Rice. You’re Doing it Wrong

How to Make Rice, in 7 Perfect Steps

I’ve probably made rice a thousand times, maybe more. But most were before I moved into a house with a bunch of Japanese roommates and got my ass handed to me. That’s a very humbling experience, let me tell you. Like, here’s your ass. Thanks, been looking for that.

Ah, dinnertime in the kitchen. Such a happy time. Everyone chopping vegetables, boiling noodles, and filling the room with the fragrance of burning fish. That acts as Japanese Fabreeze for your clothes and hair.

I measured out some rice and water, and put it in a pot on the stove.

“Just like a gaijin,” scoffed one of my housemates, busily stirring a non-stick pan with a metal fork. Continue reading “Rice. You’re Doing it Wrong”

Is Speaking English in Japan Unavoidable?

A reader named mintyroll recently commented:

The “Japanese People Don’t Want you to Speak Japanese” part is one of those minor things I’ve always been afraid of whenever I think of how my first trip to Japan will be . . . Consequently, it’s made me want to reach at least fluent level of Japanese before I ever make the trip.

So mintyroll—-is that a Spanish name?—-well, I can’t say what Your Japan will be like, but I can tell you about My Japan. And maybe we can extrapolate a bit.

Life in Japan as a Foreigner

Take yesterday, for example. It was a hot, gray day, and I finished work early then hustled to the station. Running up the stairs, I found myself surrounded by school kids, who immediately began yelling, “Hello! Hello!” in English. That warms my heart. Or maybe it’s just the humidity, I never can tell. Continue reading “Is Speaking English in Japan Unavoidable?”

Dating Japanese Women, Explained

When Jasmine over at Zooming Japan asked me to write about dating Japanese women, my first thought was, “Ain’t no way Ken Seeroi’s touching that one.”

In case you haven’t noticed, people are majorly opinionated about Their Japan. And not just Japanese folks either; I mean foreigners. Like if I said, “Japanese architecture is stunning,” somebody’d stand up and complain that the cities are just jumbled amalgamations of aging concrete projects. Alllll righty. Then how about “Japan’s got some ugly-ass cities”? Oh now somebody else starts rambling about traditional homes being all infused with zen beauty, and rock gardens, and koi fish. So yeah, everybody’s got an opinion. Welcome to the internet.

And that’s just architecture. So talk about Japanese women? Can’t I just give my thoughts on gun control, the Iraq war, and religion? Cause those’d be less controversial. Continue reading “Dating Japanese Women, Explained”

Why no one Helps you Learn Japanese

I have a lot of great ideas. Really, just a ton. Oh sure, to the untrained eye, I’m kicking it on the balcony drinking Asahi beer and watching sardine trains packed with commuters ride into the sunset, but really, I’m thinking. Hard. Like about my tiny Japanese apartment, and how to make it more livable. So, first I bought a sofa-bed. It’s a little lumpy. Then a lamp. That came from Ikea, so actually it’s great. They really understand furniture, those Swedes. And meatballs. Then I thought, Hey, how about a little hydroelectric power plant? That’d be a nice addition.

Surprisingly, there aren’t many YouTube videos about doing this at home. But I figured, Well, how hard can it be? I mean, I’ve got a sink, and what am I gonna use it for? Washing dishes? Heh, that’d be the day. Continue reading “Why no one Helps you Learn Japanese”

Who Wears the Pants in Japan?

“Ken? Ken! Wake the hell up! Meet me at the station.”

I sat up in bed, and realized it was not my bed. Words like this are why Ken Seeroi does not answer his iPhone after 11 p.m. The dreaded Yoko was on the line, and I was in her bed. Well, at least she had a bed, and not a horrible futon like I do. Either way, I really gotta remember to turn off that ringer.

“Ah baby, I’m kind of asleep,” I mumbled, “and it’s pouring down rain.”

“I forgot my umbrella,” she said. “Bring me one.”

“Yeah, just stop at 7-11. They’re like five bucks.”

“Never mind,” she said. “I’ll just get wet. Forget I asked you. Don’t worry about me.”

I could see where this was going, so I tried to use my sweet voice. Continue reading “Who Wears the Pants in Japan?”