Saudi Arabian TV tempts would-be thieves in Tokyo to test Japan’s honesty

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Besides great sushi, great customer service and ubiquitous vending machines, another great thing about living in Japan is the relatively low crime rate there. Although the country certainly has its criminals (including very cute and cuddly ones), visitors, tourists and expats in Japan routinely extol how Japanese culture has created a society where even a wallet full of cash will be returned to its owner most of the time. After hearing about Japan’s reputation for being an honest, rule-abiding country, a Saudi Arabian TV show created a social experiment to see what would happen when they left a very conspicuous wallet on the busy streets of Tokyo.

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Traditional Japanese House Being Sold for 1 Yen on Yahoo! Auction

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Interested in investing in Japanese historical real estate but don’t have quite enough to afford a medieval castle town?

Right now there’s a 150-year-old traditional Japanese thatched-roof farmhouse for sale on Yahoo! Auction for the unbeatable price of 1 yen (about 1 penny)!

Though by judging from the pictures, it may be a bit of fixer-upper…

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12 tales of true hospitality from Japanese hotels and inns

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Japan takes customer service very seriously, something that’s easy to see when even convenience store clerks are so dedicated to their job they’ll ask if you want your hot and cold purchases bagged separately, or else build a protective barrier between them. Hospitality standards are no joke, either, as illustrated by the tasks traditional innkeepers are expected to perform, such as carrying the dishes and utensils for full-course meals into and out of guests’ rooms.

It’s no surprise, then, that travelers in Japan have plenty of stories to tell about attentive inns and hotels, such as the 12 below from an online survey by web portal My Navi Woman in Japan.

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Old becomes new again: The beauty of traditional Japanese homes

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With raw, unpainted wood, tatami rooms, and a tranquil atmosphere, traditional Japanese homes can be quite beautiful. Appreciated by many for their historical look and feel, the buildings have recently undergone a bit of a surge in popularity.

Though probably not something the average person can afford to live in (or would even want to live in), the larger houses have found new life in many forms, including as group homes and rural hotels.

Here’s some great examples and photos of traditional homes in use today.

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Chochikukyo: Japan’s original eco-friendly house

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Although just last week we took you on a guided tour of traditional Japanese homes that had been given new life, today’s quintessentially Japanese abode is a little different. This is Chochikukyo, an 80-year-old house located in Kyoto designed by the renowned early 20th century Japanese architect Kouji Fujii. It is so popular and well-loved that even the Japanese emperor made a special visit earlier this month!

But what makes it so special? Find out after the break.

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We went to the Ozashiki Cafe to see professional geisha perform — and we had an amazing time!

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Last month, we ran a story about the Ozashiki Cafe, a one day event that would offer a unique opportunity for the Japanese public to take a look into the usually exclusive world of geisha and the traditional Japanese restaurants known as ryotei, where they perform. Much to our delight, we received comments from readers encouraging us to sign up and attend the event, so that’s exactly what we decided to do! And we were quite excited to do so too, since the average person in Japan usually doesn’t have the chance to interact with professional geisha. So, here’s our report on what we experienced at the Ozashiki Cafe, which took place at the ryotei Miyakodori in the Asakusa district of Tokyo — and we have to say, it was quite a treat to be entertained by professional geisha, even it was for just one fleeting hour!

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Man buys and remodels trashed home, astounds us with before and after pictures

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There was a point in time when you could turn on the TV at any time of day and find at least three home remodeling shows playing. I personally had no idea why they were so freaking popular…but I think I’m finally starting to get it after seeing these photos.

One ambitious Japanese man, named Makoto, bought an old, junked-out house with rotten floorboards, clogged pipes, and filled with trash for 1,950,000 yen–about US$19,500–and over the course of six months turned into one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Japanese Internet users were amazed by the transformation–and you will be too!

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