Index of Articles

105 posts about Living in Japan

Jump to 3, 7, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, W

25 posts about Learning Japanese

Jump to A, D, H, I, L, N, T, W, Y


14 posts about Working in Japan

Jump to F, G, H, I, J, N, O, T, W


38 Replies to “Index of Articles”

  1. I can’t remember which post it was, but you mentioned going to Sapporo & drinking Sapporo beer & then going back to Tokyo & drinking Asahi – & that both beers taste the same. Even though Japanese corporate beer all tastes the same, do you have a favorite? What about craft beer? Do you have an all-time favorite beer, either corporate or craft?

    I ask since I have had my share of Japanese corporate beer here in the States (does it taste better in Japan?) and I also came to a similar conclusion. None of them were terrible but they all had a nesr identical flavor & none of them really stood out as exceptional. I think I prefer Korean macro beer to Japanese, but if I had to chose, I’d probably say Sapporo. I was lucky enough to try Hitachino Nest Ale & Numazu Lager, both of which were really delicious craft brews. I’d especially like to get ahold of more Numazu while I’m in Japan.

    1. Great question. Okay, I added a subscribe area to right side of every post, and the Home page. That should enable you to receive a notification about new posts.

      To subscribe to a comment thread, click on the word “here” below. (Before, you had to click on the word “subscribe.”)

      Thanks for pointing this out.


  2. Good day to you Seeroi-sensei.

    Here again!

    I still love reading your articles! It’s always informative but never boring.

    (I just hope there is an option where we can read the articles in chronological order ^_^).

    I don’t know why I feel like reading them from the very beginning. Or maybe I am also curious about the progression of your thoughts about Japan throughout your stay there 😉

    Just passing by for now.

    1. Hey Fickle Bee,

      Great to hear from you. Yeah, that’s an all-too-reasonable idea that others have floated before. I expect it’ll take a bit of time to figure out, but I’ll add it the list of stuff I should be doing, along with losing weight, eating healthier, and occasionally showering.

      1. Heya sensei.

        Well, thank you for considering the idea (I hope that’s what you meant XD).

        Actually, on second thought-
        I have read a good number of your articles but even so, it seems I haven’t explored it enough.
        -I just found out that I can actually go through the articles in chronological order by following the page numbers in the Home page (so that means I’ll have to go to page 31 to read your very first articles). Stupid me.

        Or maybe I am just guilty because you seem to have a lot on your plate already. Of course, your readers will be cheering for you. Ganbatte on doing occasional showers (and so on)! XD

        Srsly, have a nice day.

        1. Oh. I didn’t even know that.

          Between writing articles (okay, not writing), editing photos, and drinking beer, somehow maintaining the website that underlies all of this (minus the beer) seems to take a back seat. Ya know, I used to have a lot more fun in the back seat before I moved to Japan. Anyway, thanks for the enlightenment. Maybe time for me to take a look at some of the stuff I wrote too.

          1. Moshi-moshi!

            When I found out, I somehow had a passing suspicion that that was the case XD. Or not. Actually, I am still unsure when to think you’re being sarcastic or serious XD. (Well honestly, this challenge is the very charm of your articles). Whichever it is, you’re welcome sensei.

            And, no pressure. Your readers, including myself, are happy enough to still be able to read such a great content :). In fact, like many others, I’m looking forward and will patiently wait for that book. (Whoops! Did that escalate too fast?) XD

            As always, have a great day ahead ^^

            1. No, I actually didn’t know that! Thanks for pointing out what’s probably obvious to every other person who runs a website. And yeah, the book…one of these days. I’m still trying to figure out how it’s possible to be home all day long and still have no free time.

  3. Hello Ken,
    I would like to know how Japan treats Autistic children or children with mental/developmental disorders (foreign and Japanese). I don’t know if you wrote an article about this topic or not, but it’s a very interesting topic to me because I have Autism, and I’m a little hesitant about moving there in the future. Say I have kids in Japan and they have Autism; would they get sufficient resources (like professional help and help in school and life) and good treatment from their peers?

    By the way your articles are awesome and their hilarious! I read them basically everyday. Keep it up!

    1. Hey Seth,

      I’m sure I’m not qualified to properly answer this question, but I’ll share what I know.

      I spent about four years working in public elementary and middle schools, and met a number of developmentally-impaired children, including those with autism. In the elementary schools, these children attended regular classes, sometimes accompanied by a healthcare worker, who’d do her (it was always a woman) best to keep them from making random utterances or wandering around the classroom. I don’t believe they learned much. But hey, public school; I didn’t either.

      In the middle schools, they had separate classes, so something like six kids in a room all with different levels of ability, being taught some subject or other. I taught English, and there were a few bright stars who seemed to pick it up reasonably well. Others never spoke a word in any language.

      These children seemed mostly to exist apart from the other kids. I don’t believe they were treated badly, but I also don’t think they were, as Rudolf might put it, asked to “join in any reindeer games.”

      It’s hard to say how Japan would be for an adult with autism. It’s probably worth asking how Japan compares to anywhere else. Might be pretty good. It’s certainly a country that seems to favor introverts, if that helps.

      1. Thanks Ken for your thoughtful answer. It’s very hard to find really any info. on this topic. I feel Japan would be a good fit for me (I am introverted with slight extroversive tendencies), but I just worry (I do that quite a bit). Keep up the great work! I love your site!

  4. Hey Ken,
    Hope you’re keeping safe in this uneasy time. I read your recent article about the Coronavirus a few times and I read the comments. It was very informative and interesting. I honestly didn’t know that personal wealth was almost none existent in Japan. I gathered that from reading the comments. My question to you is would it be better to go into a freelance career (web developer, online tutor, translator, etc.) where you could maybe acquire more personal wealth from anywhere in the country or is that not a good idea, and instead people should stick to traditional employment (salaryman, English teacher, IT support, etc). I heard a lot of good things about freelancing, but not a lot about freelancing in Japan. I think I’ve heard a bunch of foreign YouTubers in Japan supplement their income by doing freelance work, but I don’t know if that’s true.

    1. It’s an excellent idea, in theory.

      So right off the bat, you need to have a visa that enables you to live and work in Japan, which is why so many people go the route of English teacher. To work virtually, you’ll probably need a Spouse or Permanent Resident visa.

      Myself, I’ve done a fair bit of freelancing, and the challenge is mostly in the cash flow. With a traditional job, you’re getting paid 37.5 hours a week, just for showing up. Freelance work’s always piecemeal. Meaning you may get paid $50 an hour, but only for one hour. It’s a major challenge to schedule several hours of work every day, week in and week out. So monetarily, you’re better off teaching at an eikaiwa for 8 hours, making $15 dollars an hour. Also, a full-time job pays into Japanese Social Security and health care. Without that, you have to bear the costs yourself.

      You can also spend a lot of unpaid time looking for gigs, interviewing, and preparing to work. Not to mention emails with employers—Gaaa, that accounts for hours of unpaid labor. So consider this: If you get $20 an hour to be an online tutor, but spend 10 minutes emailing about it and 20 minutes preparing for the lesson, how much are you actually making per hour?

      With online jobs, you’re also competing in a global market. There’s five hundred dudes in Bangladesh all more qualified than you. But if you live in Aomori prefecture and there’s only 3 English speakers in your whole village, you’ve got a pretty good chance of landing that job at the kindergarten.

      Clearly, freelancing anywhere is a great supplement to income. But as a primary job, you might need a pretty specialized skillset to make a living at it.

      1. Thank you Ken! I didn’t think of a lot of those points. Definitely things to consider. Be safe out there! Love your site; it makes my day!

  5. Hello again Ken,
    I have another question for you. (Sorry for playing twenty questions.) You said in a lot of posts on your site that you teach Japanese kids English. I was just wondering if it’s hard to find a job as a professor at a Japanese or international university in Japan teaching a subject other than English, maybe History, and what are some places (like websites) to look for work at an university. (I think I heard you say in post once that you taught at an university… so yeah.)

    1. Good question, Seth. Yes, I’ve taught at a number of universities here, and yes, there are opportunities for teaching subjects other than English.

      As I’m sure you can imagine, the big challenge is that very few students speak English. So if you want to teach a subject like History, and you don’t speak Japanese at a high level, then you’re limited to the relatively small number of international universities that offer courses in your field. And as with all jobs, you’re competing with others for a spot. But if you’ve got good qualifications (Ph.D and publications) you should have a reasonable chance of securing a position.

      jRec-In should probably be the first place you look for a position:

      Feel free to hit me up with any other questions. No worries on that.

      1. Thank you Ken! It’s definitely a ways away until I can get to Japan, so I’m going to work my butt off learning more about the language and the culture (as well as my studies) before I get there. I definitely need to be wary of what the internet says about Japan though. (Like you said Japan is far from perfect.) Your site is probably the best and most informative blog on Japan. Your posts make my day!

  6. Hey again Ken,
    I got another question for you. How do you deal with homesickness and missing your family? That’s something I worry about because my family and I have a great relationship, and I worry about, when I move, how I’m going to still be in their lives. How do you cope with not seeing your family? Sorry for the somber question. If I have another question I’ll try to make it more cheerful.

    1. That’s a heavy one, Seth.

      Realistically, you’re not going to be in their lives. I mean, I Skype with my family a couple times a week, but it’s a lot different from being there. Things back home go on without you, while you’re having experiences they can’t really relate to.

      If you’re gonna come to Japan for a year, no big deal. Two years, yeah, you can probably pick back up where you left off, at least somewhat. But beyond that, I think you lose something. Bear in mind that if you get into a relationship here (a realistic possibility), now you have another issue, because you can’t go home without abandoning your new partner. Or taking him/her with you, which then causes other issues (what job can they do in the U.S.? What about their family? Suddenly you’re getting married?) Work’s another complicating factor. What if you manage to get a job that’s actually good, and pays you decent money? Suddenly it’s a lot harder to give that up and move home. So what do you do—wish for a shitty job just to make it easier to go back?

      Being incredibly rich would solve a lot of these problems, but I’m going to assume you don’t have massive amounts of cash and free time to just jet back and forth.

      I’d be amiss if I didn’t say that a lot of the “foreign” people I know here came from troubled pasts. I know an unusually high number of folks who either hate their families or don’t have any, and I think that makes it easier to stay.

      For me, I have a great relationship with my entire family, and it pains me to death to be apart from them. So to answer your question, yeah, I don’t deal with it very well.

      1. Thank you again Ken for your very thoughtful answer! I love my family a great deal, so if I ever leave the country it will definitely be hard. Not on just myself, but on my family. It is definitely something to think about. Thank you again for all the helpful answers to my questions. It has helped enormously! I look forward to your next posts!

  7. I’m going to be very honest and say I could probably read a whole post of Seth and Ken’s back and forth…great Q&A.

    In regards to your question about how those on the Autism Spectrum are treated in Japan, I have a few personal and anecdotal things. My son was born in Japan and was diagnosed a little later as being on the Autism Spectrum…like his Dad. There were a few check-ins with doctors and professionals, but we left Japan before he really had to go to school…and when we went to the US (not completely related to his diagnosis), the support structure was VERY good and well developed up to and including schools. My friend’s son is a few years older than mine and further along the spectrum; they went back to the US specifically because they didn’t think the support he was getting was adequate.

    Now, for adults…as you guys pointed out, you can do quite well in Japan…plenty of people here who may not be on the spectrum, seem to act like they are…so may be right up your alley, but can also mean you’re not necessarily challenged to go beyond.

    Wish you well…and I do think it’s worth coming over for a couple of years if only for a wonderful experience…but I did end up going back to the US because I realized that my friends and family were going on living their lives without me, and I without them…

    1. Thank you for the kind compliment! I hope a lot of people enjoy and learn from the little back and forth Ken and I had. I couldn’t find a lot of the information on these topics on the internet, and luckily for me Ken knew a lot about the questions I asked.

      One of the few things I heard on the web regarding Japan and Autism was that there’s not really a good support structure for Autistic kids and their families. The US is definitely ahead when it comes to Autism support. I am proof of that. Without the support I received I wouldn’t really be me. Thank you for answering my question too! I appreciate it! I definitely have many things to consider, but I still have time. Thank you again!

  8. Hey Ken,
    I just wanted to say congratulations and thank you! Congratulations on your new book (definitely buying that) and your new baby (don’t worry I was an accident too). Thank you for always answering my questions about my random assortment of issues! It really helped me, and now my family and I are planning a trip to Japan in this coming winter time for a Christmas / Birthday present to me! I’m so excited and I can’t wait! Thank you so much again!
    Good luck with everything your working on and maybe one day I’ll see you in glorious Nippon! :))))

    1. Thank you! I’m sure you’ll have a great Christmas and birthday here. By the way, I’m not having a baby—that was an obscure joke about giving birth to the book. But thanks nonetheless.

      1. Lol!
        I had a big chuckle just now when I read your reply because it was funny and because of not getting your joke in your “baby” post. 🙂
        Well, NOW you have a premature (Lol) congratulations for when you do have a baby! Good luck and thanks again!

        1. Heh, yeah that was really my fault for being too obscure. A lot of people mistook the message. But thanks for the congrats anyway!

  9. Hey Ken,
    I’m back and I have a question for you today. Would you recommend someone moving to and living in Japan long term? The reason I ask is because I’m kind of hesitant about moving there in the future, and I value your expertise and experience on this issue. Were you scared or hesitant about moving to Japan?

    1. Well, I’d visited Japan seven times before I moved here, so that removed a lot of the hesitancy. I’d also lived in a number of different places around the U.S., so I was well acquainted with relocating and living on my own.

      But to answer your question…I think you really have to consider what you’re asking. Moving here for a year or two? No big deal. You’re just a long-term tourist who’s gonna pick up and go home at some point, so you don’t have to address most of the realities of life.

      But longer term? Well, you’re probably going to need to rent a real apartment, buy a fridge, washer, bed, and possibly a stove and air conditioner. You’ll probably need to pass the driver’s license test, buy a car or scooter, and apply for a credit card or two. You’ll need to secure a real job, health insurance, and pay taxes, all in Japanese. You’ll need to go to the hospital, dentist, and drugstore, and explain yourself in Japanese. Meanwhile, the people you knew in your home country will get older and eventually die. You’ll probably get into a relationship here and possibly have children, which will reduce your ability to ever move back. Meanwhile, Japan will gradually lose its shine, and you may well find yourself living a low-budget existence in a country where you’re constantly regarded as a foreigner.

      You’ll have some good times in Japan, but also your share of troubles. That’s just life anywhere. The mistake would be thinking that moving here would somehow reduce the number of problems you encounter. Certainly, you won’t have the same problems, but the number will stay about the same. I don’t know why.

      It’s probably worth considering how many people move to Japan, then return to their home countries (a lot). That alone should tell you something.

      1. Thank you Ken! I appreciate it. I do need to still think about it a lot more, but your posts put a lot in perspective. So that helps.
        Stay safe and thanks again!

        1. I really think come for a year, two at the most. That’s a great amount of time. You’ll leave having seen most of the good and comparably little of the bad.

      2. Heh yeah perfect way to put it is that you’ll still have the same number of problems…just different ones. So yeah, if you want to shuffle the deck, you might get better cards…you might get worse ones…I moved back to the US thinking I’d get better cards…lately I’m thinking I ended up drawing a bad hand…

        1. I wouldn’t feel too bad about that life decision. Everything’s gone downhill around the world since the Covid crisis. Japan’s not as great as it was just a few months ago. Businesses are closed, people out of work, everybody’s paranoid, and cities are overrun with bikes carrying UberEats deliveries. These days noobody’s getting dealt face cards.

  10. Heh guess you can win a hand some times with pocket 2s…thanks, and yeah wish you and all the fellow readers well through all this!

  11. Hey Ken,
    I have two questions for you about the mysteries of dating in Japan. I read a few articles online about dating in Japan including your own. Is it really difficult for a foreigner in Japan to find a good girlfriend and actually get to know her, so that there are no surprises when marriage is brought up? I read a few horror stories online about this topic. They usually involved sexless marriages, the wife controlling the finances, some wives being mentally ill, and cheating on their partners (I also read that younger Japanese people are more opposed to cheating than the older population). This could be just internet gossip, so I don’t know if these claims are true. My second question is; do Japanese women act like American women or Western women in general? There is a lot of false claims that Japanese women came out of a time machine from the 1950’s, and that all Japanese women are Traditional Geishas, lol. So I want to know, from your experience, did the Japanese women you dated act like American women? I know they have a few subtle differences like it is harder to know some personal details about them. (But that might be an overall Japanese cultural and societal thing.)

    1. Hey Seth,

      Those are really hard questions to answer. But let’s start with the second one first.

      In my experience, no, Japanese women don’t think and act much like Western women. Although to fully answer that question, we’ve got to define what we mean by “Japanese.” Consider two very different types of women you’re likely to meet in Japan.

      Yuko’s 30, doesn’t speak English, lives with her parents and younger brother in a small house, and works part-time at Denny’s. Her hobbies are shopping for clothes, doing her make-up, and sleeping. Yuko cooks simple Japanese food, watches Japanese TV dramas, reads Japanese romance novels, and dreams of being married to a man with a steady job. She’s dated a few men, all Japanese, none of whom ever met her family. She has no particular knowledge of, or interest in, cultures outside of Japan.

      Maki’s also 30, speaks great English, lives by herself in a small apartment, and works as a bookkeeper for an international company. She lived in the U.S. for six years, and spent a working holiday in Australia. Her hobbies are skydiving and hot yoga. Maki’s into hip hop, American action movies, and British rock. She likes Italian food, Burger King, and Taco Bell. She’s dated men from several different countries, and lived with a British guy for two years.

      Now, those are caricatures, but they’re based upon common types of people you’ll meet here. So to answer your question, I’d say that Yuko’s not much like a Western woman, but Maki very much is. Put another way—and I’d argue this is more accurate—Maki’s not actually Japanese, despite being born here and looking the part.

      Then looping back to your first question—Well, to start with, marriages the world over are littered with horror stories. Just bear that in mind. Now, if you date a girl like Maki, you’re basically dating a foreigner, so the communications and expectations are going to be a lot more in line with what you’re used to. It will be easier to get to know her, and she’ll understand the way “foreign” marriages work.

      If you date a more “Japanese” girl, like Yuko, then all bets are off. Marriage in Japan is heavily dependent upon social commitments, raising children, taking care of relatives, and providing financial stability, which is where you come in. Sex doesn’t even factor into the equation, which is why infidelity isn’t relevant. Lots of people are married to one person, but have sex with someone else.

      In the end though, this type of discussion is of little value, because you’re gonna meet who you’re gonna meet, and they won’t fit into any neat category. All I’d say is that if sex is part of what you want, I’d look somewhere other than Japan.

      1. Thanks again Ken for the thoughtful answer! I still have a ways away until I make the decision to move to Japan. I just want to go for me and have a fun experience. If I meet someone along the way, then that’s okay too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *