How to Eat at a Japanese Restaurant

How to Eat at a Japanese Restaurant

in Just 11 Easy Steps Learning Japanese is a great hobby. It requires levels of endurance and discipline possessed by English Channel swimmers, while garnering the respect typically reserved for those really skilled with yo-yo’s. The good news, if one can call it such, is you don’t need much Japanese to get by in Japan….

Read More »

Living in Japan Forever

Living in Japan Forever

Japan’s a never-ending list of woulda, coulda, and shoulda’s. And chart-topping that vertical-ruled kanji notepad is: Shoulda remembered how I felt about Disneyland. But hey, hindsight’s 20-20, Mickey Mouse. Go on wit’ yer oversized hands. Living in Japan When I first got to this nation, everything was amaaazing. I sat in Starbucks overlooking Shibuya scramble…

Read More »

Should You Move to Japan?

Should You Move to Japan?

A reader recently asked: should I move to Japan, or Norway? I get similar questions a lot, and I think we all know the answer. Okay, first off, Norway’s great if you like cross-country skiing, hats with horns, and wood. On the other hand, Japan might be your spot if you enjoy wearing bathrobes with…

Read More »

The New Japanese Etiquette

The New Japanese Etiquette

Even ten years ago, the world seemed bigger. Japan still had a bit of that “Oriental” mystique, and visitors to its shores sent reports home of an exotic land populated by simple, if slightly daft, inhabitants: “The Japanese are so friendly and polite!” (Actually, the folks who just gave you directions were Taiwanese tourists) “Japan’s…

Read More »

Japanese Customs

Japanese Customs

“Stop that,” she said. “Sit still. You want people to think you’re a better person, don’t you?” This is me, learning not to do sewing machine leg from Yasuko, my girlfriend. “Better than whom?” I asked. Well, Yasuko was crazy, so whatever. But she was also right. Not moving one’s limbs is actually a thing…

Read More »

The Most Dangerous Animal in Japan

The Most Dangerous Animal in Japan

“Ah man, I’d love to have a few beers, but I promised Eriko I’d watch the kids.” This is my buddy, let’s just call him Joe, since that’s his name. He’s got two kids. So then I Line’d Dave. His wife speaks English, so to protect his identity, we’ll just call him “Matt.” Kind of…

Read More »

How Japan Killed my Vegetarianism

How Japan Killed my Vegetarianism

“Okay, how ‘bout a sheep. Would you have sex with a sheep?” I asked. “Mmm,” Ryan replied. “Boy sheep or girl? “Like it matters? “If it’s a boy sheep, that’s gay. Okay, let’s say I bought a hamburger, would you eat it? “Nope,” I said, “No way. “For a hundred dollars?” This was twelve years…

Read More »

Strange English I can’t Understand

Strange English I can’t Understand

Living in Japan, you’re basically trapped in a tiny spaceship, peering down through clouds and picking up intermittent snippets of news floating skyward from earth. I first heard “Poker Face” in a smoky Shinjuku karaoke bar, when some girl belted out Mum mum mum mah. Some complicated lyrics, those. And I learned the results of…

Read More »

Japanese Racism

Japanese Racism

The first time I had a white kid in my English class, I couldn’t stop staring at him. He was floating among a sea of Asian faces in our sweaty, countryside classroom. I rattled my head and gazed briefly out the window. Steam was rising from the mountains in the distance, and in the foreground…

Read More »

How to Get a Job in Japan

How to Get a Job in Japan

The way I figure it, jobs in Japan fall into seven categories: 1. High-level corporate 2. Technology 3. Sales and Recruiting 4. Teaching English 5. Washing dishes Actually, I had seven in mind, but it was late at night when I started this and then I fell asleep on the floor with a glass of…

Read More »
Scroll To Top