About

Fat-Kid

I first came to Japan a decade ago and spent a night in a dismal hotel in a silent corner of Tokyo. The next day I went out for a drink and randomly met an amazingly beautiful girl who insisted I switch hotels to the Roppongi nightlife district, and that I take her out to dinner and karaoke. I was like, Wow, Japanese people are so friendly. She of course later turned out to be Filipino, and Roppongi was mostly filled with grimy gaijin bars. Anyway, I still think she was pretty hot.

The day I arrived in Japan, I began studying Japanese, which is just slightly harder than solving Fermat’s last theorem. If you want to learn a language that opens doors and helps you make friends in Japan, then Japanese is not the language for you. That language would be English.

Moving on. After my Roppongi adventure, I flew back to Japan for a couple of weeks every year, before finally settling here in 2008. I’ve had a dozen jobs at this point, some of them good, and some bad. Well, most were pretty horrible, actually. Japan isn’t known for it’s easygoing work environment. I’ve made the yen equivalent of hundreds of dollars an hour (good), and other times got paid nothing more than beer and rice (slightly less good). What can I say, it’s a pretty bipolar country. But maybe that’s why I feel so at home here.

Over the years, I’ve read everything I could get my hands on about Japan, its people, culture, and language. You’ve probably read a lot of the same stuff. Unfortunately, much of what has been written either glamorizes Japan or treats it with cartoonish Orientalism. And some is just butt wrong.

It’s certainly not easy to depict an entire nation in a few words, and I don’t pretend to do so. Well hey, Japan’s a big country. But maybe that’s the point. It’s not something that can be summed up easily. Even living here, I barely know what the hell’s going on half the time. So I’ll simply give you my perspective, for what it’s worth. As the Japanese say, Hope you enjoy.

Ken Seeroi

 

16 Replies to “About”

  1. Hey Ken.
    We liked the new layout initially. ……it does look good,but I just went to read a few old posts and can’t find any? Am I missing something? Miho and I love scrolling down through the list of articles and either re-reading or discovering one we’d missed (pretty rare now unfortunately ) although I’ve discovered my memory does get effected by beer so I’ve forgotten plenty as well which makes for a great re-read also.
    I hope there not lost,how much beer do we need to buy to bring back the list?
    Cheers Craig.

    1. Hey there Craig (and Miho)…Yeah, I hear you, the index was a great feature. Give me a couple of days to get a workaround in place, and then we’ll see about a real solution going forward. Thanks for letting me know that functionality was important to you.

    2. Okay, how about this?

      On the top menu bar, you’ll find a link to “Index of Articles,” which takes you to, well, that. I’m really good at labeling stuff.

      It’s just a basic list, but perhaps it’ll suffice. Let me know what you think.

      Cheers,

      Ken

  2. Mary at RubyRonin said you were her favorite Japanese blogger so I decided to have a look. And based on your ‘about’, I’d say I’m willing to stick around! Cheers.

  3. Hello,

    I would like to share with you my last video: Pursuit of Japan.

    http://vimeo.com/simonezuccarini/pursuit-of-japan

    The journey of a lifetime… spending all your energies to shape the trip you have dreamed since you were a kid. Nevertheless the best emotions you get come from the unexpected events. People, places, feelings you just can’t plan.

    I’ve been searching for info, suggestions, places to visit in Japan all over internet… your website helped me a lot to make me realize this video which means a lot to me, so a big Thank you and please let me know what you think about it 🙂

    Simone

  4. Hey man, just discovered your blog. Awesome content, I’d say. So, I just finished my Bachelors and now being offered a job in Japan and I am considering moving there. The recruiter already explained the “life-time commitment to a company” work culture. I already have a stable job in my country. Should I leave it and go to Japan? What are your views?

    1. That’s a good dilemma to have.

      Let’s get a bit more info before we change your life forever. What country are you in? How much money can you save every month after paying all your bills? How hard would it be to get a similar job if you went to Japan then returned after a couple of years? What job are you considering in Japan? And finally, do you have friends, lovers, or family members that would be hard to leave for a couple of years?

      1. Currently I am in India. As I already have a job as a Software Engineer here in a Multi National Company with good pay, flexible working hours, paid leaves, awesome colleagues etc etc. I can literally go at any time I want and leave any time I want, just have to get the work done.
        My plan was to do this job here for a couple of years (2-3), move to Canada and settle there. PS: I already have friends and family in Canada.
        But then, I got this offer from a Japanese Company. Now, I feel everything will be upside-down if I go there. These not so flexible working hours, attitude of Japanese people towards foreigners, no friends or family etc etc. I will earn roughly 3 million JPY per annum in Japan.
        What do you suggest?

        1. Hi Rick,

          I normally try to be measured in my responses, but in your case the answer seems clear. Your current job would be hard to come by anywhere in the world, and virtually impossible in Japan. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of what you’d expect here.

          3 million yen isn’t an especially attractive salary, and if you’re talking Tokyo, it’s really peanuts. Finally, there’s the fact that you want to move to Canada. So let’s see, Step 1 would be…move to Japan. Right, that makes no sense.

          So it sounds like what you want to do is enjoy your current job, sock away money like crazy, and shore up your plans for Canada. Then in the future, take vacations. There are a lot of nice countries in the world, and Japan’s one of them. I just wouldn’t mortgage my future for a chance to experience the salaryman lifestyle. If I were you, that is.

  5. I think I got it, thanks for the advice man. I will definitely come to Japan for a vacation or something. For now, I am rejecting the offer.

  6. Dear Mr Seeroi,

    Random question, but I was wondering if you know anything about the JET programme the Japanese government run please?
    This is it: https://www.jet-uk.org

    I ask because I will be applying to it this year and the statement thing we have to write asks us how we became interested in Japan.
    Truth is, my interest was originally piqued thanks to randomly coming across your blog a fair few years ago! I’ve been following it ever since. So I guess, thanks for helping shape the future of my life, in a weird sorta-kinda way.

    PS: I honestly really enjoy your blog! Keep ’em coming. After reading for so long, it’s actually kinda nice to finally comment. 🙂

    Best wishes!!!

    1. Wow, thanks much. It’s kind of scary that my weird sorta writing has had an influence on your future. Sorry ’bout that.

      I have only a passing familiarity with the JET program. Which is of course true of every English teacher in Japan. I can say I’ve worked alongside a number of JETs, and it seems like a pretty great job and an excellent way to get to Japan.

      My best advice would be to not mention my blog in your interview or personal statement. Save that for after you’ve gotten the job. Like politics, religion, and local sports teams, blogs you follow are best kept to yourself.

      I’d probably focus on the other things you find interesting about Japan. Art, architecture, literature, food…I dunno, make some shit up. Just make sure whatever you write is grammatically perfect and sounds nothing like anything I’d write.

      Best of wishes to you, and let me know how it goes.

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