I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Baye McNeil, the man behind the über-popular Japanese website Loco in Yokohama. At least, I think he was sitting down, since we were talking via Skype. Anyway, I was. I’ve got this new couch, and boy is it comfy.
Ken Seeroi: Thanks for joining me. Should I call you Loco, or Mister Yokohama?
Loco in Yokohama: Ha, either is fine!
KS: Great, let’s just go with Mr. Loco. So I understand that you’ve written a new book? Continue reading “Loco in Yokohama, an Interview with the Author”
So I’m heading to work early one morning when I happen to glance down and see this little Japanese turtle right in the middle of the road, totally random. I mean, okay, I couldn’t really tell if he was a Japanese turtle or a gaijin turtle, but anyway he had the shell and the stubby reptile legs and all, so I felt pretty good about the turtle part. And he was escaping from this neighborhood reservoir, full of green water and surrounded by tall chain link fence. How a turtle got over a seven foot-high chain link fence, I’ll never know, but apparently he was some kind of Rambo super turtle or something. You never can tell in this country. Continue reading “Japan’s Runaway Turtles”
The Land of the Rising Sun isn’t for everyone. But like Sirens to a sailor, Japan exerts a pull on the naive to the point that any job, no matter how miserable, seems tolerable in exchange for a brief encounter. I was among that number.
Now, you can’t put the words “Japan, “miserable,” and “job” into one sentence without mentioning “eikaiwa,” in the next. Try it—it’s physically impossible. Jobs at Eikaiwa (English conversation schools) are plentiful, due to the ample supply of Japanese folks willing to pay to learn English. And, perhaps fortunately for you, the teaching qualifications are close to nonexistent. Continue reading “Working for an Eikaiwa – What’s not to Like?”
At first, you might think the Japanese place great importance on addressing others properly. After all, it’s a nation where even elephants get called Zou-san. That’s Mr. Elephant to you.
The reality is that this naming convention works flawlessly until someone who looks “foreign” enters the scene, at which point thousands of years of custom go straight out the window. Continue reading “The Great Japanese Name Switcheroo”
Fellow citizens, our long national nightmare is finally over. Let us now embark upon that shining road to recovery. Of course, by “national” I mean Japan, and “long nightmare” as in my teaching English here while everyone else listens to my grumbling about it. In retrospect, I guess I should have read my one-year school contract more carefully. I assumed “one agrees to be poked by devils while drowning in a pool of anguish” was just boilerplate contractual stuff. Who knew they meant it literally? Continue reading “One Really Long Year in Japan”