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August 02, 2017, Posted by : James

Avoiding Melting in Tokyo

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I thought that I was allergic to Japan when I first moved to Tokyo. Within a week or two, I noticed a constant sniffle and itchy throat, but I assumed it was just some advanced stage of a hangover. A carefully curated supply of over-the-counter drugs has pretty much solved most of these inconveniences - but there's no medicine for sweating your balls off.

I always manage to ...

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40 million lonely hearts

July 19, 2017, Posted by : James

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With 40 million people in the greater Tokyo area, it always surprises me that there are so many people suffering from crippling loneliness. You can't throw a rock without hitting some patently unhappy person in the face.

I was just reading an article the other day outlining the slow march toward extinction currently happening in Japan, as the low fertility rates have created a ...

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Travel Log: Onsen time

June 23, 2017, Posted by : James

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Heading to an onsen is one of those uniquely Japanese experiences that I can never recommend enough. Sushi is great, but it's become so common in the states that it's not hard to find in any good-sized city. Onsen, on the other hand, is something that you really have to be in Japan to experience.

Onsen

"Onsen" refers to the natural hot springs caused by Japan's ...

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Speaking Japanese: The Sushi Analogy

June 14, 2017, Posted by : James

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Learning to speak any new language is hard. Remembering all the vocabulary is hard. Getting the hang of new grammar is hard. Even after you have the basics down, you still have the inimical beast of Japanese interpersonal ettiquette waiting for you.

Learning Japanese is like eating at a rotating sushi belt. You sit down, you look at the menu, and you decide to order a couple ...

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Being Black in Japan

June 07, 2017, Posted by : James

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When every student first starts to study Japanese, they learn the basic writing systems, grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary - but then they have a decision to make. After brute force of will and repetition allows you to hang on to a few useful phrases, you need to decide if you want to focus on natural speaking, the some 3000 Chinese characters you need to know to be fluent, slang, ...

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