The same customizable, non-formfitting design is an option for an increasing number of students who don’t want to focus on gender in P.E. class.

Footmark, a leading provider of school swimwear and swimming caps in Japan, has begun offering Japan’s first genderless, two-piece school swimwear with customizable components. While swimwear that hides bodylines and comes in upper and lower parts has been on the market for a while, this is the first time that a common design regardless of gender which can be adapted for individual use has been an option. Three schools have plans to adopt it for use this year while ten schools are currently considering it for next year. Many of these schools seem primed to offer a choice between the traditional swimwear they’ve used until now and the new genderless swimwear as well.

The new swimwear comes in the standard navy blue color used at schools throughout the country. The upper half features long sleeves for added UV protection and the lower half is composed of relaxed shorts. With a slow but increasing focus in Japan on the needs of students who identify across a diverse gender spectrum, the elements were designed to make all students feel more comfortable in their own skin in their P.E. swimming classes. In particular, it eliminates the need for those who identify as a particular gender but present differently to have to choose between the traditional male or female versions.

In addition, the pattern and material used in the swimwear can be finely adjusted for specific areas of the body that may differ between individuals, such as the chest, waist, and buttocks, to maintain its relaxed silhouette. Furthermore, subtle pockets are incorporated …continue reading


Source: Grape

Three Japanese schools plan to introduce new genderless swimsuits with unisex two-piece designs during the current academic year (April 2022 to March 2023), with ten schools currently considering implementing them in the subsequent year.

The swimsuits are made by Footmark, Co., Ltd., a leading provider of swimming caps and school swimwear for school children in Japan.

The long-sleeved top reduces exposure to ultraviolet rays when swimming outside. The bottoms are half-pants that minimize the contours of the body. According to the company’s press release, this unisex design is intended to allow students to participate in their swimming lessons without them (or others) paying attention to gender.


Amidst a growing understanding of and interest in LGBTQ* issues in Japan, some schools have been adopting new initiatives such as allowing students to freely choose their school uniforms.

However, although there have been changes in the shapes of swimsuits for men and women in the past fifty years, Footmark explains, “gender-specific designs have persisted, and many of these swimsuits highlight the differences between genders.” Other companies have also sold swimsuits that hide the contours of the body, but there have been no unisex two-piece swimsuits specifically designed for schools.

As you can see below, Footmark’s school swimsuits, following the general trend in Japan, went from one-piece swimsuits for girls and swimming briefs for boys in the 70s to swimming legsuits for girls and medium-length shorts for boys in the 2000s. Then in 2004, they introduced a two-piece swimsuit for girls and long swimming trunks for boys. In 2010, they introduced their “Shine Guard” tops to protect students from ultraviolet rays.

Swimsuit design

Numbers added by grape Japan as reference for description below

Footmark paid particular attention to the material and fine-tuned the pattern to create …continue reading


Source: Tokyo Cheapo

For many, visiting a city for a short period of time just isn’t enough. Studying abroad gives you an entire year to immerse yourself in the local lifestyle and being an international student gives you the flexibility of a tourist but the more authentic experience of a resident. For those of you considering whether Tokyo is the right setting for your new life as an international student, here is what you should know before you go.
Is Tokyo Good for International Students?
If you are someone who likes the idea of living in a big city, one which is vibrant and full of life, then Tokyo may be the perfect place for you. Life as an international student in Tokyo is both exciting and eye-opening, with lots of different museums, shops, parks

The post The International Student’s Survival Guide to Tokyo appeared first on Tokyo Cheapo.

…continue reading


Source: Gaijin Pot

I’ll never forget the day of my interview to work in Japan. I was sitting outside waiting for my turn when an ex-ALT approached me. They said, “What if you get placed on an island?”

“Oh yeah, I heard about that. Chances are slim, though,” I replied. Island ALTs always felt like an urban legend before I came to Japan to teach English. You know they exist, but they are never you, right? So when it was confirmed my placement in Japan would be on an island, I imagined boats shipping me away to some deserted location.

I was used to city life in Osaka from when I studied abroad. I had no idea what to expect when Google Maps pulled up a picture of Awaji Island. But is being an island ALT really something to be that afraid of? Admittedly, it wasn’t, but my experience as an is the epitome of “I live where you vacation.”

Trading trains for cars

Photo: iStock/ Thanyarat07
You’ll need a car to get around here.

Japan is celebrated for its convenient and easily accessible public transportation. No matter where you want to go, there’s a train that will take you there—except on an island. On Awaji, you need a car or bike. Public transport on islands is nearly non-existent or too inconvenient to even bother with.

Buses are few and far between. Except if you want to get on a highway bus off the island. That’s one of the ironies of living on most islands: not much public transport to get around, but plenty to get on and off. Some islands don’t have a highway bridge that connects to the mainland. Luckily, Awaji happens to have the longest suspension …continue reading


Proper manners, or forcing kids to be too polite?

“-san” is often though of as the Japanese version of “Mr.” or “Ms.” A difference, though, is that -san can also be used with a person’s given name. So, for example, if someone is talking with Yoshio Yamada, they might call him Yamada-san, or they might call him Yoshio-san.

Or they might just call him Yoshio, with no -san at all, or maybe he’s got a nickname, like Yosshi, that people call him by instead.

But at certain elementary schools in Japan, plain Yoshio and Yosshi wouldn’t be options, because some Japanese schools prohibit students from calling each other by nicknames or dropping the -san. There aren’t any official statistics about how widespread such rules are, but one Tokyo public elementary school principal, speaking with the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, said he thinks it’s becoming a more common rule at schools in the city.

Tokyo’s Kasai Elementary School, for example, has its teachers instruct students to use -san when talking with their friends. “If you foster a sense of respect for the person they’re talking to from a young age they won’t take actions that hurt others,” says Masaaki Uchino, Kasai Elementary’s 60-year-old principal.

▼ Did this guy spend his formative years not calling his friends with -san?

Advocates of having even children call each other with -san tend to feel that way for two reasons. First, dropping the -san when speaking with someone, a practice called yobisute, can be interpreted in multiple ways. In a positive sense, it can be seen as a sign that there’s no need to stand on stuffy ceremony, and it’s not at all uncommon for especially close friends in Japan to yobisute each other. But …continue reading


Rejection in Japan is a tricky thing. The word “no” (いいえ) isn’t often used in the way “no” is used in English. A common experience expats have in Japan is asking a “yes” or “no” question, only to be met with a response that resembles something of a half answer. Not a “no” but not a “yes” either. This element of interpersonal smoke and mirrors can lead to some confusion. While it isn’t particularly difficult to adapt to, understanding why this sort of indirect communication is used might help you intuitively uncover other aspects of Japanese culture. Here’s what you need about the nuances of Japanese rejection.

The Japanese “no”

The typical manner of Japanese communication when rejecting is using the phrase:

難(むずか)しい – muzukashii – it’s difficult

This is a flat-out no. It does not mean “it’s difficult, but I might be able to work something out”. It simply means “no”. It does not mean what it seems like it means translated in English.


You: Hey boss, it’s hot it the office can we turn on the air conditioner?
Boss: それはちょっと難(むずか)しいと思(おも)う – sore wa chotto muzukashii to omou – Sorry, I cannot allow that.

Because muzukashi is used as a catch-all, it’s also helpful to remember that this phraseology can be used even when the topic in question isn’t “difficult” at all. After all, it’s not to be taken literally:

You: Should we get rid of these empty cardboard boxes that are just taking up space in the office?
Your colleague:Ehhhh, we might need them for something…it’s difficult to throw them away.

In this example throwing cardboard boxes away is not, in itself, a difficult thing to do. It’s that muzukashii won’t always be used for its explicit definition.

Something that may accompany or even outright replace a muzukashii response are facial expressions.

You: If we can’t use …continue reading


This will change the way you think about counting things in Japanese forever.

There are a lot of differences between English and Japanese that make learning the latter incredibly difficult.

Take the way that animals and people are counted, for instance. In English, you’d simply pop the number in front of the subject — “one cow”, “one bird”, “one person” and so on. But in Japanese, you have to attach a unique word to the number, depending on what the subject is. This requires study, practice, and patience, as around 500 counters exist in Japanese.

“Do you know how to count me?”

Why do these counters exist, and how can you remember them? It’s a question that’s plagued not only students of the language for years, but Japanese people themselves, who are often as puzzled as the rest of us when asked about them.

However, Japanese Twitter user Mano Mano (@manomano_farm) recently shared a reason behind some of the counters for animals and people, and after sharing it online it blew everyone’s minds, earning over 383,000 likes from people who couldn’t believe they’d never made the connection before.

Are you ready to connect the dots behind the language conundrum? Prepare to have your mind blown as you read the translation of the below tweet, which will change the way you think about Japanese counters forever.

“An amazing thing I recently discovered is that ‘How to count animals is dependent on what remains after death’.
Cows and pigs are counted as “一頭” (“ittou”), birds are counted as “一羽” (“ichiwa”), and fish are counted as “一尾” (“ichibi”).
In other words, the counter is named after the part that’s not eaten or the part that remains.
And since humans leave behind their …continue reading


Source: Tokyo Cheapo

Being a student is tough. While the cup ramen may be better in Japan, money worries are international. (Plus, don’t you want to try the real stuff?) The solution for many hungry undergraduates around the world is a part-time job.
Before the pandemic, the number of international students in Japan was steadily rising. They were here to join language schools, high-ranking universities and colleges, as well as to experience a new and exciting culture. Now with borders opening up, students are back and looking to subsidize their life in Japan.
Common questions
Visas can be complicated. Here are some questions you may have:
Can I work on a student visa?
Yes, but you need to ask for permission first. If you don’t have any other terms

The post How to get a Part-time Job for Students in Japan appeared first on Tokyo Cheapo.

…continue reading


This is the last in our three part series with Simon Moran. If you haven’t heard the other podcasts already, we talked about the myth of self-sponsoring a visa, and why you shouldn’t start an English school, and this time we’re going to talk about whether it is possible to make a viable long term living as an English teacher in Japan. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Please give us a 5* rating on iTunes:

Part 1 “There’s no such thing as Self-Sponsoring your visa in Japan”:
Part 2 “Don’t start an English School”:

Mentioned in the podcast:
Join ETJ:
Join JALT:
Join OTJ:

00:00 Intro
01:00 Living Wage as an English Teacher in Japan?
05:18 How Can You Avoid the Glass Ceiling?
08:04 Digital Transformation in Education in Japan
15:20 Digital WON’T Replace Teachers
17:15 Japan’s English Teachers Need Modernisation
25:44 Role of English Teachers in the Future
29:34 Importance of Qualifications

Video Podcast:

Audio Podcast:

Listen and subscribe on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts!

This show is proudly sponsored by!

For the best place on the internet to find your next job in Japan, go to

#InsideJapan #Episode171

The post Is Long-Term Teaching a Viable Career in Japan? appeared first on

…continue reading