Two men and a Kei-Tora

February 27, 2018, Posted by : James

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I'm currently paying two rents. My new apartment and my previous hole-in-the-wall have leases that overlap by a month and a half. If there's one truth about modern Tokyo life that foreigners and Japanese alike can agree on - it's that housing in Japan is ridiculously expensive.

In my mind, I envision Japanese realtors as greedy little beady-eyed scam artists rubbing their tiny ...

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The Special Japanese Skill of Copying Stuff

December 26, 2017, Posted by : James

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I was watching a video about the original Fleischer Superman Cartoons from 1942, as one is wont to do at a job with ample free time, and I was kind of amazed at the quality of the episodes. Apparently these were pretty ground-breaking animations at the time, when cartoons were still considered childish and nobody had ...

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Why does Japan have such a positive image in the west?

November 14, 2017, Posted by : James

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I couldn't help but think about all the articles saying that "trains are never late in Japan" this morning on the packed platform at my train station in central Tokyo, while waiting for my late train.

When I finally got on, it was muggy and hot. It's always muggy and hot on the train. The reality that Japanese ...

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Reverse Culture Shock

November 02, 2017, Posted by : James

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Tomorrow I fly out of Narita for the long quest back to the States. It wouldn't be wrong to call it a voyage. It's an hour long bus ride to the airport, 12 hour flight to a hub, hour flight to my hometown, and a 45 minute car ride from there to my actual hometown. All in all, it generally takes about 18 hours total.

The low hum of plane engines, and the stale in-flight air aren't ...

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Safety in Japan

October 03, 2017, Posted by : James

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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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