Tag Archives: gaijin


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...
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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...
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Making Friends in Japan

People say Japan’s a lonely place. But people say a lot of things, including that America’s the greatest nation on earth. Well, they do have a lot of eagles, cheeseburgers, and guns, so I guess it must be true. Anyway, recently a reader asked if it was hard to make friends in Japan, to which...
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Fitting in in Japan

Now, here’s a conundrum for you: let’s say that you’re working in a Japanese office, and it’s the end of the day. Of course, all the Japanese folks are typing like mad, as they’ve done since dawn. You want to be a team player but Hey, it’s 6 p.m., and let’s add that it’s Friday...
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Taking a Japanese Name

Living in Japan long enough will make anyone mental. I’m pretty sure I can convince you of this. But let’s back up, to when I lived in the U.S. There, I dated a Taiwanese gal named Amy. She had long black hair, an incredibly tight body, and loved karaoke. She was quite good at it...
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Avoiding Meltdown in Japan

Self-improvement is one of my long-standing goals. You know, striving to be a better human being and all, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Basically like Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, only without the scary eyes, and slightly more buffed. Fortunately, I accomplished that goal in 2004, which was good because it freed up lots of time for...
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New Nihonjin? App Identifies Japanese Faces

If you’re a Japanese person (that is, real Japanese, not just like some Korean guy born in Japan), then you know how frustrating it is. Every day, you’re surrounded by crowds of people, in stores, elevators, and that small ramen shack behind the station. And everywhere you go, with every person you see, you have...
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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...
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Four New Rules for Running in Japan

Japan’s a reasonably good place to head out for a little exercise, assuming you’re into that sort of thing. I personally enjoy indulging in “the fitness” myself, as I’ve found that it burns off potato chips while simultaneously making beer taste all that much better afterwards. So that’s a win-win. At the same time, I...
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Japanese Snack Bars and Some Tough Love

So here I am rushing home from my Japanese grocery store last month, and it’s dark out and I’m carrying bags and bags full rice and vegetables and seafood. This is all part of my new diet plan, whereby I eat healthily by schlepping home nutritious groceries, which also counts as exercise. So that’s a...
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