8 reasons why the number of foreign tourists growing in Japan

The number of tourist arrivals hit a record of over 30 million as of 2018.This is about five times compared to 2011. In this edition, I will examine the reason why inbound foreigners have surged in recent years in Japan.

Reason 1: Global tourism is on the rise

Tourism is on the rise globally. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), international tourist arrivals reached 1.4 billion in 2018, a rise of 1.4 times over 2011. However, as mentioned above, this is not enough proof for why the number of foreign tourists coming to Japan has increased by five times.

 

Reason 2: Popularity of “washoku (Japanese cuisine)”

Japanese food was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013. In addition to Japanese food, many restaurants in Japan serve delicious and healthy meals at a low price.

Reason 3: Global spread of Japanese culture.

An increasing number of people are interested in Japanese culture, such as shrines, temples, and Japanese countryside. Some people were inspired by judo, kendo, and tea ceremony, and others were inspired by anime, manga, and games.

 

Reason 4: Economic Growth of Asian Countries

With the economic growth of Asian countries, the number of people who can afford to travel abroad has grown rapidly. And more and more people chose Japan for travel because of easy access.

 

Reason 5: Progress of yen depreciation

In 2011 Japanese yen reached a record low of 75 yen per dollar, but it is about 108 yen on July 29, 2019 (when the article was written). Compared to that time, Japanese products have become about 30% cheaper and more attractive to foreigners.

 

Reason 6: Expansion of Low Cost Carrier

Traveling abroad has become easier and affordable thanks to the growth of low-cost airlines. As LCCs predominantly operate short- and medium-haul flights, tourists from Asia has increased.

 

Reason 7: Policy of Japanese government

Relaxation of tourist visa requirements has also had an effect on increase of inbound.  The Japanese government has set the target number of tourists of 40 million in 2020 and 60 million in 2030.

 

Reason 8: Many repeaters

According to Tourism Agency data, 61.4% of foreign tourists are visiting Japan more than once. In particular, about 20% of tourists from Taiwan and Hong Kong have visited Japan more than 10 times.

As a side note, I have met a Taiwanese who has traveled to Japan more than 50 times in the last 10 years. On average, this person is traveling to Japan five times per year, which may be more frequent than most Japanese do.

For both those people who already have travel to japan or have not yet, what are your reasons why you would like to travel to Japan?

Is it awkward eating at Yakiniku restaurant alone?

When I go home late at work, I sometimes drink alone in a standing bar near my office and then go home. I personally don’t care about solo dining, however, there are people who can’t afford eating alone because of family traditions, or it’s awkwardness.

What kinds of opinions are there about solo dining in your country?

 

Nowadays in Japan, a growing number of people are eating alone and it is increasingly considered socially accepted.

Recently, “Gusto”, one of the major family restaurants, has enhanced the table for one person.

As you can see from the photo below, the solo dining space in Gusto provides the environment especially for work and study unlike the other normal seats.

The features are as follows.

  • Power supply and Wi-Fi are available
  • Completely private space
  • Enough space for both a laptop and for dining

 

The other day I have used the space between the meetings and it was very comfortable.

 

Fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Yoshinoya have had many solo diners before, but it is a recent change that the number of solo diners has increased besides fast food restaurants.

 

Originally “famiresu” is an abbreviation for family restaurant, so main target user are family. However, the recent trend is that more people use the place alone.

 

In addition, “Ikinari Steak” the stand-up steakhouse or “Yakiniku Like” where solo diner can enjoy yakiniku alone, are also getting popular in Japan.

http://ikinaristeak.com/home/ 

https://yakiniku-like.com/

 

Although the “Ikinari steak” has opened its first overseas in New York, it seems to be struggling.

The food service business is greatly influenced by the food culture of the country, so just because it is popular in Japan does not necessarily mean it is popular overseas.

 

For example, “Yoshinoya” in China where most users are family unit provide various menus like a family restaurant, not a beef bowl specialty restaurant like in Japan.

 

If you have an opportunity to come to Japan, why don’t you try eating out alone? Even if you go with more than one person, you will usually be sitting next to each other, so please enjoy a new experience in Japan.

10 Best Karaoke Songs for grooving to with senior Japanese

 

In Japan, there are two major ways to do Karaoke:

(1) at a Karaoke Box:

You are assigned your own room for you and your party to enjoy. It is a good option to enjoy karaoke with your friends or fellow workers.

(2) at a Karaoke Snack Bar:

It is a small individually-owned bar that usually has a single Karaoke machine, so you need to share a karaoke machine with other guests.

 

About Karaoke Snack Bars, please refer to the following article for details. (Only Japanese)

https://loohcs.jp/articles/293

 

At a Karaoke box, your party can enjoy karaoke on your own ways, however, at the karaoke snack bar, you need to be careful to choose songs depending on the atmosphere and the other customers. In such bars, it is not so “cool” to sing only anime songs or songs popular among young generation.

 

In this edition, I will introduce a selection of famous Japanese songs that make you special.

There are 10 songs for each male and female singer.

All songs are very popular among 50’s to 60’s Japanese, that melody is not so quick and lyrics are simply understandable.

If you go to karaoke with senior Japanese business people and sing a few these songs, you will be no doubt to be considered “you are so SHIBUI(You have really good taste)!”

 

Songs by male singers

Natsu no owari no harmony (Yoosui Inoue / Kooji Tamaki)

This song is covered by many singers and known to people of a wide range of ages.

Https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCSeiSOaHxY

 

Mata au hi made (Kiyohiko Ozaki)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NVcDuS_hxM

 

Hajimari wa itsu mo ame (ASKA)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74IKR0WeKXY

 

Nani mo ienakute …natsu (JAY WALK)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkoQPOhhu38

 

Sake to namida to otoko to onna (Eigo Kawashima)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjrPAAiCbuA

 

HERO (Kai Band)

There are many songs with the same title. Please search on the “Kai band.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVU3BVmxxU8

 

Azusa 2 goo (Kariudo)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCK-nWaYxJE

 

Saigo no ame (Yasushi Nakanishi)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmmPzK0chqU

 

Kowarekake no Radio (Hideaki Tokunaga)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7QVaahn44A

 

Kanashii iro yane (Masaki Ueda)

Those who speak Kansai dialect should master this song!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQeEOoKhIqg

 

 

Songs by female singers

Ito (Miyuki Nakajima)

This is a very popular song at weddings.

I couldn’t find the original video, so I will introduce other singers are singing instead.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DboG2xszmcE

This video that amateur singing at a wedding is also popular.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXwIawYfkjgs://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXwIawYfkjg

 

Amagi goe (Sayuri Ishikawa)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvc0LadtZuk

 

Love is Over (Ouyang Fei Fei)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzRsmDHmZJI

 

Kawa no nagare no yooni (Hibari Misora)

Hibari Misora is called a “Diva of Shoowa.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_Ns_B23LT0

 

Ano kane o narasu nowa anata (Akiko Wada)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdLydN0liYQ

 

Toki no nagare ni mi o makase (Teresa Teng)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJY2RtLADkM

 

Mata kimi ni koishiteru (Fuyumi Sakamoto / Billie Bang Bang)

This song was originally a male duo “Billie Bang Bang”, but it became more famous with the cover of Enka singer “Fuyumi Sakamoto.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBTjDVLmHn8

 

Miserarete (Judy Ongg)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFNW0IZUdto

 

Koi ni ochite (Akiko Kobayashi)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lTkywZljmk

 

Olivia o kikinagara (Anri)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgRQP9C1M4s

 

Nagori yuki (Iruka)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp9qHeMjiKg

 

You can easily find the lyrics of any song by searching for the keywords “song title & lyric”.

It will be a good study of Japanese to find your favorite song and remember the lyrics.

So why don’t you try to sing your favorite Japanese songs in Japanese, whether you are good at singing or not good at singing?

Three Japanese people the world respects

In the recent issue, Newsweek Japan has come out with a special feature titled: “100 Japanese people the world respects”.

 

Not only the world-renowned athletes such as Ichiro (former MBL player) and Naomi Osaka (professional tennis player), but also there are many influential Japanese known only in certain countries.

In this feature, I would like to introduce three Japanese whom I am interested in.

 

Marie Kondo (Tidying consultant)

In 2010, Marie Kondo, “KonMari” became famous in Japan as an author of a bestselling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. Also, Netflix’s hit show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” has been broadcasted since January 2019, and her popularity spread all over the world. In recent years the word “KonMari” has been used in a sense of “tidyng up”. The KonMari Method encourages to keep only those things that spark joy, and to thank them for their service- then let them go. KonMari philosophy has changed the way of thinking about lifestyle, not just how to clean up the space.

 

Hirokazu Koreeda (Film director)

I am sure that many of film fans might already know him well. His 2013 film, “Like Father, Like Son (“Soshite chichi ni naru”)”, won the Jury Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. And in 2018, his film, titled “Shoplifters (“Manbiki kazoku”)” won the the highest prize award “Palme d’Or” at the Cannes Film Festival. Unlike Hollywood style, Mr. Koreeda’s works are not flashy. The themes of his works is usually family matter and relationships, which are very thoughtful. Also, because of the theme, his movies would be very helpful to learn Japanese daily conversations as well.

 

Kazuo Inamori (Entrepreneur)

Mr. Inamori was a founder of Kyocera and KDDI. In 2010, as requested by Japanese government, he took over as chairman of near-bankrupt Japan Airlines (JAL) with no salary. Furthermore, he successfully achieved a V-shaped recovery of 200 billion yen in operating profit in just two years from that, and now is called the god of management. “Seiwajyuku” , the learning groups of Inamori management philosophy, are spread into Brazil, the United States, Taiwan, Korea and Singapore, and his books are sold well in China as well.

 

As the opposite perspective, I hope someday you might be featured as “100 foreigners the Japanese respect” For that, I will do my best to contribute more for your learning Japanese language. (^ ^) /

What are the popular SUBSK models in Japan?

■ What is “SUBSK”?

Do you know the word “SUBSK”?  This is a new Katakana word derived from an English word “subscription”, meaning a service or business that users usually pay a “monthly fee” or royalty depending on the period of use.

 

■ The most popular SUBSK model

Traditional services such as newspapers (many Japanese subscribe to newspapers as well), membership fee for gym, and house rent fall under this category. Recently, IT related services are increasing, for example, Microsoft office software is 37,584 yen for purchase-type, but 900 yen for monthly for subscription type.  Adobe’s Photoshop was 96,000 yen at the time of purchase (as of 2003), but the current monthly fee is 980 yen. While the sale unit price drops, Even the sale unit price drops, Adobe’s revenue has increased significantly by a successful user acquisition strategy. In addition, the all-you-can-listen service, such as Apple Music and Spotify are also popular .

 

■ Why the SUBSK is getting popular?

Why is the number of SUBSK service increasing? Let me analyze the reasons from both sides of  users and companies.

(1) Users

Cost: SUBSK is much cheaper than purchase type. In addition, initial costs, upgrade costs, support costs, etc. are all unnecessary.

Easiness: You contract the service only for the period you want to use. If you are not satisfied with the service, you can cancel it immediately.

 

(2) Companies:

Service improvement:  The services make the companies much easier to analyze the reason of cancellation and undertake service improvement. It is easy to plans for constant growth  and also it is highly valued in the stock market, therefore new market entrants  is increasing.

Customer LTV (Life Time Value) Improvement: The longer a company succeeds in attracting customer to its product, the more customer LTV will be improved even the unit price is low.

If these two functions(service and customer LTV improvement) work well, a virtuous cycle, that is “user satisfaction” > improvement of repeat rate> “sales improvement”, could be created.

 

■ What are the recommended SUBSK services in Japan?

Let me introduce some of the popular and unusual services in Japan.

 

(1) Amazon Prime Video

With an annual membership of 4,900 yen, you can watch movies, dramas, and animations. The annual fee for such Amazon Prime has been raised from 3900 yen to 4900 yen stating on April 12,2019. However, this price is less than half of $ 119 in Amazon USA, so it’s still a quite good deal, I think. Because of viewing restrictions depending on the area, Amazon prime membership of other countries will not work in japan. It is necessary to apply for Japanese prime membership, if you want to watch Japanese content.

 

(2) Sutadiisapuri (study supplement)

This service is recommended for families with children attending schools in Japan. It is a service that is used by 339,000 elementary and junior high school students in Japan because the video classes at the preparatory school are all at a 980 yen for a month.

https://studysapuri.jp/

 

(3) THE STELLA

A monthly service delivering 1 or 2 bottles of premium and cult wines depending on the plan.

https://www.the-stella.com/service/

 

 

(4) Bloomee LIFE

A weekly service that delivers flowers for appreciation.

https://bloomeelife.com/

 

(5) YClean

A shirt delivery service with both rental and cleaning of 20 shirts for 1 month.

https://yclean.co.jp/

 

(6) airCloset

A service that a professional stylist coordinates the entire body and delivers a set of clothes.

https://www.air-closet.com/

Please let me know if there are other services available in your country (^ ^) /

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