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


73 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.



  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.


    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 🙂


  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.

  7. Dear Ken,
    This is my first time coming to your blog and I have to say that it’s really good!! I am a blogger myself, and I was wondering if you want to check out mines and give me your response.

    Thanks so much!!^^

    1. Jay, that’s the most colorful home page I’ve seen in a while. I love your enthusiasm towards Japan and learning Japanese. Keep on writing.

  8. Hi Ken, I’m getting a degree in history and this year is going to be my final year. The fact is that I want to specialize in Asian history and I thought that get a postgraduate in an Asian country will be the best option. My question is, if would you know someone who did something similar and how difficult is join to a Japanese university being a foreigner.

    Sorry for my English, I’m not a native speaker.

    1. Hi Paul,

      I’m not going to be much help here, since I’ve not known anyone from abroad who went to a Japanese university, at least not closely. I’ve known people who went to international universities in Japan, but the coursework was mostly in English (I think Temple University has such a program). I imagine a Japanese-only program would present some formidable challenges. Personally, I have enough trouble just reading the newspaper.

      My impression is that entrance requirements vary greatly depending on the university. Top schools would be very hard to get into, but bottom-level schools seem to take anybody with a pen and a checkbook.

      Online, I hear a lot of talk of MEXT scholarships, so you’d do well to look into that too. Good luck with your studies, wherever they take you.

  9. Randy Santel is a world traveler and competitive food eater/fighter. He and his photographer are looking for a place to stay in Tokyo for a night or so. They are also looking for more food challenges in Tokyo. Would you be able to give them any help?

  10. Hey Ken,

    I just came across your blog and love it. It makes my commute smashed between sweaty salarymen who haven’t discovered deodorant yet much more interesting. I’ve been here 9 months (thankfully not teaching English) and your material is spot on. Keep up the good work!

    – Tim

    1. Hey Tim,

      Thanks much. Glad I can help in some small way to relieve your commute. And thanks for reminding to stock up on antiperspirant when I go back to the States. This sure is one sweaty country.

  11. Hi there Ken,

    I must say that I am overwhelmed by the quality of posts and language you put on this blog. Kudos to you. I have been reading your blog for nearly 1 month and thanks to you I realized many many things that I could not do on my own.

    I am living and working in Sydney right now and I’ve met many Asian people here. I’ve worked in Europe before but I have never experienced such diversity in my life. Sydney gave me opportunity to have fun and most importantly to know other cultures. I am a very social person and I like talking about almost any subjects especially science and philosophy. And I have been participating in many events during first 4 months.

    However during this time I met a Japanese girl and almost everything changed in my life. That is where your blog came in (But the timing was bad). You know, I have always liked Japanese culture, their old movies and games and some of their music. I thought that I knew Japanese culture until I have met her. It has been 8 months and I am still clueless about many things. It is still pandora’s box to me. I am planning to come to Olympics to experience everything on site but until that day there are many valuable things I could learn from your blog. Thank you for everything (And if you have time please check you fb page for personal questions).

    1. Hey, thanks for all the positivity—I’m glad you like the site. So yeah, I sent you a brief reply via Facebook (which I don’t use much, for better or worse). Let me know what’s up.


  12. I enjoy reading your blog.
    It has given me more insight to Japan.
    I have commented and not gotten through.
    So I’m thinking either you hate my guts more than working at a Japanese English school under contract with lots of overtime. (I think you called it Eikaiwa )
    Or the captcha is booting me..
    I would like to think it’s because of the WordPress.

    1. Ah thanks a bunch, and sorry if your comments didn’t get through. Occasionally people have trouble wit da captcha. I’ll try wrapping more tinfoil around my laptop’s antenna—usually that helps.

    2. Dear Benjamin condolences on your experience with captcha. I have had some frustrating times with it also. However I do learn from experience. Before hitting the post button on any kind of comment forum I always Ctrl-C the contents of my magnum opus that has resulted in 15 minutes of inspired writing that is sure to impress Sensei Seeroi and the thousands who read his brilliant blog. Then of course if it fails Ctrl-V saves your proverbial bacon. If you can remember to do it, captcha will automatically never give you any trouble again. It knows!!

  13. The tin foil will not help with the captcha.
    However, if you drink more beer..
    Alot more beer, that should help.
    Seems like I remember WordPress having a hold for moderation option and people can skip the captchas and drink more beer.

  14. Seeroi-sensei. It’s like — what, precisely? — reading cocktail napkin vignettes penned by the love child of Lawrence Durrell and Tom Robbins. I haven’t seen this much pathos, wit, and heart outside of a trade paperback in . . . a long-ass time, basically.

    Just when I was about to give up on the interwebs as dead but not buried. Damn.

    Thank you. Sincerely. For the love of the arts and letters, please keep writing.

  15. Hi Ken
    I LOVED your article about people claiming to learn Japanese in a (relatively) small amount of time, and I put a link to it and a quote in an article of mine on my new blog. I should have asked before quoting but you’re fully credited and linked, and praised, but if you want me to rip it out I will do so with no complaint, sir.

    1. That’s totally cool, Lloyd. I like where you’re going with your site (not so sure about the yellow on black theme, but it’s all good). Keep on writing!

  16. Strange question Ken, would you know what brand of psychotherapy the Japanese subscribe to? And do they have a Doctor who has created their own philosophy and theories like the French had Lacan, the German’s Freud and the Americans Dr Phil. Would they use their own DSM? It’s a serious question. I know Japan lacks in these services and most Japanese don’t air their laundry publicly so it didn’t come up in conversation while I was living there.

    1. That’s a good question, although I don’t have an answer. I know a lady who’s a psychologist here, and I’ll ask about it the next time I run into her. It may be a little while, so I apologize in advance for the delay.

    1. I love that. Stage 1 of treatment: lie in bed for a week without moving. Stages 1-3, no social contact. Sounds super Japanese, although for some individuals it may be hard to separate treatment from everyday life.

    1. You want to subject non-native speakers to the crazy stuff I write? Balls man, I’m not sure I even understand some of my articles.

      But hey, yeah, it’s all good. As long as you use them for your own in-person classes, I’m probably cool with it. But if you’re going to incorporate them into something you publish or sell, then we’ll need to have a longer conversation.

  17. Ken, i’ve been reading your posts with interest, A) because my wife is Japanese and i’m fascinated and confused and years later still in awe and frustration and respect with the cultural differences that still bubble and boil and B) because you write damn well.
    Why do you keep your own blog, rather than post on FB or in Medium or one of the other platforms?
    Looking for insight as we’ve started a distillery here in Hanoi, Vietnam, and i’m trying to figure which way to go re writing and posting.
    thank you,

    1. Ah, it’s the tens of dollars I make every year blogging. It’s all about the Benjamins. Okay, Washingtons, whatever. You make it rain. Playa, I make it drizzle.

      Yeah, so that’s a great question. If anything, I’d go back to writing for magazines and newspapers. But it’s just kinda cool to see something you actually built yourself, whether or not anybody else likes it or cares. And I’m eternally grateful for the people who comment, offer support, or provide insights I hadn’t thought of.

      I’ve always wanted to go to Vietnam—how would you compare it to Japan?

  18. Are you going to keep rejecting (censoring) my comments? Lame. Am not sure why you are afraid to taken on my views in an open, public forum if you think they are wrong.

    1. Sorry, your initial comment was caught by the spam filter. I see that you sent several other comments in rapid succession, along with a bit of mild name calling. I’d appreciate if you’d not make a habit of that. Please be patient; sometimes I’m out buying beer, or singing karaoke, or buying more beer, or occasionally asleep.

      Also, please understand this isn’t an “open, public forum.” It’s a party, at my house, so be a good guest and everybody’s happy. I’m open to entertaining all viewpoints, but be respectful. A bit of brevity would go a long way as well.


  19. Wish you would post more. I probably read through everything on your blog/site in a couple weeks.

    Very entertaining. Keep writing more please!!!

    1. Yeah, I wish that too. Thanks for the kind words. I’ve got a bit of other stuff going on now—somehow working in Japan’s always got some nuttiness to it. Once I get that sorted, let me see if I can get to writing a bit more.

  20. I’m a little behind on reading this blog, my apologies. I’m wondering if you will cover the COVID-19 outbreak (how Japanese citizens & the government are reacting) along with the upcoming Olympics. Less Chinese tourists would seem to be a certainty. Is that a good or bad thing? You’re our “man on the ground” (or more likely at the bar drinking) so this should make for an interesting read with your usual insight. Thx

    1. Yeah thanks, I’ve been meaning to write about this. Just been so busy washing my hands. Let me get something out tomorrow.

  21. Hi Ken! I’m a newcomer in your blog! I read about something cheeky relating to social relationships in japan.

    I lived here for a year now and all your notes are so true.
    I am hoping to find a relationship of my own too but it turns out Japan has higher hurdles than my country. @_@

    1. Welcome to the show. Yeah, if I had to pick one word to describe relationships in Japan, it’d be “weird.”

      Enjoy the country, try to figure out what’s going on, and be careful what you get yourself into. That’d be my advice.

      1. Becareful….
        That’s a strong advice right there!
        I live in the suburbs of ibaraki! Basically far from the reality of a city! hence, I am with much more older people 😀

        I try to learn a lot from them but sometimes It also helps to have someone around my age @_@

        It’s really difficult but I’m trying!

  22. Hello Ken!

    I’ve been reading and enjoying your posts for many years from my home in the US, but recently I started reading them from my home in Japan! The content is always enjoyable, often practical, and never boring.

    Thanks in part to your blog and others who write from Japan, I started writing online as well. The Japan Everyday site is at https://japaneveryday.jp. It’s certainly not as entertaining as a Ken Seeroi story, but I hope you find it interesting and useful.

  23. Konnichiwa Ken,
    Wow! Just finished your book and loved it. It was super funny and very educational. So if you write another, please let me know! I’m looking forward to reading more of your adventures in your blog. If I ever get to Japan (which I probably never will) I’ll look you up and we can visit a nomihoudai. for some Kirin. Cheers!
    Jeannie 🙂

    1. Fantastic—I’m really glad you liked the book. As for coming to Japan, it took me years before I even visited, and now here I am. So hey, you never know. A world of nomihoudai awaits!

  24. Man, good to see you are alive. I was worried about the lack of activity on the website.
    Your book was a charm: entertaining and sometimes disturbing, but always fun and informative. Hope to find one of your handwritten menus next time I visit Tokyo. Cheers!

    1. Ah thanks, I’ve been doing pretty great. Just working on other projects. Plus being predictably lazy.

      And big thanks for the props on the book. Makes me extremely glad to hear that.

  25. Great website. I just googled the Rule of 7 and had a good LOL. Well done and keep up the good work! : )

  26. Hi Ken:)

    Your Blog is amazing and I really enjoyed the articles I’ve read so far. I have been interested in the Japanese culture and language ever since I was little and I’m so happy I found your Blog:)

    I’m currently working on my theses about the connection between xenophobia in Japan and the geographical location, the isolation of the islands until the first world war and the not so good political relationships between Japan and it’s neighboring countries.

    It would be amazing if I would be able to talk to you about your thoughts and experiences on these topics. Would it be possible to do an interview with you?


    1. Hi Zoe,

      Thank you for the kind words and interest in my writing. That’s very nice of you. I sent you an email.

      All the best,


  27. Hi Ken
    Just been told about your site. It is fantastic! Love your work. Lived in Japan for three years a long time ago but keep heading back until Covid.
    I run a newspaper in Australia and will give your column a plug in the next one.
    Great writing.
    Cheers Donna

    1. Thank you, Donna. That’s very kind of you to say. I’m glad you enjoy some of the crazy stuff I write.


  28. Hey Ken

    been lurking around for years and still am. thank you for writing all these blog posts that have immensely inspired and helped me get through some weird times.


  29. Ken,
    Once an avid reader of your blog many years ago, life got in the way and your content became but a hazy yet fond memory in the deep recesses of my mind. I tried to find my way back here, but the way eluded me. I searched (Japanese.. something or other… Cynical posts .. funny..) but came up short and so decided to host my own blog, much like this but far inferior.

    Now that I have found you though, I want to contact you personally and hope eventually to meet you in person.

    My email is probably yours via the form below. I hope you can find the time to send a quick message.


    1. Hey thanks, Ricky. Yeah, I’d be happy to rap with you if we can do it after New Year’s. Things are looking pretty busy until then, so if that’s okay, let’s get in touch then.

      Cheers &c.,

  30. I started visiting Furano every winter from 2017.

    After being locked out for the covid years I came back and saw trash in the streets here for the first time ever! I was totally blown away.

    Covid finished off several restaurants and two hotels that I know of but ever is obsessed by it. Japan may NEVER let go of covid. It’s like they want to be anxious!

    1. Dude, in Japan, obsessing, worrying, fretting—that’s our thing! Wearing masks, spraying alcohol, washing our hands—we love that. Looking askance at people who don’t comply? Oooh, that’s good too. Covid is like a gift from God for this OCD culture. It opens up whole new horizons for feeling superior to others.

      Somehow, the flip side of that has resulted in a noticeable increase in litter. And graffiti. Maybe it’s the isolation, being disconnected from normal society. Maybe it’s giving up, or an attempt to feel significant in some way. I don’t really know. But I hope we can turn this around.

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