Category Archives: Restaurants

New job and how I got a work visa in Japan

I have been busy this last half year, let me explain why. A lot of things has happened recently. I accepted the job offer from ECOLOVE Co., Ltd. in Tokyo! This is a venture company and a subsidiary of Pasona Group, one of largest HR solutions companies in Japan. I started my new job as a contract employee in December last year and joined the planning department shortly thereafter. ECOLOVE’s mission is aiming to create a society where all people can live rich and happy lives.

Since I started, I’ve been placed at a restaurant called Towers Diner inside Tokyo Tower to receive job training. I’ve immersed myself in Japanese manners, language, and customs etc. 

However, instead of talking about my new job, I’d like to share my experiences of and give some insight into matters I wish I had known at the time I started the work visa process. So before I finally started working, I was facing the visa issue most foreigners do. How smooth would it be to transfer a student visa into a working visa?

Quite smooth it turned out to be. My original student visa was valid for two years and three months. Two years for the master degree and then a few months working as a cushion to transfer back to the working life. This has been a stressful time of looking for jobs and having a deadline of my student visa to work towards. In the end, I got the work visa just two weeks before the expiration date of the student visa!

Since I graduated with an MBA degree, which is labeled as a social science, the appropriate visa would be the “Specialist in Humanities / International Services Visa”. According to statistics, about 90% of all international students that change their residence status from student to working will get this visa. The general requirement is to have a university degree or 10 years working experience in the field. The salary received cannot be below what a Japanese national would get for comparable work, which means the salary would need to be higher than 200 000 yen per month.

Eco Love 2017

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Skiing in Japan

A late Friday night, an international team of 9 participants set out from Tokyo in two rented cars. Since Japanese people, in general, have a tendency to work late, we departed at almost 00:00 to arrive around 05:00 in Nagano at our hotel. The group consisted of 4 men and 5 women, all with the determination to enjoy a nice skiing weekend. These kinds of activities are encouraged by Social Apartment, where you can live and enjoy socializing in an apartment style share house.

With only a few hours of sleep, we got up and rented ski gear for about 5000 yen and then bought a lift pass for about another 5000. Hakuba was the name of the ski resort we went to and it’s a village in the kitaazumi district of Nagano prefecture.  Nagano is mostly known for the 1998 winter Olympics, is also connected with Tokyo by the  Hokuriku shinkansen. After enjoying skiing for a few hours, we ate dinner at a quite decent Yakiniku restaurant named Miyama(深山). The night was finished with an onsen visit close to the hotel will some drinks at our rooms.

Skiing in Nagano was quite different from skiing in Sweden. The snow was equally great, but it was a bit warmer than expected. The ski lift worked flawlessly compared to Sweden and Hakuba was well staffed. The next ski trip will no doubt be in Hokkaido next year!




What did they put on that hotdog? IKEA Japan

By now, you must have noticed all the weird food combinations in Japan. One might think that the Swedish IKEA is only selling meatballs and salmon, but there is more than meets the eye! Having worked at IKEA Kobe for half a year, I have noticed some very peculiar things, and will share with you THREE foods today!

First is the mentaiko cheese-dog. It’s a type of spicy marinated roe mixed with cheese and nori, all of this on top of a hot dog!

Next is the strawberry soft cream hot dog. It’s basically a hot dog bun with ice cream instead of a sausage and frozen strawberries on top!

Last but not least is the yakisoba-dog. It’s a hot dog with yakisoba and mayonaise as condiments!


今まで、あなたは日本のすべての奇妙な食品の組み合わせを気づいているはずでしょう。一つは、スウェーデンスタイルのイケアがミートボールとサーモンを販売していると思うかも知れませんが、それは大間違い!思ったより多く日本らしい食品もあります!私は半年間 IKEA Kobe で働き、いくつかの非常に奇妙な事に気がつきました。今日はその中から三つの変な食品を紹介します。





Beautiful cherry blossom in Yoshino

The most beautiful cherry blossoms in Japan?

A couple of weeks ago, my friend and I took the train from Kyoto to Mount Yoshino in Nara Prefecture. About one and a half hours later, we arrived at Yoshino, which is said to be the most famous sakura viewing spot in Japan. The cherry trees there are said to have been planted during the 700th century, and the mountain is covered by many different varieties of cherry blossoms now.

When we arrived, we took the cable car up the mountain and walked up the rest of the way. We had udon for lunch at a small local restaurant which had low tables on tatami mats and a spectacular view of the town and mountain. After a while, we arrived at the famous Kane-no-Torii, which is said to have been made from the same metal as the Big Buddha in Todaiji in Nara. It is one of the three most famous torii gates in Japan, along with the one at Itsukushima-jinja in Miyajiima, and the one at Tennoji in Osaka.





Travelling west towards Onomichi, Hiroshima, Iwakuni and Miyajima

Once again I used the discount ticket (seishun 18 kippu) to travel deeper into western Japan. I began the journey from Kansai, and the first stop of the day was Onomochi, which is famous for having many temples despite its small size. I went on the “Temple walk“, starting with a 5 min cable car ride up the local mountain. The senkoji park provided a spectacular view of the town. On the way down, I saw many things: from small ojisozan statues to a wild cat fight. Later, I enjoyed a beautiful and delicious waffle and then walked around the town until I decided to stop for some excellent ramen. Having appeased my appetite, I continued onwards to Hiroshima.

On the second day, I didn’t use the seishun ticket, but instead spent the day roaming around Hiroshima. Hiroshima is a comfortable town with wide streets and friendly people. I had lunch by the riverside and helped translate  “The possibilities are endless” to “可能性は無限大” for an old Japanese man who had a cap with that saying in English。

At the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, I was approached by many high school students to help them with their school project and folded many paper cranes, which are a symbol for peace. I felt a little melancholy the rest of the day after seeing the seeing the horrors of the atomic bomb and its effect on the people of Hiroshima at the museum. Before the sun set, I went to Shukkeien Garden, and enjoyed the sight of bonsai trees and many turtles and carps in the pond. As it was getting late, I continued to “okonomimura“, which is a portmanteau of the words for Japanese pizza (okonomiyaki) and village (mura). There, I enjoyed the pleasant of Hiroshima-style onomoiyaki made from noodles and a lot of vegetables.

On the third day, I woke up early and took the train towards Iwakuni. The lunch of the day was skewered meat, squid and a beer, which I enjoyed while sitting down by the river close to the beautiful Kintai bridge. After that, I took the ferry over to miyajima and went straight to my japanese style inn (ryokan) to drop off my luggage. One of the many goals for trip was to hike Mount Misen, so I took the cable car up to the peak and gazed upon a spectacular view.  On the way down, I descended thousands of stone steps and stopped by many small shrines and temples, including the amazing buddhist temple, Daisho-in.

I ate a full course dinner at a restaurant called Mametanuki and I finished the night by taking night shots of Itsukushima-jinja. Finally, I took a dip in the ofuro (japanese style bath) and went back to my room and slept like a log.

At 10:05 AM on the next day, the lady in charge of the inn woke me up and kindly reminded me about the checkout time at 10:00. Leaving the hotel, I went back to Itsukushima jinja and bought a book called “shuinchou“, which is a special book used to collect stamps and hand-drawn calligraphy from the temples and shrines in Japan.

Once back at mainland Japan, I took a 7-hour journey back home to Kansai using local trains.



二日目、私は青春18切符を使用せず、その代わりに広島市内をうろうろしました。広島は通りが広く、また親切な人が多い快適な町です。川岸のお店に寄って昼ごはんを食べたとき、英語で”The possibilities are endless”と書いてある帽子を被っているおじいさんがいました。その人に、この意味は何かと尋ねられたので「可能性は無限大」と訳してあげました。

広島平和記念公園では、高校生たちの学校のプロジェクトの一貫として平和のシンボルである折り鶴を一緒に折るように声を掛けられました。平和記念公園にいる間たくさん高校生に出会ったので、その都度一緒に鶴を折りました。原爆資料館で被爆した方々の影響や原爆の恐ろしさを見たあとは一日中もの悲しい気持ちでした。資料館をあとにして、陽が沈む前に縮景園に行って盆栽の木や池にいた亀や鯉の姿を見て楽しみました。だんだん辺りが暗くなってきたときに、日本のピザ(お好み焼き)のお店が集まる村、”お好み村” へ、足を延ばしました。そこで麺とたくさんの野菜で作られた広島風のお好み焼きを食べました。