Tag Archives: Japanese customs


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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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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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

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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Renting an Apartment in Japan

I recently moved to a new apartment, my sixth since coming to Japan, and I couldn’t be happier. My first place left a wee bit to be desired, consisting of a dreary, small box with alternating views of a machine shop and a cinder-block wall. Well, at least it had two windows, so that was...
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Going to a Japanese Dentist

  I’m probably the only person in the world who enjoys going to the dentist. But you know, between running for trains, dashing to the bathroom between English lessons, and constantly being pressured to sing Bowie at karaoke, it’s the only time I can get any rest. Hey, Japan’s an extraordinarily busy place, especially if...
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Why Japanese People Lie

A reader named Furansujin recently described his stay with a Japanese host family: “They showed complete hysteria when I told them I loved curry or could eat takoyaki . . . the only reason i can think of for so many grins, laughs, and exclamations is acting. Like people were overly polite because they felt...
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Crime in Japan

You never know what the day will bring—that’s the exciting thing about waking up. So this morning, just as I was heading out for a fresh can of coffee at the corner 7-11, I noticed somebody’d pasted a scary Japanese note to the windshield of my car. “Contract parking place!!” it said in large, crimson...
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One Japanese Book You Must Read

You should think twice about taking any advice Ken Seeroi’s got to give. I mean, we’re talking a guy who ditched a sensible life in a first-world country for a freezing, tiny apartment, sleeping on the floor, and eating rice with sticks. So, really? Well, it’s not so bad once I move the shochu boxes...
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One Thing You Must Never do in Japan

Fruit flies.  I woke up on my futon and all I could see were fruit flies, which for some reason, eh, didn’t seem all that unusual.  Probably because when you live in Japan, strange stuff just happens.  I don’t know why.  Like the other day I rolled over to find my futon soaked with sweat...
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