Rules For Eating And Drinking In Japan

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Osaka, Japan

Visting Japan? Or perhaps you already live in the country. Here are some handy rules to follow for eating and drinking protocol.

Generally, Japanese society is rather lenient towards the manners of foreigners. As long as you try to follow along with how things are usually done and don’t leave a mess after yourself, you’ll probably be fine.

But what if you want to delve into the nitty-gritty of Japanese manners? Amy’s Guide to Best Behavior in Japan: Do it Right and Be Polite! might be the guide for you. It was written by long-time resident Amy Chavez, and while the book might seem too polite in parts, that’s the point!

The book covers an array of manners and answers the eternal question of why Japanese people don’t walk and eat. According to Chavez, etiquette courses taught in the Meiji Period (1868-1912) dictated that one was not to eat or drink while walking. This has since become ingrained into society, which is why typically people in Japan consume beverages near vending machines (though, not always) and don’t walk and eat (though, not always), preferring to eat down and eat instead.

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But what about eating on trains? It’s generally discouraged on local trains, though there aren’t signs stating eating isn’t allowed. So, how do you know if it is?

Via Amy’s Guide to Best Behavior in Japan: Do it Right and Be Polite!, here are some tips.

The best way to tell if it’s okay to consume food and drink is to look for a food tray or drink holder provided for that purpose.

Eating is OK on the Shinkansen bullet train, and even encouraged as the snack trolley makes its way down the aisle selling bento lunches, snacks, coffee, and beer (plus omiyage in case you forgot to buy a gift for someone!).

When bringing your own food onto the train, be tidy and lay down a tissue or cloth on your lap to catch bits and pieces of orange peels or crumbs. If you discover crumbs on the train seat when you stand up to leave, gather the crumbs in your hand and put them into a tissue or cloth rather than brushing them onto the floor where others will step on them.

You may drink alcohol on the Shinkansen and long-distance “rapid” trains in Japan; no biggie. You’ll often see business people enjoying a can of beer on their journey home at the end of the workday. This does not mean it’s okay to get hammered on the train.

Do not drink on local trains and transportation.

Avoid smelly foods like kimchee or curry.

Most of your eating in Japan will be done at restaurants. There are some good basics to follow when entering an establishment, ordering food and eating.

In most Japanese restaurants, a hostess will seat you when you walk in. Even if it’s a sushi bar with only a few seats open at the bar, it’s good manners to acknowledge the chef behind the counter (if he looks your way) before sitting down. If there is no hostess, many people will ask for the chef’s permission before sitting down at the bar. This can be done by merely pointing to the open seats (with an open palm, of course) and saying, “OK?”

If you’re adventurous, you can usually get a local, nutritious, reasonably priced, delectable lunch at a Japanese restaurant by ordering the teishoku, the set lunch of the day. Don’t bother asking what the teishoku contains (unless your server speaks fluent English); it’s complicated and unless you’re extremely familiar with Japanese food, you probably won’t recognize the names of the items anyway. But there is usually a variety of vegetables, meat, or fish, and it almost always comes with miso soup and rice.

Many restaurants will have a basket on the floor next to the table. Stow your belongings here. It’s a great way to keep your items together so they don’t get in others’ way.

When you sit down at any type of restaurant in Japan, you will be offered a wet towel called an oshibori (cold in summer, hot in winter) to clean your hands. You may also use it during the meal to wipe your hands or mouth and to clean up spills. Some people also use oshibori to wipe their face or neck when they first sit down, but they’re not really supposed to. Definitely avoid doing this in a fancy restaurant; keep the wet towel to hands only. Lay it on the table by the side of your plate or bowl. Do not place it on your lap.

Do not ask for exceptions or substitutions in your order. Items are delivered as they are offered on the menu, not according to customers’ special requests. Take the food as it is presented to you.

No one will start eating until either the guest, or the most important person at the table, picks up their chopsticks to start.

Japanese meals typically feature small bowls of food, many with lids. Take off the lids and rest them upside down on the table (so as not to spill condensation on the table or tray). If the top doesn’t come off easily, gently squeeze the bowl with your fingers wrapped around it to break the seal created by the steam. Put lids back on the bowls when finished.

Gracefully choose foods from different bowls (without hovering indecisively with your chopsticks) and savor the flavors. Try some rice, then a bit of this and that, then some more rice, etc. You’ll find that certain flavors complement each other, such as rice with miso soup. This is the art of eating in Japan.

Bring small bowls up to your mouth rather than hunching over the bowl on the table. Hold the bowl with four fingers under the bowl, your thumb supporting one side while using the opposite hand to work the chopsticks. Never put your thumb on the rim.

You can drink straight from soup bowls, but do so while holding the bowl with two hands. Place one hand underneath the bowl (as instructed above), and use the other hand to cup the side.

Never ever, ever put sugar in green tea. It’s supposed to be healthy and enjoyed as is. Seek the joy.

Japan isn’t only a great place to drink, but it is one of the greatest places in the world to drink. The country makes some of the best booze you can imbibe, whether that is beer, sake, shochu or whisky.

You can also get some seriously good cocktails and have a great night out. But there are some things to keep in mind.

If you got drunk and don’t remember anything from the night before, don’t worry. The Japanese forgive easily, and as long as no harm was done, no one will ever mention it!

Getting happily drunk and being a vociferous and rowdy drunk are two different things, however. If you are loud, people may call the police. If you put others out because of your behavior, a “sorry” gift is in order the next day. Don’t expect to ever be asked out drinking again. Know how you behave when you drink and don’t be stupid.

You don’t have to consume alcohol to fit in in Japan. You just have to drink something—even tea or cola.

Why? Because you need to have some liquid in your glass to do the proper kanpai (toast) that officially starts off dinners, parties, banquets, or just end-of-the-day boozing engagements.

It is quite acceptable to just take a small swallow of beer in a glass for the purpose of the kanpai and then change to a non-alcoholic beverage for the rest of the evening.

Always do a toast before drinking, even if there are just two of you. Touch your glasses together and say “kanpai!”

It is considered the height of good manners to refill another’s glass when it’s empty. As a result, topping up people’s glasses with beer, shochu (the local spirit), or sake before they’re finished avoids the horror of someone being left staring at an empty glass. This, however, just fuels more and more ordering and consumption of alcohol! The key here is moderation of a constantly full glass.

As someone is refilling your glass, it is polite practice to hold it up (with both hands). When your glass is full, acknowledge the kindness by taking a sip. Always check to make sure that the other person’s glass is also full.

You may politely refuse when someone tries to fill your glass, but it’s better to just leave your glass full so no one can pour more into it!

At formal occasions, make sure your superior’s (or your host’s) glass is always full! Remember to use both hands to hold the bottle or carafe when pouring.

It is perfectly okay to leave behind a full glass of beer or other beverage when it’s time to exit an establishment.

Never drink and drive in Japan. There is “zero toler-ance” for driving under the influence. Most Japanese people will not drive even if they’ve had just a sip of alcohol or beer.

You may find everyone leaving near the same time in order to catch the last train home. If you end up missing that train, take a taxi or find a capsule hotel. There are plenty of people who hang out on public benches awaiting the first train in the morning, so you can always join them.

For more, check out the book’s official site right here.


Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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Future Cycling Gear: 2018 Eurobike Awards

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Just as Germany’s Outdoor Show previews the future of gear in outdoor recreation, Eurobike gives all a peek at the best products hitting the cycling market. Here are the show’s award recipients — from startups to sustainability to the best-in-show Gold Award winners.

The post Future Cycling Gear: 2018 Eurobike Awards appeared first on GearJunkie.

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Chainless Bike Driveshaft: CeramicSpeed Wows Eurobike

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A new kind of drivetrain system debuts at Eurobike, and it’s shaking people’s belief systems.

CeramicSpeed DrivEn driveshaft

“No chains. No derailleurs.” The future of the bike looks kind of weird, to be honest. But the new derailleur-free drivetrain showcased by CeramicSpeed at Eurobike this week has been one of the show’s highlights. And the industry is buzzing, disposing of old ideas about what a bike should look like.

Electronic, wireless shifting seems almost old-school in the wake of this odd-looking, toothy system that promises ultimate efficiency.

CeramicSpeed ‘Driven’ Bike Driveshaft

Driven, the new drivetrain concept from CeramicSpeed, won the prestigious Eurobike Award this year over 365 other entries. (That’s one innovation per day if you’re keeping track.)

The Driven system is still only a prototype and isn’t ready for any bike right now. Currently, the driveshaft system requires a special frame. But it offers a wicked-cool concept that could certainly make its way to production bicycles in the future.

Essentially, the company created a pinion-style driveshaft system that replaces the traditional chain and derailleur model. And 21 CeramicSpeed bearings transfer torque from the front ring through the driveshaft and onto the flat, 13-speed rear “plate.”

This method for shifting might look strange, but CeramicSpeed claims it creates 49 percent less friction compared to the market-leading chain and derailleur drivetrain. Additionally, its nearly two-dimensional profile could significantly reduce drag, making it a more aerodynamic system while also dropping it to a lower weight — all thanks to a carbon driveshaft instead of a metal chain.

To be sure, companies have dabbled with driveshaft bicycles. But these setups often offer less power efficiency than do chain-driven bicycles. Plus, early designs hampered changing out flat rear tires. It’s unclear how a production model Driven would address the latter, but the brand and some testers claim the system’s efficiency is not an issue.

BikeRumor also reported the Driven system tests at 99 percent efficiency, meaning almost all your power is actually applied to the ride, not wasted. (Standard drivetrains ultimately waste energy as the chain begins to show signs of wear and tear. Not to mention sliding friction from the chain moving around the chainrings.)

CeramicSpeed: Next-Gen Bike Tech

CeramicSpeed has been at the forefront of experimental, ultra-efficient bike technology in recent years. Below, you can see its ceramic bearings spinning U.S. pro mountain biker Kate Courtney’s cranks super smooth and fast at last year’s Boston U.S. Cup race:

For those already looking to preorder the crazy new Driven system, you’re out of luck. It’s far from production ready. In conjunction with the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Colorado, CeramicSpeed has been developing the derailleur-free drivetrain for only nine months now.

Obvious challenges include the need for an entirely different frame with a higher chainstay, plus specific wheels for the rear cassette. It could also get even cooler. To reduce wear and tear, future versions will potentially involve integrating the driveshaft into the frame.

We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on the Driven concept as it develops. And we’ll watch to see if any industry leaders start experimenting with other new ways to look at the traditional drivetrain model.

The post Chainless Bike Driveshaft: CeramicSpeed Wows Eurobike appeared first on GearJunkie.

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SKULPT is a tiny, feature-packed synth for under $300

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Modal Electronics

Ultraportable, inexpensive synthesizers are everywhere these days, including solid entries from Korg, Roland and IK Multimedia. Now, UK-based Modal Electronics (makers of high-end boutique synths) is looking to enter the category with a new under-$300 synth called SKULPT, which is set to go live on KickStarter July 13th.

The tiny SKULPT is a 4-voice polyphonic virtual analog synthesizer equipped with eight oscillators (per voice) and two waveforms that produce a wide variety of sounds. It has a host of control, too, with modes for monophonic, duophonic and polyphonic sounds, an eight-slot modulation matric, three envelope generators and two audio rate LFOs. There’s also a realtime sequencer that can record up to 128 notes with four parameters, an arpeggiator with octave, swing and sustain controls and a ton of filters and effects to tweak the resulting music. It’s got MIDI in and out, room to store 128 patches and 64 sequences and is powered either by USB or six AA batteries. The keyboard is touch-sensitive, which might make it a bit tough for players used to physical keys, but it is likely much less likely to break than a standard synth.

from Engadget https://engt.co/2um0fL1
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Escape look-alike Ableton Live colors with these free themes

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You stare at its interface for hours on end. Why not give your eyes something different to look at? Now Ableton Live 10, too, gets access to custom colors.

Judging by looking over people’s shoulders, a lot of Live users simply don’t know that you can hack into Ableton’s custom theme files and modify things. And so we’re all caught in drab uniformity, with the same color theme – both unoriginal and uninspiring.

Fortunately, we have Berlin native and leading Ableton Live guru and educator Madeleine Bloom to come to our rescue. Madeleine has long made some pleasing variations for Live’s colors. Now she’s got two new sets (with more on the way) for Ableton Live 10. Live 10 can still read your old color modifications, but because of some minor changes to the interface, files made for its new XML-based format will work better. (Ableton also changed the name from “skins” to “themes,” for some reason.)

Free Ableton Live Themes Set #1

Free Ableton Live Themes Set #2 [I spot a naming pattern here]

To install theme, follow this tutorial (for both Live 10 and Live 9 and earlier):

Ableton Live Tutorial: How to install new Skins

And if you think these colors aren’t quite right, Madeleine has also written a tutorial for creating your own themes or making modifications to these:

How to Create Your Own Ableton Live Themes & Free PDF Theming Guide

There’s even a link there to a graphical theme editor for Mac and Windows with previews, in case you don’t like editing XML files.

“But, Peter!” says you, “you’re just now a paid shill for Ableton, trying to force me to upgrade to Live 10 when I don’t need it!”

Why, you’ve just made me spit out some of this lifetime supply of Club-Mate soda that Ableton has delivered to my flat every day, you ungrateful readers! Of course, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t upgrade to Live 10 — why, it’s The Future of Sound. Oh… wait, actually, that’s Native Instruments’ slogan. Sometimes I forget who I’m shilling for.

Anyway, if you are stuck on the clearly inferior and not-having-an-Echo effect Live 9 or earlier, Madeleine is nice enough to have you covered, too, with a whole bunch of skins for those versions. There are dozens of those, including various from readers:

https://sonicbloom.net/en/?s=ableton+live+skins&submit=Search

And there’s an accompanying guide to making your own skins, as well.

Now, enjoy. I have to go lie down, as I think all this Club-Mate sponsorship has made me feel a bit lightheaded.

You’ll find a ton of resources for Live at Sonic Bloom, the site Madeleine runs. It’s a complete hub for information, which is way better than trying to navigate random YouTube uploads:

https://sonicbloom.net/en/

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Va-va-vroom! I think I’m in love.

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tauro_hypercar_layout

I have had an obsession with automotive design since I was a kid and loved imagining what the future held in terms of wild new cars. Looking at the Tauro concept, I feel like it’s all of my childhood automotive daydreams wrapped up into one mean-looking machine!

Named Tauro (Catalan for Shark), its aggressive styling takes inspiration from the shark. However, this autonomous electric hypercar is as much a technological exploration as a visual one. It features cool, new elements including an aerodynamically-optimized, self-healing “shark skin” that melds back together if a ding happens, a magnetic traction system that works in tandem with specialized roads to enhance grip, and recharging system that harnesses wind, solar, and kinetic energy.

Despite its low-slung look with a relatively short wheelbase, it’s got a big fat footprint that feels ultra-wide and adds to its grip and aesthetic aggressiveness. For me, I see a little bit of Lambo Diablo and Ford Indigo in the design language, but for you it might be something different… and that’s precisely its appeal. Still, it’s something entirely original. I only wish it were the real deal!

Designer: Lee Rosario

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Features:

– Limitless range thanks to Multi-level lithium-ion battery recharge systems (kinetic brakes, wind gills, solar and magnetic recharge. Other than standard maintenance, eliminates the need for stop and go recharging.
– Magnetic propulsion rims.
– Fully self-healing ultralight biometric titanium carbon “shark skin” for superior strength and superior drag reduction at high speeds.
– Specialized magnetic propulsion rims and wheels designed for speeds of up to 350mph (563kph) on specialized magnetic grip roads and 250mph (402kph) on standard roads.
– Fully wireless updatable software interface and vehicle management systems.
– Intelligent A.I. biometric cpu with predictive vehicle control, systems management and human well being systems.
– Jet fighter two person seating arrangement.
– Holographic projection exterior lighting.
– Aerodynamic plasma headlight/tail light system.
– Adjustable privacy cockpit window goes from carbon glass to fully opaque at driver’s command.

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tauro_hypercar_07

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Don’t know how to use Ableton Live? These videos can teach you

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Just because everyone you talk to may know Ableton Live in and out doesn’t mean you do. Ableton have quietly posted an official series of videos that covers the basics, quickly.

And yeah, it’s actually a bit funny that we’ve gotten to 2018 without an official set of Ableton videos like this. But here we are – and yes, the quality is a lot better than most of what you’ll find online. Paid training products may still do better on going in depth, but … for the essentials, you’d expect Ableton as the developer to come up with something fast, direct, and free, and that’s what you get here.

If you’re not a Live owner, there’s a fully functioning demo version you can try out so you can follow along with these without spending money.

I’m going to guess for some of you readers, this really is your chance to see how Live works – and for others, this will be an easy reference to point to so you don’t have to personally tutor all your friends.

The full playlist is some 59 videos:

But let’s work through some highlights. Note: you do not need white walls and IKEA furniture to use Ableton Live. 😉

First, I know the stumbling block for many people is just getting sound working and hooking up keyboards and controllers, so you can start there:

And there’s the requisite interface tour:

The soul of Ableton Live, and a big clue to its popularity, is Session View. This screen lets you try out ideas by combining loops, samples, and patterns in various combinations, which is useful for exploring musical materials and for live performance.

This also means you should understand warping – mastering this view will help you manipulate audio “The Ableton Way” – and the interface may not be immediately obvious:

Personally, I like using Simpler (a basic sample instrument), because it lets you quickly move to playing sounds, so don’t miss the tutorial about warping inside Simpler:

Session View is what Live is arguably about. But since the beginning, some Live users have stuck to Arrangement View, a more traditional, linear layout. And some even use this view for live performance. Understanding it together with Session View is the main task in getting comfortable with Ableton’s workflow.

Happily, after some years of users demanding the feature, you can use the two side by side. (I have to confess to not doing this as much as I probably should, partly because I got in the habit of switching as an early adopter of the software.)

There’s a lot more in there for you to explore depending on where your interests lie, but let’s highlight some of the Live 10-specific stuff, as well:

New in Live 10

Live 10’s changes to Arrangement View are really most useful if you learn the keyboard shortcuts, which can now allow you to edit ideas more quickly:

It’s also significant that Live 10 added multi-clip editing, which brings Arrangement View pattern editing more in line with some of Live’s competition:

There are a lot of sound capabilities tucked into the new Live 10 devices, but check out some of these in particular:

Oscillator effects in Wavetable are really cool.

Having Echo in Live 10 is a little like having a hybrid-Roland Space Echo toy with you at all times. But the far-out modulation of delay time is where things go wild:

Live 9 and Live 10, but let’s close out with a reminder that you can use Ableton Link to make it easy to sync other software and mobile apps and jam with your friends:

Got more stuff that confuses you? Software or hardware you’d like CDM to help you learn? Let us know.

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