Browsing articles tagged with " japan"
Nov 9, 2012

Resident Interview: The Wiehl’s (Denenchofu)

The Wiehl family have been living in Denenchofu for sometime now and couldn’t be happier. From their great German community, to the easy commute, and not to mention all the space Denenchofu is the place for them. Read Mie’s interview to find out exactly why.

Where were you living before Denenchofu?
We’ve actually always been living in and around Tokyo.

What did your family think of this area before moving here?
We really thought it was a great place. The one thing was it’s known for having many celebrities living in the area, so I was actually a little intimidated to live here…

Really? So is Denenchofu very different from where you lived before?
Yes it’s much different from Nishi-Azabu. But it actually is very nice, people are so friendly and there’s so much greenery.

Did you know all of that before?
I didn’t know about how green the area was, but did know about the famous people. That hasn’t actually made it any different.

So how long have you been living here?
About 5-6 years. Because my children go to a German School and there is a German School bus stop here. Nishi-Azabu was nice, but it was more than an hour by bus to school and I thought that was too much for young children.

What other things did you find here that were good?
The commuting time for our children going to Yokohama really was the number 1 choice, while also thinking about my husband’s commute to his office in Tokyo. This area is really convenient for both and also there is a strong German community in Denenchofu. I think 9 out of the 10 houses in our community are German families!

So does that mean that sometimes you have community parties?
Of course sometimes we even have Barbecues!

That’s great! Is that part of what made you choose this house?
Actually we used to live across the street, and because the community was so great we wanted to stay close. There is a community board and one person organizes everything, and then there are 2 or 3 ladies who take care of the grounds and gardens, so I have a garden but I don’t have to do anything.

At the same time we also wanted more room for our children. We had been really interested in this home, but thought that it might be too expensive…

So Ken Corp got you a good deal then?
Yeah! And since we didn’t have far to move, we didn’t even need to use the moving company’s trucks! Everything was really easy.

So how have you found Ken Corporation since then?
They do good service! The moving process went very smoothly with us being in contact during the move, and then there have been no problems at all with the property since then, so I haven’t had to call them so much.

Sometimes though I still do check their homepage to see other houses and what’s out there. But I’m really happy here, so I haven’t wanted to move.

What else is nice about living in Denenchofu area?
It’s quiet, and the neighbors are very nice. Also it’s a good area to have a car, because when you go shopping there are plenty of parking areas, unlike in central Tokyo.

That’s great that you’re so happy here, so have you found anything fun around this area to do?
Well German people like to barbeque a lot so that has been a real great part of being in this community and having garden space to have barbecues.

Outside of your home have you discovered any interesting stores or restaurants?
Around the station there are some good restaurants. Our family enjoys a really tasty yakitori place, that even though the atmosphere is a little rough the food is great! Also the Maison Kayser bakery is very good. There really aren’t so many restaurants in this area, but they are all good!

And inside what is your favorite part of your home?
The kitchen is great, because it’s not only the kitchen, but also open to the living room. So even when I am cooking I am still close to everything, even while the kids are playing in the living room.

Do you have any message for families who might move to Tokyo?
I think if they have children I’d really recommend moving to an area like Denenchofu, but if they are single or a young couple get into the city and find an apartment close to the heart of Tokyo, maybe around Roppongi even.


If you’re interested in finding a home or community similar to the Wiehl’s please contact us now.

Sep 14, 2012

“Please Do It” Public Transportation Guide

If you’ve lived in Japan for sometime you’ve doubtless seen these PSA posters, but f you’re new to Japanese public transportation they provide a great crash course on what to do and what not to do, with some being a little too much and others being too obvious.

This is probably the golden rule and one to not be broken, absolutely do not talk on your cell phone in a train or subway. Keep it on the platform or of course at home.

This is a growing problem, and unless you have the greatest taste in music one that you’ll want to be aware of. You might even want to do some tests at home with your headphones to see what’s the loudest you should go on the train.

The meaning on this one is likely “No diving into the train,” but maybe this one would be better suited for those that dive into a rush hour train after getting a running start. Still don’t delay the train by running through closing doors.

The eating is a clear no go area in public transportation in Japan, but the main one in this is the backpack, which you’ll find far less common in Japan, and maybe for this exact reason. The solution to this problem comes later…

Even if you’re sick with love priority seats are for the elderly, injured, parents, and people who look like they just need them. If you sit down when no one is around and they’re empty just make sure to remain aware of just where you’re sitting. In fact no matter where you’re sitting it’s not uncommon for people to offer their seats to the elderly and those in need.

This one was touched on in the last three, but seriously no eating on the train. No elbowing people in the face while doing, and most definitely absolutely no ramen.

And now for a master poster with nearly every “bad” action on it, including sitting on the ground, especially near the doors. Doing makeup (not completely sure about this one but it’s one that’s being really stressed lately. Eating and messiness. Lastly one that smartphones have helped solve a lot, the dreaded large format newspaper reading rider.

And now we take a turn for the positive, starting with a sequel to the backpack problem before, and showing the proper method for carrying a bulky bag on the train.

Also despite it possibly being less common to see in Japan, due to the more reserved culture, please don’t hesitate to offer help to those who may need it.

This one may be easy to brake on accident and take some practice, but make sure not to sit wide, not to place anything on the seats, and the part that takes practice is being able to spot the mostly invisible grid of seats.

There's many more of these posters, in fact 36 total on Gakuranman’s blog,so whether you’re interested in seeing the pictures, reading the text, or learning more about Japanese public transportation manners make sure to head over there.

Aug 9, 2012

Craft Beer Market

By David Labi

Slurp through 30 types of beer at a vibrant, open-fronted bar in the Bohemian urban-suburbia of Jimbocho, courtesy of Craft Beer Market’s second branch. The first one in Toranomon has been such a success since opening last year that this new locale was unveiled a couple of months back to some media fanfare. Which perhaps explains why, when arriving there at 5pm, the entire place was booked out. We’d heard a reservation was recommended, but figured getting there early would be fine. Wrong.

We managed to wrangle a table for a limited two hours. That gave us an excuse to order practically everything on the menu in record time.

Most ales are Japanese, from Shikoku, Saitama, Kanagawa and more, with international wildcards thrown in. We kicked off with a Belgian cherry beer less sweet than its aroma, which layered the palate reasonably. Various other beers came and went, but none were particularly satisfying. The hoppy beers seemed too hoppy, while the fruity beers were too fruity or not fruity enough. Some were wonderful on the first sip, only to be scuppered by a bizarre aftertaste. We’re not craft connoisseurs, but it was quite difficult to find one that really worked. The victor was a Kanagawa yuzu beer. You couldn’t taste the yuzu but the ale was great.

The otoshi—tasty tostados of tuna salad—turned us onto the food menu, with assorted snacks and Japo-Mediterranean fusion. Pass over the paltry ham (half portion; ¥900) for the rotisserie chicken that revolves seductively above the shiny taps. A whole bird comes quartered for ¥1,600, with a lip-smacking flavor to its crispy skin. The skinny and herby chips (¥600) are abundant, dusted with chilli powder for some bite.

All this tucker couldn’t soak up the gallons o’ ale. At ¥480 a glass, it’s more economical to get pints for ¥780, but the desire to try kept us on the glasses. Plus most come only slightly chilled, and even a glass’s dregs could get a little soupy.

The place is smartly laid out with high, square wooden tables, bottles and kegs on display and a chalkboard beer map of Japan. But the best part is the Tokyo rarity of an open front that allows the summer breeze (if any) to float in. Smokers are confined to a small corner box, and there’s a small standing-only area.

In the end we were glad to be kicked out at 7:15pm, as a longer stay would have led to bankruptcy. The costs mount up as you’re chugging down the glasses, and the food, though generally respectable, is not cheap. All in all it was fun tasting a range of Japan’s craft beer, but gimmicky flavors might make you wish for a smaller, and better, selection.


[Menu] Menu in Japanese

[Price] Beer ¥480 (glass), ¥780 (pint)

[Smoking] Mostly nonsmoking

[Seats] Anywhere, but reserve!


1F, 2-11-15 Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku
Tel: 03-6272-5652
Open: Open daily 11:30am-2pm; 5-11:30pm
Nearest stn: Jimbocho