How to be Popular in Japan

I’m the most popular guy in town.  And given that about a million people live in my town, that’s quite a distinction, seriously.  So recently I bought a jump rope.  Look, it’s not easy keeping in shape in Japan.  Like I’d just gotten home last Thursday night when I got a call from this old guy that I teach English to.  He’s about seventy years old and some president of a company or something.  Actually, I don’t even know his name.  I just call him President-san.  Anyway, I pick up the phone and he says, “Can you sing The Beatles?”  And I’m like, “Who is this?”  Continue reading “How to be Popular in Japan”

Why You Must Learn Kanji

For a lot of people, kanji is about on par with natto.   A huge sticky mess, difficult to consume, and not nearly as tasty as it is troublesome.  Plus it makes your breath smell like the wrong end of a dog, which is rarely a good thing.  I mean natto, that is.  Kanji does nothing for your breath.  Anyway, me personally, I never wanted to spend years studying kanji; I just wanted to speak well enough to communicate (read “drink beer”) with people.  Funny how things work out. Continue reading “Why You Must Learn Kanji”

Two Japanese Life Skills You Must Master

If you want to be a success in Japan, there are only two things you really need to nail.  The unfortunate small problem is, they’re opposites.  But perhaps a colorful story will help to illustrate.

So I was in a “standing bar” a couple of weeks ago, which is like a normal bar, or really a restaurant because they serve food too, only without any seats.  It’s just about the worst invention the Japanese ever came up with.  Like, who wants to have drinks and food standing up?  Would it kill you to put in some barstools?  But anyway, so I’m standing there having a conversation with this rather attractive Japanese lady and I order some fish in a can on toast.   And things are going pretty well between us, you know, until suddenly her husband shows up.  So that was a little disappointing.  But whatever, he turned out to be a really nice guy and bought me a beer and I Continue reading “Two Japanese Life Skills You Must Master”