Category Archives: language

On Getting Rid of Japanese in Japan

Kanji is hard. The hieroglyphic written script (just one of three) used in Japanese has a weird history, borrowed and bastardized from the Chinese. And it takes years, even for the Japanese, to learn. For foreigners used to Roman scripts, … Continue reading

Posted in Kanji, language | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

On Getting by in Japan (Without Speaking Japanese)

Weird things happen when you half-ass a language in its native culture.

Posted in Kanji, language, Uncategorized | Tagged | 25 Comments

On Having No Comment in Japan

In July of 1945 the United States prepared to test the first atomic bomb in a dusty corner of New Mexico.

Posted in language, Thinking | 26 Comments

On Autumn in Japan

Here, Autumn starts in August, rather than the September Equinox. It’s September now, but the temperatures still hover in the 80s, thunderstorms still threaten my daily sushi pickup, and cicadas still squawk through the trees like tortured squirrels.

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On Writing About Rain in Japan

It’s tsuyu, rainy season, a designation determined by a group of experts without regard to actual rainfall. It rained once on the day after they had declared the end of rainy season, and that rain was designated non-rainy season rain. … Continue reading

Posted in language, Shinto, Zen | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

On Sneezing in Japan

In Japan, no one can hear you sneeze.

Posted in Culture Shock, Homesickness, language, Tradition, Uncategorized | Tagged | 15 Comments