Free tour I : Earthquake disaster center

Earthquake Disaster center in Tokyo


Did you know this Earthquake center in Odaiba? Experience the Tokyo earthquake in a remake Tokyo city with after shocks and learn at the evacuation center. It called: Sona Area Tokyo – Disaster Prevention Experience Learning Facility.

And it is free!

On the 1st floor of the center, there is the Disaster Prevention Zone. You will experience the earthquake of an magnitude of 7.3 and the visitor needs to survive by her/himself while answering questions. What to do during a big earthquake?

Sona Disaster Center in Odaiba


On the 2nd floor, it is the Learning Zone. Like a museum, you will be informed by display- items, Project mapping and panels. How to prepare for a big earthquake and how to survive a big earthquake?

Sona Disaster Center in Odaiba 2nd floor


Beside of these two facilities for free, everybody is also welcome to their roof garden and also to their BBQ garden. Although the BBQ garden cost 1,000 yen per person to rent the table-chair set and the BBQ equipment.

Sona Disaster Center in Odaiba <credit>

Disaster Prevention Experience Learning Facility

Address: 3-8-35 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Phone number: 03 3529 2180
Opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 ~ 17:00
Admission fee: Free

Eartquake disaster center in Tokyo

Bbq garden

Address: 3-8-35 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Phone number: 050 3816 6374
Opening hours: Weekdays: 11:00 ~ 15:00 and Weekends, holidays, July and August 11:00 ~ 15:00 & 14:00 ~ 17:00
Admission fee: 1,000 yen per person

Extra information: table, chairs and BBQ equipment set are prepared. Bring own charcoal, food and drinks. Or order food, drinks, charcoal, tents and extra items with an extra charge fee.

BBQ in Odaiba

Check our share houses:

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How to prepare for an earthquake?!

Regularly, we feel a small earthquake in Tokyo. It is quite common here, but it has been predicted that there will occur a big one in Tokyo before the year 2050. For foreigners who haven’t experienced any earthquakes, it can be frightening. How to prepare for any kind of earthquake?


1.)Install this useful app Yurekuru on your phone. It gives warning notifications a few seconds before an earthquakes happens.

2.)  On the website of Japan Meteorological Agency, you can find out about the latest Japanese earthquakes. It updates immediately after any earthquake. It is good to know where the main core was, in the case you would like to escape to other cities.


3.)  Discuss with other girls in your sharehouse, about a safe place outside, if the sharehouse is not safe to be in after an earthquake. At least you wouldn’t be alone outside after the disaster.

4.)  Let the embassy of your country know you are living in Japan by registering your contact information. The embassy can assist you more before, during and after the earthquake. In my experience of the earthquake in 2011, the Dutch embassy contacted the Dutch people who had lived in Japan, that the embassy could arrange airplane tickets from Japan to the Netherlands for free.


5.)  Make your house dangerous free. So check if the bookcase is standing against the wall and if certain breakable items are not on the top of a furniture. If necessary, you can tape certain cabinets or closets on the floor, just in case.


6.)  Prepare an emergency kit. You can buy those kits in Don Quijote,, home good stores and home centers. Or you can prepare an emergency kit by yourself.
What kind of items are useful to have before the earthquake:

  • A couple bottles of water
  • Flashlight + spare of batteries
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Cash
  • Medication
  • Radio + spare of batteries
  • Canned food and other ready-to-eat food
  • Work gloves
  • Big plastic sheets, like garbage bags or poncho
  • Copy of all your important documents, health insurance, bank information, passport etc.
  • Whistle
  • Swiss army knife
  • Pen + paper



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3 Ways to Stay Warm in Japan!

We’re currently still in the depths of winter here in Tokyo and everyone’s feeling the chill! Here’s some distinctly Japanese tips to stay warm while we wait for spring. It’s just around the corner and I can already taste the sakura  Starbucks drink… but until then try some of these out!

  1. Go to an Onsen (Japanese Public Bath)

If you haven’t already visited a Japanese public bath, winter is the best time! If you can get out to the countryside and experience a real onsen, you’ll see a multitude of benefits to your skin and health. And best of all, it warms up your whole body so you won’t feel cold all day!

If you’re currently in an inner city area, there are plenty of onsen-style public baths where you can get the same warming effect. Just remember these bathhouses have strict rules so read up properly before you go!

  1. Eat Nabe

Nabe is Japanese style hot-pot. You can throw pretty much anything in which makes it a handy recipe when you’ve got a fridge full of random bits and pieces. You can even buy a pre-made broth at the supermarket, making this dish idiot-proof! Add ingredients to the simmering pot and once they are cooked, everyone can take their pick and eat from their own bowl. While eating, add more ingredients and the whole process starts again! Unlimited food!

If you’re not confident in your cooking skills, brace going outside in the cold to a restaurant. It’ll be worth it! Here’s a list of cheap restaurants for nabe, some are even all-you-can-eat! Amazing!

  1. Use Self-warming Products


There’s so many to choose from! Cold back? Back pad! Cold hands? Hand warmers! Cold eyes? Heated eye mask!! Seriously, any type of coldness you may have is covered in this wonderful country.

Self-heating bags can be placed inside your pockets to keep your hands toasty while you’re outside. They’re sold in all supermarkets, drugstores and convenience stores, look for something called ‘Kairo’. They’re super cheap and last for up to 20 hours (use them while you wait for that friend who’s always late…). Simply take them out from the plastic bag, shake them a few times and they start to heat up. Technology!

What are your tips for beating the chill? Leave a comment and let us know!

Stay warm, ladies!

How to Get a Successful Haircut in Tokyo

Foreign ladies in Japan with salon anxiety, we’ve got your back!

Japan is a largely homogenous nation. This makes some foreigners believe that Japanese stylists don’t know how to cut foreign hair. And of course, we all have that eternal worry faced by all resident non-Japanese. That no matter how good your language skills are, you’ll still manage to end up with the hairstyle from hell, due to some mix-up of your words.

One of our very own staff members, Jan, discovered a fantastic English-speaker-friendly salon in Ebisu that will put all your hair worries to rest. She recently went in for the chop and was impressed with what she found.

Nepenji interestingly derives its name from a Greek legend. Nepenthe is a potion that will chase away your sorrows, much like a good hair cut according to the owners!

The head stylist speaks fluent English which eliminates the chance of you walking out with an accidental mullet. She also used to work at a curl specialist salon in New York meaning when it comes to different hair textures she’s already seen and worked with them all.

As you can tell from this photo, Jan really went for a big change and she looks great!

It would be a waste to throw her long locks in the bin, so she’s donating them to an Osaka-based charity that makes wigs for children undergoing chemotherapy. Visit their website if you’re thinking about getting your hair cut any time soon! Your hair must be over 31cm in length and in good health in order to donate it.

A more general tip for those looking to book salon appointments is to use Hot Pepper Beauty, a website and app that lets you search for salons in your area and book appointments conveniently. Not just hair styling, but you can also book any kind of beauty service such as nails or make up. There’s often special deals available, as a reward for booking through the website. The site is only in Japanese, so if you’re struggling, you can usually wade through a bad machine translation and figure things out.

Good luck on your hair journey in Japan! And be adventurous because even if it all goes wrong, hair grows back!

Unless you end up with a mullet. Then I’m sorry, but it’s all over.



How to Joshi-Kai: Girls’ Night Out in Japan!

If you’ve recently moved to Japan, then this calls for a celebration! Grab your new housemates, classmates or co-workers for a girls’ night out, traditional Japanese style!

Japanese traditional pubs are called izakaya (居酒屋). Bars are commonplace, but the unique charms of izakaya mean they remain just as popular as ever.

Groups are given a private booth separated from other tables by a wall or curtain, and unlike bars, you get full table service. You can also take advantage of a concept that probably wouldn’t work in some other countries; nomihoudai! (飲み放題) This means that for a set price and amount of time, you can drink as much as you want. Some even have ‘joshi kai’ (女子会) courses, giving girls a cheaper deal than guys. This may be on the assumption that girls will drink less. How wrong they are…

What to drink?

Usually the whole ‘cocktail’ section of the menu is written in katakana, so if you can read ‘sukuryuuduraibaa’ (スクリュードライバー) and work out that means screwdriver, you’re good to go. Spirit and mixers like vodka orange or rum and coke also come under this category.

Sake is used in Japan as a general term for alcohol so if you want rice wine, remember to ask for ‘nihonshu’ (日本酒) instead. Drinks ending in ‘-hai’ (for example lemon-hai), are made with ‘shochu’ (焼酎), a distilled liquor made from grain.

A favourite among ladies is ‘ume-shu’ (梅酒), a sweet plum wine. You can order it ‘rokku de’ (ロックでon ice) or as ‘soda wari’ (ソーダ割りtopped up with soda), depending on how strong you want it.

What to eat?

Some izakaya have an extensive menu, offering a wide range of food including pizza and french fries alongside the traditional dishes. Often there will be photographs so you can see what takes your fancy, even if you can’t read the words. If in doubt, izakaya staples include gyoza (餃子 dumplings), yakitori (焼き鳥 chicken-on-a-stick) and kara-age (唐揚げfried chicken). Izakaya dishes are small and affordable, like tapas you can buy many and share around the table.

Unless you have a dietary restriction, I recommend ordering randomly and seeing what deliciousness arrives!

Watch out!

Especially in more expensive cities like Tokyo, there can be a table charge. But if they are nice, the izakaya will give you a small, free appetizer (otoshi おとおし) to make up for it. It will only be a few hundred yen, but remember to take enough money with you, and take it into account when splitting the bill.

In order to stop confusion, many izakaya require everyone to choose the same nomihoudai course. This can be a pain when you have a friend who doesn’t drink alcohol, so discuss it before going. They also usually don’t let you pay separately so bring the right amount of change if you can!

Now go forth and joshi kai!


Gomi Guide: Let’s Talk TRASH in Japan!

Gomi ごみ (sometimes written ゴミ) is the Japanese word for garbage. Living in Japan, one of the first things you’ll need to do is get familiar with your area’s gomi guide. Trash-related issues could easily become a cause of trouble for you or your neighbors, so let’s get off on the right foot!

There’s no simple way to describe Japan’s garbage sorting system. Waste disposal is carried out at the municipal level, which means that each city, town, and district has a completely different system. To establish a comfortable life for both you and others in the community, it is important to follow the local rules for trash collection.

Figuring out how it’s done!

① When you move into a new address, your real estate agent or property manager should provide you with a trash separation pamphlet from your local municipal office. If not, you can pick one up from your city hall or even find the information online if it is offered.

② Refer to notices and signs posted in communal areas near your house around the neighborhood.

※ The majority of these will be stated only in Japanese so if you can’t read kanji but have a smart phone, Google translate will be very handy!

A trash schedule sign will be posted to indicated where you can leave your trash for pick-up.

Which trash is which? How do I seperate it?

Trash in Japan is largely separated into 3 types.

Combustible/Burnable Trash: Food waste, paper scraps, dirty plastic products, old clothing, rubber and leather materials, etc. These charts pretty much sum it up.

Non-Combustible/Non-Burnable Trash: Metals, glass, ceramics, spray cans, broken light bulbs, etc.

※ Garbage that can be separated as plastics have a “プラ” mark (for plastic in Japanese) on the product label. PET bottle caps and their plastic sleeves should be removed and disposed with your “Plastics.” Don’t forget that your “plastics” such as convenient store bentos and plastic food containers must be rinsed and dried before putting it out.

Recyclable Trash: Glass bottles, aluminum cans, PET bottles, cardboard, old papers, milk cartons, magazines and books, etc.

In some wards, PET Bottles and Plastic Containers / Package are sometimes separated from Recyclable Garbage and will be collected on a different day.

Large/Oversized Disposable Items: Bicycles, futons, furniture, etc.

For oversized items, you must call and request ahead of time to arrange a pick-up with your particular ward. Refer to your garbage seperation pamphlet or gomi guide and the phone number for large trash pick-up should be written there. Once you have arranged a day for the large trash pick-up, there is a “large trash” sticker you should buy from the convenience store and put it on your large trash. This indicates that your large trash disposal has been properly arranged.

※ Major home appliances such as TV sets, air conditioners, computers, refrigerators/freezers, and washing/drying machines cannot be collected as oversized trash. If you are replacing the old item with a new one, be sure to tell the shop to collect the old item.

How to throw it out:

For household garbage disposal, you will need to collect your garbage according to the ward’s scheduled garbage pick-up day. Check to see which garbage will be picked up that morning whether that be burnable, non-burnable, recycleable, etc. Usually, the pick up time is no later than 8:00 A.M. so try not to miss it! You can sometimes put out your trash late the night before garbage pick-up.

It is recommended that your trash is in a clear, transparent plastic bag so the contents are visible. If you have large volumes of trash, you can purchase these large trash bags at the convenience store or supermarket. Be sure to follow these rules or your trash may not be picked up!

Though sorting garbage can be a pain sometimes, together as a society it is very efficient and eco-friendly. We are living each day as a member of a house, a member of a community, and of course as a contributor of the world, so let’s show some love and care.



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Tulip Tips: DIY Pins

It was a DIY kind of day here at the office! At Tulip, we show many potential residents our Tokyo houses and meet them at designated meeting spots, but we thought…

How can we be spotted in an easier way, that lets you know who we are a little better?

After some creative brainstorming, our staff, Jan, decided to get to work on making some bright and colorful pins for each of us..

And here they are! Colorful and brightly painted pins that we can wear so you can’t miss us when we show you to your new potential home. Because we are Tulip Real Estate, what better symbol than tulips? See below on how to make these guys…or use these tips to make a shape or image of your choice!

First, go for a hunt at a ¥100 shop such as Daiso, Seria, Life, or your local 100 shop. You will need:

  • Colorful Felt Sheets
  • Plastic Label Card Pins
  • Good scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Paint Brush

Sketch out the shape or image of your choice, then you can confidently draw it onto the plastic card pin. Don’t worry about it being perfect because it will be covered in the front with fabric. Cut the shape on the plastic after you have drawn it.

We decided that there will be a color break on the pin, so the bud of the tulip will be one color and the stem will be another. Place the fabric to make sure it fits your shape.

Trace the shape onto the fabric, cut it, and now you are ready to glue!

Glue the fabrics onto the front side of the plastic. Be sure to make sure it is flat and firmly sticking on. It shouldn’t take long at all to dry and then you can paint right ontop of the fabrics!

Paint dilluted with a bit of water give a great gradient and blending effect. Make sure to let them dry. These beautifully painted pins were ready just in time for our staff update meeting. Great timing!

We had a night out in Ikebukuro to a spot called Pump Craft Beer Bar and over some great food and beers, had to rock our pins. Be sure to let us know how yours turned out. Cheers!

How to Recycle and Dispose Your Stuff ?

Though it is best to giving away stuff that you no longer need but still functioning and in good condition to people who may need it. But in case of moving out if you really running out of time to post of if there is no adopter contact you in time, or if the stuff is really in a bad condition and nothing you can do but throwing it away;  here are How to Recycle and Dispose Your Stuff cheaply and properly.

Payment On-delivery Computer Recyclers

Some appliances are inherently more recyclable than others.  For example, you will have a lot of trouble trying to find anyone willing to take an old printer off your hands—they break, they’re expensive to run and new ones don’t cost that much anyway. Computers however are full of parts that can be recycled in reconditioned machines—fans, cases, hard drives, CD/DVD drives, power supplies and monitors can all be re-used or re-purposed. Given the expense of sending them back to the manufacturer for disposal, you’re better off looking for people willing to recycle them for you. There is a recycler service provider (link in Japanese).  If you don’t speak or read Japanese, you might need to ask for someone to help you.  With this service, not only the recycling is free but so is the shipping—as long as you use Kuroneko Yamatotakyubin to send it. They claim that they’ll also wipe all the data from your hard drive. Don’t be clever and remove everything of value first (RAM chips, power supply, hard drive etc.) or there is a good chance they’ll reject it—then you’ll end up paying for the shipping both ways. Another similar service  is which follows the same process. An interesting aspect of their service is that you can send other things (like printers, etc., for free in the same box as the computer or other high-value item).

Consumer Electronics Retailers

If you’re buying a new fridge, TV or washing machine, most retailers (Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera, etc.) will dispose of your old one very cheaply or even free of charge. Don’t forget to mention it when you are purchasing the item—or before for a little extra negotiating power.

‘Sodai Gomi’Oversized Garbage

This is the standard way that most people use to get rid of large items in Japan. You may need to plan up and need at least 1 week time  to arrange everything. Every city (and ward) in Japan offers a service in which they collect large rubbish (sodai gomi).  If you don’t speak or read Japanese, then your ward or city should at least have some information in English on their web site about this. Typically you have to call a number and explain what you want to throw out and tell them the size of the item. Based on this they will tell you how many ‘粗大ゴミ処理券’ (soudai gomi shori ken—stickers you attach to the item) you need to buy and when to put it out for collection.  The stickers can be purchased from just about any convenience store. It’s a bit of a pain and sometimes can be expensive. If you don’t speak Japanese, they should have at least one person in the office who can speak some English to help you through. Also be aware that not all things can be put out with ‘sodai gomi’.  For example, printers are OK, but computers are not. By law, the original manufacturers of the computer are responsible for its disposal. The  original manufacturer might cost you 6,000 yen or more.

Roaming Recycling Trucks (not really cheap)

You can’t be in Japan for longer than a few weeks before you notice the ‘kei-trucks’ driving around your neighborhood very slowly blaring out a recorded message exhorting you to bring out your appliances and have them take them away for free or even pay cash. Despite what the announcements claim, they’ll only do that if they can get a lot for selling it—so it basically has to be a brand new appliance!  If it isn’t new, you’ll likely have to pay them a few thousand yen to get rid of it. The collectors actually call it a ‘disposal’ fee—which didn’t make a lot of sense when I used one of these guys to get rid of an old analog (it was still LCD) television. Despite saying he was going to ‘dispose’ of it for 4,000 yen, the guy insisted that I dig up the power supply and the remote control for him to take as well!  I’ve seen programs on TV where they actually take these old TVs, pile them into containers and send them off to places like the Philippines or South America. This raises ethical issues as the disposal of these items is then offloaded to poorer countries less likely to have the resources to do it properly.



5 Ways to Recycle or Dispose of Stuff Cheaply in Tokyo



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Secondhand in Tokyo

We cant deny that  shopping is such an essential part of our consumer-driven economy. It is true around the world and even so clearly in Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese pay great attention in being proper in  appearance.  Being Tokyist is almost equal to being always stylish and in-trend that keep changing ever so quickly. People have new stuff all the times while the housing space is world-renownedly limited.  So it would not be so surprising to find perfectly good stuff got thrown away or in rare cases but for the better ended up recycle shops (リサイクルショップ) or second hand shop, both run by private section and government.

As a fellow women, we know the great joy of occasional indulging in shopping. Better yet for a wise shopper, second-hand stores and opportunities is a way to not only beneficially promote the economy, save the environment, and still satisfy your craving for unique clothes and items.

Here are some lists of a secondhand current running through Tokyo,  complied by ,

Recycle Shops

What are known as thrift stores or op shops elsewhere are called recycle shops (リサイクルショップ) in Japan. These can be anything from a little hole in the wall only a few meters square with a few tired blouses to megaplex chains with multiple floors with catch-all inventory.

There are some well-known chains are the shops run by Book Off, such as Hard Off (not porn; electronics and hardware), Off House (furniture and home goods), Mode Off (clothes), and Liquor OffKinji is another big secondhand chain, as is Treasure Factory, selling mostly clothing and accessories. And there are lots of independent shops too in in Harajuku, Shibuya, and Shimokitazawa.


Pawn Shops

If you’re looking for branded goods and higher end stuff, a few things can often be found at recycle shops, but the real deal for the expensive loot can be found at pawn shops. Daikokuya is a major chain with shops all over Japan, but look out for 質屋 (pawn shop) or just 中古 (second hand, literally says “medium old”).

Flea Markets

Flea and antique markets are a great way to find some serious treasures for rock bottom prices. And even more than in recycle shops, bargaining is possible. Since vendors are often eager to offload their goods that they’d rather not drag back home, there are some serious deals to be had: clothing items for 50 or 100 yen are quite common at some of the larger markets. Read more here.


While the aforementioned Book Off chain is probably the king of secondhand books, music, and other media in Japan, Jimbocho is the district to go to if you’re looking for old tomes.


Where do all the confiscated bikes go when their owners have parked them illegally and then neglected to pick them up from impound? Well, maybe some to bike heaven but others are spruced up and resold at the used bike markets.


Tokyo is heaven for shutterbugs – some of the world’s very best cameras are made in Japan and by Japanese companies, and people are constantly updating their gear, leaving a glut of really good second-hand equipment out there for people who want a deal or are looking for some classic clickers. A few shops are Nisshin CameraKitamuraMiyama CameraShimbashi Camera, andAkasaka Camera. A definite bonus to most of these places is the cool old signage, as well as the atmosphere of expertise you’ll find. Japan Camera Hunter has some great resources for photo nerds.

Secondhand Goods Online

For those who prefer shopping from home, there are a few outlets for you. Yahoo Auction is a popular site for picking up nearly-new goods (but you’ll need to make an account and be able to use the local lingo). Tokyo Craigslist and Japan Garage Sale (a Facebook group) are some good sources for English speakers, as well as classified rags like Tokyo Notice Board that have lots of “sayonara sale” ads.


Tulip Real Estate would liek to thank you for the useful information.


Girls ! enjoy your green shopping.


With love and care.

International Unit

Tulip Real Estate Co., Ltd.








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