People in Japan: Aya

Aya Portrait

To experience Shibuya is to look through a kaleidoscope. Here you watch cars blur into a sea of light and drown in excitement of Japan’s busiest district. What’s so special about Shibuya? Why is it strangely therapeutic to gaze upon the constant rapid movement of shadows under the neon lights?

As for Aya, she avoids the hour when human activity is at its peak. Like many others, she works overtime almost everyday and surrenders her dinner to the cats in the streets. What is living in Shibuya actually like? Bunka presses her for answers.

Describe your daily routine.
Aya: Work takes up most of my day. If I have some time off, I like to surf the Internet and head out to dine at my favourite eateries. I love sleeping as well!

Aya Routine

Which part of Japan do you live in and how is like living there?
Aya: I live in Shibuya, Tokyo. It is very convenient. For example, it’s only a minute walk to the convenience store. That’s the best! I like how Tokyo has a good balance of nature, culture and modernity. It has Yoyogi Park, Meiji Shrine and plenty of shopping districts, which makes the city very easy to live in.

The sacred place for himono-onnas

State the advantages and disadvantages of working in Tokyo.
The advantages of working in Tokyo:

  • It is very convenient when it comes to transportation and shopping.
  • There are plenty of organisations so the chances of getting a job are high.
  • The salary is high in Tokyo, as compared to the rural areas of Japan.

The disadvantages of working in Tokyo:

  • There are too many people. For example, the waiting time to enter the exhibition “Itō Jakuchū” took me 5 hours!
  • The trains are overcrowded, especially during rush hour.
  • Even though Tokyo is a populous city, it can get lonely. That’s because most people come from different cities and prefectures, Tokyo is just where they come for work.


What tips would you give expats/tourists who are new to Japan?
Aya: Most department stores have a floor dedicated to food (usually in the basement). If you visit after 7 pm, the food will be half the price! Another way to get insider recommendations for dining and activities is to befriend the locals on social networking sites. I also recommend a store called Don Quijote. It is open till 4am and sells almost everything from clothes to electronics.


Tell us something interesting that most people wouldn’t know about your city.
Aya: It is very peaceful which makes safe to be out late at night. The people here are also very gentle and warm.

What activities would you recommend to tourists visiting Japan?
Aya: For me, that will be experiencing the snow fall while soaking in an outdoor onsen during winter, watching the fireworks at a summer festival, buying a bento box unique to the region at the train station (click here and here for more information) and riding the shinkansen. You can also rent kimono and yukata to wear when walking down the streets in Kyoto. If you are an otaku, Animate and Comike is the place for you! Otakus interested in visiting the exact locations from their favourite animes can try this website: (Japanese only). It appears that the Shima Onsen in Gunma served as one of the models for the onsen ryokan in the animated movie, Spirited Away!

Also, I have never gone there before, but I’ve been wanting to visit a certain place in Hokkaido. It’s the Unkai Terrace, which is located in Tomamu Resort.

Source: WAttention

Before I forget to mention: in winter, you can enjoy a bus ride through a road such as this:

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route; Source: Tokyo Rail Days Singapore

You can find snowy mountain passes in places such as Nagano Prefecture and Toyama Prefecture.


hitoribocchi no yoru~
hitoribocchi no yoru~ ♪

What advice would you give to someone learning Japanese?
Aya: Japanese grammar can be vexing to grasp. The fastest way to understand it is by conversing or by watching anime/drama. There are many Japanese who are interested in learning English, so there are plenty of mobile apps that offer education support and tips. It may be helpful to use these alongside the usual Japanese learning apps.

Learn Japanese words!

在住者 (zaijuusha) – resident
起床 (kishoo) – getting out of bed
化粧 (keshoo) – make-up/cosmetics
仕事 (shigoto) – work
残業 (zangyoo) – overtime (work)
風呂 (huro) – bath
スマホ (sumaho) – abbreviation for smartphone
年中無休 (nenjuu mukyuu) – open every day of the year
殿堂 (dendoo) – Hall of Fame