Pitch in

Become a part of keeping Japanese Rule of 7 on the air! Maintaining this site takes some cash, a weirdly large of time, and of course, heaps of beer. You can ensure the lights stay on and the hamsters keep running by helping out. So you’re like, “But Ken, what can I do?” Well thanks for asking; that’s very kind of you.

Here’s some stuff that’s majorly good:

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I love to hear from you. Sharing your experiences and insights makes Japanese Rule of 7 come alive, and provides a broader view than the articles alone. If you’ve lived in Japan, have an interest in the nation, or maybe just got a bag of questions, then join in the discussion. Feel free to agree or disagree, only please do so nicely.

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Thank you

Thanks so much for all of your support and encouragement over the years. It’s going on a decade now that I’ve been writing this site, not as often as I’d like, but in the end, well, guess I got done more than I expected. There’ve been some good times and some hard times, but mostly just, well, time. Life goes by, Jeez, so quickly.

You know, every evening after stumbling home from the izakaya, I tumble into my futon and ask, “Ken, what the hell’re you still doin’ here?” First it was the food and some booze, then a job, then a woman, and now I absolutely have no idea. Or maybe I never did. Anyway, if Japan’s got any answers, it’s sure not giving them up easily. So I suppose I’ll just keep on keepin’ on and writing about it. And along the way, thanks for reading, seriously.

26 Replies to “Pitch in”

  1. Ken,
    I enjoy your writing.
    I read you because I visit Japan alot for business.
    Your perspective is refreshing.
    From fruit basket to Hitomi’s ass

    1. Thanks much. I’m glad my writing resonates with you. Flying in and out of Japan for business sounds ideal, to be honest.

  2. Great blog mate

    As a 26 year resident of Japan I feel your pain!!! Can here in the 90s for a gap year. .became a gap life. Doing ok, run a successful English school, was a pro musician for ten years ( till I got married and wifey put a stop to that ), have a fantastic work life balance…more like life life life life life and a little work, but at the same time, still feel as alienated from the people here as I did when I got here…..
    Keep up the fantastic job,
    Mike, living in ‘safey’ osaka

    1. Thanks Mike,

      It’s great to hear from long-term residents who’ve made a successful life in Japan. Props to you for that. Any thoughts on what you did to make your English school a success?

      1. Hi Ken
        I started my school with 2 students…have over 150 now. I only teach 3 classes a day ( I have other teachers working for us too ) but those 3 classes allow me to….. 1. Ride motorcycles.
        2. Go snowboarding every week in season
        3. Go to the gym 3 times a week
        4. Box 3 times a week
        So every one of them is important. I put maximum effort into every class. I do not teach privates unless they are willing to very big money as it isn’t worth it.
        I pay our teachers well ( 3000 yen per 50 class ) so they do a fantastic job ( if they don’t , I will replace them very quickly ) . I usually work from 2pm to 7,30 pm. Spend alot of time thinking ‘ how can I make this fun ‘ …. Now, I fucking hate ‘ edutainment’ but to get kids to learn you need to reward them. Fuck all that left side/ right side of brain shit. Horse and carrot…. reproducing English is their coin to put in the slot to play the very fun games that I have purchased over the years. Bollocks to that ‘ the game doesn’t reproduce language ‘ crap….. Try and use the target structure or vocabulary and you get to play a fun game ( I go to toysrus alot to buy new games ). Also, I don’t get bored….
        Man, I am 51, got more energy than a 21 year old ( wifey is Japanese so ‘morning wood’ is unfortunately, ‘ morning won’t ‘ )…that’s a different kettle of fish

        1. Wow, that’s fantastic. I’ve heard stories of others who tried running their own schools, but they never ended well. What do you think you did that made your school a success? Good location? Marketing? Personal style? Connections? 150 students is a lot!

          1. Hi Ken
            The way we teach, the location, the school itself ( we have invested a lot to make it a really nice place ) , the class size ( maximum 6 kids per class), the students ( we have no bad students, we turn potential students away regularly as their behavior isn’t suitable ), the staff, the planning in terms of a rock solid program from 3 years old to high school, no bad teachers ( I will not hesitate to fire anyone if they act in any kind of unprofessional manner ), no micromanaging of staff, good marketing ( 20000 flyers distributed twice a year), community presence ( very very important…. My son goes to the local elementary school and I am quite involved there now ), and a big dollop of luck!!!! The first 2 years were tough , stoney broke but it has finally come together. I always ask myself ‘ how can I make this better?’ be it lessons, school events, the school environment etc..

            1. Thanks for the detailed reply. Your school sounds amazing. Hats off to you, my friend. You’re a true success story.

              1. Hi Ken

                Thanks! It doesn’t feel like a success story sometimes but when see the guys looking like clones marching off to the station in the morning, I feel lucky. When I have time I will tell you about my music career! Pro musician in Japan for 10 years!!!
                By the way, where are you based?

                1. I’m sure it was a lot of hard work, combined with a bit of good fortune. But very few people achieve what you’ve done, so you deserve every bit of credit for your accomplishments.

                  Yeah, I’d love to hear about your experience as a musician here. I’ve always thought an “alternative” career would be a good way to make a living (or at least enjoy living) in Japan.

                  I don’t usually talk much about where I’m at, both for privacy reasons and because by the time anyone reads this there’s a good chance I’ll be living in a different prefecture anyway. I could use a bit more stability in my life. But right now, outside of Tokyo.

  3. Outside Tokyo , well that’s got to be Saitama 🙂 .
    I found your site by surfing , as I w as looking for article on poverty in Japan .

  4. Hey Mr Seeroi! Long time lurker here – I found your blog when I was about 15 or roundabouts. I’m 23 now. I always enjoy checking back periodically to see how you’re doing! (Is that weird lol?)

    Innate knowledge of Japan + Witty insights = very cool blog!

    Keep it up!

    Best wishes,
    Danica from England 🙂

    1. Hi Danica,

      Thanks so much for the encouragement. Wow, eight years of reading my blog? Has it been that long? Where does the time go…

      Yeah, I’m doing great, although it’s hard to believe I’ve been in here for so many years. Hope you’re okay in England—I understand the coronavirus has really changed life there.

      Stubborn refusal to correct course + Lingering interest in language and culture + Overpowering laziness = Still in Japan



  5. Hey, Ken. I’m writing to you from a hospital room, since my young heart got melancholic and it’s having me and the docs wait for it to cheer up.

    No biggie. I’m an understanding guy like that.

    Your blog has been my main entertainment for the past week. You’re a pretty cool guy, and I don’t want to read anyone else. (Take that, literature!)

    Wanted to let you know the good deeds you do, even if you don’t mean to, thanks to your good heart. I think.

    If you visit Spain, I’d love to be your guide. See ya, Seeroi-san.

    1. Hi Seo,

      How’s it going? Yeah, you don’t want to be reading literature; that would only improve your brain. Stick here and you’re much safer. But seriously, sorry to hear you’re in the hospital—that’s a bit concerning. What’s that all about?

      For sure, I would love to visit Spain. It’s definitely on top of my list.

  6. Ah, it’s just some virus that came in uninvited. I’ll be fine, just no exercise for 3 months.

    What I like the most about your blog is that you seem to have done a million things. I’m far too comfy in my routine, and I ought to do braver things, like writing these comments. So you’re helping me in that way, too.

    1. Also, when reading I feel I’m right there with you. Maybe that’s what stories are, an effort to bring together our vagrant minds. Monogatari. Pretty word.

    2. No exercise for three months? Sounds like the greatest prescription ever.

      Doctor: “Ken, we’re going to need you to sit on your ass all day and just eat chips and hot dogs.”

      “Can I binge-watch Netflix and wash everything down with copious amounts of malt liquor?”

      “As medical professionals, we’d advocate nothing less. Just make sure you do absolutely nothing resembling exercise.”

      “I am so on it.”

      Really though, I know being in the hospital is pretty serious, and I hope you get better soon. While you’re recovering, maybe think about some new things you want to try, and pick a couple that seem doable. So long as you don’t drop everything and move to Japan, you’ll be fine.

  7. Hey Ken,

    Thank you so much for your continuously great posts. I recently posted about my favorite resources for learning about Japan and Japanese language and guess who’s in 😉

    My blog doesn’t have many readers, especially not from the Japanese learning community, but I still hope it helps to get you even more readers, because your posts deserve it:


    Thank you again and keep up the great work.


    1. Hey, thanks much for mentioning my site–I sure appreciate that. Although I was a little surprised to hear you felt “‘alcohol’ and ‘girls’ … might not be the most relevant content when it comes to Japanese language and culture studies.”

      It’s hard to imagine what one would consider Japanese culture if it weren’t for Japanese alcohol and Japanese girls [women], since they both play a prominent role in daily life here. To me, “culture” isn’t something in a museum, but rather what ordinary people think about, talk about, and interact with every day.

      (I left the same comment on your site as well. Cheers)

  8. Hi! Stumbled on your blog randomly a couple of weeks ago, started going through posts which prompted me to get your book, and the past few nights I’ve been reading it and alternating between laughing out loud and having coughing fits due to laughing too much. Pretty sure my neighbours think I got corona now.

    Anyway, wanted to thank you for all the laughs and the insights into the Japanese culture. I had a nasty case of Japan fever ever since I was a kid and have recently started thinking about moving there and finding a job. And among all the blogs and videos about the country that I’ve found online, yours was the only one that gave me a serious reality check and made me think about my priorities.

    So, thank you Seeroi-sensei!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Marko. I’m just happy if I can convince your neighbors you’ve got covid.

      Moving to Japan with the intention of settling here is a massive, life-changing step. Coming here for a year-long working vacation, eh, not so much. I’ll let you guess which one I’d recommend.

  9. Man, I just discovered your blog! It is fantastic! I love your honesty and your style of humour. I lived in China for 6 years and now in the Philippines for almost 2 years. I have to say that I have been interested in coming to Japan for years now. But after living in Asia, and other parts of the world, I know the reality. I have a similar perspective on China as you do on Japan. You really say it how it is and a lot of people respect that! At the end of the day, I know you still love Japan and probably always will but reality vs. fantasy is whole other thing. I have been a lazy reader for the last couple of years. But now that I found your blog, I can’t wait to read all your posts and get book. Keep em coming man. Cheers!

    1. Hey, thanks for the nice comment. I really appreciate it.

      These days I’m trying not to think of things, people, or activities as good or bad. Rather, I’m trying to identify which parts of them are good, and which parts aren’t so good, in what proportion, and how much each matters. I feel like that’s a helpful way of thinking. So rather than say “I love Japan” or “I hate it,” I’m trying to identify what I actually like about the place, and what I’m struggling with. That way, sometimes I can conclude, “yeah, this sucks, but it only happens once a day for five seconds, so that’s a reasonable price to pay.” Works pretty well for jobs and women too.

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