hong kong rainbow families asia

LGBTQ Decision Making Approaches for Asia

This is a decision-making framework I developed to introduce perspectives in Hong Kong, Japan, and the Asia Pacific region. It’s meant to help individuals weigh decisions given their values, priorities, and risk profile. I first presented this at the Asian Centre for Aids Services (ACAS) in Toronto and the Victoria University Students Administrative Centre (VUSAC) at the University of Toronto. This decision making framework could apply to most life decisions and was originally inspired by Brandon Chu’s framework for making decisions as a product manager. Whether you identify as LGBTQ or not, I think this decision making framework can be applied to anyone’s life based on their roles and relationships for family, friends, and work.

lgbtq travel
queer families lgbtq working in japan

LGBTQ Living in Japan: A Guide for Work, Queer Families and Trans Individuals

This blog post is from the perspective of a queer cis-female who lived in Tokyo with LGBTQ friends who can speak English and Japanese (local and foreigners). As I do not have a family and am not trans, information for queer families and trans considerations comes second-hand from people I know who have shared their experiences and resources.
lgbtq travel Tokyo Guides
kodawari udon takamatsu map

Takamatsu Sanuki Udon Walk

This post covers Takamatsu’s highlight food: Sanuki udon, and also includes a few highlights for a day-trip or a leisure weekend stay. Takamatsu is a city that’s unfolded over successive visits as I passed by, took family on a day-trip, and spent a week remote working in. Despite being a provincial city compared to the urban sprawls out of Osaka and Tokyo, Takamatsu has a confident network of covered shopping streets (shotengai), a garden with national recognition, and its fair share of proud contributions to Japan’s history and cultural.

Rural Japan
那覇市 カフェ

Naha (Okinawa) Coffee Walk

This is a shortlist of independent coffee roasters and coffee shops in central Naha (accessible on the Yu-Rail). As an amateur coffee enthusiast and digital nomad, I factor locations for coffee quality, remote work suitability, and the subjective impression of how friendly the service staff or owners are. In Naha, I used a pocket wifi to have access anywhere, and I would recommend the same approach for other visitors.

Okinawa Cafes
japanese apps ui ux design

Japan’s Version of Every Good English App

This is a working list of apps that are available in Japan because I find the UI/UX differences fascinating from both a cultural and product perspective.
Some of them are beautiful and clean. Other apps don’t look great to a Western viewer, but are fine to people who can read kanji (Chinese characters) and are super useful and meet the needs of users. Also, the web and mobile versions can be very different. 
For example, when I want to go places, I usually use the transit app Y!乗換案内, which I love on mobile, but doesn’t look as great on web. Japan is also increasingly introducing multi-lingual sites, which I suspect are usually built separately. An example is the restaurant rating site/app Tabelog, which now has English and Chinese versions, which are more visual and user-friendly compared to the Japanese version, but don’t have nearly as many ratings.
japan yahoo transit app iOS android

Yahoo’s transit app lets you choose transits based on speed, price, and amount of transfers/walking.

You can also check my post on apps local Japanese use for travelling. My personal favourites are:
  • Y!乗換案内
  • Tabelog for restaurants especially in Tokyo (my local friends prefer Retty, which is more detailed)
  • LINE for messaging (because everyone uses and I have to)
  • Jalan & Rakuten
  • Amazon.jp
  • Cookpad for inspiration
  • Doorkeeper for events
  • Wantedly for jobs
wantedly japan social recruiting startup

Wantedly is a cleanly designed recruiting platform that began with tech companies and startups in Japan.

For example, when I want to go places, I usually use the transit app Y!乗換案内, which I love on mobile, but doesn’t look as great on web. Japan is also increasingly introducing multi-lingual sites, which I suspect are usually built separately. An example is the restaurant rating site/app Tabelog, which now has English and Chinese versions, which are more visual and user-friendly compared to the Japanese version, but don’t have nearly as many ratings.
You can also check my post on apps local Japanese use for travelling. My personal favourites are:
  • Y!乗換案内
  • Tabelog for restaurants especially in Tokyo (my local friends prefer Retty, which is more detailed)
  • LINE for messaging (because everyone uses and I have to)
  • Jalan & Rakuten
  • Amazon.jp
  • Cookpad for inspiration
  • Doorkeeper for events
  • Wantedly for jobs
Category / Use
English
Japanese
Website building
Wix
Social media / Blogs
Myspace, Tumblr
Transit
Google Maps
Norikae Annai 乗換案内 (means transfer info) from: 
Navitime all have a website and iOS / Android apps. Google Maps works beautifully too!
Business
Eight (for scanning cards and business contacts, Japan’s version of CRM)
eCommerce
Amazon
Rakuten (I prefer Amazon.co.jp, but Rakuten is better for searching traditional Japanese stores)
Travel
Agoda, Booking,com
Rakuten Travel (English site available)
Ikkyu (一休) mostly for onsens and resorts
The navigation and information layout is entirely logical for someone who lives in Japan and knows what they look for. The reason it’s so confusing to people who don’t live in Japan is because regions are still referred to by historical names, not prefectural names, so it’s usually a learning curve to know how to narrow down areas on a map. Secondly, Japanese travellers are looking for different requirements, like whether there is an outdoor onsen.
Secondhand Marketplace
 Craigslist
Eating
Yelp, Foursquare, OpenRice
Tabelog Japan’s version of Yelp
Retty The more preferred local version of blog reviews
Scheduler 
Team / Individual Calendars
App Rankings
ProductHunt
Weather
Google
Cooking
Cookpad, kurashiru
Messaging
Photos
Google Photo
Running
Strava
Runkeeper
Startup Job Listings
Angelist
Wantedly (started out as one of the only tech hiring platforms that was English-friendly and has now expanded to other Asian markets like Hong Kong and globally). Domestically, they have new products like Wantedly Chat, to connect companies and recruiters to talent.
ToDo Lists
Wunderlist
Lifebear ToDo list + calendar
Business
Price comparison
Price.com.hk 
Events
Eventbrite
This is just a fun list that , so please recommend any local Japanese apps you love and I’ll add it in!
In the meantime, if you’re looking to actually travel around the country, here is are more relevant list of apps to travel Japan.

 

Japanese Culture
madrid espresso third wave coffee

Madrid Coffee Walk

A shortlist of independent coffee roasters and coffee shops in central Madrid as a coffee enthusiast (and cortado fan). This digital nomad was on holiday for once, but still looked out for good remote work spots with free WiFi. Most of the cafes are in Madrid’s central area close to the stations Plaza de España (Lines 3, 10), Noviciado (Line 2), Tribunal (Lines 1, 10), Chueca (Line 5). In addition, I have two cafes close to Núñez de Balboa Station (Lines 5, 9) in Northern Madrid. A few are a further walk, but I did actually walk there.

Coffee Walks