This is a topic I’ve never wanted to write about but now it seems like the time is right. If you live in Japan, people will call you gaijin. I’ve always accepted it and not cared much about it. I knew it had racial overtones and wasn’t a polite word, but I actually like my outsider status and I’m happy to be a non-Japanese.
The problem is that my kids get called gaijin. This is going to be a problem their whole lives and in a society where bullying is epidemic, it worries me a bit.
So, is the word gaijin a racist word? The answer is: Yes. Continue reading
I just ran into a guy the other night that I used to work with many years ago at a crappy eikaiwa school. It was weird because I’d totally forgotten about that place, and just seeing him brought back all of this crazy trauma. It reminded me of an alien abduction movie I saw where the abductee has a flashback and curls up under a table at a party and sits there in a fetal position shaking.
I was like that guy under the table.
The eikaiwa was run by a madwoman who suffered from acute paranoia and thought everyone was stealing from her. She made my life a living hell for a good six months before I had enough and quit. Continue reading
If you’ve visiting Japan and you need a place to stay, you’ve got two options:
- l Stay with a friend in their shoebox-sized Tokyo apartment
- l Spend the cash and book a proper room in one of the country’s fine hotel facilities.
There are lots of lodging options in Japan and it can be confusing if you’re a first time visitor, so here’s a quick rundown.
Japan is full of western-style hotels and most of them are really nice. In fact, they’re too nice; you won’t find the cheapo-but-not-too-horrible hotels by the side of the highway. Most of these hotels are located in major cities and they cost an arm and a leg. However, the price is usually worth it. Service is guaranteed to be good and the amenities will rock. Continue reading
Japanese people are exceedingly kind. They’re so kind, in fact, that they won’t tell you honestly if your Japanese sucks.
Let’s take an example from my home country, the ol’ U. S. of A. If you walk into one of our fine fast food establishments and order your triple quarter pound meatwich with anything less than the most perfect American, the cashier is likely to lean toward you sneering and go, ‘HUNH?’ Continue reading
There’s an endless amount of things to do in Tokyo. It’s huge with probably about 10 different ‘downtowns’ and you can pretty much get lost just wandering around. But I’ve come up with the 10 things I recommend (the places I always take people) and a few of the common sites I think are skippable.
Please feel free to add ideas or give your opinion in the comments!
Asakusa is a really old temple complex in the heart of Tokyo. It’s very ‘touristy’ but it’s a great place to take people who are new to Japan. You can get the temple experience and there are a lot of places to buy good souvenirs and little gifts. Also, there is some awesome tempura nearby.