The Day I Got Shot in Japan

The Day I Got Shot in Japan

The first shot was like a needle to the sternum, and I was trying to figure out how a bee had stung me in the chest. The next one glanced off my right thumb, and the gravity of the situation quickly dawned on me, since that’s my beer-graspin’ hand. The guy next to me took…

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I want a Japanese Girlfriend

I want a Japanese Girlfriend

Uh, sure you do I made a lot of mistakes with Saki, my first Japanese girlfriend. The most notable of which was attempting anything resembling a conversation. “So you said you’ve got a sister, right?” I asked. “Does she live in Tokyo too?” “I think so, maybe.” “Well, when did you last see her?” I…

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Buying a Japanese Car

Buying a Japanese Car

It took about five minutes at the Japanese car dealer for my dreams of buying a Japanese car to go screeching off the road and crash flaming into a tree. But let’s back up a second, because in America, Ken Seeroi was a born legend when it came to fast cars and slow women. With…

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Why are you Still in Japan?

Why are you Still in Japan?

People routinely ask, “Why are you still in Japan?” and I guess the answer depends upon which phase of Japanese life we’re talking about. Because first there’s 1. Amazement Living in Japan’s like being born again. Everything’s filled with wonder, nothing makes any sense, and you’re insanely pleased by the simplest stuff. Look!—-I’m riding the…

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Nature in Japan

Nature in Japan

Nature is one of the great wonders of Japan. In that you wonder what happened to it all. But look around. The hillsides of Kyushu terraced with rice paddies, fields of Hokkaido lavender as far as the eye can see, and deserted white sand beaches on remote Okinawan islands. There’s definitely some nature in Japan,…

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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….

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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