprising many rural areas in Japan. The past two weeks marked a transition in Japan, with the financial

2014 Kume Island Sugar Ride

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Every year Kume Island hosts a large group of cycling enthusiasts from around Japan and the world. The Sugar Ride cycling event is a non-competitive ride around scenic Kume Island. It is a great way for cyclists to meet others and enjoy a ride together. All the courses have various stops for rest and refreshment. This year there were three options for participants, including 45, 90, and 130km. The longest “Challenge Course” included three rings around the island and gives

Automatic Driving Cars in Japan

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We’re not talking about a new transmission, instead, think Knight Rider. On Kume Island, Denso Co. in partnership with NEC is developing a car that can drive automatically. This project is one of several as the town works to turn itself from agricultural outlyer to a fully renewable clean energy smart island. With a population declining by around 100 people per year, such initiatives are essential for dealing with a growing elderly population and creating new jobs so that young

8 Winds Garden Restaurant

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During my mother’s visit to Okinawa we spent a few days on the Okinawa mainland where a friend of mine showed us some of the local sites. One of those sights was on the cliffs of Nanjo city in the south-east of the island. High above the ocean sits a set of rustic buildings and an amazing view. The place our guides suggested for lunch was the Eight Winds Garden (八風畑) Restaurant and Kokuto factory. Built around the black sugar

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