On Being From Somewhere Else in Japan

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One of the most useful discoveries of a recent trip to Italy was that I had remembered some Italian curse words overheard during my childhood at my grandmother’s house, where older relatives would engage in a memory contest of their native language after a few glasses of wine. A corrupt Roman hotelier and later, a hostel that would not refund my money, resurrected those words that had been buried in some unconscious graveyard of language. Continue reading

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On Pilgrims

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I live on Tabard Street in London, one of the original streets leading into the city proper, a site where pilgrims gathered before departing the city (such as those in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales) or upon arriving in it. The entire area, just south of the Thames and connecting to London Bridge, is rooted in a history of transience, making it a perfect place for me to be living.

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On Life after Japan

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The airplane is parked at the far end of a runway, the airport clear outside the portal, the name of my city, Fukuoka, in clear red letters. The mountains are clear in the distance, lush green trees reaching toward blue skies like a painted dome over the planet. We start accelerating and I feel the pressure in my body pulling me back towards it: My home for three years. The people I knew, the places I stayed, the feelings I muddled my way through. Some people, when they leave, seem to know that they’ll be back. I knew that I would not. Continue reading

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On Facebook Fans and Christmas Miracles

Irrashaimase! This Japanese Life’s Facebook page has just crossed the 2,000 fans mark. To celebrate, This Japanese Life (the book and e-books!) will be marked down by 20%! How lucky we are that this has happened so close to a holiday celebrated by many around the world with traditional gift-giving? Indeed, that is remarkable! Maybe you would like to buy this book for some friends who may be going to Japan? Perhaps the book has material suitable for anyone going anywhere? Perhaps it does! The perfect gift for anybody bound for JET, or a culture-shocked friend. Sugoi!

BUY THE PAPERBACK   BUY THE E-BOOK

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On Hunting Dolphins in Japan

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“The memory of getting to Japan is hazy. One day I was an animal rights activist in Los Angeles, and the next I was on my way to Taiji to help save dolphins. But I believe I was meant to be here.”

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On Watching Video Art in Japan

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Whenever I went to art galleries in Japan – the hole-in-the-walls, not the epic institutions – I would look at videos or photographs and become immensely bored. It just seemed like a bunch of people goofing off around the house. Little did I know that this was, in fact, a movement.

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