About Me

I’m Eryk. I lived in Japan for three years, teaching high school English with the JET Program and later working as a researcher with Yale University Press. Before that, I was a journalist.

An Angry Internet Person has described me as an ‘insufferable, self-absorbed hipster’ and warned that ‘most of what he writes should be taken with a grain of salt.’ All of that is actually pretty accurate, so take heed!

However, others have described this site one of the best Japan blogs, ‘humorous, insightful, thought provoking and moving’, and as ‘a foreign perspective with curiosity, compassion, humour and poise.’ I was once interviewed here by the Japan Times.

If you see an error on the site, or something that seems weird and wrong, you’re probably right. Please tell me in the comments and we’ll sort it out. That’s how people learn, and learning’s exactly what this blog is about.

I’ve also written for a California salvage yard consortium and on the topics of Prescription Drugs and Metal Bands and Tanks and Bubblegum for McSweeney’s. I wrote about Japan and expat culture for The Japan Times, Fukuoka Now, and Kulturaustausch.

In a previous life as a visual artist, I somehow managed to be interviewed by The New York Times and mentioned in Artforum, Mute Magazine and in the Dutch Press, which called me “The Harry Potter of the Digital Vanguard.” That was pretty funny.

You can reach me using the form below, or leave a comment if you wish to do so publicly. Thanks for reading!

34 Responses to About Me

  1. Peter says:

    I liked your article on foreigners in Japan
    Balanced and articulate – nice job!

  2. bra says:

    hi Eryk, I’m also in Japan, on Hateruma Island as part of my Global Islands Project… no significant tsunami effect here but I worry about getting home via Tokyo… /:b

  3. I just randomly stumbled on your article that was over on zonjineko.com, and followed the link to this site after reading that you’re originally from maine.
    i live in maine and have always wanted to go to japan, so i found it entertaining that i could read about your adventures in japan here.
    i’ll enjoy following your site.

  4. Ryan says:

    Me and some friends came across your blog from looking at some bosozoku sites. I can honestly say this is one of the best blogs ive ever seen. Please continue this and ill continue to be an avid reader!!! Thanks for all the hard work you have put into this!!!

  5. Basudev says:

    i liked your writing style, it gives a nice insight into what its like for a foreigner to be in Japan. I am neither a Japanese nor an American, but did enjoy reading about Japan and its culture. Also, don’t give up on the writing part, i think you could do good work besides your daily job, don’t neglect the artistic part trust me you will regret throwing it away one day :)

  6. Trav says:


    Stumbled across your blog while looking for a funny picture of an onsen experience for my own personal blog. I’m also a part of the JET program, living up in Shizuoka prefecture. My wife originally hails from New Hampshire, up your way, and I’m from Philly.

    Anyway, I’m looking for a digital artist to run some ideas by and was wondering if you’d be interested. I like the header you have for your blog and was looking for something similar. Shoot me an email and we can talk details.


  7. HI Eryk,
    I was searching for an article on not drinking soda while walking, and found your article. It is in great details and I am glad to find this article. If you don’t mind, I would like to use some of its contents on my paper (of course for plagiarism purpose, I will cite your name as well).

    Thank you! Hope to meet you in Japan someday ( I am also interested in JET program from Seattle).

  8. Hello Eryk,

    I’m loving your blog – I’ve added This Japanese Life. | 生命を外面九天です to my blogroll.
    Best, Michael

  9. seobudo says:

    Hi Eryk,

    I love your blog, amazingly funny and insightful (a rare combination, no?)

    Mata Ne!

  10. kc says:

    How can I “subscribe” to your Blog postings, apparently I’m not very bright.
    Thanks! :o)

    • owwls says:

      You can follow This Japanese Life on Facebook by going here and clicking “like.” Or you can get updates sent to your e-mail account by finding “e-mail” at the bottom of this page and doing whatever it tells you to do. ;)

      Thanks for liking the blog!

  11. I am also from Maine, but I will be living in Taiwan. :) Liking your blog!

  12. tokyojoy says:

    Hi Eryk! I am an American sent to work in my company’s Tokyo office for a month. I have been here 3 days and already I am laughing my a$$ off at your articles about convenience stores and air conditioning! I plan to start a mini-blog for my friends back home, and I am going to hyperlink them to your blog for a more eloquent explanation about this interesting place.

  13. KC says:

    “I plan to start a mini-blog” would it be possible to read your mini for general interest?

  14. Simeon says:

    Great blog. Very Insightful. Quick question, how big is Sudoku in Japan? Do they still love the puzzle the country is well known for?

  15. Christophe says:

    Hi Eryck, I really like your blog. I’ve just added it to my links. http://seijaku.co.uk/blog/our-friends/
    It would be fantastic if I could be on your blog roll. Seijaku the Japanese lifestyle blog: http://seijaku.co.uk/blog/
    thanks and congratulations again, Christophe

  16. yokaiakito says:

    Great blog~! Your articles are absolutely fantastic. They provide some amazing insight into both Japanese culture and to the human experience in general.

  17. I love your blog- I cannot believe I just found out about it now. I literally spent the last few days glued to my tiny iPhone screen, unable to stop reading all the posts. I feel like such a creep. Anyways, never stop writing. Greetings from Tokyo.

  18. Jordan G says:

    I wont lie ive been on your blog reading your articles for about 3 hours now. As someone who will be living in Japan for a year these articles are really helpful at getting an incite into what i shouldn’t and should do when in japan! Love the blog please keep posting!
    (side-note, the article on not being funny in japan had me laughing for ages!)

  19. Tess Harris says:

    Hi Eryk,

    HSBC Expat are launching their 2013 Expat Explorer which is the world’s largest survey of expats.
    We have never had enough respondents from expats in Japan to include the country in the survey. This year we are really keen to get enough expatriates in Japan to fill out the survey so we can compare expat life in Japan compared to other places in the world.

    The survey can be accessed on this link here: https://start.yougov.com/refer/vRD0NSVf5blrCX

    If we can get enough respondents to include the country then I will be happy to send you the findings from the survey when we publish later this year which I am sure will be of interest to your readers. If you are interested I can email you the press release we sent out at the launch of the survey.

    All the best,

  20. Octavia says:

    I came across your blog while searching for information about living in Japan. Going to live in Japan in a month’s time. And it is a great blog~ great eye-opener of Japanese culture for me…
    Thanks for the posts ^^

  21. kim0022 says:

    hi,, i was researching about foreigners in japan and how is japan doing and i came across your blog. I am a half japanese half filipino 20yr old girl. i am flying to japan in a few days to work there. well i can communicate in japanese a little but will study in a school for japanese language (writing and speaking.) can you give me advice, help, (or should I say warning) on what to expect in japan. and what should i do. i hope you could help me. thank you very much!

  22. Andrew says:

    Eryk, I really like your writing. I reblogged your recent post, “41 things I like about Japan,” because you have validated a couple posts I wrote recently. Anyways, keep up the writing and good luck in the UK.

  23. Pingback: Book: “This Japanese Life” published by JET alum blogger Eryk Salvaggio | JETwit.com

  24. Aric Hluch says:

    Before actually writing something that pertains to your blog, I have to inform you my name is Eryk as well, except I spell my name differently – “Aric.” I had an assignment in my ethics class to research a different culture and see if I could find anything comparable in its ethical code with my own. Then I came across your blog and was immediately entranced by your articles. All of a sudden, I’ve become greatly interested in Japanese culture. Fuck my assignment, I’m going to continue reading your blog!

  25. misha says:

    hey man, i love your blog. i like a good whimsical read now and again, and most of your articles even contain some useful information, too! good on you for that.

    i’m living in japan right now as an alt. i live on the izu peninsula in shizuoka prefecture. i basically spend all my time cooking, hiking, and drinking. i used to read a lot of your stuff on japantimes, so i am pretty excited to have found your blog. now i can get your posts straight from the source.

    keep up the great work, dude. appreciate it.

  26. Hi, Eryk, I discovered your blog from another blog concerning Ruth Ozeki’s “A Tale For The Time Being” – specifically a discussion on bullying. I read your post about it and I would say that overwhelmed me quite a bit. Having read Ms. Ozeki’s book, I was shocked to read about how brutal bullying is. Anyway, I’ve been reading your posts. Consider me as another follower :)

  27. Angela says:

    Hi Eryk,

    I came across your blog by looking up information for the JET Programme and found it to be very insightful and helpful. Thanks for writing tips and experiences. I’ve “liked” the page on Facebook. :)

  28. Lilly says:

    I found your blog very useful and helpful for my E.L.A project. I’m in 7th grade so umm… yeah thanks Eryk a lot.

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