Society

Introducing Introduction: Mastering Jikoshokai and the ALT Self-Intro Class

Hajimemashite! It’s nice to meet you! If you come to Japan you’re going to find yourself saying this quite often. Introductions are very important in Japanese culture. It can be seen as an extension of the Japanese … [Read more...]

Surviving Sports Festival

In Japan, summer’s end ushers in a nationwide school tradition. Students, teachers, family, and other guests gather for a day of outdoor events known as undoukai (運動会) or sports festival. Undoukai offers something for … [Read more...]

Is Japan Really “Conservative”?

I don’t think that I’m the only one who has experienced this but I often hear the word “conservative” being applied to Japan. At first I just accepted it as being true - because Japan is very obviously conservative on many … [Read more...]

Japan’s Solar Revolution – The Sky’s (Not) the Limit

My neighborhood is changing. When you run everyday, you get to know your surroundings. You learn the locations of the essentials - water fountains, vending machines, and toilets. There are familiar faces and places. You … [Read more...]

Japan’s Epic History Of Discrimination Against The Mustache

If you ever go to Japan, you’ll come to realize that almost all men, especially salarymen, don’t have mustaches (or facial hair for that matter). Although shaving your mustache can sometimes cause trouble (watch Koichi’s … [Read more...]

Facing Facts: The Secret Behind Hello Kitty’s Blank Face

I don't remember my first encounter with Hello Kitty. I have memories of being aware of her existence sometime in the late nineties, but there was no memorable first meeting. For me, Kitty-chan was neither here nor there. … [Read more...]

The Kikokushijo Dilemma: Growing Up Abroad As A Japanese Kid

I am, as my name may suggest, Japanese. I was born to ordinary Japanese parents, and I grew up like any other Japanese girl would in the outskirts of Tokyo. I grew up drinking bottles of Yakult, eating things like natto, … [Read more...]