The Japanese secret for everything

Recently I was strolling through the book store while waiting for my train, and there I found The Secret For A Long And Happy Life. Or well … I don’t know exactly who to believe. There is the Danish “Hygge”, the Swedish “Lagom”, or “The Way” of the Chinese.

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Toeps in Takamatsu: Tour de Hard-Off

While in the Netherlands the corona virus is taking hold, everything is closed and everyone has to stay at home, it is slightly less intense in Japan. Yes, certain things have been closed for weeks. But although everyone suspects the government of lying (because of the Olympics), it actually seems to be not too bad here.

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Coming soon: But You Don’t Look Autistic At All!

It’s never the right moment. That’s what they tell people that want to have babies, but are not sure when. I’m talking about another kind of baby: my book, in English! Is this the right moment? Probably not. But I’m doing it anyway.

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Flying autistic

For some time now, Schiphol has had green lanyards with sunflowers, for people with autism, or other invisible disabilities. With such a lanyard, employees should know that something is going on with you, so that they can respond in a helpful way to meltdowns or other problems. My first experience with this “service” was during my previous flight to Japan, last October.

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Beware, children playing

Earlier this week I was tagged in a post on Twitter. “OMG, did you see this?!” It was a post of an “autism parent educator”. For a moment I thought it was an “autism parent”, but apparently the two have similarities: they think they know a lot, but they don’t actually listen to people with autism. See the tweet in question below.

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I got scammed by a cute vintage shop in Japan

Japan is the safest country in the world. In the Starbucks you can leave your laptop on the table when you go to the toilet, whoever forgets his iPhone in the metro will almost certainly get it back that same day and in the evening I walk home without any fear. Yet I was scammed yesterday. By an extremely sweet-looking girl in a pink dress, with kawaii pins in her hair and a high-pitched voice that makes her sound like a ten-year-old, while she is probably twenty-five.

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Autism mum

I see it more and more: articles by, with or about autism mums. Mothers of children with autism. They talk about how difficult their lives are, how they had to readjust their expectations in life, how the system fails them and how they had to fight their own disappointments.

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Thrifting Tokyo: Koenji and the Oi Keibajo flea market

In my previous post about shopping in Tokyo I told you about Harajuku and Shimo-Kitazawa. This time I’ll take you to Koenji and the best kept secret of Tokyo: the Oi Keibajo-mae flea market!

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Thrifting Tokyo: Harajuku and Shimo-Kitazawa

Wie voor het eerst in Tokio komt, de eerste de beste hippe vintagewinkel in Harajuku binnenstapt en het prijskaartje van een smoezelige Adidas-sweater omdraait, schrikt zich een halve hartaanval. Wát?! 35 euro voor dit ding uit de Zak van Max?! Maar het zou zonde zijn om thrifting in Tokio direct helemaal af te schrijven. Want wie weet waar ‘ie moet wezen, en waar níet, kan wel degelijk spotgoedkope pareltjes op de kop tikken. Ik vertel je alles.

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Tokyo for nerds: Toys

As I promised in the previous part of this series, in this blog I’ll take you to Nakano Broadway. From Disney figurines to watches, from manga to model trains, everything that’s collectible can be found here.

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@biancatoeps op Instagram

Tokyo for nerds: Trains

As you may know, I’m a huge nerd. And just like every other nerd, I have my obsessions: trains, and Disney parks. Tokyo is like heaven for nerds, called “otaku” in Japanese. In this series of blogs I’ll introduce you to nerdy Japan. In the next post I’ll take you to Nakano Broadway, but first: trains!

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The impermanence of the Nakagin Capsule Tower

I don’t remember exactly when or where, but somewhere in the process of searching for and moving into my great 25m² apartment, somebody told me about the Nakagin Tower. A capsule tower, built in 1972, as an example of the Japanese Metabolism movement. My dream.

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Japan’s most not-scary bridge

I have to admit something. I fell for clickbait. And not in a way that I clicked on a link and wasted three seconds of my life, no. I spent eight hours on a train yesterday, over an hour today, I spent 20 euros on a taxi and walked an hour for a… Disappointing bridge.

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72 hours in Chongqing

I still remember how I found out about the city. I was watching YouTube-videos with Riemer on the Apple TV, probably about monorails, when autoplay came up with a documentary. This one, made by an Norwegian student in Chongqing.

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Who wants to go back to Namie, Fukushima?

On the 15th of March 2011, four days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent disaster of nuclear plant Fukushima Daiichi, all inhabitants of Namie that aren’t evacuated yet, are ordered to leave their town. The radiation levels in the village, just eight kilometers away from the plant, are way too high.

A little over six years later, on April 1st, 2017, the inhabitants are allowed to return. The train station reopened, a brand new post office is constructed and roads have a new layer of asphalt. Still only a hundred of the 20.000 former residents have gone back. Houses are inhabitable, people built a new life somewhere else, and well… Is it really safe now?

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They see me rollin’…

Since I moved to a more quiet area of Tokyo, it seemed a great idea to get a bike. Well, actually it was my neighbour Jeske’s idea, she recently bought a fancy folding bike. She gave me the address of a recycle shop in Yoyogi, so I took the train, walked for ten minutes and found…

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