Travel Log: Onsen time

June 23, 2017, Posted by : James

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


Speaking Japanese: The Sushi Analogy

June 14, 2017, Posted by : James

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 ...


Being Black in Japan

June 07, 2017, Posted by : James

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, ...


What to Eat in Japan

May 26, 2017, Posted by : James


Few things can inflate the expat-in-Tokyo ego like having a Japanese person say "you're so Japanese!" It makes you feel like you have a chance at getting past tourist status.

Unfortunately, my healthy pessimism and general sense of distrust usually leads me to wonder, sometimes out loud, if they're just trying to mess with me.

One ...


Walk Like A Japanese-ian

May 17, 2017, Posted by : James

I was walking home from the supermarket in my old neighborhood of Sasazuka one time, and I saw an adult woman on a bicycle run directly into a roadside barrier with a fleshy thud. It's one of those white railings that probably cost tax payers a fortune, but are supposed to make pedestrians safer. Actually, i'm pretty sure it was this exact ...


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