Japanese prefectures I’d want to try living in

This is the first survey for a while from goo Ranking not featuring a long list of quite unknown to me celebrities, a look at which prefectures in Japan Japanese themselves might want to try living in.

I’ve lived in a grand total of three (out of 47) prefectures, which I see all feature in the top ten here. In my opinion, Hyogo is underrated; Kobe and the surrounding area are very livable, with a lot of history of foreign settlement from when it was a major trading port. Osaka is also great, but I understand that Tokyo people are quite put off by the image of the locals. Tokyo is my current abode, in a suburban city, but I wouldn’t want to stay near the centre, but like capitals anywhere, the roads paved with good always attracts.

For where I’d like to live, Fukuoka seems attractive, as does Nagasaki.

For the top ten here, everything rusts and/or gets covered in mould, Hokkaido is too harsh in winter, and Kanagawa, or the main city Yokohama at least, is pleasant, but from my standpoint, a cheap copy of Kobe. Kyoto city has too many tourists (well, not currently, of course) to detract from the rich cultural heritage.

Note that I am mostly focusing on the major built-up areas in the prefectures, as once you get into the countryside the differences between many prefectures disappears. Even Tokyo has about a third of its area taken up with deep, deep countryside, and over 1,000 km offshore there are sub-tropical islands:


Where would you like or dislike to live in Japan?

Japan’s coolest station names

Today’s ranking looks at the coolest station names in Japan. I’ll present the kanji characters, the English transliteration, and a short translation of explanation of the name.

Note that the two Disneyland monorail stations have names “station station” – the first is English to be cool, then eki, the Japanese for station.

I’ve lived beside two of the cool names below, and in the same town as a third, but my current local station might feature in a cutest list!

Here’s Bishamon station versus Bishamon himself – you choose which is cooler:

Bishamon-Ten, roi gardien du Nord (Vaisravana) (14316580832)

How the Japanese use dating apps

The Japanese used for dating apps is actually an English loan word, “matching”, so I’ll use that in this survey from Dimsdrive into matching apps and COVID-19.

In Q3, there were only five matching apps listed; surely there must be more than that?

Looking at the usage stats, perhaps not surprisingly men spend longer on these apps and are much more likely to spend money on extra services.

I met my wife through their predecessors, the classified ads in an English-language newsletter thing. We both experienced similar patterns of usage and payment to those reported here.

Japan’s biggest worldwide celeb

goo Ranking asked people to name who from the world of entertainment was the most active worldwide.

I’m not surprised by Ken Watanabe being number one, nor Ryuichi Sakamoto being the top-rated musician, but some of the bands listed seem a bit dubious to me; they might have been mid-bill at rock festivals, but whether they left any lasting impression I do not know.

A couple of the comedians (Yuriyan Retriever, Yumbo Dump) seem to have their worldwide success defined by having appeared on America’s (and other parts of the world) Got Talent. Here’s Yumbo Dump, which does nothing for me, though:


men holding swords illustration

Japan’s world-class festivals

men holding swords illustration
Almost every town in Japan has their own traditional festival of two, but goo Ranking asked which are Japan’s world-class festivals.

The problem with a lot of the festivals in recent years are that they are far too crowded; the problem this year is that most have been cancelled or drastically scaled back.

I’d love to go to the Akita Nebuta Festival; as pictured above, huge papier mache float lit from the inside look impressive on television and probably even better in the flesh. I’ve been to the Gion Festival; not the actual parade, but the day before they have the danjiri – mobile shrines – on display so you can walk around and have a leisurely close-up view.

Kishiwada Danjiri Festival is mental; the town itself is one of the rougher places in Osaka, and the danjiri are manned by the local neds and low-level gangsters (allegedly), who push the things through town at breakneck (sometimes literally…) speeds, occasionally knocking chunks out of buildings during tight turns. This is one that is safer to watch on the television.

What’s your favourite festival in Japan?

Anime with the most shocking first episode

I’ll have to take this survey on its word due to my general ignorance of anime, but there are a number of curious titles in the results (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime?!) of the serialised anime with the most shocking first episode.

Actually, I know the first three titles, and have actually watched two of them; regarding Attack on Titan, a couple of weeks ago my wife’s cousin related a story of how her son suffered a serious todger bite due to his six year old cousin having watched too much of the R-15-rated show on YouTube. The kid’s mother forbade the show, but was fine with Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba), until she saw a scene featuring a rather graphic decapitation.

Here’s some Titan unpleasantness to give you a taste…

Detective Conan is rather tame, but according to the blurb, the first episode included a rollercoaster scene where some of the riders got decapitated, and even though it was censored since it was in a prime-time slot aimed at kids, it was still rather traumatising, apparently. Here’s a link to the images.

What’s your most shocking one?

Japan’s tastiest doughnut

goo Ranking asked its visitors to choose their favourite doughnut from the Mister Donut regular menu

The Pon De Ring is my favourite doughnut too. The regular is my choice if they don’t have their frequent seasonal options; kinako (soy bean flour) is my favourite variation, and the less common green tea ones are also excellent. Second for me too is the Old Fashion; the chocolate on the Chocolate Fashion is a bit too heavily processed for my liking.

I’ve heard a number of foreigners complain that Mister Donut’s offering are too small and not sweet enough, but conversely I’ve tried Krispy Kreme’s and they are to my palate disgustingly sweet and heavy.

Here’s a sample Mr Donut offering. From the left is a French Cruller, Pon De Ring, and maybe an iced Angel Cream? Oh, and the hot cafe au lait and black coffee are free refills!


Japan’s tastiest ramen chain

This survey from goo Ranking asked the Japanese to choose their tastiest ramen chain.

Despite having lived here for over 20 years, I have never actually eaten ramen (outside of dried ramen at home), and have only once been in a ramen shop where I had some fried rice. The food looks too greasy for me, and as a person brought up with strict manners about eating one’s food silently, the slurping of noodles is extremely unbearable!

Most other foreigners seem to love the stuff; what’s your favourite chain?

Image by WP Chun from Pixabay