Category Archives: opinion

Rant about USJ (Universal Studios Japan) English Site

This was going to be a short post about the special offer of yearly pass tickets of Universal Studios Japan (USJ) but incredibly their site is so poor I feel like ranting a bit.  (I’ll post details of the offer in a separate post)

  • First of all, they don’t mention the offer on their English site at all.
  • Second, their info seems not to have been updated for at least a year.  For example the regular price is still listed as 18,000 Yen not 22,000Yen.  More importantly there are some exception dates but the English version is still  last year’s info  vs the Japanese up-to-date info.
  • Third, you can’t actually buy the tickets on-line unless you use the Japanese site.
  • Bonus sad points are the information pages for the special events and attractions.  Example, this is the info page for Universal Valentine in English vs Universal Valentine in Japanese.

I can’t believe an organisation with the money and resources like Universal Studios are building such disfunctional sites for their non-Japanese speaking customers.

If you feel similarly please leave a comment or pass on a link to this post to friends.

Softbank Ebisubashi – English speaking staff

If you are looking for a Softbank shop with staff that speaks English I heartily recommend the one in Shinsaibashi, Ebisubashi (see below for link). I went there after my mobile bill went a bit too high and asked for advice. I was pleasantly surprised that they had staff members who speak English (Arabic and sign-language too). Not only that but the staff member in question was knowledgeable, sincere and helpful. In the end, I managed to shave about 5,000 Yen off my monthly bill.

Ask for Ahmed and tell him that Ian recommended you. And yeah, if you are looking for phones with English predictive text input he can tell you which models have them. They do have a web site but it is all in Japanese which is disappointing. I’ll include the link because there is a map and contact details which might be useful even for non-Japanese speakers.

[Update]  Ahmed’s moved to the Namba Ebisubashi branch.  Although the Shinsaibashi branch may have English speakers I’ve had my fair share of problems with some Japanese staff.  Mainly they don’t explain everything, just things they think you need to know.  And another thing, they have an annoying habit of asking for my Alien Registration Card info when I am waiting in line.  What’s that all about??

So what’s so great about Osaka

What I like so much about Osaka is its people. In general they live up to their collective reputation of being loud but friendly. Osaka feels much more welcoming than say Tokyo. Osakan Obaasan (old ladies) talk to you for no reason other than to talk. Coming from Northern Ireland, where almost everyone does this, it feels closer to home.

As well as people, another selling point is that it is a convenient city. Public transport is clean, timely and efficient, if a little expensive for short journeys. Cuisine is plentiful and varied as is entertainment. Movie goers and live music fans are well covered. If you are interested in concerts or theatre, you’ll be happy to know that major performers and plays frequently visit here.

If you are interested in travelling about Japan, Osaka is fairly central in the Kansai/Kinki area and in Japan in general. It takes only about 30-40 minutes by express train to travel to the nearby cities of Kobe, Kyoto and Nara. Visiting temples and shrines during the Cherry Blossom season and the Autumn Leaves season can be a fun day or weekend trip. Visiting cities like Nagoya, Hiroshima or Tokyo takes a little longer but it is still feasible for weekend trips because of the efficient transport system in Japan.

Because of its size, you can choose a place to live that suits your personality. I enjoy the convenience of being in the middle of the city, whereas some of my friends prefer to be a bit further out trading convenience for quietness and a nicer environment.

That is not to say that Osaka is the perfect city, I’ll cover the downsides of living in Osaka in a future post, but in the meantime if you are living in Osaka or have lived here in the past, tell me what you like about Osaka.