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

November 14, 2017, Posted by : James

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 ...


Reverse Culture Shock

November 02, 2017, Posted by : James

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 ...


Safety in Japan

October 03, 2017, Posted by : James

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 ...


Matsuri Festival Season

September 07, 2017, Posted by : James

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 ...


Explaining Things in Japanese

August 29, 2017, Posted by : James

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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