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October 03, 2017, Posted by : James

Safety in Japan

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While walking through the Shizuoka countryside last weekend, I noticed all the open windows, unlocked doors, and occasional bikes unlocked on front porches. This isn't necessarily uncommon in small towns in any country, but Japan enjoys a great image of having a low crime rate and peaceful society.

Police officers here seem to spend more time yelling through megaphones at crowds ...

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Matsuri Festival Season

September 07, 2017, Posted by : James

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My favorite thing about Japanese summers is going to matsuri.

Matsuri are Japanese street festivals of varying sizes that happen in every nook and cranny of Japan. In Tokyo, most individual areas have their own small shrines, and shrines have mobile temples housing local gods. The locals dress up, get drunk, eat street food, and carry these mini temples through the ...

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Explaining Things in Japanese

August 29, 2017, Posted by : James

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I've been eating, drinking, working, and just generally living in Tokyo for the last 7 years now. I've grown accustomed to most of the minor inconveniences of city life, and most cultural differences don't bother me too much any more. I shuffle through Tokyo train station every morning on my way to work, just a black face in a sea of salarymen with holes where their youthful spirits used ...

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Avoiding Melting in Tokyo

August 02, 2017, Posted by : James

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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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